Why they really hate ‘shouty man’

The fury against the 80k Question Time audience member is really weird.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill

Topics Politics UK

It was the speed with which ‘shouty man’ became the No1 hate figure for Corbynistas that was most striking. No sooner had the now infamous audience member on last night’s Question Time queried whether he is really in the top five per cent of earners than the middle-class left was mocking him and ridiculing him and branding him greedy, thick and, of course, a ‘gammon’. It had an Emmanuel Goldstein vibe to it. The discovery of a despicable figure that decent people could unite in rage against. Before long, it wasn’t the shouty man that was a worrying sight – it was the rage against him; the dogpile culture; the Two Minutes Hate visited upon him for saying something dumb on telly.

And he did say something dumb. He revealed that he earns more than £80,000 a year (some people online have questioned this claim because… well, in their snobby, classist eyes, he doesn’t look particularly wealthy). And then he insisted that this doesn’t put him in the top five per cent of earners, who will be taxed more if Jeremy Corbyn becomes PM. He even questioned the idea that he is in the top 50 per cent of earners. So he thinks half the people in this country earn £80,000 a year. If only. As gleeful fact-checkers, including the Beeb’s own Reality Check, swiftly pointed out, this man is in the top five per cent of earners. Everyone who earns more than £80,000 is. So he made a mistake. He was wrong. He should have held his fire.

Soon, the kind of people who will denounce you as a racist and misogynist if you dare to query Diane Abbott’s dodgy maths were having a field day with this man’s dodgy maths. The press got involved. The Mirror slammed his ‘bizarre rant’. This was a ‘very wrong rant’, said a bad writer at the HuffPost. The man was widely denounced for being pig-ignorant and selfish. Doesn’t he want to give more of his money to help the poor, outraged Guardianistas asked, putting their own 80k pay packets to good use by tweeting about someone who said an incorrect thing on a TV show. He was crowned the king of the gammons, that dehumanising and classist epithet that bourgeois leftists use to denounce what they view as the ill-informed lower middle classes and the aspirational working classes who don’t like Corbyn and do like Brexit.

Think about how odd all of this is. Since when have audience members on TV shows been fair game for widespread media fury? This is unusual, no? Picking apart what politicians and professional commentators say on panel shows is one thing, but partaking in an hours-long rage over the comments of a member of the public seems to me to be over the top and a little out of order. ‘He’s wrong’, they could have said, instead of ‘He’s scum, he’s gammon, he doesn’t care about the poor’, which is essentially what people are saying. And that is what this is all about: the reason ‘shouty man’ has gone so viral is that he symbolises the public as viewed by woke elitists. In their mind, he is the end result of a political climate in which right-wing papers are warping the little people’s minds and making them thick as shit. Their rage against him is really a rage against all ordinary people who read tabloids, like Boris, and don’t think Corbyn will save the world.

It wasn’t ‘shouty man’ who behaved shamefully. It was his ridiculers, these comfortably off, middle-class members of a commentariat who now seem to have nothing better to do than look down their noses at ‘gammon’. The heavily privately educated staff of the Guardian claiming this bloke who earns 80k is typical of rich people’s contempt for the poor – I’ve heard it all now.

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

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


Marvin Jones

26th November 2019 at 3:15 pm

I might be putting myself in Abbutt’s maths ignorant zone. I am convinced that there are 70 million people in the country at present, for obvious reasons the government will not reveal the true figures. So, 10% is 7 million, and 5% is 3.5 million. So, collectively, all the presenters and many employees of the big TV companies and many of their employees and consultants etc, must earn more than £80,000. All CEO’s of companies, and dealers and bosses in the City earn mega bucks, and we have not yet mentioned senior cops, top earners in colleges, surgeons, doctors, pilots, etc,etc,etc. Do all these not add up to 5% of the people mentioned? He may have a point.

Zane Lloyd

26th November 2019 at 4:58 am

If you’re going to go on national TV and start shouting and calling people liars, then have your facts right. This wasn’t a throw away comment part of a larger point. It was his whole point. Everything he was saying was not true, and people were clapping as he was saying it. Yes if you’re going to be so aggressive, and think you’re so badly paid when you’re in the top 5% of earners, people are going to get annoyed. Those of us aren’t here to subsidise the 5% who are not paying enough tax. I’d have more sympathy if he apologised at the time for his mistake, afaik this has not happened

Lewis Barnswick

27th November 2019 at 5:12 pm

You lefties are completely nuts here is a member of the public having an opinion and you some how want him to magically appear and apologise to the socialist HE ISN’T FAMOUS. You left wing nut jobs have twisted his point into him not want to pay more taxes he never said that. He never said he was badly paid. He was angry at being class as rich, wealth a million when two people earning 35k a year has more dispossible income. You lefties love twisting a mans words and trying to ruin his life just because he dares to have a different opinion and hold the Labour Party to account. Stop takin your Corbyn pills and go watch the clip again with clear eyes. Did you see the Andrew Neil interview it put shouty mans point across much better. Anyway don’t mock 5% they pay 50% of income tax and more in a year than most will ever pay.

