Name-calling played a significant role in the 2016 US election campaign. Remember “crooked” Hillary? “Little” Marco (Rubio)? “Lyin’” Ted Cruz? There’s little doubt that the insistent repetition of these denigratory tags were effective over time in belittling Donald Trump’s adversaries. More of the same can be expected in the upcoming elections in the UK, with the term “surrender” featuring prominently (‘Surrender bill’ is a strategic phrase. It is being used to whip up anger, 27 September).
For Boris Johnson to slip more easily into the Churchillian mould that he fancies for himself, he needs to shape reality in such a way as to create an enemy. The surrender meme will serve his purpose by casting in a negative, threatening light those he for the moment continues to call “our friends and partners”.
Now is perhaps an opportune moment to impress on the electorate the extent to which the EU and its predecessors have succeeded in the mission that Europe’s postwar leaders set themselves: ensuring peace in Europe for the generations to come.
Faced with the near certainty of a bellicose campaign by Johnson and his advisers, may I propose a counter-slogan: “We’re not at war. Let’s keep it that way.”
• So Boris Johnson thinks the way to stop death threats to our MPs is to do what those making the threats want and “get Brexit done” (Johnson refuses to say sorry for Jo Cox remarks and sticks to his rhetoric, 27 September)? Is this the same government whose official policy is never to negotiate with terrorists and never to give in to blackmail demands? Because that is exactly what these MPs are facing, or will face in the weeks ahead, largely as a result of his words and actions.
Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire
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No need for the UK to surrender to the EU when we’re not at war – The Guardian