A parliamentary dictatorship

This zombie parliament is holding the nation to ransom.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill

Topics Brexit Politics UK

‘Super Saturday’, they called it. Which is ironic because the events in parliament on Saturday demonstrated just how pathetic and exhausted our parliament has become. Once again parliamentarians were presented with a Brexit deal, and once again they dithered and dodged and shirked their democratic duties. In backing the Letwin amendment, which says Boris’s Brexit deal cannot be approved until implementing legislation has been passed, MPs signalled their desire to continue frustrating Brexit, and to continue using parliament as a weapon against the people’s will.

This parliament is not simply out of touch with public sentiment – something we already knew from the fact that 70 per cent of MPs, and a staggering 95 per cent of Labour MPs, voted Remain, while 52 per cent of the electorate voted Leave. No, it feels increasingly illegitimate, too. It lacks all political and moral authority. It is a zombie parliament. It has no real democratic mandate to govern. ‘But we voted for these MPs just two years ago!’, Remainer apologists for the zombie parliament will cry. True, but 80 per cent of those MPs were elected on manifestos that promised to take the UK fully out of the EU. And vast numbers of them are now reneging on those manifestos. They are tearing apart their contract with voters and in the process obliterating their own right to govern.

We have a Remainer parliament defying the wishes of a Brexit electorate. Numerous parliamentary devices have been deployed to the end of frustrating the people’s will. From the speaker John Bercow’s cynical manipulation of parliamentary processes to sideline the enactment of Brexit and boost the cause of Remain, to the anti-democratic Benn Bill that has now come into force and legally cajoled Boris to ask the EU for another extension, parliamentarians are using their power and their mechanisms not to enact the will of people, but to fetter it and block it. This is why they get so angry if anyone says the key divide in Britain today is between parliament and the people – because they know it’s true. And somewhere deep in the recesses of their anaemic moral consciences, that truth still stings.

‘Super Saturday’ continued this foul process of using parliamentary devices to stymie progress on Brexit. This isn’t about whether you back Boris’s treaty or are sceptical of it (as spiked is). The important thing is that in triggering the Benn Act and forcing an unwilling PM to plead with the EU for a further extension, our Remainer parliament has once again put off the fulfilment of the people’s will. The wild cheering among the reactionary middle classes of the ‘People’s Vote’ lobby who were gathered outside parliament as the Letwin amendment was passed made it clear to the entire nation what was happening here. This was not about giving MPs more time to pore over Boris’s deal, as they ridiculously tried to convince us it was. No, it was yet another underhand Remainer assault on the people’s democratic desire to break from the EU.

MPs are now doing things in parliament that they explicitly told voters in the General Election of 2017 they would not do. The two main parties promised they would not prevent the enactment of the 2016 referendum result. Candidate after candidate in the General Election said they would not seek a second referendum. Millions upon millions of people voted for them on this basis. Now, numerous MPs are betraying – yes, betraying – those voters by doing the very things they said they wouldn’t. They’re blocking Brexit. They’re campaigning for a second referendum. Many MPs are no longer even in the parties they stood for in 2017. They’ve switched to parties whose political positions, especially on Brexit, are entirely contrary to the outlook of their voters. This parliament, in the words of the attorney-general Geoffrey Cox, is a disgrace.

And yet it stays. It cannot be moved. Why? Because, not content with frustrating the democratic will of 2016, these parliamentarians are also blocking a General Election today. The shamelessness is quite staggering. They plot ceaselessly against the people’s democratic wishes and then they cushion themselves from our judgement by continually blocking a General Election. The end result is something like a parliamentary dictatorship. We now live under a parliament that is acting against the democratic interests of the people and which is preventing us from protesting about this fact at the ballot box. Such is their determination to stop Brexit that they have turned parliament into an entirely anti-democratic institution, into a tool of the elites against the public.

And then they say they are defending parliamentary sovereignty. This is a lie, and they know it is. In truth they are doing grave harm to parliamentary sovereignty. Parliamentary sovereignty derives from the will of the people. Where else could it derive from? And yet this parliament explicitly agitates against the will of the people, to the end of continuing to sacrifice this country’s sovereignty and to outsource its law-making power to the foreign technocracy in Brussels. To sideline the British people and cling to the interfering technocracy of the EU is to trash the history and meaning of parliament, its sovereignty, and its relationship with the people.

In a sense, the events of the past few days – and of the past three years – have been valuable. They have made it clear that the greatest block to democracy in the UK is right here in the UK itself. It is our own out-of-touch and morally emaciated elites who represent the greatest threat to democratic life in this country. To use a radical old slogan: the enemy is at home.