Zane Lloyd

26th November 2019 at 4:50 am

8f yo7’r

Jim Lawrie

25th November 2019 at 12:21 pm

The top 5% of earned income does not mean the top 5% in terms of disposable income.
I think that is part of the point he was trying to make.

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24th November 2019 at 2:52 pm

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Linda Payne

24th November 2019 at 1:31 pm

I don’t begrudge shouty man his sucess and good income but as with a lot of people we often hear that they ‘work hard’ as if it was purely from their own efforts they have a high salary; they never talk about the opportunities and the luck that comes with it and if he employs others what is he paying them? are they so low paid they are on tax credits? If so well who pays for that? The problem is we should ALL be paid that level of salary, millions work damn hard and barely see a quarter of what this man earns, but capitalism cannot do this, it is a system of exploitation where most are losers but there are a few winners like this man who I doubt works no harder than a care worker or a cleaner

Ed Turnbull

25th November 2019 at 10:20 am

Linda, you assert that we should all be paid a ‘shouty man’ level of salary i.e. £80K per year. But I have to ask: why? No objective measure exists for the value of *any* work, so who gets to decide who’s toil is worth £20K, £40K, £80K? The government? A wages council? You? Me? The truth is no one can assign a value to any particular type of labour on which the whole of society will agree. Value is a subjective thing.

So we leave it to the market to decide and, to me, that seems the fairest, indeed the most *democratic* method. We all decide value by what we’re prepared to pay for goods and services, that in turn influences producers’ costs, which, of course, include wages. It’s supply and demand – basic economics. Let me give you a personal anecdote: many years ago (long before the age of mobile phones, tablets and t’internet) I used to work for a local laundry to earn a bit of cash during the summer holidays. The work involved delivering be linen, towels etc to hotels and cruise ships. It was hard – physically demanding, and I was paid very little. But did I complain? No. I understood that there were many who could perform the same role – the supply of strong backs wasn’t particularly limited. (Not that I was *that* strong – I was a nine and a half stone shrimp! But I grafted hard).

Of course, once I embarked on my real career (nearly 40 years in IT and stats) I started being remunerated much more handsomely. Simply because there are far fewer who have the ability to do what I do. Supply and demand, nothing more, nothing less. The market – which is simply a component, a facet, of a free society – generally places greater value on commodities that are scarce.

Some people bang on and on about inequality, about how it’s such an awful thing. Well I beg to differ. Yes, I’m sure it’s awful if you’re at the bottom of the heap, and I sympathise with those in that position. We should be helping those people to achieve their maximum potential. But the simple truth is we’re not all equal in our abilities: some will achieve far more than others. And the market values some abilities over others. To me inequality is a useful indicator that a free society is functioning as it should. The only way to achieve more equality of outcome – which is what the equality obsessives really mean when they talk of ‘equality – is to restrict personal liberty. And to me that’s a red line that must not be crossed.

Jerry Owen

25th November 2019 at 2:58 pm

Ed Turnbull
You make excellent points. My profession is rare therefore I am renumerated well.
How do tube and train drivers fit in as working class on 70 k upwards a year ?
We need them and they have good unions.
Much of the class system was upended by Thatcher.. Mondeo man and later white van man.
We can all make opportunities for ourselves… Money is cheap to borrow. It’s dedication drive and self belief that dictates largely what we earn.

Jim Lawrie

25th November 2019 at 3:41 pm

Just go and learn how to program, instead of making up things to criticise the guy for.

As Gary Player said of those who called him lucky “The more I practise the luckier I get!”

Ted Treen

23rd November 2019 at 9:58 pm

Anyone in the UK is free to make voluntary contributions to HMRC: I wonder how many of the outraged/indignant Guardian reader/writer types actually do.

