Leave.EU aide: Nazi propaganda machine was 'very clever'
A key figure in a leading pro-Brexit campaign group heaped praise on the propaganda tactics employed by the Nazis and Isis.
Andy Wigmore also admitted that Leave.EU “completely” copied Donald Trump during the EU referendum, but questioned whether it went too far after Jo Cox was killed.
Mr Wigmore is the right hand man of insurance tycoon Arron Banks, who bankrolled the Leave.EU campaign and was a major donor to Ukip.
He revealed some of the thinking behind the campaign in an interview with propaganda expert Dr Emma Briant, which has been published by the cross-party Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, which is carrying out an inquiry into fake news.
"The propaganda machine of the Nazis, for instance – 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," Mr Wigmore said.
"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. And looking at that now, 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."
Asked if Leave.EU copied the 2016 presidential campaign that won Donald Trump the keys to the White House, he said: “Completely. Completely. Completely.”
“We found that the media here, because they were so anti-us, the only way we were going to make a noise was to follow the Trump doctrine,” he explained.
“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.
“And that’s exactly what we did. So our tiles were provocative, and they were designed to be provocative, and they got the attention.”
But he added that there were times when the group were “unsure” if they were “doing the right thing” - particularly after the tragic murder of Labour MP Ms Cox, who was killed by neo-Nazi Thomas Mair.
“You think: well... that’s... too much. Then the blame from the media, immigration, you’ve created a… wave of hatred and racism, and all this “right movement” - empowering... all those things, which Trump has experienced as well.
“We were very: ‘Well… Maybe we have gone too far’.”
But he said the campaign was buoyed by the fact its supporters “didn’t change their views” after the brutal killing.
DCMS committee chair Damian Collins said: "The references made by ... Andy Wigmore from Leave.EU regarding the propaganda techniques developed by the Nazis are particularly concerning…
"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."