The most dishonest demo I’ve ever seen

The #StopTheCoup gathering was a protest against democracy, not for it.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill

Topics Brexit Politics UK

I’ve been on many protests in my time. Some stirring, some damp. But I’ve never been on one as dishonest, even despicable, as the ‘Stop the Coup’ gathering in Westminster this evening. This is the first demo I’ve ever seen that is the polar opposite of what it purports to be. It was dolled up in the noble garb of defending democracy but its chief cry was for the crushing of democracy. Under the banner of preventing Boris Johnson from launching a ‘coup’ against parliament, the protesters were calling for the continuation of the reactionary chattering-class coup against Brexit and the 17.4million people who voted for it. That is, against democracy.

It was clear from the outset that this was no neutral get-together, concerned simply with the future of parliamentary democracy in the UK. It was awash with EU flags. Virtually everyone I saw was wearing a ‘Bollocks to Brexit’ sticker. Dogs – why do middle-class people bring their dogs everywhere? – were adorned in the blue and gold of the Brussels oligarchy. ‘Stop Brexit’, placard after placard read. There were people in EU t-shirts, EU flag-cum-capes, EU berets.

This was not a pro-democracy or pro-parliament protest. It was a pro-Brussels gathering; a creepy outpouring of love for European bureaucracy; yet another public statement by the metropolitan elite of its fealty to foreign technocracy over national democracy. To the extent that these people were saying ‘Bollocks to Boris’, as some placards did (though far fewer, strikingly, than said ‘Bollocks to Brexit), it isn’t because he is proroguing parliament – it’s because he backs Brexit. It’s because he thinks the 2016 vote should be acted upon. Such was the transparent cynicism of this protest: it pretended to rage against Boris because he is anti-democratic, but, in truth, these people are furious with Boris because he is pro-democratic, pro pushing through the largest democratic act in UK history. ‘Don’t destroy democracy!’, they cried at Boris, but their real demand was: ‘Don’t respect the democratic will.’

This cognitive dissonance – to be briefly generous – was summed up in the placards being carried by numerous people. The text said: ‘Defend democracy… Stop Brexit.’ And there you have it: defend democracy by crushing a massive democratic vote; defend democracy by overriding the wishes of the demos; defend democracy by killing it. This is an Orwellian-level misuse of language, where ‘democracy’ is invoked by protesters to the cynical end of stopping democracy in this country. They don’t want to stop the coup, as they refer to Boris’s suspension of parliament; they want to intensify the liberal elite’s coup against the millions of ordinary people who voted to leave the European Union.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

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Isabel Cooke

1st September 2019 at 6:18 pm

Mr O’Neill is funded by the far-right Koch brothers whose intention is to spread despondency and confusion and ensure the rich prosper no matter what. They hate democracy.
Mr O’Neill’s comments are tripe.
In no way is suspending Parliament democratic. The person who’s done it was elected by 90,000 Tories, mostly male, pale and over 60. His party had to bribe a party with links to para-militaries to stay in power. An unelected Head of State confirmed this man in power.
He will push forward the interests of hedge-fund bankers and a small section of the ultra-rich, who will make money gambling on how far the pound will fall.

Jerry Owen

3rd September 2019 at 9:13 am

Isabel Cooke
That’s a very shiny tin foil hat you have there, is it new ?

Blane Williams

14th September 2019 at 12:02 am

The fact the remain campaign was bankrolled by three American banks seems to have passed you by. Why would Goldman Sachs, CitiBank and JP Morgan Chase bankroll the remain campaign, think about that. And while you are thinking about that, wonder why George Soros would pour in millions to try to overturn brexit.


31st August 2019 at 9:07 am

You forgot “defend democracy by staying in an organisation which forces laws on us made by unelected, unaccountable technocrats.”

Isabel Cooke

1st September 2019 at 2:14 pm

After reform over the years, the EU is now headed by a President who is elected by the EU MPs, whom we elect.
That’s a long way from how we fetch up with our Head of State. Isn’t it?

Mike Hawk

3rd September 2019 at 6:56 am

Funny as I don’t remember von Leyen being a candidate set forth by MEP’s.

Jerry Owen

3rd September 2019 at 11:27 am

Isabel Cooke
MEPs ( not European MPs ) have no power. They can advise they can propose. Ultimately they cannot formulate laws.

Blane Williams

14th September 2019 at 12:05 am

There was only one person allowed to stand. The one the commission picked. Oh what a surprise she won.

Alexander Coward

30th August 2019 at 10:24 pm

Frankly, a pro-brexit verbose article. Big words don’t prove points author. Turning up and reigning a pro-brexit article doesn’t reflect the purpose behind the group’s fighting for a prosperous future. #theauthorprobablyworksforthrsun #brexitnutter

Colin Turvey

30th August 2019 at 8:31 pm

First off how can Boris persuade the EU back to the negotiation table when even members of his own party are insuring they have no interest unless he makes it damn clear he WILL revert to WTO rules if they don’t?!
That “protest” like the Remain MPs are a colossal waste of time and money we can’t afford.
It’s time for Boris to get on with this and if necessary jail those MPs whose actions are outright treason as we have already left the EU!
No Remain Judge has the right to discard the same right given to Gina Miller publicising her efforts whilst deliberately silencing Robin Tillbrook’s case.
Acknowledge it use it to make it clear we can leave NOW and if the EU are unmoved DO SO!
It’s time we left properly so we can repairing the damage Remainers have caused in their efforts to remain violating democracy as they’ve been doing!