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

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.


John Cowan

15th December 2019 at 3:53 pm

Well, you got your GE. Have fun with it.

But as for parliamentary sovereignty deriving from the will of the people, that’s rubbish. It’s the sovereignty of the Sovereign, expropriated over centuries and now concentrated in the hands of 480 people (out of 80 millions) and their Fearless Leader. First the king invited some barons to Westminster every now and then to advise him. Then it made sense to call a few people from te substantial towns and the knights of the shire as well. Eventually the tail began to wag the dog, and now the tip of the tail wags the dog. The whole system depends on the self-restraint of those in power, if they have any. All long stops have gone, as they say, with the wind.

Parliamentary dictatorship? Yes, the possibility is always there, and the reality has been there on numerous occasions. Keep the same parliament going for 20 years without an election? Precedent. (And if 20 years, why not forever? Just coopt new members when you need them.) Impose martial law throughout the UK? Precedent. Abolish the House of Lords altogether? Precedent. Send the Queen to the chopping block if she gets stroppy? Precedent. Dictate the rules whereby a replacement will be chosen, if any? Precedent, precedent, precedent!

Check out Chesterton’s “The Secret People” (note: pre-Great War).

Hugh Bryant

27th October 2019 at 10:08 pm

We know all this, Brendan. The question is: what to do? We can’t just sit here for ever fulminating impotently on websites like yours (excellent though it is). The time for real action is coming closer.

bill mcCall

26th October 2019 at 1:46 am

Yes Exactly – what about Scotland Pedro Dias? Another question – who bloody cares?

bill mcCall

26th October 2019 at 1:45 am

Pedro Diaz
Scotland will be the Venezuala of the West if it leaves the UK. Incompetent politicians driven by a racist hatred of the English will get them nothing but poverty and rejection, and it will not be long before they are begging for help!


25th October 2019 at 9:37 am

Better a ‘Parliamentary dictatorship’ than a tyranny of the majority. The Brexit referendum was inconclusive and its terms unclear, which is why it is now causing so much social and economic damage to the UK. Cancel the damned thing and make the UK a democratic polity for the first time in its history.

Jerry Owen

25th October 2019 at 10:14 pm

You do write some childish garbage don’t you ..God bless !!

Brandy Cluster

24th October 2019 at 10:08 pm

Anti-democratic government, ‘migrants’ dying in trucks trying to access your social security, the league of nations living in the UK, social unrest: I no longer recognize Britain and I’d seriously suggest you all take the G out of GB. You are done, sorry to say.


25th October 2019 at 9:30 am


Jerry Owen

24th October 2019 at 10:35 am

What exactly is a ‘confirmatory vote’ ?
I always understood that if you confirm something you repeat your view, you reiterate your choice, your opinion.
Do you want to leave the EU ? .. ‘Yes I want to leave the EU’ , can you confirm that? .. ‘ Yes, I want to leave the EU’.
That is confirmation.
Do you want to leave the EU ?.. ‘Yes I want to leave the EU’ , can you confirm that?
.. ‘No I want to remain’.
That is not confirmation.
So presumably a ‘peoples vote’ a ‘confirmatory vote’ should it go the way of ‘remain’ would in fact not be confirmatory but a change, should we then have another deciding referendum, how about a referendum on remaining or leaving the EU ?
And so it goes on and on and on ad finitum …

SNJ Morgan

25th October 2019 at 1:52 am

‘Ad-nauseam’ I’d say…

Marvin Jones

22nd October 2019 at 10:41 am

No matter how loud the remain cowards and traitors shriek about another referendum with “remain”
being on the ballot, is precisely what betrayal of a democratic is. Regardless of how much more we have learnt, or how many leavers have died, or how many young remainers are eligible to vote now, or how many British citizens have been created by our spineless politicians, THAT DECISION must stand and we must leave. AND! not a BRINO type of leave either.

In Negative

22nd October 2019 at 9:52 am

Labour’s manifesto does actually pledge itself to preventing a no deal exit.

Parliament has been in conflict with the people since the Benn act was implemented. The proper and legitimate democratic process would have been:
1) Pass and implement the Benn act;
2) Legislate a date ()before the 31st) for the general election (assuming you don’t have confidence that the Benn act bound the government to follow its procedures).
3) Call a general election to give the public a say on whether or not ‘no deal’ should be ‘taken off the table’.

