The return of class hatred

Remainers are more and more open about how much they loathe ‘the mob’.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill

Topics Brexit Politics UK

One of the most striking things about the Brexit era has been the explosion in elitism. The euphemisms and nods-and-winks with which the political elite and chattering classes once expressed their contempt for the lower orders have fallen away, and in their wake we have open statements of disdain for the vulgar throng, especially the brutish multitude that voted for Brexit. To see how thoroughly the old English disease of class hatred has been resuscitated, look no further than Matthew Parris’s much-praised Times column on why he is leaving the Tories.

Mr Parris has been Brexitphobic for a long time. And now he has decided to leave the party he has been a member of for 50 years and to vote for the Lib Dems instead. He wrote about this in The Times at the end of last week and his column elicited squeals of delight in Remainer circles. Listening to the effusive praise, you’d be forgiven for thinking he had made his way across Checkpoint Charlie from the deprivations of the GDR into the arms of the free West, when all he’s done is abandon one drab party for another drab party. I mean, these parties were in coalition a few years ago; it’s hardly a daring ideological leap.

But it is worth looking more closely at this column that has won so much favour from Remoaners. Parris’s piece contains the following line: politicians, it says, ‘are not there to lick the boots of the mob’. Brexit is a ‘foolish populist wave’, and Parris is mostly upset with the Tories because they are a ‘cork bobbing on [this] popular wave’. Whatever happened to our ‘healthy suspicion of the crowd’, he laments?

This is what the chattering classes are praising. This vile snobbery. This 19th-century-style fear of the mob, the crowd, and of their foolish beliefs and ideas. This neo-aristocratic desire for an era when politicians were suspicious of the throng rather than sympathetic to it. Simon Nixon, The Times’ chief leader writer, captures well the media-elite love for Parris’s piece when he says it ‘expresses what so many decent people are thinking’. Really? None of the decent people I know thinks like this. None of the decent people I know would use foul neo-Victorian phrases like ‘licking the boots of the mob’ to describe what is in truth a simple act of democracy. In fact, the decent people I know tend to be horrified by this new fashion for reducing voters to a crowd who are best ignored rather than ‘licked’.

In a sense, though, Nixon is right: those sections of society who conceive of themselves as decent, certainly more decent than the oiks who voted for Brexit, do increasingly think like this. And they are now open about it. This weekend, the Observer’s Nick Cohen outdid Parris in the contempt-for-the-mob stakes. He raged against the old and the uneducated and the mess they have made of this country with their ignorant vote for Brexit. Like a poundshop Nietzsche he rails against ‘the willingness of voters to be lied to’. Brexit voters are like ‘children’, he says, ‘easy to lead and to fool’.

Unleashing his inner classist, his inner patrician, Cohen says ‘the divide in Brexit Britain is not based on class but on age and education’. He points out that ‘70 per cent of voters whose educational achievement was only GCSE or lower’ voted for Brexit. Perhaps we should introduce literacy tests, like they had in the racist American South: that should weed out the uneducated undesirables. ‘Some ideas are so stupid that only the uneducated can believe them’, says Cohen. And, of course, one of those ideas is Brexit. He says there’s a reason conmen ‘prey’ on the uneducated and the elderly – because, unlike him and his Oxbridge-educated chums, these people are easy to ‘fleece’.

So many words. I bet these people miss the days before political correctness when one word would have been enough to communicate their feelings about the poor, the uneducated and the old: scum. This classism and ageism is not restricted to out-of-touch columnists, of course. It now infuses many middle-class people’s thinking. The hatred for the old is especially visceral. Last week a poll found that 47 per cent of Brits aged between 16 and 34 believe that old people should be prevented from voting on big issues like Brexit or Scottish independence. There’s a website tracking how many old Brexit voters have died since 2016. Ian McEwan has joked about the death of the elderly idiots who voted Leave. This borderline eugenicist hatred for the elderly is one of the most poisonous sentiments in Brexit Britain.