Bella Donna

31st August 2019 at 2:10 pm

Well said Colin. We have a contrary one sided justice system which does the opposite to what it should. I don’t know if most of our learned judges have dementia or are easily bribed but one thing for sure our justice system needs a real shake up.

Isabel Cooke

1st September 2019 at 2:29 pm

So Johnson has the right to threaten to impoverish the whole country, which is what no deal would bring? Even contemplating leaving with no deal is utterly irresponsible and can only benefit a very few people, like the hedgefund managers betting on how bad the crash will be. So by denying our elected Parliamentary reps the right to discuss Johnson’s actions he is actually defending Parliament’s sovereignty, is he? These hard right politicians have scrambled all logic, reason and memory in the brains of their followers.

Blane Williams

14th September 2019 at 12:21 am

Parliament was going to shut down for the Convention season, voted for by all mps. Johnson has extended it by 5 days to allow the Queens speech which allows him to govern. Did you think Labour or the Lib Dems were going to call of their conventions so they could debate Brexit ? No.
Did they forgo the holiday shut down so they could debate Brexit ? No
Stop believing the narrative fed to you.

Amelia Cantor

30th August 2019 at 12:09 pm

A Trotskyist writes: “I’ve been on many protests in my time. Some stirring, some damp. But I’ve never been on one as dishonest, even despicable, as the ‘Stop the Coup’ gathering in Westminster this evening. This is the first demo I’ve ever seen that is the polar opposite of what it purports to be. It was dolled up in the noble garb of defending democracy but its chief cry was for the crushing of democracy.”

If O’Neill thinks that anyone in the Remain Community is going to take lectures about democracy from a fan of Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, he should think again. But yeah: I’ll accept that O’Neill knows a lot about the “crushing of democracy”. Kronstadt uprising, anyone?

Jerry Owen

31st August 2019 at 10:47 am

I think you are mistaking Trotsky for Marx … But for a dimwit like you that’s understandable I guess !

Amelia Cantor

31st August 2019 at 11:50 am

My mistake. I forgot that Marx was in charge of supressing the Kronstadt uprising. Via ouija board, I guess. (Note comma, Jez.)

Jerry Owen

1st September 2019 at 3:29 pm

Amelia Cantor
BON is a Marxist not a Trotskyist.
It’s so easy to make you look stupid… In fact you do it mostly all by yourself !!

Amelia Cantor

2nd September 2019 at 9:23 am

All Trotskyists are Marxist, Jez, so we need to establish whether O’Neill is on the Trotskyist wing of the church or not. And here is O’Neill establishing that he is and proving that you are, as usual, keeping up the rightard tradition of stupidity and ignorance:

Trotsky vs Corbyn

Corbyn a Trotskyist? He isn’t fit to lay flowers at Trotsky’s tomb.

For the first time in my life, I agree with Tom Watson, Corbyn’s deputy: ‘Corbyn is no Trotskyist.’ He certainly isn’t. He’s not fit to lay flowers at Trotsky’s tomb. Where Trotsky’s thinking was shot through with a stirring humanism, with a great faith in individuals’ ability to govern both our own lives and our natural surroundings, so-called Corbynism is downbeat, depressing, and doubtful, if not contemptuous, of mankind. Indeed, a brief comparison of Trotsky’s outlook with Corbyn’s does more than expose the hollowness of Corbyn’s alleged radicalism — it exposes the extent to which the entire left has lost the plot in recent decades.

I won’t expect a retraction or apology. Rightards gotta rightard.

Jerry Owen

2nd September 2019 at 2:28 pm

A Canto
I have not mentioned Corbyn why are you babbling on about him ?

Alan Johnson

30th August 2019 at 9:17 am

The bar for the most dishonest article I have read is a high one but this article is certainly a candidate.

The current government clearly has a goal to leave the EU with no agreement. In order to do so it is limitting the ability of parliment to debate and potentially intervene. To protest about this as being anti-democratic is supposedly hypocritical. Yet Brendan must know that:
The referendum campaign by the brexit party minimised an ddismissed the possibility of an exit without a deal so this is not what was voted for.
That the referendum result itslef said nothing baout the form brexit would take so parliments democratic responsibility is to decid ethis.
It is the essence of democracy to allow people to continue to express their opinions and have a say and the people have a right to change their mind, as for example in deciding to leave the EU when previously deciding to join the CM.
That the referendum was only in any case advisory.
That all of the remain campaigners are advocating a further referendum so are explicitly democratic.

