It’s time to slay this zombie parliament

The team discuss Brexit, Russia Derangement Syndrome, and the Canadian balls-waxing controversy.


Is the UK ever going to have another General Election? Are we all ‘Russian assets’ now? What can we learn from the curious case of Jessica Yaniv? Tom Slater, Ella Whelan and Fraser Myers discuss all this and more, on this week’s spiked podcast.

Tom, Ella and Fraser will all be speaking at the Battle of Ideas festival in London on 2 and 3 November. Get your tickets here.

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.


Winston Stanley

27th October 2019 at 12:18 pm

“It may not be much, but I think the Brexit vote in Scotland will damage The SNP in the General Election.”

Not likely. The Tories stand to lose all, or nearly all of their MPs in Scotland, which is fine. Like 75% of Brexit voters, I would be happy for Scotland to go independent. They can do their own thing, so long as we can do ours. Best of luck to them.

> Tories set to lose all Scottish seats to SNP in general election, poll suggests

The Conservatives are set to lose all their Scottish seats to the SNP in a general election, a new poll suggests.

There are 13 Tory MPs in Scotland, but the YouGov poll for the People’s Vote campaign indicates they would all be replaced by the SNP.

The polling, which was conducted exclusively in Conservative-held constituencies across Scotland, points to a 14% drop in the party’s vote share in these seats, down from 44% to 30%.

Meanwhile, the vote share for the SNP is predicted to rise from 34% to 42%.

The poll shows a majority of voters in these constituencies would vote to keep the UK in the EU in a new referendum, by 63% to 37%, excluding non-voters and don’t knows.

More than half (51%) back a new public vote on Brexit, rising to 58% when don’t knows are excluded. – The Scotsman, Sept. 19

> SNP’s chances of ousting Tory MPs boosted as Greens opt out

THE Scottish Greens are poised to stand in just one Tory-held constituency at the forthcoming General Election, boosting the chances of the SNP retaking the seats from Boris Johnson’s party.

Nicola Sturgeon’s party is the main rival to the 13 Conservative MPs and would be in line to gain from the absence of a Green candidate on the ballot paper. – The National, today

Winston Stanley

27th October 2019 at 12:19 pm

That is in reply to Jim.

Jim Lawrie

27th October 2019 at 5:57 pm

The poll you quote is from 7 weeks ago.

SNP support remains steady at around 38%. Support for the Conservatives has bottomed out at 18% and is starting to rise.

In May 2017 SNP were at 43% and took 37% of the vote 4 weeks later. Sturgeon is bluffing and wants a General Election ASAP.

Winston Stanley

28th October 2019 at 2:55 pm

Jim, let us see who gets closest. TP currently has 13 MPs in Scotland. You say that Brexit will damage the SNP vote, I say that it will damage the TP vote. I estimate that TP will get 3 seats in Scotland at the coming GE and that the rest will be taken by the SNP. How many do you estimate that the TP will get? More than 13?

Andrew Leonard

26th October 2019 at 11:18 pm

Well may we say ‘God Save the Queen’ … because nothing will save the Remainer parliament

Winston Stanley

26th October 2019 at 1:38 pm

Fall in UK labour productivity is worst in 5 years

I just saw this in the FT. It deserves a heads up, although Phil M already responded earlier in the week. The UK economy has seen near zero productivity growth over the last 11 years since the 2008 crisis, way behind the OECD average. We have lost 25% of productivity from trend since 2008 and thus 25% of the wages that we would have had. Our wages would be 25% higher than they are, if the UK economy were not flatlining. We have both a zombie economy and a zombie parliament.

Scotland and NI are quite right to want out of the UK, it is simply no longer a materially progressive union and there are no signs of that changing. The UK has simply failed and is it passed its sell-by. The hysterical PC/ wokeism is also likely influenced by the degenerate material base as the state thrashes around looking for some other self-justification for its existence in the ideological superstructure. A broken politics/ moralism to reflect a broken economic base?

Fall in UK labour productivity is worst in 5 years

Labour productivity in the UK contracted in the second quarter at the fastest pace in five years, highlighting how a trend that has persisted since the global financial crisis has accelerated as a result of Brexit uncertainty.

Productivity is considered the single most important determinant of a country’s standard of living and lack of growth limits a country’s ability to become richer. In the UK, productivity has stagnated since the 2008 financial crisis and failed to recover as it typically does following contractions. Moreover, it has weakened since the 2016 Brexit referendum and contracted in the past year.

Many economists and businesspeople point to the lack of business investment as a reason for deteriorating productivity. Business investment has barely expanded since the second quarter of 2016 and contracted 0.4 per cent in the three months to June.

“The low cost and flexibility of labour relative to capital has certainly supported employment over investment,” said Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY Item Club, a consultancy.

The fall in labour productivity represents a continuation of the UK’s “productivity puzzle”, with productivity since the economic downturn in 2008 growing more slowly than during the long period before the downturn.

In the 11 years to the second quarter of 2008, UK productivity grew 25 per cent, compared with near stagnation over the past 11 years.

