No, Jeremy Corbyn – Boris Johnson is not “hard right”



Here we go again. In a speech yesterday, Jeremy Corbyn deployed the Left’s favourite two words whenever it wants to harm the opposition: “hard right”. Addressing a crowd in Corby, he proclaimed:

“The Tories have lurched to the hard right under Boris Johnson, Britain’s Trump, the fake populist and phoney outsider”, before accusing the Prime Minister of only serving the elites.

It’s difficult to know where to start with the Labour Party leader’s tirade, which is too imaginative to have been written by his own hand. For starters, the statements are contradictory. How can Johnson be Britain’s Trump and a fake populist?

Then there’s the hypocritical element. Who’s Corbyn to call anyone else populist? His whole career has been about pitting himself against the establishment (an instinct one supposes started at school – when he got rubbish exam results and decided to blame the world).

No one notices, though, as nowadays “populist” is only applied to right-leaning politicians, even though major Lefties like Hugo Chávez rose to power by appealing to ordinary people.

Ultimately Corbyn is relying on the ignorance of his supporters to push lies about Johnson, many of whom he won over by pretending to be “down with the kids” on Snapchat – and telling them he’d magic away their student loans.

It only takes a few Google searches to uncover that Johnson is not “hard right” and, in fact, has one of the most liberal Conservative records, voting in favour of civil partnerships and supporting gay marriage when it was proposed. I doubt you’d see him cosying up to Iranian TV, as Corbyn has.

For all his controversies as a polemicist, Johnson shows progressive politics when it comes down to it – recently suggesting an amnesty for tens of thousands of illegal immigrants.

As for the comparisons with Trump? A similar hairdo and love of women are about as far as it goes.

Crying “hard right” is merely a cynical tactic by faux progressives, who are trying to terrify the electorate – and convince them that anyone who doesn’t bow down to socialism must have evil politics. At the same time they claim it’s the right that is using “the politics of fear”…

It’s not only Corbyn who’s using this trick – but militant Remainers too. David Lammy recently compared the ERG to Nazis and Apartheid, in what – in any other era – would have been condemned as insane rhetoric. Since Britain left the EU, however, these analogies have been some of the most casually thrown around, with the Brexit Party equated to the National Socialist in Reichstag,1926, as both parties have turned their backs on parliaments.

Some of this week’s concerns about fascism were exacerbated by an attack on Owen Jones, who said he was accosted by members of the Far Right. This was a terrible event that deserves criminal justice and societal condemnation. It did not justify Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee suggesting, however, that it was a “terrifying harbinger of the Brexit world of hate, intimidation, and scapegoating”.

Like always, this was an example of Remainers conflating Brexiteers with the “far-right”. As we move closer to October 31st, and panic sets in about No Deal, we can expect more of these divisive generalisations from Europhile zealots.

When I cited these concerns on Twitter, I was told by some that things are even worse than that, as we’re under a fascist government. Having gone to observe the People’s Vote March, the Extinction Rebellion and the anti-Trump protests over the last few months, I can say we’re anything but. Droves of angry hippies took to the streets, and were left to get on with it – to the point, in Extinction’s case, where our shops lost millions of pounds. Those needing a reality check should ask themselves what would have happened if these had taken place in Hong Kong.

If anyone’s displaying the tactics of the “hard right” it is not Johnson, but the many individuals who want to quash Brexiteers’ vote around the country – and have even celebrated the deaths of older leavers.

Whether Johnson is a “populist” or not is up for debate, but no one can deny that there really is an elite.

Charlotte Gill is a writer and journalist whose work has appeared in The Mail on Sunday, The Times and The Telegraph. Follow her on twitter: @CharlotteCGill