What is actually going on is the continued demonisation and attempted delegitimisation of opposition that to oppose brexit is anti-democratic, rather than the essence of democracy which it truely is, and that those who oppose brexit are traitors, quislings and treasonous. This is deeply dangerous and malign and will damage policitcs and political debate in Britain for the forseeable future. I think bresiteers are profundly mistaken, that leaving wil lreduce not increas esovereignty and leave Britain weaker, poorrer and more vulnerable. I believe leaving in teh medium term poses a existential threat to the United Kingdom. However I do not claim that Brexiteers are fundamentally evil, that they are traitors. There were a few early intemperate remarks regarding racism but none of those campaigning to remain make any such claims yet the leave campaign constantly makes claims that those who think it important to remain and dare to say so are not just wrong but evil in various ways. Politicians as experienced as Anne Widdicombe have descended to comparing remainers to Nazi collaborators and this article claims those who exercise their democratic right to protest about an attempt to reduce the ability of parliment to intervene as dishonest. There is a regular chorus of comments that those who wish to remain in the EU should leave the country, as if being born here and working and paying taxes all my life is insufficient to be allowed to stay against holding the ‘wrong’ opinions.

The reality is that we will all need to continue to live together when it is over and th emanner in which teh brexit camapign and supportes have conducted themselves have undermined and eroded social cohesion and democracy. The idea that to campaign against an idea that had at one stage a majority is antidemocratic is dangerous and profoundly anti-democratic.

Jerry Owen

30th August 2019 at 12:02 pm

A Johnson
Your post is the same old regurgitated tripe that we have been battered with by you sore losers for three years.
Boris has stated on many occasions he would prefer a deal. Your assertion otherwise is bunkum. It was made abundantly clear that if we voted leave it would be leaving the customs union and single market.. leave means leave. Your assertion otherwise is bunkum.
The government told us it would carry out the result of the referendum, nothing was said at the time that it was advisory, and I challenge you to prove otherwise. . More bunkum.
As for your laughable assertion that a second referendum means you are more democratic when the winners of the first one still haven’t had their wish implemented is pure hogwash.
Two party leaders have made it clear that they would not accept the result of another ‘leave’ result.. democracy.. bunkum.
It’s people like you that cannot accept you lost and are throwing your toys out of the pram that are the problem.

Alan Johnson

30th August 2019 at 3:29 pm

Same old story. Democracy only as long as everyone is in favour of Brexit.

Jerry Owen

30th August 2019 at 6:26 pm

Keep your fingers in your ears a lot do you ?

Jake McCormac

31st August 2019 at 7:21 am

My opinions are yesterday Jerry? I’m not the one using “hogwash” as a relevant term. What’s next? Poppycock? Can you honestly say that you are happy to be lied to? If so, I hope that the next time a decision of this magnitude goes against what you voted for because of the electorate being misled. Youll be outraged of course, but no one will care because this is the type of politics we’ve accepted. You will have no one to blame but yourself

Jerry Owen

31st August 2019 at 10:49 am

J McCormack
What lies were told to me?

Bob Arctor

30th August 2019 at 8:47 am

You are all arguing about this as though anything you think matters. Boris Johnson gives not a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut at any of this as long as he gets away with his badly thought out plan to prove that he can do what ever he wants because he is now in charge.
Narcissistic psychopathy born of massive privelidge isn’t going to be stopped by whining about it.

Jerry Owen

30th August 2019 at 12:03 pm

Your post has absolutely no logic .

Amelia Cantor

30th August 2019 at 12:10 pm

You’re a rare voice of reason, Bob, but don’t expect to get through to any of the rightards who swarm here like bluebottles around a dead cat.

Jerry Owen

30th August 2019 at 6:27 pm

What’s the latest on .. ‘Neil Farage’ ?

Thomas Smith

29th August 2019 at 11:39 pm

It’s becoming increasingly apparent, now that Brendan has sworn off Marxism, is that only sort of democracy he understands is an authoritarian nationalism promoted by right wing proto-fascists like Trump, Johnson, and Farage. And anyone standing up to these pigs becomes in his mind a dirty woke Leaver or an anti-Semite. Piss off, Brendan. Stop pretending to be a democrat and a humanist.

Kevin Shinduke

30th August 2019 at 12:13 am

Grew out of Marxism? It happens to those who aren’t intellectually or emotionally stunted. I recommend it highly.

Steve Maca

29th August 2019 at 10:12 pm

Brendon, you are just as much a part of the middle classes chattering class like the others.
I as a working class guy from the Midlands know of a mix of leavers and remainers and like the country or appears to be evenly split. But you really have to listen to the leavers and learn about why they voted leave. One thinks leaving will bring back all the car industry back to Coventry. Leaving won’t.
Many believe we can lock out all the foreigners. We won’t. Many believe the money will go to the NHS. It won’t. It’s more than likely to go.
Many leavers have been fed lies by the likes of Ukip and many Tories. Lies isn’t democratic.

Jerry Owen

30th August 2019 at 6:29 pm

S Maca
Your last sentence renders your post void.