There is class hatred, too. Attend a People’s Vote march and you will see the well-educated middle classes boasting about how the slogans on their placards are at least spelt correctly. ‘The masses didn’t know what they were voting for’ is the most common refrain of the reactionary Remainer lobby. This loathing for the mob and the crowd, as Parris calls us, has been openly stated over the past three years. Witness the Foreign Policy headline that said, ‘It’s time for the elites to rise up against the ignorant masses’. Or see Labour MP David Lammy mocking the ‘wisdom’ – his scare quotes – ‘of resentment and prejudice reminiscent of 1930s Europe’. Looking upon the masses as latent Nazis is the new, more PC version of calling them white trash. From the left, behold Corbynista Paul Mason venomously attacking the image of ‘the ex-miner sitting in the corner of the pub calling migrants cockroaches’. Never underestimate how much these people despise the working classes.

This fear of the crowd is influencing the General Election, too. MPs say they are scared of campaigning in December, when it will be dark. They fret over the ‘toxic’ language being used by everyday Brexiteers on the internet. (They rarely fret over the toxic language used by their own side, who can mock the old, the uneducated and ‘the mob’ with impunity.) ‘MPs fear that knocking on doors alone is unsafe in “toxic atmosphere”’, said an Evening Standard headline. This cuts to the heart of what the debate on ‘toxic’ politics is really about – they view the people themselves, ordinary voters, as ‘toxic’, as an unpredictable mob liable to insult and attack ‘decent’ politicians and Remainers.

A shift has occurred in Britain over the past three years. What had become unsayable is sayable once again. The elite’s fear and loathing of the crowd never really went away, but now it is stated openly in a way that it hasn’t been since the early 20th century. These people have been so stung and disorientated by the vote for Brexit that they have lost all sense of moral and linguistic restraint and now say in public what they would once have only said in private: that the uneducated masses and the unenlightened elderly are corrupting society with their idiocy and their brutishness. We should be grateful for this honestly stated hatred. It clarifies what is at stake in Brexit Britain. It shows what many of the MPs standing for re-election really think of us. It provides us with useful information as we exercise our right to vote next month. They hate you and they distrust you – remember that at the ballot box.

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.


Skeptic 1972

12th November 2019 at 5:08 pm

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11th November 2019 at 5:53 pm

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Robin Harwood

11th November 2019 at 4:57 am

I’m not surprised that older people were more likely to vote “leave”. They are the ones who remember what they were told when Britain went in, and have had the longest experience of the reality.


10th November 2019 at 10:35 am

The late Gerald Priestland observed: ‘Journalists belong in the gutter because that is where the ruling classes throw their guilty secrets.’

In this country we now suffer not only from our parliamentarians, but also our commentariat, nearly every last one seems to have forgotten that their proper role, every bit as much as the parliamentarians’, is to serve the people. Instead, they ally themselves with the parliamentarians, and help protect them from the people. Parris and Cohen are prime examples of the type, but there are many more. No doubt it is a great deal more comfortable way to live than to follow Priestland’s dictum, but it is shabby and shameful.

Obviously there never was ‘a golden age’ but I can’t help suspecting that the quality of both our parliamentarians and our media commentators has declined as our membership of the Common Market (remember that?) has progressed into our partial absorption into the EU.

Paul Carlin

9th November 2019 at 12:41 pm

I have been reading the Times for over fifty years, and am a current online subscriber. I think I last read a Parris column about twenty years ago.

Michael Cunningham

9th November 2019 at 12:58 am

I grew up in a poor fatherless family in postwar Tyneside. I went on to LSE and to be an economic policy adviser to PMs of the UK and Australia. I was briefed on alleged CAGW in 1991 by the IPCC’s Chief Scientist. So I can perhaps respond to Cohen’s comment that “Some ideas are so stupid that only the uneducated can believe them.” Not so, I’m afraid, as Cohen believes in human-induced global warming that is so dangerous that it dominates policy-making. The evidence of the last 30-odd years is against him. I believe in Brexit, which if it is finally implemented in a non-half-hearted manner will surely prove hioghly positive fotr the UK and Western politics. Three years too late, and still under threat, but hopefully sanity rather than the elite will prevail.