Lewis barn

23rd November 2019 at 7:55 pm

Thank you for this article. I personally know this guy and these far left are scary reminds me of hitler and the nazi’s. This guy works extremely hard and long unsociable hours away from home he looks after his family best he has wife who stays at home looking after his children and is no means rich as any intelligent person can work out. What people are missing is that he was angry about Labour categorizing Amazon, googles, millionaires and billionaires in the same sentence as people like him and although he didn’t come across well he was switching between wealth & high income tax payers so actually he was correct people need to stop even talking about high wealth and the rich with professionals.

paul Donohue

23rd November 2019 at 7:48 pm

lol, stupid article defending stupid person written by an idiot. The outrage was simple. He is in the top 5% of earners but screamed he wasn’t in the 50%. He as well as the writer of this article are morons.

Ven Oods

24th November 2019 at 8:30 am

Thanks for the synopsis, oh wise one.

Jerry Owen

24th November 2019 at 9:33 am

Better now ?

Ven Oods

23rd November 2019 at 1:30 pm

Most MPs get near enough 80k, possibly a bit more for committee work etc, but, unlike the shouty man, they get free travel, subsidised food and booze, and the chance to stiff the taxpayer by flipping their various properties, having claimed for upgrading them. And a pension for serving a Parliamentary term, however long that might be.
They probably won’t feel the same pinch as he will. It’s enough to make one shouty.

Howard Taylor

23rd November 2019 at 12:20 pm

Disregarding the Gentleman’s demeanor, his problem is correct. if we see the steep rise in the earnings of the five percent the line is virtually vertical, so within a percentage point the earnings are roughly over 100,000. when the highest paid in the department trigger to the next tax rate, but only just, they actually came home with less money than the rest. regarding the idea that he should be looked down upon is sad.better we insist that we all should be earning more, not that he should be embarrassed for succeeding.

Jenny Clarke

23rd November 2019 at 12:27 pm

Correct. This is the tax trap that everyone hits once they out of standard tax. Just go over and you end up bringing home less than you did before your pay rise. He had a good point.

Jefferson Marshall

23rd November 2019 at 8:31 am

Brendan, I agree with you on so many issues but I don’t see the point of this article. He is nicknamed Shouty Man for a reason. His aggressive stance and tone, pointing his finger and several times accusing the Labour MP of being a liar, was way over the top, and from a position of being completely wrong. I have no sympathy for him if he is prepared to stand up on national TV and say such things in this way and not check his facts first. I suspect he lined up all the salaries, positioned himself on the scale, and didn’t understand the numbers of people in each salary group. That’s the only explanation I can think of for such a daft statement. He set himself up to be mocked by the way he shouted.

BlueSkySeas FairWeatherSailor

23rd November 2019 at 8:43 am

Thick as mince Burger was going on about Billionaire’s being targeted.
Are 5% of us Billionaires.
He was no more shouty and far more pleasant that McDonnell who agitates for lynching Etc

Jerry Owen

23rd November 2019 at 9:58 am

Calling a politician a liar and pointing his finger. Tut Tut, whatever next !!
Are you a snowflake by any chance ?

Jefferson Marshall

23rd November 2019 at 10:40 am

Not at all, just explaining why Shouty Man is getting so much abuse – taking an aggressive stance whilst being completely wrong. I’m up for letting politicians know strength of feeling and ‘having a go’ at them for their lies and hypocrisy. But you have to get your facts straight, or else leave yourself open to ridicule

Jerry Owen

23rd November 2019 at 10:50 am

Your post was explicit in having a go at ‘Shouty man’ because he called a politician a liar and he .. ‘ pointed his finger’.
Oh dear .. report him to the police for a non crime hate crime eh !

Jenny Clarke

23rd November 2019 at 12:29 pm

There are no MPs at present – though there is a government – and so Mr Corbyn is not an MP.

K Tojo

23rd November 2019 at 1:51 am

Friday’s Question Time featuring the 4 main party leaders was remarkably soft on Jeremy Corbyn. Apart from a fierce attack from one audience member over his record on anti-semitism and a few boos when he dodged commitment on the Brexit issue the crowd were very much on his side. There were some questions which, far from being challenging, gave him the opportunity to just talk about Labour’s manifesto without having to defend it.

Throughout Corbyn’s entire stint there was regular enthusiastic applause. Jo Swinson, on the other hand, was met with cool hostility and Boris Johnson, of course, failed to win the audience over.

It would be easy to imagine that the whole event was taking place inside Labour Party HQ with just a few Labour dissenters showing less enthusiasm than the majority.

Michael Lynch

22nd November 2019 at 11:02 pm

Well didn’t the BBC outdo their usual level of bias. It was an obvious Corbyn love in. So it’s true – Momentum have finally infiltrated the Beeb!

