Jess Phillips is far more elitist than Boris Johnson

Sure, he’s denied the whip to Tory rebels – but she’s denying the votes of her constituents.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill

Topics Brexit Politics UK

Labour MP Jess Phillips has once again got the liberal elite in a lather with her ‘woman of the people’ schtick. They fall for it every time. Because these fawning newspaper columnists and time-rich tweeters rarely meet actual working-class people, they really believe that Phillips, daughter of an NHS executive, brought up in the kind of middle-class privilege most people can only dream of, is the working-class made flesh. So every time she gives one of her voice-wobbling parliamentary speeches against the evil elite, they’re like: ‘Wow, that was so authentic. This must be what Real People think too.’

The latest establishment cheering of Phillips’ practised passion came yesterday when she raged against Boris Johnson. In the Commons she branded him a ‘bully boy’. Of course she had to sneak in a comment on her own ordinariness – no Jess Phillips speech is complete without copious commentary about Jess Phillips herself – and so she said Boris’s ‘bully-boy game’ no doubt comes from ‘some bully-boy public-school [attitude] that I probably won’t understand – anymore than I understand parliamentary procedures’. Erm, what? Since when did it become cool to boast about being incompetent? If Ms Phillips doesn’t understand parliamentary procedures, she should do some homework, just as everyone else in the country must do if they aren’t up to scratch in the workplace.

Phillips raged against Boris for his removal of the whip from the 21 Tory MPs who voted in favour of parliament seizing control of the agenda from his government. So now we know what really moves this self-styled woman of the people – Sir Nicholas Soames getting a dressing-down! So authentic. Her suggestion is that Boris the bully, the public-school bully, is such a vicious character that he’s willing even to punish his own MPs unfairly, never mind the rest of the country. His behaviour towards the rebels, and the failure of other Tories to defend the rebels, was an ‘abomination’, she said.

Phillips said she wanted to speak ‘plainly’. Okay, let’s speak plainly: Jess Phillips is far more elitist than Boris Johnson. Sure, he removed the whip from 21 Tory MPs – but if Phillips gets her way, the vote will be removed from thousands of her own constituents. Phillips is MP for Birmingham Yardley. Every single ward of Birmingham Yardley voted to leave the European Union. Acocks Green was 55 per cent Leave; Sheldon was 68 per cent; South Yardley was 55 per cent; and Stechford was 63 per cent.

And yet Phillips has devoted a huge amount of her time lately to railing against Brexit and arguing for a second referendum – that is, for a do-over of the 17.4million Leave votes cast in the 2016 referendum, including the thousands of votes from her own constituents. If that isn’t elitism, what is? Whether by dint of her education, her middle-class upbringing or simply her presumed ability to see things more clearly than others, Ms Phillips seems to think she knows better than her own constituents how the country should be governed, and so she has campaigned for their votes, and millions of other votes, effectively to be voided. Boris removed the whip from 21 Tory MPs? Get me a tiny violin. Phillips would remove one of the most important votes of their lives from her constituents. You want to talk about ‘abominations’? That’s the abomination.

This is fast becoming a central tactic of the Remainer elite: they present themselves as standing up to Tory toffs and old-world elitists like Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg and yet at the same time they campaign to thwart the votes of millions of ordinary people. Under the cover of opposing elitism they enforce their alarmingly elitist view of the world – that they and their educated mates know better than the frightful, Brexit-backing plebs what is good for the UK. Phillips embodies this approach taken by the new establishment: she dons the garb of the earthy, authentic ‘normal person’ while agitating against the democratic votes of millions of normal people.

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

Picture by: Getty.

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Duncan McFarlane

7th September 2019 at 12:20 am

And then there’s the sophistry of pretending everyone who voted Leave in the 2016 ref must want to leave the EU even if it’s with No Deal, despite neither Leave campaign mentioning No Deal as even a possibility in the 2016 campaign – both said the EU were “bound to give us a good deal”.

Jerry Owen

7th September 2019 at 12:37 pm

D McFarlane
Re writing history so soon !

Duncan McFarlane

7th September 2019 at 12:17 am

Ah Brendan O’Neill, the professional political commentator who likes calling *other people* middle class or “bourgeoisie”, despite his own (very) middle class profession. The man who supports taking the last welfare support from working class people struggling to survive in low paying or part time jobs, the disabled, the ill, the mentally ill and carers – while calling other people “elitist”. You really couldn’t get more elitist and out of touch with the suffering these policies cause than Brendan.

Jane 70

6th September 2019 at 12:15 pm

One bit of good news, the Brexit-name-only saga.

La Miller and the Gray Man have lost, but are planning an appeal.

Will we ever escape from the purgatEUry we now find ourselves in?

And the media gloves are off for PM Boris: pure poison.

Jane 70

6th September 2019 at 12:17 pm

should read-in the Brexit-in-name-only saga

Bella Donna

6th September 2019 at 11:57 am

I see so the daughter of someone who has a cushy job in the NHS is an elitist! Well I’ve heard everything now.

Jerry Owen

6th September 2019 at 12:12 pm

B Donna
Deputy chief executive of the NHS confederation.
Chairwoman of South Birmingham Mental Health Trust.
I doubt she carries many bed pans around. Do you ?

Michael Lynch

6th September 2019 at 12:32 pm

Gosh, so many people fall for the ‘smoke and mirror’ tricks of the faux left. Her Mother, a top NHS executive, even had a business supplying services to the NHS and was mired in many a scandal. All on public record. Do a little research about your hero before falling into the fan trap. Like the rest of her snobby pals who have hijacked the Labour Party, Phillips has as much in common with a working class person as a frog has with a dog.

Jerry Owen

6th September 2019 at 3:29 pm

Michael Lynch
It took me thirty seconds on Wikipedia to find out that information.
The depths of laziness of some people is astonishing !
She won’t be back like so many of them once they have been soundly slapped by the keyboard !

jessica christon

6th September 2019 at 9:41 am

The reason JP said the thing about not understanding parliamentary procedures is because bragging about incompetence and anti intellectualism in general is a British badge of honour, especially among certain sections of the working classes.

That’s why they’ll elevate someone who acts thick or shows ineptitude for anything from ski jumping to dancing, because they find it endearing, relateable and ‘human’.

So as far as JP’s ‘of the people’ schtick goes, that part of it was quite astute.

gershwin gentile

6th September 2019 at 9:51 am

“bragging about incompetence and anti intellectualism in general is a British badge of honour, especially among certain sections of the working classes.”

No, I think it’s the middle class pretending to be working class… Most Labour voters. “Hear my provincial accent, I’m common me… No don’t ask about daddy’s job…”

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