Had Boris got a majority in the GE, he could have repealled the Benn Act. Had he not, then this whole process would have some legitimacy.

What happened on Saturday was just part of a process that is by now inevitable. The next move for remain will be to engineer it so there is a confirmatory referendum: Boris’ deal vs. remain. I’ve been saying this since the Benn act was conceived.

The agenda is to remove from democratic expression any opinion that thinks no deal should be an option and any opinion that thinks the current deal can be bettered.

I’ll leave it for the dear folks of this comments section to make up their minds as to whether this is “democratic”.

In Negative

22nd October 2019 at 10:05 am

Just to be clear, I don’t think we will get a GE. There will be a confirmatory vote, then a GE.

Michael Lynch

22nd October 2019 at 1:11 pm

Any future referendum based on a BRINO and Remain basis is for the fairies. It’s just hard core Remain fantasy. No Tory or Labour MPs in Leave seats will sign up to that nonsense. People have forgotten that outside London and Scotland the country is for Leave. A total of 406 seats voted to Leave; a fact that will not go away. By all indication, the country is divided as ever and most of the population still believe in their democratic right. There is a large proportion of the population that are either side of the debate that accept the democratic decision from the referendum and would settle for a deal. Hence the frustration and anger at the delays and mischief thus far.

In Negative

22nd October 2019 at 2:07 pm

You may well be right that MPs in leave seats would not vote for a confirmatory referendum.

I’m not sure that the Boris deal is being perceived as a BRINO though. It united Ken Clarke and Steve Baker. Also folks that seem genuinely keen to represent their constituents (Caroline Flint, Frank Field etc.) would vote for it.

So the question may not be “Will MPs in leave constituencies vote for a referendum on BRINO vs. Remain”, it may be a question of will they vote for a referendum on a widely supported deal vs remain.

You also have the question of whether the people at large think of Boris’ deal as a BRINO. My own feeling is that they don’t.

Kampung Highlander

22nd October 2019 at 1:58 am

Parliament is simply doing its job. It spent 40 days scrutinizing the Maastricht Treaty and it will also take its time with the Brexit Bill. I don’t see why the Government is in such a hurry except maybe it realises that this bill will not hold up to scrutiny.

Michael Lynch

22nd October 2019 at 9:02 am

When it suits they can take very little time to scrutinize bills. Take the Benn Act or Letwin Amendment for example! This is just more Remainer delaying tactics.

In Negative

22nd October 2019 at 10:01 am

Aye, and under normal circumstances people would have had sympathy with that view. But as things stand, most folks by now think parliament is stuffed full with low-grade mendacious weasels devoid of any deep committment to democracy.

Felt sorry for Ken Clarke t’other day trying to make the point that it shouldn’t be rushed. He’s right, but no one on the leave side believes that’s their purpose, and why would they?

We need a GE asap and the longer this nonsense goes on the more hate these folks will garner to themselves..

john larkin

23rd October 2019 at 3:22 am

Remainers advocate an emasculated Westminster parliament which simply nods through EU legislation without debate … not much concerned with scrutiny then, are they?

Bert Aim

21st October 2019 at 11:07 pm

Spot on. It feels rotten to the core. Not one of the current MPs should be allowed to even stand in the next election. This lot are shameless.

a watson

21st October 2019 at 10:21 pm

Well said. This elite and their ignorant arrogance got into their privileged positions somehow. The undemocratic selection processes and the lies and graft within our political parties have been exposed. What is to be done to save our democracy?

Carlo Guli

21st October 2019 at 8:37 pm

Being part of the EU institutions has corrupted the soul of our own institutions, cleverly taking advantage of our own classism.
We MUST leave the EU, preferably with no treaty to obfuscate and meddle and reintroduce corruption through the back door.
And after the deed is done we must press on to reform parliament.
Introduce legislation to facilitate MP deselection.
Repeal the fixed term act.
Abolish the Supreme Court.
Prevent Judges meddling in the political sphere, don’t know how, but somehow.
Introduce a Logan act to hold accountable whoever presumes they can secretly plot with a foreign power behind the back of the government.
And the list goes on…