Jake McCormac

31st August 2019 at 7:44 am

Nope it just strengthens it…unless you are referring to the sentence rather than its meaning, and if so that’s just petty.

Gina Ford

29th August 2019 at 8:19 pm

I’ve never seen so many white people in one place …

Jake McCormac

29th August 2019 at 8:09 pm

What really concerns me is that everyone is hiding behind the phrase “the will of the people”, when it’s been clear that the will of the people was manipulated from the beginning by lies. Is everyone happy with this? I think we should be demanding more and there should be accountability for the raft of misleading statements that brought us here. Do you know why a second referendum would bring a different result? Because people now have an idea of what Brexit actually means. Democracy based on lies is not democracy. Hide behind it if you want, but this isn’t democracy, it’s a mockery of it.

Jerry Owen

29th August 2019 at 10:05 pm

J McCormack
Your post is so… Yesterday !

Blane Williams

14th September 2019 at 12:35 am

Which lies are you talking about. The remain ones or the leave ones ?

Frank Germain

29th August 2019 at 6:09 pm

As an EU expat on this island ( intent on staying here), I must say that the natives’ rebellion is proving rather tiresome.

Alex Ander

29th August 2019 at 3:08 pm

One of the downsides of living in a open-and-free society is the level of tolerance required towards those fostering anti-democratic and anti-freedom sentiments and views. But honestly, we should be outlawing the public display of the EU flag. I’m not joking either – I’m deadly serious. I want that disgusting flag banned. I’m offended by it. I’m offended at the anti-Britishness of the Brits displaying it. Why can’t people be proud of the country they live in? And defend and stand-up for it? We should be hugely proud of this country – it’s a great place to live.

Jerry Owen

29th August 2019 at 4:13 pm

Alex ander
I understand your detestation of the EU flag . But I look at it this way.. isn’t it very odd that people would rather wave a flag of a foreign unelected body that rules not by consent or election but by dint of putting itself above the reach of the citizens of Europe thus becoming the ‘untouchables’.
In short wearing the EU flag is a kind of public flagellation .. I find it quite funny. Just imagine that under their blue rinse tee shirts they have welts from continued self abuse with a steel chain !

Isabel Cooke

1st September 2019 at 2:17 pm

Silly. The EU President is elected by the EU MPs, who are elected by us.

Sam B

29th August 2019 at 9:18 pm

Do you not see the hypocrisy in your comment? You criticise those that oppose freedom, yet want to ban something as trivial as a flag. That’s quite pathetic and intolerant if you ask me.

Steve Maca

29th August 2019 at 10:06 pm

It’s only a flag. A symbol. It’s not a State flag but an organisation’s flag. The club flag. Now get over yourself and stop belly aching over identity. It’s a lot more complicates than you think.

Gareth Edward KING

30th August 2019 at 1:32 pm

You’re right. Being ‘proud’ of one’s country is unfortunately akin to be ‘racist’ and ‘non-inclusive’. Why would that be? For me, ‘proud’ is not so much the correct term as accepting all the ‘cultural baggage’ of being British. And there is rather a lot of ‘cultural baggage’. Our sense of humour, for one.
Once we’re out it’ll be the Italians next pushing for a referéndum as they’re not going to vote back in ‘Cinque Stelle’ (pardon my Italian!) as they form the next coalition government with the erstwhile hated ‘PD’. And don’t tell me the Italians are not proud of being Italian! ‘Good Europeans’ the Italians? Don’t make me laugh!
As for the demonstration described above; a Tracey Ullman sketch anyone? Now that dates me….

Peter Jenkins

29th August 2019 at 1:51 pm

There were dozens of demonstrations outside your metropolitan comfort zone in London. Liverpool for example that hot bed of middle class wimps.

christopher barnard

29th August 2019 at 1:25 pm

I think its a bit much to call these protesters dishonest and despicable.

They are probably just a bunch of insular, white, middle class people who have done quite well out of life, are ignorant of how others are affected by EU matters such as the free movement of labour, and who like to run down all things British and to idealise all things European because they think it makes them look sophisticated and cosmopolitan.

I’m sure we’ve all met such people.

Willie Penwright

29th August 2019 at 1:22 pm

The indignation of the entitled is great fun to read in the Guardian etc. My favourites are the Lord who has resigned his party’s whip as he suddenly believes in democracy – while continuing to help himself to the gravy – and the former head of the Civil Service who would resign if he was not already retired on pension.

Peter Jenkins

29th August 2019 at 10:58 am

Are there no ‘ordinary’ people in Northern Ireland or Scotland? When your ordinary people are being led by the illiberal elite like Johnson, Mogg, IDS et al shouldn’t there be pause for thought?

Kevin Shinduke

30th August 2019 at 12:15 am

Quality trumps quota.

John Kemp

29th August 2019 at 10:04 am

Excellent article poiting out the absurdity of their Orwellian reversals will not however, convince any of them. In true fanatical style, any who disagree or oppose them are fascists and must be destroyed…. what utter dipsticks

Hana Jinks

29th August 2019 at 9:52 am

I thought it was only the lower-classes that brought their dogs everywhere…what a weird thing to say.