Peter Gardner

8th November 2019 at 11:46 pm

It used to be said that politicians were good with words, good at persuading people. It seems that after 3 or more years telling us they respect the result of the referendum and trying to stop us leaving the EU without actually telling us their intention and revoking Article 50, a few, notably LibDums, have given up on that skill and are now about their intentions. Why waste three years before doing so? Oh, because they would have been thrown out of parliament in 2017. Instead their most recent ruse has been to hide behind the Fixed Term Parliaments Act which has created a safe space in parliament in which they are quite safe from electors and could act like snowflakes locking themselves in their bedrooms, throwing tantrums, trashing their bedrooms, aka the constitution, and refusing to face their parents aka the electorate, until June 2022. No doubt the infants would have passed an act to extend the fixed term if they wanted. Unfortunately Corbyn slipped up by saying he would agree to an election if the EU accepted the extension requested by the children and innocently called “Taking No Deal off the Table” (you have to acknowledge that these children know nothing about negotiations between adults). When Big Bear Johnson knocked gently on the bedroom door and asked nicely would he please come out and join the adults now that his childish wish had at last been granted he had to agree. So we have the election nobody in Westminster wanted. The adults didn’t want it because they want to get on with real world business and the infants didn’t want it because it is a boring game played by adults and they might not win as, being a child, they are entitled to do. And after all, screaming and tantrums usually work.
So here we are. The problem we have now – that is we in the adult voting world who know a bit of history, not those who have grown up in the over diluted world of universal adult semi-education in what are now called universities, albeit third rate – is that we still have 650 seats in Parliament and very few adults left over from the previous bunch to re-elect. Having locked themselves in their bedrooms for three years, they haven’t grown up. We don’t want them.
Where can we find new people, adults, to take up the seats vacated by the children? I hear the Brexit Party recruits its people from the adult world of real work. They may not be weasel worded politicians and they may call a spade a spade and be a bit rough round the edges but they are pragmatically minded, experienced adults. Let’s give them a try.

Quentin Vole

8th November 2019 at 9:37 pm

Parris’s latest effort (Times 9th Nov) has extended his demented wailing to Boris as a proxy for Brexit. I don’t know what Boris ever did to him – pissed on his chips?

Ellen Whitaker

8th November 2019 at 9:21 pm

This fear of and obsession with the “crowd” and the “mob” must surely be psychological projection. Leavers seem to be relatively reluctant to get into the streets with shouts and slogans and aggressive signage. It’s hard to get them out. They seem to prefer to live a quiet life and simply exercise their right to vote when the time comes. Remainers on the other hand manifest as a mob at the drop of a hat, becoming more angry and unruly all the time. And if you add in the Antifa segment, that often come along with them …

Peter Gardner

8th November 2019 at 8:20 pm

Many Remoaners argue it is OK for Parliament to ignore the referendum result because ours is a parliamentary democracy and they cite Edmund Burke’s dictum on an MP owing his opinion not obedience. They forget that in his reflections on the french revolution, Burke remarked that England owes it’s freedoms and liberty to unlettered men, people Remoaners call the ignorant mob.
The trouble with education being dumbed down and so much more widespread today is that it is a case of a little learning being a dangerous thing.

Peter Gardner

8th November 2019 at 7:59 pm

I would be very happy to see the elderly disenfranchised provided the measure is phased in starting with people aged 34 or younger.

Hugh Bryant

8th November 2019 at 6:58 pm

Unfortunately only educated people like Parris, Cohen, McEwan, Blair et al understand that the way to overcome the problems caused by the concentration of too much wealth and power into the hands of too few people is to concentrate still more wealth and power into the hands of even fewer people. The rest of us are in thrall to the utterly absurd proposition that we ought to have some sort of say in the decisions that govern our lives.

A Game

5th November 2019 at 5:13 pm

Its too funny. I just watched a you tube video showing Richard Spencer (Alt right, like, actual Alt Right, KKKer or something) that Milo Yiannopoulis acquired, raging at the scum arresting him or something. And its a mouthful. Its all about being a natural ruler, that the little people have no right to move him on… he’s going off his nut. Its reminiscent of Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder… and reminiscent of this dullard, cited in this article. No. More than that. Identical.