Michael Lynch

21st October 2019 at 8:35 pm

You’d have to be a complete moron to believe any deal put in front of the Remain Parliament would pass. However, they can twist and turn whatever way they like because the result of the original referendum simply won’t go away. It was too large a turn out for it to be conveniently swept aside. They had expected apathy to set in whilst they piddled about for three years, but that hasn’t happened and the divisions loom as large as ever. In my opinion, the current situation suits Boris nicely; he is a man who has been preparing for an election since his first day as PM and the more the Remainer Parliament thwart him, the more his stock goes up with the electorate. Given that the opposition can no longer keep delaying an election they are falling right into his trap. As far as a second referendum is concerned, especially with regard to a loaded Remain or Current Deal (BRINO) question, that’s for the fairies. It’s nothing more than a hard core Remainer fantasy because no Tory in their right mind, as well as a fair few Labour MPs in Leave constituencies, could ever vote something as daft as that. Rather, any future referendum would have to be a simple Deal or Leave question. Remember, Remain lost in the last one, therefore a future referendum would have to be set by the Leave result you simply couldn’t have any other way and try to pass it off to the electorate as democratic. If it was any other way there are too many constituencies that would explode with rage and slaughter any Tory or Labour at the ballot box in a GE. Don’t tell me that’s not weighing on their minds. People seem to have forgotten that over four hundred constituencies voted Leave so it’s a Leave country outside London and Scotland by and large. You just can’t hide from these facts no matter what side of the debate you’re on.

James Knight

21st October 2019 at 5:19 pm

All the blather about “divergence” from people like Starmer makes we laugh. Isn’t the whole point of leaving so the UK has opportunity and freedom to “diverge” wherever it wants to?

michael savell

21st October 2019 at 5:01 pm

Pedro.don’t worry about Scotland.As soon as it leaves the UK it will start reparation disputes against us for all the wars going back to the ice age.Brexit has finished the UK,even with all the troubles we are going to have to go through,we are still going to be responsible for any european debt at a time when a lot of companies will up sticks to countries who can promise lower tax rates.No doubt a lot of bankers will follow suit.There they all are singing land of hope and glory at the same time as giving the old country a good kick in the teeth.We made a bad mistake which we shall never recover from,we should either have never joined the Eu or we should have been a founding member with more clout.This is not going to be pretty.

Jim Lawrie

21st October 2019 at 5:36 pm

Why stop at the Ice Age?

There were good, sound, protectionist reasons for not joining in the 50’s.

PP Garb

22nd October 2019 at 7:37 pm

Bankers have threatened to leave this country before. However London is probably one of the most vibrant places to live in the world, with a privileged lifestyle available steeped in century’s of kudos. The UK has just been identified as one of the best places to holiday in. When it comes to it, bankers don’t want to up sticks and loose their lifestyle only Britain can provide (and our history infuses it in a way few other countries can).

As for business,… well one of the things the EU has been scared of is us indulging in a bit of unfair competition via lower taxes for business. We’d be fool not to subsidise business until all the hysteria shows itself for what it is. And given the Euro zone is heading where it’s heading, we’d be the better bet to stay put in for any prudent business.

Boyden Osborne

21st October 2019 at 4:55 pm

I read somewhere on Twitter, I think, referring to “the people’s vote” as “the losers vote” so now ever time I hear it mentioned I don’t feel quite so angry.
Why do people bang on about “not the deal we voted for.” As I remember it Mr Cameroon made it 100% clear that out means out, and we would be out the next day. it would be quick, because the UK economy would not cope with the uncertainty. It seems that the fear mongers have forgotten how the economy is doing atm. Mr Camerooon got summert right, I guess. Recessions will happen, in or out of the EU, as history has demonstrated. I’m so angry I might go draw a message in a field with my plough. But how elitist would that be. Silly idea. I would have voted not to join the eu in 93, I would have voted leave in 94, 95, 96,..16…. then I got to vote, and now 3 years later they want me to vote in case I’ve changed my mind! Perhaps manifestos should be written on the side of a bus, because they seem to be more legally binding than anything else on the planet. I wouldn’t participate in a losers vote, not sure there’s any point voting at all, ahh the illusion of democracy.

PP Garb

22nd October 2019 at 7:41 pm

And that is their hope…. that Leavers will refuse to vote in a second referendum… bingo.

Dominic Straiton

21st October 2019 at 4:38 pm

I doubt the Scottish nazi party would have taken three years to untangle a 300 year old union if it had been yes rather than no.

Kampung Highlander

22nd October 2019 at 1:53 am

Yes, we would have quickly rounded up all the English in Scotland and set them to work rebuilding Hadrian’s Wall.

Jerry Owen

21st October 2019 at 4:00 pm

My question is to Z Palmyra

Jim Lawrie

21st October 2019 at 3:25 pm

This situation has been a long time in the making. Their open confidence and scorn is a reflection of our weakness and disorganisation.