Speaking of such, why are you bleating on about Orwellian doublethink while at the same time attempting to pass yourself of as a free-speech apologist as an editor of a site with mods?

Hana Jinks

29th August 2019 at 9:55 am

*apolgist, and as

Ashley Giles

29th August 2019 at 8:33 am

Great article Brendan, thank you.

cliff resnick

29th August 2019 at 8:17 am

On the European Communities Bill in 1972, When the Bill included a clause empowering ministers to put anything coming from Brussels straight into British law without consulting Parliament, Benn memorably observed that this open-ended surrender of our power to govern ourselves was “a coup d’état by a political class who did not believe in popular sovereignty”.

cliff resnick

29th August 2019 at 8:19 am

Not much has changed

James H

29th August 2019 at 8:46 pm

“…anything from Brussels into British law without consulting parliament” is a little disingenuous.

For starters, EU law only takes primacy where each member state has agreed (through the various treaties) that it should.
This ‘ratification’ process requires the consultation of the UK parliament (as explained in this pdf, so it is our own parliament that has decided – repeatedly – that the EU is better placed to enact law in certain (limited) areas.

Secondly, the laws that are suggested by the EU Council receive significant input from UK civil servants, who work to the agenda of the UK parliament and national interest.

Thirdly, those suggested laws are only enacted with the approval of the elected European Parliament, in which fully 10% of members are elected from the UK – which is no less democratic than our own parliament system, and also doesn’t feature any equivalent to the House of Lords (which, since it can block all legislation, is of course an elected body like the US Senate… oh wait, it’s not).

The EU is bad in many regards, but typically it’s Westminster that leaves people behind.
Even the wage stagnation from Free Movement could have been mitigated if Westminster had enacted the limitations on migration that were part of EU law during the EU expansion into the Baltic states – but Westminster chose not to because it suits them to have cheap labour instead.

Jerry Owen

29th August 2019 at 10:11 pm

James H
‘A third of the population’ .. including all those that can’t vote or didn’t vote! How wearisome to hear such a trite argument .. yet again! Is that the best you losers can really do ?
You lost get over it .

John Millson

29th August 2019 at 8:13 am

It was a cynical move, a ploy to intimidate, no doubt ‘wargamed’ for weeks by Alien-Cummings and fellow crawling creatures.
What it really points up is the need for a written constitution so that everyone knows how and when things should happen.
The arrangement allowing apparent arbitary powers to the office of PM must be offensive to many contemporary citizens.
Re the ‘17.4’ (all hail), there must be millions of voters on both sides in 2016, now in the overlap who would say ‘Bollox to a Disordely Brexit’.
But for the poisnous treachery of so many in the current government, the UK would now be 5 months into the transition phase of leaving the EU in a constructive, cooperative and creative way.

Ashley Giles

29th August 2019 at 8:33 am

A written constitution still needs people to respect the majority vote even when it doesn’t go your way. The cynicism is all on the Remain lobby who have refused to do exactly that. The woke mentality which sees them having the affront to present themselves as the victims – with outpourings of mindless sympathy coming from all around the world by those duped by their immature attention seeking – is as pathetic as it is fake.

The government has not staged a coup. The opposition have been trying to – their self serving agendas & general incompetence helping to thwart their attempts. If they don’t like what the government is doing they need to call a vote of no confidence. It may not work out the way they want, but that might be because ultimately it is they who are working against our democracy when it doesn’t go the way they want.

John Millson

29th August 2019 at 8:51 am

I agree the real source is not enough ‘losers’ accepting the result and then putting pressure on their MPs to work with the government to pass a credible withdrawal agreement, which keeps the UK together and keeps our diplomatic relations healthy. So many MPs, certainly on the Labour side, are beholden to local party memberships who are irreconcilably anti-Brexit, not representative the whole constituencies in so many cases.

Jerry Owen

29th August 2019 at 3:21 pm

Opinion polls repeatedly show you are wide of the mark, more and more people want Brexit to happen so they can get on with their lives. deal or no deal.
Just get over the fact that you lost.

James H

29th August 2019 at 8:54 pm

What of the polls suggesting ~1/3 of the population thinks no-deal is the way to go? Does that sound like a mandate?

As far as I’m concerned, if our parliament is no longer respecting the will of the people then the question should go back to said people.

Clearly the ‘deal’ is hated by many – and the EU has been pretty staunch on it not being renegotiated – so why not a referendum on Remain vs No Deal?

If that’s what 17.4 million people want, the remoaners will have nothing left to say.

John Millson

30th August 2019 at 8:45 am

I ‘lost’ on 23rd June 2016, and? Yes, I want to ‘get on with my life’ too but if there is a way to avoid disorder and ongoing social/political crisis, then as a normal, ‘moderate’, responsible citizen why wouldn’t I support that?
The dangers to the UK at the moment are the irreconcilable remainers and the gung-ho irresponsible leavers.
Leaving with some sort of agreement which deals with Ireland and doesn’t clog up supplies is not a ‘victory’ for Remain it’s a Brexit from the EU. (‘Get over it’.)
Dominic Grieve, Caroline Lucas, Mark Francois, Nigel Farage et al. need to keep their big gobs shut now.

