Boris Johnson – foe of casual Nazi comparisons?

Foreign Secretary blasts Trump-Nazi analogy. Surely he'd never be so hyperbolic?


When US President Donald Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries was said to be reminicent of the 1930s, Boris Johnson was having none of it.

Here’s what happened in yesterday’s Commons debate:

Labour MP Nic Dakin: Holocaust survivors have said this reminds them of the 1930s. Is this a time for appeasement or standing up for British values?

Boris Johnson: I do find it distasteful to make comparisons between the elected leader of a great democracy and 1930s tyrants.

I think continuing to use the language of appeasement demeans the horror of the 1930s and trivialises our conversation.

Gosh. Sounds like Bozza would never resort to such casual use of the 1930s, right? Er, well, no.

Just over a week ago, he compared French President Francois Hollande, (who is, last we checked, ‘the elected leader of a great democracy’), to a Nazi prison guard. He said:

“If Monsieur Hollande wants to administer punishment beatings to anyone who chooses to escape, rather in the manner of some World War Two movie, then I don’t think that’s the way forward.”

When busily campaigning for Brexit last May, Johnson compared the European Union to the Nazi empire, saying both were an attempt to recreate European unity under the Romans. He said:

“Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically. The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods.”

Back in September 2013, Johnson compared Bashar al-Assad’s use of poison gas to Hitler’s extermination of Europe’s Jews. (On this occasion, the analogy was apt.) He said:

Not even Hitler used chemical weapons, as far as I can remember, not even Hitler used chemical weapons against allied troops.”

But by December 2015, he had changed his tune, quoting Churchill to argue Britain should ‘make a deal with the devil’ and work with Assad against ISIS. He wrote:

When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Churchill decided to qualify his lifelong hatred of communism. ‘If Hitler invaded Hell,’ said Churchill in 1941, ‘I would make at least a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.'”

So Assad goes from being worse than Hitler to being Stalin, and ISIS becomes Hitler. To use another cliche, how Orwellian!

(Since becoming Foreign Secretary, Johnson has dropped this suggestion, though his postion, like his government’s, is not clear.)

And on and on. As a longtime tabloid hack for the Tory press, Johnson is as wedded to Nazi/Churchill/Munich analogies as the rest of his confrère.

Yet heaven forfend anyone talk that way about The Donald! Think of the trade deals! Won’t someone please think of the trade deals?!

Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13 

See:  Labour MPs demand that Johnson ‘have the guts to speak out’ on Muslim ban

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