The entitlement to be of a higher value in society cause… dunno… they read good things OTHER people had to say about life on this planet… Not their own achievements, of course… the tradesman who actually knows how to create something with their hands, the care worker that is actually caring, which can make such a difference to someone’s life… the animal welfare worker that walks the doggies properly, instead of short shrift… But they can’t quote someone else’s insight, they can’t defer to someone else’s opinion on the human stain.
And that is really, whenever people speak of education as the great demarcation between quality and trash, what they are talking about. Never what was done with that education – did they cure cancer? Did they manage to top Ulysses for length, breadth and tedium? Did they manage to create a magnificent saga, a rich tapestry of experience like War and Peace? Or did they just manage to get around to reading them… Big deal. Such an easily acquired skill set, to have read stuff and regurgitated stuff and get a mark for it… that that is their ultimate test of worthiness. Fascinating, really. We all know how they go the moment they are in the woods, after the plane crash, having to survive. We all know how the household goes south when the pipes burst and money can’t buy someone quickly enough.
My, my… how these people are in a race to who can be the biggest fascist, pretending to be all claaaaassy and learned whilst they do it.

At this point, I scrolled up to read everyone’s comments. Curiosity had me then looking up the man of the moment. Holy f**k. I can see why he needs to cloak himself in the armour of sneering at the masses… take that armour off… all rather common, all rather ordinary… you can picture him at the dinner party, holding court, thinking he is way more interesting than he actually is… its when everyone finds themselves eating more than they intended, drinking more than they intended, nodding… Dull as dishwater.
I just watched an interview where he “offers his opinions on things”… not a real job, as his father reminds him.
Ah, South Africa… yeah… right… Cyprus… Southern Rhodesia, then Swazi Land, then Jamaica… well, you can certainly see where he got his classism from. Hello the Remainer Imperialist. Oh, for Empire, but bigger, better, with finer wine and tasty jus. They get to play overlord, this time, over the peasant French, the peasant Italians, the peasant Spanish. Heaven. (The Australian version is going to Bali.)
Cracking read.
(I’ve got the halfwit’s interview still playing whilst I write this… still waiting for some profundity, or wit… that careful accent. The hesitations… just getting an anecdote about rescuing a dog… which led to him being a candidate for a safe, Tory seat. Awwwww.)

A Game

6th November 2019 at 4:11 am

I’ll add, cause it just occurred to me.
What actually changed in this evolution of what is permissible sneering? They can’t sneer at the coloured folk anymore. They have been elevated, are untouchable for Imperialists and Fascists. So the trashy whities cop it, instead, and they’ve made it fashionable, almost de rigueur to do so, as a mark of worth. There always MUST be someone this ilk can look down on, judge, loathe, use as a tool for their own natural, non-meritorious, right to be elite.

Its an amazing, sinister web that they weave.

Forlorn Dream

5th November 2019 at 1:08 pm

It’s true, when I voted Brexit I didn’t know what I was voting for. I thought I was voting to leave the EU but it seems not.

I didn’t realise a Brexit vote meant I’m an angry neo-nazi racist xenophobe, this will surprise my Polish wife of 18years.

I didn’t realise I’d have to listen to years of abuse for being an idiot who couldn’t understand a simple yes/no choice.

I didn’t realise it would lead to our political leaders actively trying to destroy our democracy in their desperate attempt to usurp the will of the majority. Some were even planning to evict the government and put in place an unelected ‘peoples government’. Why not go the whole way and rename the country ‘The Peoples Democratic…’

I didn’t realise it would mean we should vote again if we gave the wrong answer. How many times would we redo the vote if it keeps coming back as leave?

With all the above in mind and all the other nonsense included, if I had a chance to go back in time and vote again then this time….


Ven Oods

5th November 2019 at 2:46 pm

“I didn’t realise it would mean we should vote again if we gave the wrong answer. ”
The Irish experience hinted at that, though.

Neil McCaughan

5th November 2019 at 12:44 pm

I think it’s quite sweet, the way folk as remorselessly plebeian and middle-brow as Parris and Cohen delude themselves into thinking they’re either patrician or intellectual.

Jill W

5th November 2019 at 4:18 am

Never warmed to Matthew Parris, on Moral Maze or any other platform.
My working- class mother, who valued education, warned of inverted and of intellectual snobbery.
The former made me value hard work and never settle for defeatist, ‘the likes of us’.
The existence of the latter, which I was previously too young to understand, became apparent as I expanded my horizons.
Respect, value the person who has the skills to do things- clean, cook, maintain your environment and who might, one day, offer you care. When the layers are stripped away, at some point everyone hopes to share their days with the best of people.