We need to;

1.) Leave the EU.
2.) Leave the ECHR.
3.) Abolish the Supreme Court.
4.) Have a debate about a written constitution, with the American model as the basis.
5.) Have elected judges appointed for fixed terms.
6.) Be free to associate and not associate with whoever we choose in every sphere of life.

a watson

21st October 2019 at 10:24 pm


Michael Lynch

22nd October 2019 at 1:14 pm

Spot on.

John Millson

21st October 2019 at 2:57 pm

Because it is such an existential issue, Brexit divides people, obviously. The situation in Parliament reflects that. Agreed there is a percentage mismatch between MPs and the electorate on the Brexit divide, but MPs have their own views, irrespective of voters. They are there to serve all the population not just those who won a particular democratic contest. Some take this more seriously than others do, clearly.
With the election of Johnson, an unprincipled opportunist, that division has deepened and hardened. He is widely mistrusted. I would suggest this is could be an explanation for departing from manifesto statements. Events…
No majority has the right to impose on the rest of the population something never voted for explicitly, especially on a small margin. A disorderly and ruinous Brexit was not on the ballot paper.
Re ‘super Saturday’, why has protecting workers’ rights and the environment now been relegated? Had this still been part of an agreement no doubt the House of Commons would not be so apparently obstructive to the will of the electorate in the matter of Brexit.

Ian Wilson

21st October 2019 at 3:28 pm

Why are you still whining about losing the referendum. Get over it.

John Millson

22nd October 2019 at 7:52 am

I know Remain lost the referendum – I have got over it. However, I will never get over the situation of a bunch of crazies f*cking up our economy, igniting Ireland (again) and ultimately destroying the UK all to heal some ingrained resentment about being ‘pushed around’ by the ‘Europeans’.

Willie Penwright

24th October 2019 at 8:02 am

John Millson: ” I will never get over the situation of a bunch of crazies f*cking up our economy.”
That would be a majority of your fellow citizens voting in a people’s vote to leave the EU. You may never get over it but you will not impose your anti-democratic will on everyone else. The people have voted and they voted to leave.

Jerry Owen

21st October 2019 at 3:57 pm

John Millson
You want a second referendum which no doubt if you won it, you would be happy to remain, thus ignoring those that want to leave. Leave won , instead of your continuous crying moaning insulting leave voters and attending anti Brexit demos just accept you lost and fight for Brexit to be implemented.. unless of course you are happy being divisive ! You took part in the referendum knowing full well the implications. You want your cake and eat it don’t you ?
BTW you still haven’t answered my question about how democracy works in the EU, how can we affect/change policy, how can we deselect the commissioners who have total power over every elected MEP ?
Where is the democracy for the public in the EU .. do tell ?

Pedro Dias

21st October 2019 at 9:36 pm

Who told you the Remainers lost the referendum back in 2016? You are all wrong. Remainers won the referendum and the proof is that until today UK did not leave the EU. But don’t worry guys, we are going to give you another chance to express your vote soon, on another referendum.

Jerry Owen

21st October 2019 at 10:19 pm

Pedro Dias
You seriously think you won the referendum ?
Wow , I knew remainiacs were deluded .. but you take the biscuit !

Pedro Dias

22nd October 2019 at 12:15 am

Where’s the implementation then? Your referendum was and still is is a pocket full of nothing. A bunch of English flags leaning to the right with the wind blowing from the left.

Jerry Owen

22nd October 2019 at 7:53 am

P Dias
52 % to 48% there made it easy for you.
Perhaps you’d like to answer my question .. how does democracy in the EU work for the voter?

John Millson

22nd October 2019 at 8:34 am

Jerry Owen
I do not want a second referendum because it would be divisive and a waste of time. The margin of difference would still be the same
However, in any hypothetical second referendum which had: 1) Leave with a deal which protected employees’ rights and the environmental regulations plus keeping trade open at least for 12 months against 2) Remain, then I would vote to leave with a deal, to respect the democratic will of the electorate in 2016.
If the options were: 1) Disorderly, aka ‘clean’ Brexit against 2) Remain, then I would vote to Remain. No one has the right to harm other peoples’ livelihoods in pursuit of some nebulous aspiration, which has no concrete basis in reality, when considered against the backdrop of British Isles history.
Re, the ‘democratic deficit’ within the EU structures. Yes, it does seem unaccountable and murky. But the UK could have done more to push back so that it was not so integrated. It chose not to and so let the seemingly rotten side of EU bureacracy and regulations take hold in peoples’ imaginations. The UK government could have gone to the people before 2016 for opt- outs before the ‘rot’ really set in.

