Reopening a wound in British politics

After Donald Trump retweeted Britain First, I wrote this piece for the US magazine Slate (1 December 2017) about the significance of the phrase and why it struck a nerve across the whole British political establishment.

Doing so meant revisiting the final days of the EU referendum, when a farcical day which saw the “Battle of the Thames” between Nigel Farage and Bob Geldof was followed by one of the darkest in British politics: the murder of Jo Cox.

In the world at large, the murder of an obscure left-of-center British politician was soon overshadowed by the decision of the majority of Brits to vote for Brexit. In the U.K., by contrast, the murder continues to haunt the entire political class. It is why the decision this week by “Mr. Brexit,” U.S. President Donald Trump, to retweet some anti-Muslim videos by a member of a fringe organization called Britain First has sparked outrage across party lines. And it is why Prime Minister Theresa May, who said little when Trump introduced his “Muslim ban” earlier this year, felt obliged to publicly criticize a series of tweets.

The full article can be read online here.