Miles Plastic

5th November 2019 at 12:25 am

Latent Liberal snobbery and hatred evolved over the past 50 years or so, only now, with the leave vote, they’ve been found out. It’s as though the liberal middle class gravy train has come to a halt and they hate us for it. Like all of us they’re animals, and apparently their swinish comforts are under threat. And that’s really what we didn’t understand when we voted leave.

Tinfoil Hat

4th November 2019 at 7:56 pm

But the University courses, GCSEs and A-Levels have been dumbed down so much these days that what used to be a 3 year course at Oxford has become a 4 year course. The so called intellectuals with their degrees in PPE, English, Law or History are the first to tell you they were terrible at Maths and Physics. The clever folk at those institutions had no interest in entering politics or studying subjects you could do reading in the bath. Mrs Tin Foil Hat and myself who have more Oxbridge degrees and scholarships that you could shake a stick at. More A-Levels from the days when they were A-Levels, GCSEs from when they were O-Levels, industrial and city experience beyond the imaginings of scribblers like Parris and his ilk, we voted Brexit because like honest, folk we believe in democracy and one person one vote. Normally I’m not pompous but occasionally one has ascend to the dizzying heights of the likes of Parris.

Mike Stallard

5th November 2019 at 7:20 am

My grandson was studying politics at Sheffield Hallam University. During the first lesson, the lecturer asked each person to state which political party he or she supported. “Labour”, “Labour of course,” “Labour”. The lecturer nodded appreciatively. When he came to my grandson, he said “UKIP”. The room went silent. From then on he was an outcast and, after a year switched to Event Management.

Mike Ellwood

9th November 2019 at 9:06 pm

Jim Lawrie

4th November 2019 at 7:21 pm

When I pointed out to one young woman that removing the vote from over 70’s would mean her heroes Jeremy Corbyn and Lady Hale being disenfranchised, she snapped impatiently at me “Well obviously there would be exceptions.”

Jonathan Marshall

4th November 2019 at 9:59 pm


Ven Oods

5th November 2019 at 8:28 am

And they think *we’re* thick!

Jim Lawrie

5th November 2019 at 12:24 pm

She could not see the contradiction and condescension in what she was saying, and regarded me as the thicko for my “stupid question”. That is to say, I ought to have known there would be exceptions. She has a double first from Edinburgh, but is totally flummoxed by a tax return, and has been for four years.
She still couldn’t understand what I was getting at when I asked if the exceptions were only for the privately or selectively educated, like Corbyn and Hale. In fact she became even more exacerbated. Or is it exasperated? I just don’t know any more.

Hob Nobbs

4th November 2019 at 6:06 pm

Skilled workers get their wages depressed and unskilled workers get put on the dole by the import of cheap eastern European labour while the rich get cheap servants and cheap workers for their businesses. The poor also bare the brunt of stress from migrants on infrastructure and services.

The correlation between wealth and educational achievement and so between educational achievement and voting leave is hardly surprising.

Charles Buonaventura

4th November 2019 at 5:37 pm

I’ve always said that if you want to see hate, all you have to do is look below the line at Brexit articles in the Guardian. That’s where you see the real dehumanising stuff.

Eric Praline

4th November 2019 at 6:05 pm

Yep, try commenting there if you have a masochistic streak.

Ian Wilson

4th November 2019 at 7:17 pm

I once wasted a whole evening skiing just that, and getting called a Russian bot in that process. I got bored though when I realised these people must be on there all the time. Quite sad.

jan mozelewski

4th November 2019 at 5:30 pm

Of course, on the up-side, depriving the elderly/pensioners of their rights should finally see off Ken Clark (79) John Major (76) Tony Blair (66) Vince Cable (76) Gordon Brown (68)Jeremy Corbyn (70) John Mcdonnell (68) Diane Abbott (66) Hariet Harman (69)… Not to mention the bulk of the House of Lords (most members of each party are in the 70+ age group).

bf bf

8th November 2019 at 11:02 pm


Peter Gardner

8th November 2019 at 11:57 pm

Jan, MPs would be the first to make themselves an exception.

Jerry Owen

4th November 2019 at 5:29 pm

Cohen and Parris , barely get one in twenty supportive posts in the comments section in the Speccie. Cohen is verging on mental illness such is his loathing for Brexit. Still at least we know they are hurting.
Nobody has yet told me at what age you are ‘old’ , sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety ?
Do you wake up one morning to find that you have become ‘old’ overnight ?
Is an ‘old’ Brexit voter ‘older’ than an ‘old’ remain voter ?
We should be told surely?
I have seen ‘oldies’ at remainiac demos in London are they the right kind of old ?
Watching Soubry lose her seat in the next GE is something I am looking forward to immensely.

