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Project Fear smears Brexit and Boris Johnson on the Hitler Front

Tom Winnifrith
Sunday 15 May 2016

Looking at twitter I see folks aghast that Boris Johnson has compared the EU to Hitler. How dare Bojo link Brussells to white supremacism and killing Jews? You think I am kidding? Here you go:

EU to Hitler? So is #BorisJohnson saying that a body of countries is a white supremacist thug & committing genocide?

Er no Prita Boris is saying nothing of the sort. Tactic one of Project Fear, or is that now Project Smear, is to take what we Brexiteers say totally out of context. Here is what Bojo actually said:

"The past 2,000 years of European history have been dominated by doomed attempts to unify the continent under a single government to recreate the “golden age” of the Romans. Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically. The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods,”

There you go. No mention of racism or genocide merely a point about Empire building. Now given that those at the heart of the EU are pushing for ever closer union, for ever more powers to leave national parliaments to head to the EU and for an EU army to join the single currency what Johnson says appears to be a valid point. The critics do not mention his comparison to Napoleon, various other people (Louis XIV? Bismark?) just Hitler and then take it out of context.

Play 2 in the Project Smear playbook comes from the shadow foreign secretary Hilary Benn whose father must be spinning in his grave at the Euro piffle his son spouts. Little Benn accused Bojo of losing his moral compass, again by opting to ignore what Boris actually said and just focusing in on Hitler. Benn continued:

After the horror of the second world war, the EU helped to bring an end to centuries of conflict in Europe, and for Boris Johnson to make this comparison is both offensive and desperate.

Again you see the focus on Hitler not the point Bojo actually made. And as it happens did the EU really bring peace to Europe? Most folks had that down to NATO, Reagan and Thatcher standing up to the Russians in a way that the Benn family strongly opposed. Where the EU has tried to intervene to bring "peace", in Bosnia, the Ukraine and Syria it cannot be said to have been a great success. Benn follows his smear with lies.

Truly Old Tony, who back in 1975 campaigned alongside my Bennite grandfather Sir John Winnifrith in the leave campaign, would be mortified not just at the stance of his son but also at his intellectual laziness.

The response of his Benn junior and others to what Boris Johnson said shows the weakness of the "in" campaign. It cannot argue on facts and so must simply resort to attacking what outers did not say, to smears and to lies.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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