Pedro Dias

22nd October 2019 at 8:53 am

I replied to your question with another question: How does democracy works for the Scottish voter? The answer you will have, is exactly the same for the EU voter. We are all on the same boat…

Jerry Owen

22nd October 2019 at 10:50 am

John Millson
Remain has been kicked out into touch. That leaves ‘ leave’ .
It needs to be implemented . I note with some interest you won’t answer my repeated question about the democracy of the EU and how it works for the voters !

John Millson

22nd October 2019 at 11:37 am

Jerry Owen
We get to elect MEPs every five years. Yes, MEPs are only able to vote for/against laws and not make law and law makers and leaders are only approved by the MEPs. So, we as voters have very little direct say over things which which affect our lives.
There are many aspects of my everyday life which I as an individual have no direct say in. And I wouldn’t expect to. That doesn’t make me a ‘supine slave’.
You either try to go with the spirit of the EU’s reason for being, or you don’t. As we all know historically, the UK has always been ‘half-hearted’. Now it doesn’t want any part. Fine. It’s just a criminal shame that there could many people, who never had a say, who could suffer because of the massively mucked-up, costly leaving process.

Jerry Owen

22nd October 2019 at 6:30 pm

John Millson
We the public have NO control over the direction of the EU. The commissioners have absolute control. The EU is non democratic and should be opposed in every way.

Jerry Owen

22nd October 2019 at 6:46 pm

John Millson
I’m not interested in the ‘spirit’ of the EU . I want good solid voting rights to dismiss or elect politicians as I see fit. The EU gives me none of that . MEPs have no power to speak of . If ‘spirit’ is the best argument you have for supporting the EU that’s simply dreadful.

Pedro Dias

22nd October 2019 at 9:01 am

You know why? It’s too much work to be in the EU. While European leaders from all countries are still working, representatives from UK are gathered together on a pub nearby talking about golf, cricket and football, being Nigel Farage the main attraction.

Jerry Owen

23rd October 2019 at 7:37 am

P Dias
You answered my question with another question !
In other words you can’t answer my question.

PP Garb

22nd October 2019 at 7:49 pm

And this is the problem. Leave and Remain are black or white. There is no grey. No third way. So either the minority dictate to the majority or t’other way round. Democracy, as imperfect as it is, is clear which it should be.

As for trashing the UK, you do not have a crystal ball. You cannot *know* the future. You might be wrong in your prediction, yet don’t appear to consider this for a moment. I saw a diagram recently that showed the levels in business and their awareness of the problems with the business. As you rise through the levels you have less and less awareness of the issues. Grassroots it’s 100%. The top level it’s 9% (yes, I was shocked). The model is equally applicable to the country I thought. There is actually a wisdom in mass voting.

PP Garb

22nd October 2019 at 8:03 pm

Mass voting has served this country well for a long-long time. We are one of the richest if not the richest countries and lead in many areas (ie: financial sector). The only time it did not serve us well (within my memory) was when the union movement became effectively a second government in constant conflict for power with the first. The unions over represented minority interests. The battle damaged the country. We have something similar today methinks… the Union for Remain.

Kevin Neil

23rd October 2019 at 7:44 am

So, John Millson, are you also in favour of cancelling Welsh Devolution?
I ask only as that particular vote was decided on a 50.3%/49.7% majority back in 1997. The last 22 years has clearly demonstrated that in the key areas of health and education over which the Welsh Assembly gained powers, their decisions have been a disaster. Education attainment consistently lags English counterparts, which clearly causes long-term financial harm to pupils who end up in lower-paid jobs than they might, and also economic harm to the economy of Wales. Health outcomes and performance have been consistently much poorer than NHS England, which must have the effect of actually killing people.
So, based on your logic, Parliament would be perfectly within its rights to overturn the 1997 Referendum vote, abolishing the Welsh Assembly, and returning all powers to Westminster.
When are you launching your campaign?

Jerry Owen

23rd October 2019 at 12:11 pm

Kevin Neil
John Millson doesn’t even have a case for the EU !

Little Black Sambo

21st October 2019 at 2:55 pm

The Benn act did more than “cajole” Boris into seeking an extension; it tried to force him to do so.

Modern Money

21st October 2019 at 1:49 pm

The reason

” We must leave on a level playing Field ” is getting repeated every 15 mins now is so that

a) The right can’t introduce tax cuts that are needed

b) The left can’t introduce a Job guarentee that is needed to replace the automatic stabilisers.