Peter Gardner

8th November 2019 at 11:59 pm

The likes of Cohen and Parris don;t read the comments on their articles. Why would they? They are written by the great unwashed.

In Negative

4th November 2019 at 5:21 pm

Am I to conclude from this that cuddly Boris and Nigel Lllove me? I’m touched.

Eric Praline

4th November 2019 at 6:07 pm

You could do if you hadn’t read the article, or if you’d read the article but not understood it.


4th November 2019 at 5:19 pm

Of course my memory may be playing me false, but I recollect hearing Mr Parris on a Radio 4 discussion a good number of years ago saying that the only reason to hold elections at all is that it is a better way to change a government than to run the risk of an autocratic administration being overthrown by civil disorder. Between elections, he expanded, the electorate’s views should be entirely disregarded.

Given that, of course, he is bound to be a Remainer. A democratic government that is actually chosen by the people and is responsive to their opinions may be an untidy way to run a nation’s affairs, but the EU is essentially a technocratic autocracy that pays lip service to the principle of democracy, yet is built on a legal structure that ensures that there is no possibility of it being driven off course by a popular vote.

Were the Parrises, Nixons, Cohens, Masons etc only more honest and be prepared to admit that they are opposed to democracy it would be possible to respect them. As it is I, for my part, hold them in contempt.

Matt Ryan

4th November 2019 at 5:11 pm

To be fair, the electorate are not a model of considered contemplation on the nation’s problems. They fact they vote for the same old tired political parties time after time (‘cos they always have) demonstrates that there is a problem with democracy as we practice it.

Carolyn Monaghan

4th November 2019 at 9:49 pm

The future is what we make it. All the different ways that humans have lived and organised themselves have led us to where we are, and what we do now will lead us forward into a future which will be dealt with by our descendants just the way we deal with the world our ancestors forged. Humanity, as they say, is underrated, and until someone comes up with a better system than democracy, I might argue with people about how they plan to vote but I respect every individual’s right to that vote.

Dominic Straiton

4th November 2019 at 4:09 pm

” One Nation toryism” was designed to unite the upper and working class to stop the middle class taking all the money and power.

Linda Payne

4th November 2019 at 4:08 pm

The unintended consequences of voting leave is the added difficulties of EU migrants and the errosion of workers rights (so we still have them?). My husband and I have had many a row and yes I have been accused of not knowing what I voted for; thing is I would never accuse a remainer of this, I think leavers are just more polite

jan mozelewski

4th November 2019 at 7:56 pm

Indeed so! From the very day after the referendum the vast majority of insults and rudeness and name-calling has come from remainers. I remember being in a French supermarket when another English ex-pat approached me in a dreadful strop.
‘I’m ashamed of the English,’ she ranted, ‘they are all racists!’. She was like a demented thing frothing at the mouth and trotting out the ‘old’ ‘stupid’ ‘bigoted’ labels for Brexit voters. And yet, of course, she was herself ,apparently, too stupid and bigoted to recognise the irony in her statements. Especially as only the week before she had been moaning about ‘the French’. She didn’t actually like them either…probably because a lot of French people here in the sticks are the sort who have far more sympathy with Brexit than she has herself. To top it off she is nearly 70.
Basically, like many remoaners, she expected those old/working class/ traditional/patriotic/ people she despises and couldn’t give a toss about, to think of her rather than themselves. How dare they not put her needs and wishes first?
It’s that lack of self-awareness that strikes me most in all this. The lack of perspective and empathy. To her this was ALL ABOUT the exchange rate and having to cut down on meals out. I have observed other remainers bleating about their holiday spend, or the prospect of having to queue a tad longer at customs. Bless.

Ug Ancient

4th November 2019 at 3:55 pm

“He points out that ‘70 per cent of voters whose educational achievement was only GCSE or lower’ voted for Brexit. Perhaps we should introduce literacy tests, like they had in the racist American South: that should weed out the uneducated undesirables.”

