- REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo
- A leading Brexit campaigner has been recorded praising Nazi propaganda.
- Andy Wigmore of the Leave.EU campaign said Nazi techniques had been “very clever”.
- Leave.EU deliberately used outrage techniques to gain attention, he admits.
- Wigmore dismisses the release of his comments as “willful deception and trickery.”
LONDON – A leading figure in the Brexit campaign has been recorded praising the “very clever” propaganda techniques used by the Nazis.
Andy Wigmore, who served as communications director for Leave.EU, the Brexit campaign group fronted by Nigel Farage and funded by Arron Banks, was speaking to academic researcher Dr. Emma Briant, who recorded the conversation.
Wigmore told Briant that “The propaganda machine of the Nazis, for instance – if you take away all the hideous horror and that kind of stuff – it was very clever, the way they managed to do what they did.
“In its pure marketing sense, you can see the logic of what they were saying, why they were saying it, and how they presented things, and the imagery. And that is propaganda. ISIS interestingly… And you know this, course you do.
“In hindsight, having been on the sharp end of this campaign, you think: Crikey, this is not new, and it’s just – it’s using the tools that you have at the time.”
His comments were echoed by the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica’s parent company SCL Group, Nigel Oakes.
Oakes said that Hitler “didn’t have a problem with the Jews at all, but the people didn’t like the Jews … So he just leveraged an artificial enemy”.
He added: “Well that’s exactly what Trump did. He leveraged a Muslim … I mean, you know, it’s … it was a real enemy. Isis is a real, but how big a threat is Isis really to America?”
Wigmore, who was photographed meeting Trump with Farage shortly after his victory, said the Brexit campaign had “completely, completely, completely” copied the methods used by Trump in his own campaign.
“The only way we were going to make a noise was to follow the Trump doctrine, which was: the more outrageous we are, the more attention we’ll get, and the more attention we get, the more outrageous we’ll be,” he said.
“And that’s exactly what we did.”
The recordings were released on Tuesday by the House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which is running an inquiry into fake news.
Parliament’s Culture committee chairman Damian Collins said the recordings gave a “unique insight” into the Brexit campaign.
“Andy Wigmore states that he believes that the propaganda techniques of the Nazi’s were ‘very clever’,” he said.
“He also confirms that exploiting voters’ concerns about immigration was central to their campaign during the Brexit referendum.”
“Given the extreme messaging around immigration that was used during the referendum campaign, these statements will raise concerns that data analytics was used to target voters who were concerned about this issue, and to frighten them with messaging designed to create ‘an artificial enemy’ for them to act against.”
Wigmore today dismissed the committee’s report as “wilful deception and trickery,” telling the Daily Mirror that his comments about the Nazis had come up “in a historical context” in reference to the scare tactics used by the Remain campaign.