Margaret Potter

29th August 2019 at 5:32 pm

Your post makes you sound cynical (17.4 all hail?). No we should not be in a transition to leave. Maybots Deal ties us to EU as colony, unable to do own deals, control our fishing waters, say who comes and who cannot.
All this obfuscation by Remainers of a ‘deal’ is to hide their desire to stop Brexit and keep us in the EU. Why I am at loss to know, there must be some hidden largesse they can claim because they certainly do not respect their own country or it’s people

John Millson

30th August 2019 at 10:08 am

Margaret, I am ‘cynical’ about Brexit, yes (very few can’t be by now, surely?). 17,400,000 is a large figure, as is 16,100,000 but that 17.4 represents just over half the votes cast. The 17.4 million are not ‘better’ people by virtue of being on the ‘winning’ side. The 16.1 don’t lose their voice overnight especially over something as fundamentally important as membership of the EU. Get real. (One of the most compelling arguments for not running the referendum was it always going to be closely divisive – why create a situation like this, just to win an internal party argument? – for this I will always despise the Tories.)
The way I understand it the withdrawal agreement sets up transition phase where the UK temporarily loses influence, yes, but keeps its security until it has brokered more deals – to be enacted after the transition – all over the world. The truth is had Boris Johnson introduced the same withdrawal agreement, admittedly without the current ‘backstop’ but something else, it would have passed and we would actually be exiting the EU now. May’s ‘deal’ didn’t get through because it was May’s deal. Theresa May, a dud PM and an electoral liability for the Tories.
It is wrong to infer remainers love their country any less just because so many of them have only experienced their country as part of a social/economic/political union. In this situation, moving away requires planning and a gradual loosening of ties. Get real. Even Dominic Cummings got that just after the referendum.
We are here now because of the intransigence from both extreme remainiacs and gung-ho brexiteers.

Jane 70

29th August 2019 at 6:26 am

The Remainers are conflating their apparent ‘true democracy’ with a fashionable tribalism.
It’s a virtual fashion statement, a signifier of class, education, status and the right, or righteous, political stance.
The Waitrose/Boden cult in all its glory.

Ashley Giles

29th August 2019 at 8:36 am

True enough. When ‘woke’ people think democracy only means what they personally want.

Ian Bland

29th August 2019 at 3:09 am

It’s all about definitions of “democracy”. The progressives define it, conveniently, as the “parliamentary” part, and the “representative” part, defining a representative not as someone who represents their constituents’ views, but as someone appointed by their constituents to govern them- that is, do what that representative thinks is best regardless of what the constituents want.

They feel no obligation to follow the constituents’ wishes as they are sure that said constituents are not qualified to make such judgements. Hence their hatred of any popular democracy (i.e. direct votes by referendum). They are also confident that, anyway, they can always convince the simple voters to support “the right thing”, which is why they still haven’t got over us voting “the wrong way”. At most, the progressives see this as a failure in themselves to get the right answer out of us; a failure of PR or- in conspiracy theory style- the triumph of PR by their evil opponents.

Isabel Cooke

1st September 2019 at 6:12 pm

There’s representative and plebiscite/’direct’ democracy. They are both democratic, properly used. Democracy is not merely a vote. The debate that goes on in the Houses of Parliament is as important a part of democracy as the votes themselves.

The Tories, in their elite complacency, assumed they’d win a referendum and so didn’t bother with the proper time for debate beforehand. The Swiss often use referenda but do so very carefully as it’s obvious how dangerous they are otherwise.

You completely ignore the fact that no MP who ignores the wishes of their constituents will be voted back into power.

This state you get yourself into, claiming MPs look down on their constituents, think they’re simple etc etc, springs from a basic misunderstanding of democracy.

Peter Jenkins

28th August 2019 at 11:20 pm

Are there no ‘ordinary’ people in Northern Ireland or Scotland? When your ordinary people are being led by the illiberal elite like Johnson, Rees-Mogg, IDS et al shouldn’t there be pause for thought? I voted to leave but your silly class war games don’t help.


28th August 2019 at 11:07 pm

Mendacious article from O’Neill. ‘defend democracy by crushing a massive democratic vote’ — the opposition is, in the first instance, to Johnson’s vile attempt to push through a no-deal that does not command a majority in the country. The 2016 referendum result was not a vote for no deal. The Leave campaign explicitly promised that a highly favourable deal would be achieved with the EU. Nigel Farage is on record as repeatedly promising UK membership of the EEA after a successful leave vote. Leavers have cynically shifted the goalposts.

Ian Bland

29th August 2019 at 3:11 am

Whatever may have been speculated before the Vote has been invalidated by 3 years of plotting by May’s government and EU apparatchiks. We have no way of knowing what deal might have been done by a government who actually wanted to do one.