Oh dear this will empty most of the HoC pretty quickly!

jan mozelewski

4th November 2019 at 8:00 pm

From what I have seen, literacy tests would weed out a huge proportion of modern graduates….

Jim Lawrie

4th November 2019 at 10:57 pm

The very mention of a test would have them throwing a hissy.

Genghis Kant

4th November 2019 at 3:50 pm

I gave up trying to discuss Brexit with remainers when it became more than apparent that most of them hadn’t got s single clue about the EU, how it it is supposed to work and how often it fails to even do that.

In short, if there was ignorance anywhere it was on the remainer side, and – from what I’ve seen since – still is.

jan mozelewski

4th November 2019 at 4:23 pm

Oh yes. Completely. I suppose it comes with the territory of already thinking they are ‘educated’ and know it all.
I live in France. Earn a living there. I have been called a ‘Little Englander’ by people who only ever leave the South East to board a plane for their holidays.
I have been told I am an ignorant northerner who should ‘get out more’ by people who have never lived outside the UK and haven’t the remotest clue what the EU is, and what its impact is, beyond UK shores.
I have been castigated for ‘fearing what i don’t understand’ about life in the EU by people whose only knowledge of it extends to a tourist trap holiday destination n August.
On a trip to the UK last month I endured an oh-so-patient lecture by a self-proclaimed ‘staunch remainer’ that I really didn’t know much about the EU (I have a North Staffs accent) and that she had had ‘seasons’ in Le Touquet and in Cannes and thus knew all about France.
I must admit i couldn’t resist saying that I went by what i read in the paper.
‘Ah!’ she said with a smug superior pitying smile…’That accounts for it. I read the Guardian.’
I told her I couldn’t stand the Guardian and, besides, it the newsagents don’t often stock it in my neck of the woods.
Cue more smugness. clearly it was what she expected. But she couldn’t help ask what newspaper I did read so she could have herself another serving of smug superiority.
‘Le Figaro’, I replied.

Steve Gray

4th November 2019 at 8:36 pm


Next time you’re asked what you read by one of these people, tell ’em you read Spiked.

Louise Culmer

5th November 2019 at 8:09 pm

Brilliant. Would have liked to see her face when you told her that.

Mike Ellwood

9th November 2019 at 9:12 pm


Nice one Jan. “Seasons in Le Touquet and Cannes”? – LOL – she sounds like Bertie Wooster’s aunt or something.

Peter Gardner

9th November 2019 at 12:07 am

Agreed. The entire Remoan campaign is negative – what they think is wrong with UK, wrong with independence, wrong with people who are patriotic or independence minded, and what they fear about being independent. They don’t read the treaties, the publications on ever closer union, the transcripts of speeches on the future empire the EU is to become (or as Barosso said already exists).
Unfortunately Mrs May did read such papers published in a great flurry in 2017 and joined in the discussions with her colleagues in the EU with great enthusiasm – people like her. Thence the Florence speech in September committing UK to ever closer union, the back channel to Brussels via Ollie Robbins to make it so, and Chequers in July 2018. Total surrender to the EU.

Eric Praline

4th November 2019 at 3:48 pm

Yes, incredible how pure the hatred still is after they’ve had more than 3 years in which to calm down and try to do some reasoning. Every time I post on the Guardian (more fool me) I’m taken aback by the visceral disgust and you can’t even use a word like remoaner there.

K Tojo

4th November 2019 at 3:37 pm

Apart, perhaps, from his chums in the journalist’s world Nick Cohen seems never to have demeaned himself by engaging in direct discussion with the despised Brexiteers or that other group he loathes – the climate change deniers. He merely describes them with disgust from a safe distance.

The near hysterical reaction of Cohen, Parris and others to the Brexit vote shows they are aware that this is about more than just a vote to leave the EU. It is a slap in the face of a self-righteous cultural elite who have had their way for far too long.

Now, if only we could vote out the likes of Cohen, Parris and the media elite who have appointed themselves our moral guardians (“telling truth to power”, fearlessly shining a light on hypocrisy and all that self-glorifying journalistic hero stuff).

Geoff Cox

4th November 2019 at 2:49 pm

By the way, Remainers can’t have it both ways. If you are under 30, your chances of going to university are much higher than if you were born before say 1970. Therefore if the young are voting to remain in the EU, it is a certainty that they are also “more educated”. Typical of remainers though – count everything twice.

