We need to wake up and silence the dog whistle - column

Donald Trump at the Scottish Parliament in 2012 (Pic: Jane Barlow)
Donald Trump at the Scottish Parliament in 2012 (Pic: Jane Barlow)

Dog whistles only used to be audible to our canine companions.

Dog whistles only used to be audible to our canine companions.

In 2019, they are used by the worst politicians ever to grub their way to high office.

And they are leading us all down a dark and dangerous road.

From Donald Trump to Nigel Farage to Boris Johnson they have all made extreme views, insults, slurs and offence part of their central message.

And every word they utter is calculated to play to their support-base.

They know words matter, and they still plough on regardless of the outrage, or offence caused.

They exploit division and fear, and they help to legitimise extreme views.

The master is Trump, but it’s clear watching dangerous idiots like Bojo bluff his way to Downing Street that others have copied his model.

The race card is their favourite.

Farage plays on the fear of mass immigration, and gives “Tommy Robinson” – the odious right-wing thug – the legitimacy he craves by seeking him out for his ‘expert advice.’

Johnson calls Muslim woman who wear the burqa “letter boxes” and “bank robbers” while Commonwealth citizens are “picaninnies.” and laughs it off as just banter.

But it is horrifying stuff.

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When they normalise abuse, they green light those who take words and turn them into action. Violent action. Words matter because they lead to people getting hurt.

The dog whistle is far more dangerous, and much more subtle, than the milkshake – the weapon of choice for street protestors out to annoy Farage and ruin a few of his expensive suits.

And Trump knows exactly what he is doing every time he sounds that do g whistle.

Just when you think he hits a new low on social media with his rambling, utterly incoherent views, he scrapes through another layer at the bottom of the barrel.

Telling the four Democrat congresswomen to “go back” where “they came from” was racist.

They are all American citizens.

It should come as no surprise the objects of his wrath are women of colour.

He followed up with the usual bile and belicose, and you could see the contempt in his contorted facial features as the congresswoman called for his impeachment. I hope they win.

Trump is ugly, in every sense of the word. Repellent, repulsive and repugnant

And he is dangerous.

The man who holds the highest office on this planet isn’t fit to deliver a pizza to the White House.

But he has the patronage that comes with power, and so his Republican Party cravenly distances itself from his conduct.

In doing so, they too are condoning his racist views.

Meanwhile, his spokeswoman, Kellyanne Conway, openly responded to a question from a journalist by asking about his ethnicity.

It was a chilling glimpse behind the mask.

We have to wake up to this very real slide towards extremism because the waves are rippling to the steps of Downing Street.

In 2019, we must find a way of silencing the dog whistle.