Leaving on a level playing field means the status Quo.

Trump has just slashed taxes and broke every US government spending record in US history nearly $ 5.5 trillion last fiscal year. The economy has been turbocharged.

If we leave. We can’t do that if we leave with rules that instruct us to play to their EU fiscal rules.

Modern Money

21st October 2019 at 1:28 pm

Ireland is the biggest tax haven in the Eurozone.

$272 billion they hold as securities at the FED. Even ahead of Luxumbourg and the Cayman Islands


The UK as a whole is just ahead of them with all the trade we do with the US.

Ireland can’t even do anything with them. They just sit there on a computer spreadsheet at the FED, blips of tax avoidance.

Modern Money

21st October 2019 at 1:31 pm

That’s financial services capitalism for you. No better than Stalin’s socialism.

Whereby unelected banks get to issue the currency via loans and decide how to allocate the skills and real resources.

Rather than elected governments that you can get rid of. Or we thought we could via the ballot box.

Ideology always gets hijacked by the powerful.

Baked Beans

21st October 2019 at 4:50 pm

“That’s financial services capitalism for you”
Are you claiming that the state is more effective in directing capital than the owners of said capital (or theiragents) ?

Modern Money

21st October 2019 at 6:39 pm

The advantage of governments creating money is you they don’t have to pay interest, because the spending is self-financing. Bank lobbyists cry about how large the government debt is, but this is debt that is not expected to be repaid. Adam Smith wrote that no government has ever paid its debt. The reason being is government debt is just all of our savings that earn interest.

Bank lending is inflationary and so is government spending but government as the monopoly price setter can set the price.

The result was the economy had to depend on banks to create the money to expand. If the government doesn’t create it, who will create the spending power? The answer was the banks.

And we saw what happened in 2007. They were not very good at it.

The bank strategy continues:

“If we can privatise the economy, we can turn the whole public sector into a monopoly. We can treat what used to be the government sector as a financial monopoly. Instead of providing free education, we can charge students to get an education. We can charge people for water, and we can charge for what used to be given for free under the old style of Roosevelt capitalism and social democracy.”

This idea that governments should not create money implies that they shouldn’t act like governments. Instead, the de facto government should be Wall Street, The City of London and Frankfurt. Instead of governments allocating resources to help the economy grow, the financial sector should be the allocator of resources – and should starve the government to save the wealthy.

But if you don’t have a government that can fund itself, then who is going to govern, and on whose terms? The obvious answer is, the class with the money: The financial sector and the corporate sector. They clamor for a balanced budgets, saying

“We don’t want the government to fund public infrastructure. We want it to be privatised in a way that will generate profits for the new owners, along with interest for the bondholders and the banks that fund it; and also, management fees. Most of all, the privatised enterprises should generate capital gains for the stockholders as they jack up prices for hitherto public services.”

Modern Money

21st October 2019 at 1:19 pm

Lets start calling the Benn act what it really is.

The Benn Dover act.

Baked Beans

21st October 2019 at 4:52 pm

and Phil mc Cafferty?

Robert Johnson

21st October 2019 at 12:56 pm

Ireland is better than England, nah nah nah nah nah.
You sound like a child.

Jane 70

21st October 2019 at 12:15 pm

So, still in the Hotel Remainia -“You can check out, but you can never leave”.

How much more parliamentary ducking and diving will we have to endure, stuck as we are, in no man’s land.


21st October 2019 at 11:43 am

Just emigrate to Ireland, it’s much easier. Ireland is a more sophisticated, tolerant and progressive country than the increasingly xenophobic and myopic English Nationalists with their weird obsession with World War II and the ‘glory’ days of Empire. Ireland lives in the present and looks to the future. Little Blighty just thinks of long-dead Queen Vic.


steve howell

21st October 2019 at 12:00 pm

Ireland? Are you kidding. Full of thieving thickos.

Jane 70

21st October 2019 at 12:17 pm

Are you serious, or just having a larf? Thinking of Queen Vic? WW2? Little Blighty?What are you taking Zenobia? Some kind of historical hallucinogenic which engenders fantasies about days long past?