Jerry Owen

23rd November 2019 at 10:54 am

BBC ‘South today’ earlier this week had a uni student on encouraging students to vote ‘either at their residency as a student, or at home’.
They could opt to vote at home ‘ if they wanted to vote *against their tory MP* ..I quote!
The BBC obligingly gave information for students to register to vote.
No bias of course !

Jerry Owen

23rd November 2019 at 10:54 am

In response to Michael Lynch.

antoni orgill

22nd November 2019 at 10:33 pm

no one must be off-message … we can’t afford dissent … if you want to think for yourself … … … Stalinism didn’t die … it just morphed into pseudo-leftness … spiritually uplifting though …

K Tojo

22nd November 2019 at 10:01 pm

Shouty man should have challenged the socialist stooge (sorry, Labour candidate) for giving the impression that “top 5%” consists of nothing more than bloated capitalists not paying their fair share in taxes. Labour, hoping that no one will notice, have bundled the likes of Google and Amazon together with those earning over £80,000.

Shouty man is condemned because he is “selfishly” reluctant to fork out more tax for the Left’s pet projects.It seems the only measure of a person’s character now is whether they conspicuously care about the following:
1. The poor (unless they vote to leave the EU)
2. A plethora of disadvantaged identity groups (pick your mascot)
3. The environment (that’s a place where middle class Lefties live and they don’t want it spoiled)
4. The alleged climate emergency
5. “Our NHS” (short of funds as always)
6. The third world (aren’t they getting fed up with white saviours?)
7. Wildlife facing extinction (allegedly)
8. Economic Migrants (just seeking a better life – who can argue with that)

Sorry, but I find these noble causes utterly uninspiring. We are being led to a mushy and sentimental future by a sharing/caring/nurturing generation of blinkered ignoramuses. If we follow their lead we will eventually be powerless to help anyone.

M Blando

23rd November 2019 at 4:33 pm

Ah K, you clearly want to see the best in people. None of those ’causes’ are about caring or sharing, quite the reverse. They are all a means to controlling others…. this is what the left like best. Controlling others fills their every utterance if you listen. If one is to be superior, one needs others to be superior to… what better means of identifying those one can be superior to than the so-called issues you list. They’re easy to define… the real problems of our world, well, they’re far too complicated and don’t lend themselves to simple clear ‘in’ or ‘out’ territorial borders.

K Tojo

23rd November 2019 at 6:10 pm

Point taken – but actually I thought my list was sarcastic.

Anyway I don’t think that is the best that people are capable of. Far from it. This will raise feminist hackles I know but the relentless feminisation of Western culture is placing nurturing, caring and non-aggressive activities above all other things. Even some women are getting fed-up with this if the rise in popularity of female fighing sports is anything to go by.

This election was going to be about Brexit (our break for freedom). In no time at all the parties are competing with one another to see who can promise to do most for the NHS, the education system and the planet. Let’s not forget “techno-nurturing” ie. the promise of free fibre-optic broadband for all (so the poor, disadvantaged and neglected don’t get left behind).

James Knight

22nd November 2019 at 6:34 pm

If people are into “reality checking” I would suggest we outlaw political campaigners referring to gross salary only net take home pay.

I am not worried about people on 80k plus paying an extra 5p income tax. I am worried about the trend to take people at the bottom out of tax and NI altogether. As laudable as it sounds, everyone should pay something into the system, even it is a small percentage. That is the basis for the social contract. At the moment we have the bizarre situation where we are practically subsidising low paid workers to come to the UK via tax breaks and tax credits.

Mike Ellwood

22nd November 2019 at 7:57 pm

Well, everyone (even kiddies buying sweeties) pays VAT, and various other taxes and duties (fuel duty, car tax, insurance tax, airport tax, and probably others I’ve forgotten).

So I don’t think it’s necessary that everyone pays income tax and NIC as well.

Jerry Owen

23rd November 2019 at 9:55 am

So some people should pay taxes twice and some not !
How is that fair ?

M Blando

23rd November 2019 at 5:04 pm

To Jerry… paying taxes twice? How so? Some pay more than others in tax. Some pay tax via their purchases only, while others pay via income tax et al *and* via what their purchases (like me). There’s no twice, just more or less.

And if they’re working, they’re contributing surely?

