A leading figure on the campaign to leave the European Union has been recorded comparing the tactics the Leave.EU campaign used to keep immigration as the leading argument in the debate to the fear tactics that helped the Nazis sweep to power in 1930s Germany.
The recordings of Andy Wigmore, a senior figure from the Leave.EU campaign and close confidant of Nigel Farage and Arron Banks, were published by a government inquiry into fake news during the Brexit campaign. He is also heard discussing contacts with controversial data consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which has been the centre of a Facebook personal data exploitation scandal both in the UK and the US.
In his discussions we university lecturer Emma Briant for her upcoming book on the Trump campaign, Wigmore said the Brexit campaign would need to “follow the Trump doctrine” if it was to win the debate in the UK, arguing that facts don’t work and campaigners needed to instead “connect with people emotionally”. He admitted some campaigners raised concerns they would be blamed for creating the “wave of hatred and racism”, which could be seen in the steep rise in hate crimes in the wake of the referendum.
Nigel Oakes, chief executive of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company SCL Group, was also recorded praising Trump’s campaign tactics targeting Muslims for their similarities to those of Adolf Hitler’s scapegoating of Jews, a practice her described as lveraging an “an artificial enemy”.
Cambridge Analytica denies working with the Leave.EU campaign or influencing the Brexit referendum, but a recent discovery by Guardian reporter Carole Cadwalla shows an invoice from the firm to Leave.EU for £41,500 dated from December 2015 appears to contradict these statements.
BREAKING: Invoice shows Cambridge Analytica did do work on Brexit. A year of denials and legal letters and a hugely convoluted payment mechanism. But here it is….https://t.co/IJSTixfDy5 pic.twitter.com/N4yQcF3ulg
— Carole Cadwalladr (@carolecadwalla) April 14, 2018
Damian Collins, chairman of the House of Commons’ digital, culture, media and sport committee, which is conducting the inquiry, described the comments as “particularly concerning”.