What we can say with certainty is that more people voted to leave than remain, but Remainers have refused to accept that they have no mandate at all.

Jerry Owen

29th August 2019 at 7:39 am

Ian Bland
The BBC still talk about a highly divided country. In my travels I have found that the remainers I know have accepted the result.
The ‘ dividers ‘ are those that command lots of media space and simply won’t accept the result of a referendum.
Swinton and Lucas have admitted they would not accept the result of another referendum if it voted leave.
There we have it .. two party leaders that will publicly admit that they would not accept a democratic mandate.
That’s terrible!

alan smithee

29th August 2019 at 7:10 am

There were only 2 options on the vote 1. Leave 2. Stay. There weren’t any deal options. Orwellian Mr Palmyra.

Suzy Hirst

29th August 2019 at 6:50 pm

You are correct, Alan.

Those who like to tell me that I didn’t vote for a ‘no deal’ fail to admit that I didn’t vote ‘for a deal’ either.

I voted to leave. With or without a deal was not an option.

And, knowing what I know now, I would be even more inclined to vote leave a second time.

Jerry Owen

29th August 2019 at 7:33 am

You are incorrect sorry to say. Boris is not trying to push through a ‘ no deal ‘ he is in fact trying to get a deal hence his visit to Brussels and of course he has also stated he would prefer a deal as opposed to a no deal.
Secondly we were repeatedly told by the government and media that leaving the EU meant leaving the customs union and single market.. ie we leave altogether.
Lastly enacting article 50 is a legally binding article that means ultimately that we leave with or without a deal.
I’m surprised you didn’t know these basic facts.

Neil McCaughan

29th August 2019 at 9:31 am

Incoherent, even by your standards.

You believe that the minority should dictate to the majority, and your are infuriated at the impotence of your allies. beyond that, it’s just a word salad.

James H

29th August 2019 at 9:12 pm

Minority? Majority?

There were 13 million people who didn’t even vote in the referendum. Whilst I can’t argue which side they would take, I can argue that they probably didn’t care enough to *change the status quo* or they would have gone to vote.
Which kinda implies that Brexit isn’t doing them any favours.

In that context, the 1.4 million votes ‘Leave’ won by doesn’t seem like much of a majority.
When a 1% vote swing could change the result, and polls show changes of 5% or more before and after the referendum, you haven’t got a ‘majority’ you’ve just got a fluke.

Which is why Farage is quoted as saying “In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way, if the Remain campaign win two-thirds to one-third that ends it”.

John Kemp

29th August 2019 at 10:09 am

…yawn. Could play BS bingo if you throw in another few SJW virtue signalling buzz words.

Jane 70

29th August 2019 at 11:31 am

Earth to ZP: we were offered a choice on the referendum ballot paper: ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’.
The Leave vote won; do you understand this?

Kevin Shinduke

30th August 2019 at 12:17 am

Actually people voted for a no-deal but if it makes you feel better here’s the deal: there is no deal.

Isabel Cooke

1st September 2019 at 6:02 pm

Is that what the referendum question was? Do you want a no deal Brexit? No it wasn’t. So stop lying.

Jerry Owen

2nd September 2019 at 2:29 pm

Isabel Cook
What is it about ‘leave’ that you don’t understand ?

Jim Lawrie

28th August 2019 at 10:49 pm

Boris will be beaten in court and play along, “my hands are tied” style.

That lot above will feign joy, and immediately set about using Parliament and the courts to ensure any future referendum is a foregone conclusion in their favour.

I have the sense that this will not end peacefully.

One glimmer of hope is the British People taking exception to a court telling The Queen what she can and cannot do. But then again, she is a remainer.

James H

29th August 2019 at 9:18 pm

The actual sovereign of the realm backs the option that goes against ‘taking back our sovereignty’?

So… you don’t even trust the Queen to understand what’s in the best interests of her own country?

What would it take to convince you that tearing up 40 years of trade deals and collaborative agreements is a bad idea? Is there a single thing anyone could say?

Or do you just attend this book-burning for the marshmallows?

Brian Perkins

28th August 2019 at 10:26 pm

People wore T shirts supporting EU!!!! God Forbid. What a crime. No wonder you are so upset with them. Down with that sort of thing. And if Boris wants to shut down parliament? Well, let him get on with it. If thats the only way to force thru Brexit, then let him get on with it. Remember ” Brexit will be so easy”

Jerry Owen

28th August 2019 at 10:36 pm

B Perkins
I thought the tee shirts said ‘bollocks to Brexit ‘ or was this another demo somewhere else that had pro EU tee shirts .. Richmond perhaps ?

Jerry Owen

28th August 2019 at 10:20 pm

The tube lines from Hampstead and Islington were busy tonight then !

Peter Jenkins

28th August 2019 at 11:27 pm

Shame that old RCP/LM crew can’t get a protest together on anything any more. All they are left to do is protest against protests sitting in their armchairs sipping tea.

