Five times the Conservative government has been accused of 'Trumpian' tactics

Five times the Conservative government has been accused of 'Trumpian' tactics
Conservatives are playing ‘Trumpian’ politics, claims Anna Soubry

There are people you would like to be compared to, and then there's Donald Trump.

Being likened to America's last president is rarely used as a compliment and often instead to sound the alarm over dangerous policies and iffy ways of operating politically.

So it is a shame for Boris Johnson that he and his government sometimes are branded with the Trump stamp for their behaviour - most recently due to Johnson's now infamous Savile remarks, but also because of language used in the commons and during interviews.

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Here are a few examples of times the government has sparked Trump comparisons:

Boris Johnson's Jimmy Savile remarks

During a parliamentary debate that followed the (partial) publication of Sue Gray's inquiry into alleged lockdown breaching parties in Downing Street, a flustered Johnson randomly attacked Starmer for not prosecuting Jimmy Savile when he was the director of public prosecutions.

Numerous fact checkers were quick to correct the record - Starmer was not the lawyer overseeing the 2009 CPS case Johnson was referring to though he was head of the organisation - and people were furious about the tasteless remark.

But on Wednesday, during PMQs, Johnson refused to withdraw his remarks after Starmer said he was "parroting violent fascists".

So, speaking to Robert Peston yesterday, former home secretary Amber Rudd said Johnson's remarks were "a disgraceful thing to say" and "a Trumpian response to try and deflect from himself and use something so outrageous so that people will talk about that rather than the big issue".

Meanwhile, Richard Scorer, head of abuse and public inquiries at law firm Slater and Gordon, told The Independent: “I’ve spoken to a number of victims, and they are appalled and really quite upset that Johnson has tried to use their suffering for political purposes. It’s completely untrue and unjustified to link the case to Keir Starmer – he had no involvement at all.”

The lawyer added: “So for Johnson to repeat this garbage to get himself out of a political hole – you’re into Donald Trump territory, Donald Trump tactics of repeating QAnon conspiracy theories.”

Nadine Dorries defends the Savile remarks

Former Tory MP Rory Stewart said a Channel 4 interview with Nadine Dorries displayed "sheer tawdry Trumpian shabbiness".

At the time, the culture minister was defending Johnson over his Savile remarks in a disastrous broadcast round, saying "the prime minister tells the truth".

"There are lots of things that Keir Starmer shouldn’t have said," she also said when she was pushed on the issue.

"Make Nottinghamshire great again"

Does this phrase sound familiar?

Speaking in the commons ahead of the launch of the Levelling Up White Paper, levelling up secretary Michael Gove said he would make Nottinghamshire "great" which we are sure will come as fantastic news to the people of Nottinghamshire.

"Nottingham has a bright future, and Nottinghamshire has an even brighter one, with my hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield (Ben Bradley) as leader of that council, leading a programme of urban development and regeneration. I look forward to working with the hon. Lady, and with my hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield, to ensure that we make Nottinghamshire great again," he said.

"Trumpian overtones"

And Trump comparisons are not just recent occurence.

In 2019, former Conservative MP David Gauke said an investigation into Tory rebels who voted for legislation to block a no-deal Brexit, which alleged they worked with foreign powers to draft the legislation was full of “Trumpian overtones”,

A divisive Downing Street, briefings using the phrase “collaborator” and riling up party activists all belong to a strategy that “corresponds more to Trump than to the long tradition of the Conservatives and Winston Churchill”, he told the Guardian.

Comparing Johnson and Trump, he said: “They are very different personalities but in terms of political strategy, because of what we see from No 10 is divisive and exercising the base and that is very similar to Donald Trump.”

Scottish independence

Nicola Sturgeon said blocking a second Scottish independence referendum would be pretty Trump-like.

Writing in the Observerbefore local elections last year, she wrote: “If there is a majority in the Scottish parliament after this election for an independence referendum then Scotland must have the chance to put the recovery into Scotland’s hands.

“For the UK government to seek to block it would be unsustainable. For them to try to take legal action, as has been suggested, would be asking a court to effectively overturn the result of a free and fair democratic election.

“That would be an appalling look for any prime minister. More to the point, it didn’t work for Donald Trump and it wouldn’t work for Boris Johnson. Scotland’s future must, and will, be decided by the people of Scotland.”

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)