The links between Farage, Trump and the anti-Repeal campaign are evident. But we mustn't let them set the terms of the debateby Maya Goodfellow / January 23, 2018 / Leave a comment
Is Ireland’s upcoming referendum on abortion going to form part of the “culture war” that seems to be raging in the global north?
According to the Irish edition of the Times, an anti-abortion campaign group has drafted in Kanto, a consulting firm linked to the Vote Leave campaign, to help with their digital communications.
Kanto was founded by Thomas Borwick. His CV gives you an idea of what his campaigning looks like: Borwick used to work at Cambridge Analytica, the data company whose vice-present was Steve Bannon and which is owned by Robert Mercer—a withdrawn billionaire who bankrolled Trump’s campaign and a variety of far-right organisations, including Breitbart News. He was technology chief for Vote Leave in the EU referendum.
This is significant because Brexit was, in its way, moulded around an ongoing “culture war.” This term is intended to explain a political landscape shaped not just by class, earning power and education but by the conflict between “traditional” and “progressive” values.
The right figures use this framing to their advantage: they say something deeply offensive, and when there’s a reaction, they can then dismiss their opponents as little more than “snowflakes” unable to cope with the real world.
Vote Leave framed the referendum as a battle over the core values of the country. They denounced elites and experts; they spoke endlessly of wanting “our country back.”
Indeed, the split between the Remain and Leave camps can be better understood as about social attitudes rather that social class: 81 per cent of Leave voters thought multiculturalism was a force for ill and 74 per cent thought the same of feminism. In the debate over whether to repeal the 8th Amendment, Ireland could be divided along similar lines.
The right actively fosters these divides: in 2016 Milo Yiannopoulos issued a call to arms, telling the far-right that until recently, they hadn’t been fighting the “culture wars.” Donald Trump is on a self-styled crusade against political correctness. Nigel Farage jets around the world—one week addressing an Alternative for Germany (AfD) meeting, the next doing the rounds in the US to lend a hand to the president. The Conservatives briefly appointed Toby Young, a man who once said he…