A second point – do Remainers know that every day, people get older? That means by their logic that every day, everyone is more likely to vote to leave. I appreciate there are probably more people coming on to the electoral role at the bottom thanks to our sudden increase in population, but still websites that calculate how many have died and extrapolate a remain majority do not take this into account as far as I know.

jan mozelewski

4th November 2019 at 4:54 pm

Time and again i see remainers conflate education with intelligence and, worse, with a degree. I know people in their 60’s….like me….who left the local Grammar with O or A levels. (B’s and C’s….A grades were rare as hen’s teeth then.) They were bright kids. They had to get a job and a career started. I got my degree in 1980 and found myself wishing I’d done as they had, because the Winter of Discontent had happened during that 3 years and I was applying for jobs at much lower grades than i would have got 3 years before straight from the sixth form.
I have had plenty of time to study my son’s ‘student’ girlfriends. I was asked to help doll up some of their essays for their degrees. They were barely O level standard in my view.
I am also aware enough to know that I would have struggled to obtain my ‘School certificate’ (my mum had tried in the 30’s, and failed) because you had to be good at everything to get it.

Claire D

4th November 2019 at 5:35 pm

When my mother took her School Certificate in the 40s, the essay question for the English part of the paper was, ” Procrastination is the thief of time. Discuss.” I wonder what a 16 year old would make of that today.

Peter Gardner

8th November 2019 at 8:05 pm

Surely more people going to university means education has dumped down – unless by some miracle of genetic engineering they have become vastly more intelligent. Ergo more people in university means the young are less well educated than their elders who met higher standards.

John Little

4th November 2019 at 2:24 pm

Excellent article! I haven’t been able to stomach Parris since his loathsome piece on the people of Clacton. His brand of 18th century aristocratic autocracy represents the “let them eat cake” mentality that provoked the French Revolution. Good luck with that Matt. Apparently he’s going to join the unLiberal unDemocrats. The party openly campaigning to rob 17.4 million citizens of their vote and their democratic rights. How fitting. Cohen the mock egalitarian should join him. As for all those contemptible people who think that the elderly should be deprived of their vote, lets unpack that one a little. So you deprive them of their democratic rights. Once you’ve done that, you’ve made them second class citizens. Once you passed that threshold it’s not so difficult to contemplate what else you could deprive them of is it? Their property? Ultimately even their right to life perhaps? Drain on the health service and all that. And what happens when all the ignorant young fascists who support this idea reach old age themselves. Will they all be so willing to see themselves deprived of their right to a voice?
It’s only a mere 74 years since the final defeat of Nazism. How quickly ignorant and spoilt people forget. How quickly they take for granted and indeed come to despise those profound values that so many thousand died to defend. Shame on them.

jan mozelewski

4th November 2019 at 4:39 pm

Top comment. Extremely accurate assessment. Dehumanising a section of society is the first step to excesses witnessed in Nazi Germany.
In this case…prejudice against the elderly….it is also the ultimate example of turkeys voting for Christmas. I found it interesting that in a poll almost half of 18 to 34 year olds felt the elderly should be disenfranchised. I would think this number decreases rapidly after the mid-thirties. Because that is when you realise its all going to end….no matter how hard you hit the gym. Suddenly you realise that life isn’t so long after all.
Whenever I hear a young person spout such drivel I think they can’t be anywhere near as bright as they have been told they are. and this is followed by the knowledge that the time will come when the whirligig of time brings in his revenges.
Ageism is the daftest prejudice of all.

Mike Stallard

5th November 2019 at 7:23 am

I know several young people. Yes, a few still have a vocation to be a teacher, in one case, or to join the army, in another. But on the whole they are up in their bedrooms or “just going out”. Welfare, you see. When faced with a job – well – hey – they just do not turn up.


4th November 2019 at 2:02 pm

The arrogance and snobbery of some Remainers still does not validate ‘Brexit’, whatever that means. A cause may still be just even when espoused by snobs and idiots.

Weyland Smith

4th November 2019 at 2:16 pm

Quite right. What validates brexit is a majority of over 1 million people in the brexit referendum, cast in good faith.

M Blando

4th November 2019 at 2:42 pm

Entirely correct, regardless of supposed education, income or age, a democractic vote validates the cause.

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