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The Tories’ Creeping Fascism: Manipulating the Media and Demonising Migrants

This post explores the growing threat of creeping fascism in the UK political landscape, particularly within the Conservative Party. It examines recent actions by the government, including the exclusion of critical media outlets from the Home Secretary's trip to Rwanda and the policy to deport asylum seekers, in light of the "creeping fascism" thesis. The post argues that the Tories' use of jingoistic and anti-immigrant rhetoric is a deliberate tactic to distract from the real issues facing the UK and consolidate their power.

The exclusion of critical media outlets such as the BBC, The Guardian, and the Independent, and I newspapers from Suella Braverman’s publicly-funded visit to Rwanda, as well as her controversial policy to deport asylum seekers to the country, have drawn significant criticism from organisations such as Index on Censorship. The Tories’ fear of criticism over their “stop the boats” policy was evident in their decision to only allow supportive right wing media outlets, such as The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, and fascist echo chamber GB News, on Braverman’s publicly-funded visit to Rwanda. Surely our Home Secretary should be scrutinised on a public funded visit! Or is this just a further example of the Tories running scared of media scrutiny. Such actions can also be viewed as further evidence of this governments growing trend towards authoritarianism, as argued in the “creeping fascism” thesis put forward by Neil Faulkner with Samir Dathi, Phil Hearse and Seema Syeda.

Project fear in operation on GB News

According to the thesis which was updated in 2019, a government’s efforts to limit scrutiny, manipulate the media, and suppress dissent align with the tactics of authoritarian regimes. Therefore, with the recent introduction of both the Policing Bill and the illegal Migration Bill, it can now be argued with a degree of certainty that the Conservative Party is no longer simply leaning towards authoritarianism, but rather has become a fully formed authoritarian government, posing a growing threat to democracy in the UK.

Overall, the exclusion of critical media outlets and the policy to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda have been viewed as troubling indications of the creeping fascism trend that needs to be resisted through collective action and solidarity. The 2021 article “Digitalised Alienation: The Politics of the Spectacle and the Revolutionary Imperative” by Faulkner on the Anti*Capitalist Resistance website reinforces the idea of creeping fascism within the current political landscape, particularly with the rise of far right movements across the world. Faulkner argues that the capitalist system is inherently authoritarian and that the ruling elite will stop at nothing to maintain their power, including manipulating the media and suppressing dissent. The author also points out that the increasing use of social media and digital communication has led to a new form of alienation and political apathy, further entrenching the power of the ruling class.

it can now be argued with a degree of certainty that the Conservative Party is no longer simply leaning towards authoritarianism, but rather has become a fully formed authoritarian government

The Tories’ use of the slogan “stop the boats” to promote their policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda can be seen as a clear example of manipulating the media to further their authoritarian agenda, as it presents a simplistic narrative that ignores the complexities of the refugee crisis and demonises migrants. The article “Tory “stop the boats’ bill is nothing but jingoism” by Catriona Stewart, published on 17 March in the Herald Scotland, continues to frame the narrative by suggesting the Conservative government’s proposed “stop the boats” legislation is a reflection of their jingoistic and racist agenda. The article emphasises that the legislation is unlikely to have any real impact on illegal immigration or people smuggling, but instead serves as a way to pander to the right-wing base and demonise migrants. Stewart highlights that the government’s approach to immigration is rooted in a misguided belief that immigration is the cause of all societal problems, which allows them to use migrants as scapegoats and deflect attention from their own failures, such as the underfunding of public services and the lack of affordable housing.

Jingoism on display

The Conservative Party’s narrative has always included jingoism, and can be traced back to events such as the relief of Mafeking during Boer War and the Falklands War. However, with the Brexit vote, this “little island” narrative became the dominant theme of their rhetoric. So this form of Tory racism and jingoism is not a new unique phenomenon, but rather mirrors the discourse of the old far right groups, such as the National Front and BNP. Example such as the use of the term “enemy within” during the miners’ strike in the mid 1980s, which was also a term used by the National Front to describe immigrants. Another example is the Conservative Party’s “British jobs for British workers” campaign slogan, which echoed the far right’s “Keep Britain White” slogan.

The aim of this rhetoric has always been to mobilise a segment of the population around nationalist and anti-immigrant sentiments, while ignoring the complex economic and social issues that underlie the current political landscape. It is a deliberate tactic to focus hatred on “the other” and distract from issues such as poverty, joblessness (meaningful work), lack of social housing, and inadequate benefits. The failure to recognise that migrants need our solidarity not only undermines the collective struggle against the Conservative Party’s creeping fascism, but also plays directly into the Tories’ hands, allowing them to perpetuate their anti-immigrant rhetoric and maintain power by keeping people thinking individually rather than forming a mass movement to resist their agenda and crucially diverting attention away from the root causes of the current social and economic issues in the UK.

National Front march in 1970s Yorkshire, UK. Conservative Party politicians have been borrowing ideas about immigration from the far right for decades.
National Front march in 1970s Yorkshire, UK. Conservative Party politicians have been borrowing ideas about immigration from the far right for decades (Wikimedia Commons)
A National Front flyer that has been likened to Brexit sloganeering by commentators on Twitter (Picture: John West/Twitter)
A National Front flyer that has been likened to Brexit sloganeering by commentators on Twitter (Picture: John West/Twitter)

We need to recognise the Tories are using manipulative tactics to further their own agenda and consolidate their power, their “stop the boats” bill and banning hostile journalists from the Home Secretary’s visit to Rwanda are example of their creeping fascism, jingoistic and racist tendencies.

We don’t need to stop the boats.

WE MUST STOP THE TORIES!

One response to “The Tories’ Creeping Fascism: Manipulating the Media and Demonising Migrants”

  1. […] to challenge the false narratives and xenophobic policies of the right, the Labour Party risks legitimising harmful and discriminatory policies that go against its core values. Instead, the party must take a proactive and constructive approach […]

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