I know we all resent it like hell, paying at source, but venting it on the less well off? I do the maths instead before beefing at the low paid…

Deduct the average electric and gas bill £1300 pa plus the average council tax £1200 pa and we’re already down to 9.5k from 12k… which is £182 a week for rent (!), food and clothes. I’m fortunate not to be walking a mile in those shoes. Household income should be considered to me. One household trying to survive on 12k.. fair enough… one household with 2 wages of 12k .. um, this should be taxed as 24k. Catch 22 is that it’d pay to not cohabit…

Jenny Clarke

23rd November 2019 at 12:33 pm

I agree, those on the lowest incomes should pay tax and NI – not appear to be getting a freebie. Perhaps a lower rate of tax – remember, we will all pay this on our first 12k.

M Blando

23rd November 2019 at 5:06 pm

“appear”… why do appearances matter so much? We all know they’re not getting any freebies.

Davy Hayes

22nd November 2019 at 5:45 pm

So shouty man is scum? What does that make someone who takes 24 hours to spot a bloody big mural is antisemitic? Or who gets several thousand quid for singing the praises of a government that stood by whilst men were thrown to their death from rooftops for being gay, or how about someone who was supportive of people who spent the 70s and 80s blowing up men, women and even some children across England? Or how about leading the party that is being investigated by the equalities commission re antisemitism?

Jerry Owen

23rd November 2019 at 10:56 am

Great post !

Jenny Clarke

23rd November 2019 at 12:41 pm

I worry about anti-Semitism. I suspect it is frequently attached to people who think Palestinians are getting a raw deal from Israel, and that Israel is acting in ways that, were it not Israel, would receive international condemnation (saying that is probably anti-Semitic too). It is entirely right that one should be able to criticise another country’s foreign (and domestic) policies without being branded as racist. No-one is saying that being anti-Trump means one is anti-American. Nor did criticism of Mugabe raise protests of racism.

Dominic Straiton

22nd November 2019 at 5:13 pm

Im Gammon. Im shouty man. Nothing wrong with that. Spent 20 years as an actual worker on building sites getting up at 6am. Dont earn 800000 a year but wish all those that do the best of luck and hope by their example more will follow suit. In a free society its all there for the individual to succeed. Every single one. Go for it.

Mike Peterson

22nd November 2019 at 6:34 pm

Great comment Dominic – if your attitude was more common this country would be flying!

Dominic Straiton

22nd November 2019 at 8:31 pm

Plumbing and heart surgery are pretty much the same thing. Its just about skills. One will be done by robots in 5 years. The other wont. A house isnt on a slab.

Lord Anubis

22nd November 2019 at 9:33 pm

Bit off topic, but. speaking as a mechanic, I have always said that there is a lot of similarity between surgery and fixing an engine. The big difference however is that with surgery you are trying to replace the oil pump while the engine is still running!

Jim Lawrie

25th November 2019 at 1:38 pm

Mike – surgeons don’t have to supply their own tools or workwear. Nor clean, wash or tidy them away.

Michael Lynch

22nd November 2019 at 10:49 pm

Well said, Dominic. I’m gammon and shorty man too. I also worked on building sites doing hard graft all day long in the H&S free era of the eighties. They’ll have to prize the deeds of my house and my bank books out of my dead hands. How come this generation thinks they are entitled to stuff without having to go through the crap we had to put up with? I really do believe in equal opportunity for everyone – they can all start at the same line and are perfectly free to either succeed or fail. Just like us.

paul Donohue

23rd November 2019 at 7:51 pm

fascinating you assume growing up as you did is entirely the same today. Your heads in the sand where it will remain.

Jerry Owen

22nd November 2019 at 4:31 pm

I didn’t see the programme but I presume he is working class done good. Workers improving their lot in life, isn’t that what the comrades want ?

Jim Lawrie

22nd November 2019 at 6:33 pm

Not if they have done it off their own backs and denied the comrades the credit.


22nd November 2019 at 4:21 pm

I don’t see the point of this article. Shouty man is arrogant, ignorant, ungrateful, etc. and utterly clueless about the way most people live. Nevertheless, I do feel sorry for him that he can’t afford a Maserati.

Jerry Owen

22nd November 2019 at 4:27 pm

You two could be soul mates !

Jenny Clarke

23rd November 2019 at 12:37 pm

80k is not that great an income, especially in London, Zenobia. It’s nice, but not wonderful. And he had a point that he could end up paying a marginal rate of tax that means his take home pay will be less than someone who earns less but does not pay the extra tax. Need graduated tax in small bands, I think.

Jim Lawrie

25th November 2019 at 3:38 pm

To whom should he be grateful for what?

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