Barack Obama’s view of Britain is soured by the former US president’s part-Kenyan ancestry. African states would gain from the return of white colonial rule. Muslim women wearing the full veil, or niqab, resemble nothing so much as letterboxes or bank robbers. Africans can be described as piccaninnies; they have “watermelon” smiles. Europe will soon be swamped by Turkish migrants — disproportionately terrorists and criminals.

No one is any longer surprised by Donald Trump’s nativism. His presidency has carried into the mainstream an ugly political discourse once confined to the far-flung fringes of the extreme right. The sentiments above, however, are not Trump’s. They belong to Britain’s Boris Johnson. There was a time when to have expressed or endorsed such views would have instantly disqualified a British politician from high office. Instead Johnson is favourite to win the Conservative leadership race and succeed Theresa May as prime minister.

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.

Questions or problems? Email or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now