This wonderful snap came my way on Twitter last Saturday. It shows Hatchet-job Hodges and Lynton “The Australian Karl Rove” Crosby embracing like the best of friends.
I think this image proves just how close Johnson’s campaign was to the Tory-dominated press. Those right-wingers (and some left-wingers) who deny that the media had anything to do with Ken Livingstone’s defeat are deluding themselves. You can’t get better evidence than this.
I heard that Crosby is being tipped to replace Hon Gid as Tory campaign manager… or that’s what some Tory backbenchers are calling for.
As for Crosby’s credentials, let’s go back to 2008. This article tells us,
Behind the casually racist turn of phrase that has seen Johnson describe black people as ‘picanninies’ lies a more consistent playing of the race card, orchestrated by his campaign strategist Lynton Crosby. Crosby was behind a 2005 Conservative Party campaign that denigrated immigrants, then asked voters ‘Are you thinking what we’re thinking?’
Thankfully, they weren’t. But this same style of ‘dog-whistle politics’ has been successful elsewhere. The trick is to speak in a code that chimes with racist assumptions, without making ostensibly racist statements. In this case, the Tories are building on a discourse established by the Evening Standard, the right-wing Daily Mail’s London stablemate, which has vilified Livingstone for lavishing money on anti-racist groups. Crosby may or may not have orchestrated these attacks, but his campaign message feeds off the racist fantasy that Ken ‘gives all the money to minorities’ just the same. And it is not just Johnson who benefits: come 1 May, there is a strong chance that the far right British National Party (BNP) could gain seats on the Greater London Authority.
If Crosby gets the job, we can expect more of this sort of thing.