Johnny Mischief

28th August 2019 at 9:59 pm

Blah blah blah will of “the people” blah blah blah just get on with it blah blah blah “Orwellian” blah blah blah liberal élite blah blah blah shills for the Koch Foundation blah blah zzzzzzz

John Kemp

29th August 2019 at 10:07 am

…bhah, blah black sheep have you any wool to pull over theirs eyes?

Mark Lambert

28th August 2019 at 9:39 pm

And it’s Boris, an ex-Eton boy and “Establishment”, Brexit or not. How much has *that* added to the fervour of the likes of Owen Jones and Paul Mason?

Michael Lynch

28th August 2019 at 9:52 pm

Those couple of cranks. Both of them fervently believe that they are right and everyone else is wrong. Unforgivable behavior given the access they both had to a good education. I always labored under the assumption that going to University leant you the ability, and wisdom, to self doubt occasionally. Loved to have seen the research they undertook when they did their dissertations – must not have come across any reasonable counter arguments to overcome!

Ashley Giles

29th August 2019 at 8:40 am

There are probably already enlightened employers who operate a recruitment policy of ‘anyone but a graduate’.

Margaret Potter

29th August 2019 at 5:44 pm

Would be interesting to what degree grade they managed I think. With no counter arguments they should have failed 👍. No chance they will tell us Michael I think 😉

Michael Lynch

28th August 2019 at 9:37 pm

Looks like it’s the Extinction Rebellion crowd again. Got to fill up their days somehow.

Ashley Giles

29th August 2019 at 8:38 am

They get to wear a different t shirt depending on which scam they are supporting today.

Dominic Straiton

28th August 2019 at 8:35 pm

All I see is jingoistic, extremist ,eu nationalists. Nutters.

Michael Lynch

28th August 2019 at 8:34 pm

I never believed in Brexit, but I am passionate about democracy and have watched in amazement at the Remain camp shenanigans. It’s quite hard to contemplate that there are some who are determined to thwart the result of the referendum in a country that prides itself about the democratic rights of its people. It’s the political class that gets me – aren’t these the people who are supposed to be the guardians of democracy?

Linda Payne

29th August 2019 at 2:20 pm

And if any arch remainers are reading this I have one question; What is it about the EU that you love so much that you are willing to subvert democracy in order to overturn Brexit?

James H

29th August 2019 at 9:30 pm

I’m pretty much an ‘arch-remainer’ (though to be fair such labels aren’t very conducive to respecting one-another’s arguments or points of view)

Nonetheless, I’m a remainer but I don’t agree with subverting parliamentary democracy to achieve my aims or as a result of achieving them.

“Surely that’s an oxy-moron!” you say.
Well no, it’s not:
Being a member of the EU has not subverted our parliamentary democracy.

Next question?

Isabel Cooke

1st September 2019 at 3:07 pm

Food and drink safety, medicines safety, not having to have a visa to go on holiday, opportunities for my 20-year old child, the clean beaches our government was obliged to make by the EU – they were filthy before – the many environmental laws that help keep the land safe and the farmers in business, rules to protect workers from exploitation and from being forced to work long hours, maternity and paternity pay… and the example of much cheaper, nationalised trains and much much better elder care, childcare and, of course, pensions that are three times what our old folk get. There’s more.

Blane Williams

14th September 2019 at 1:17 am

ISABEL COOKE, Our food and drink standards have always been there, thats why the EU took them up. One question i would ask is, why did EU food safety allow the French to feed their cattle on sewage ? “Not having a visa to go on holiday” But you need a passport, yes ? so no change there. What opportunities will your child miss ? beaches and the environment will be covered by The European Union (Withdrawal) Bill which aims to incorporate EU law into domestic UK law “wherever practical”. MPs have been assured by the Department for Exiting the EU that the Government will “ensure we maintain at least the [bathing water] standards that we have maintained in the past”. I will concede the farmers may have to grow things instead of leaving their pastures fallow in order to get paid the EU CAP. Before you talk about workers rights you should ask the French who have had their rights eroded by Macron with the blessing of the EU. French businesses can now lay people off if their profits fall and the working hours have been extended. Our maternity and paternity pay is higher and the leave period is longer than the other EU countries. Childcare, Pensions and elderly care is down to our government, not the EU. That is something we can do something about through the ballot box by removing those in power. Something you can’t do with the EU commission.

Steve Maca

29th August 2019 at 10:09 pm

Because what we are doing is a bad move. We are either in the EU fostering and helping it develop or we leave and end up being pushed by all the big guys around the world, mainly The USA but China’s, India and The EU. We aren’t as big as we were and we aren’t as powerful as we like to think. We should have learnt that lesson from the Suez Crises.

Blane Williams

14th September 2019 at 12:37 am

And why aren’t we so big and powerful i wonder

Drew Peacock

28th August 2019 at 8:14 pm

They know it is a sham, a ruse, but so do we ( ‘we’ being leave voters) it is such an odd situation, they know that they would overturn the vote in a heartbeat no matter the cost, even a human sacrifice to the Gods of Brussels wouldn’t be too much, such is the cult-like nature of these demonstrators, and we know this too. It’s a Bizzare old time fo sure.

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