Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has lauded Breitbart London and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage for the key roles they played in the Brexit campaign.
Speaking in a wide-ranging interview with The Spectator — one of a large number of media engagements for the former Breitbart News executive chairman as he continues his tour of Europe, visiting leading figures in the populist movement — Bannon made clear he didn’t believe Brexit would have happened without the British Breitbart bureau.
Explaining that “Britain and Brexit loom large in Bannon’s revolutionary vision”, The Spectator quotes Bannon’s remarks: “Brexit would not have happened if Breitbart London had not started… We were the platform for Ukip ideas, particularly immigration.”
Bannon’s comments echo the Sun newspaper’s headline of 1992, when the Murdoch paper celebrated its role in keeping the Labour Party out of power by endorsing the Conservative Party.
Bannon in France: ‘History Is On Our Side https://t.co/C2zs8Nqwpw
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 11, 2018
While he acknowledged there were many other players in the Brexit debate, none had captured the public imagination as succinctly as Breitbart and then UKIP leader Nigel Farage, saying: “Without Farage, you wouldn’t have had a Brexit. Boris Johnson, that exit campaign — he’s a great guy but they were pitching those complicated rules from Brussels. It didn’t wash. It was immigration. It was Nigel Farage and the brothers coming in.”
Linking the Brexit vote to others taking place right across Europe — including the recent victory of populist parties in Italy — Mr Bannon told the magazine the populist movements were about taking power away from elites and giving them back to ordinary people, remarking: “You stop ceding decisions to a scientific, engineering, financial, managerial, technocratic elite, which is how globalism came about.”
Bannon: EU Has Been ‘Vicious’ Towards Britain, Treating the British Public with ‘Contempt’ https://t.co/Vtc7nB0YJa
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 4, 2018
The Brexit vote wasn’t just about Breitbart bringing American lessons to British politics, however. Touching on the idea that the success of the British people in voting against the European Union fed into American confidence to vote for now-President Donald Trump months later, Mr Bannon said: “I’m here to observe and learn. The 2014 elections in the European Parliament, then Brexit, taught me so much that had to do with the populist revolt in the United States, and I was able to apply some of those lessons. I’m learning so much about populism.”
Bannon’s comments echo others he’s made in the past. Speaking in November, Mr Bannon said the Brexit and U.S. Presidential votes were “inextricably linked”, and said: “When Brexit happened, Nigel Farage went on the BBC the next morning and said: ‘Had Breitbart London not been created there’d be no Brexit. We had the media, we had the platform, to tell our story’.”