Pedro Dias

21st October 2019 at 3:29 pm

@Jane 70
That’s not your friend’s MIKE ELLWOOD opinion. According to his own words on another topic, and I quote:
“…And we are one of the oldest democracies in the world, and we were still a democracy when most of Europe was under the Fascist or Nazi jackboot. And then we helped to re-build the Europe of which you are a proud supporter…”
Better have a word with him so you all can stay tune…

Melissa Jackson

21st October 2019 at 12:17 pm

Ireland is also a tax haven, because it’s the only way big businesses will come there. It’s also even more dominated by metropolitan interests than the UK is, with the divide between Dubliners and the rest even more stark.

Oh and of course Ireland does not quite “look the future” far enough to stop using the IRA and threats of terrorism as a political tool against the UK.

Finally, Ireland is a small EU state that is forced to kowtow on many important issues. If a nation the size of the UK can’t get any respect from the EU, what about one the size of Ireland? In fact, other than through subsidies, how has the EU done anything at all to help Ireland? I mean, we already had frictionless emigration and trade between the RoI and UK.

If all that matters is being “progressive”, to mean feel good politics on gender and race and religion (as long as it’s not protestant) then by all means, move to Ireland. But if you care about actually important issues like national sovereignty how could you possibly move to an imperial satellite?

Mike Ellwood

21st October 2019 at 12:35 pm

Plus Ireland got well-screwed-over by the EU after the Global Financial Crash. No reason for Ireland to love the EU. Yes, the EU gave them grants to build bridges and motorways that they didn’t necessarily need. But if Ireland had retained its own currency it could have financed its own infrastructure reconstruction. And it could still have become a low-tax economy if it wanted, in order to attract inward investment.

Forlorn Dream

21st October 2019 at 12:46 pm

Melissa Jackson
I don’t believe Ireland is using the threat of terrorism as a political tool. I think that tactic comes from the EU. The Republic is so completely dependent upon the EU as to be little more now than a lapdog. Whenever I hear their politicians speak I just imagine a ventriloquist dummy controlled by some faceless EU beaurocrat.
It’s sad to see but RoI must obey the party line or risk becoming the next Greece. Just one more reason to get us out of this quasi-communist EU.

Jim Lawrie

21st October 2019 at 12:52 pm

Forlorn Dream Dublin has smiled benignly when the spectre of terrorism has been raised.


25th October 2019 at 9:33 am

Plenty of Protestants in Ireland. Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmett were both Protestants.

Andrew Best

21st October 2019 at 12:44 pm

You are a racist
Your anti English bile gets worse


25th October 2019 at 9:38 am

You’ve been dishing it out for centuries. Time to grow a thicker skin.

Robert Johnson

21st October 2019 at 12:57 pm

Ireland is better than England, nah nah nah nah nah.
You sound like a child.

Little Black Sambo

21st October 2019 at 2:54 pm

Don’t you live in New Hampshire, then?

Pedro Dias

21st October 2019 at 3:10 pm

Or move to Scotland. By the looks of it, Scotland won’t be in the UK for much longer….

bill mcCall

26th October 2019 at 1:48 am

and I suppose UK< says Good Riddance. Been nothing but a whinging appendage since James VI migrated south

reality lite

21st October 2019 at 3:46 pm

Ireland lives in the present? Do me a favour! Ireland lives in its mostly fictional past. Ireland, before English rule, didn’t even exist as a single nation. The supposed “Irish” script gets plastered on your postage stamps & shopfronts was made up in the early C20th. You couldn’t even unite around your own independence & followed it with a civil war. Without the preferential treatment the country continued to receive from the UK, Eire would have a third world country for the majority of the C20th. A country who’s main export is its own people is nothing to be proud of.

Pedro Dias

21st October 2019 at 3:54 pm

What about Scotland?

Jim Lawrie

21st October 2019 at 7:00 pm

What you say about the modern Irish alphabet being “made up” is not true. Standardisation and development took place for 1500 years in the Gaelic speaking world. In this respect it is no different from any other alphabet.
A revision and modernization of the English alfabet and fonolojy is long overdue.

Jerry Owen

21st October 2019 at 3:59 pm

How does democracy work for the voter within the EU ?
How do we affect change / policy within the EU ?
How do we remove the commissioners at the top of the EU tree ?
Do tell !

Pedro Dias

21st October 2019 at 6:08 pm

How does democracy work for the Scottish voter within the UK?

Jerry Owen

22nd October 2019 at 10:51 am

Pedro Dias
In other words you can’t answer my question .. and you support the EU !

Dominic Straiton

21st October 2019 at 5:38 pm

The tea shock is an eu puppet intent on removing Ireland as a nation state. Im guessing his replacement strategy will make the “troubles” look like a picnic.

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