The UK also underperformed its peers. Since the second quarter of 2008, the UK’s lack of growth contrasted with an average 9 per cent expansion in labour productivity for the 36 member countries of the OECD, the Paris-based club of mostly rich nations.

George Orwell

26th October 2019 at 2:18 pm

It is a consequence of the EU free movement rules which have led to such high net migration into the UK. Employers were able to get things done by larger numbers of low paid staff instead of innovating so as to use smaller numbers of higher paid staff. That distorts the figures for GDP per worker.
A good example of why we would be better off out.

Winston Stanley

27th October 2019 at 1:40 pm

The problems are deeply structural to European capitalism. After WWII, despite massive loss of wealth, Europe (Britain, France, Germany, Italy anyway) steadily closed the productivity gap with the USA, rapidly developed new technologies and adopted American tech and management models. Europe went into long-term economic decline in the 1970s and the rate of convergence slowed and then ended, with Italy actually falling back. Europe remains about 40% behind USA productivity today. The situation worsened in the 1990s and again after 2008. UK has been particularly badly hit, productivity growth peaked in the mid 1970s and it steadily fell toward zero thereafter; it has fallen to near zero over the last 11 years.

The underlying problem may simply be a refusal to allow capitalism to function on its own terms. High taxes, surreal regulations, a lack of competition, poor enforcement of competition laws, no top universities, low R&D etc. As Phil M has explained, we have a zombie economy, with state measures like easy money to prop up low-profitability, highly indebted, failing buisnesses and sectors. There is an aversion to allow capitalism to take its course and to allow businesses to fail, to clear the ground for new set ups to emerge. The general congestion and sluggishness also dissuades companies from high profitability investment to implement R&D. It all leaves the economy with stagnant productivity.

A high level of migrant workers certainly does compound the overall situation in so far as it allows the economy to expand GDP, and to continue to scrape a profit without serious investment. But that is only one factor in the operation of contemporary UK economics that sustains the status quo. The underlying problem is the lack of any realistic political will to make fundamental structral changes to the UK economy, which would be a violently destructive period with higher unemployment and poverty while the economy is rebuilt. High migration levels are thus a consequence rather than a cause of the situation, like much else, although as a consequence it becomes a contributive factor in perpetuating the status quo.

Migration should not be scapegoated, high migration is a problem only in the same sense as that everything else is a problem these days – in so far as it helps to maintain the economic status quo. Quite possibly British capital would have collapsed without a high migration of workers to boost GDP while productivity stagnated, and it remains questionable whether the UK has what it takes to restructure the economy. High migration can contribute to a high or a low productivity economy, it is the economy itself that determines which is the case.

The problems of the UK are long-term, economic and political. Likely what you see is what get, nothing much will change unless the situation worsens despite policies aimed at the maintenance of status quo. The UK has learnt to put off crises of capital, and yet another crisis may be just what the doctor ordered. Likely the worse the crisis the better, capitalism will then either fall as an economic system that is no longer materially progressive or politically viable, and be replace with socialism, or it will get its act together and start functioning as a capitalist system. Like most, I do not really see the status quo as that bad, it could be a lot worse.

Jim Lawrie

26th October 2019 at 11:09 am

The likes of Yaniv are set on imposing themselves on others any way they can. They want to ban open discussion and in may instances have done so. Some of them have set up their own alternative justice system in the Universities.

Running a business from home does not mean the laws of the land do not apply. The problem is the law interferes too much, yet in this case it ducks the issue by concentrating on his motives and concludes the matter with some name calling – that he is a racist. Spіkеd chime in on that note.
Racists have rights too. The same rights as the rest of us. Yaniv must have the matter resolved on its legal merits, not dismissed on his perceived failings on points of political correctness.

Ms Whelan asserts that there should be some special place where he can go for this service. I disagree. No one has the right to any such service. Businesses should be able to refuse anyone for any reason whatsoever, except where the business is run on the public purse, like the NHS.

Maggie’s Centres, run by women, for women, is unwelcoming to men, but receives a large amount of money from the taxman. Totally wrong.
Women’s refuges now have to allow men in. That is wrong, no matter how they are funded.

Andrew Leonard

26th October 2019 at 1:48 am

Regarding the woman who does waxing services in her own home – this reminded me of the expression; A man’s home is his castle.
It’s funny that is an era of hyper-individualism, in which in everyone gets to be a king or queen (and choose between), and yet none of us are entitled to boundaries or privacy, of any kind. Weird.

Also, how is it that perverts like Jessica Yaniv get to have the moral upper hand, by casually calling anyone who disagrees with their fake rights, a ‘transphobe’ or ‘TERF’, but no else seems ready to return serve with verbal slurs of their own? That might sound crude, but name calling is increasingly how we now do things, at the social level. The nice little society we once lived in, is long gone. Be prepared to give as good as you get. If you don’t, the self-righteous freaks of the world will never stop their abuse.

Jim Lawrie

26th October 2019 at 1:45 am

It’s all very well to say that people work these things out for themselves, but a publican could lose his license for stopping a man going into the woman’s toilet, or lose custom if he doesn’t.

There are men and there are women. The best efforts of the pharmaceutical, surgical and psychiatric professions cannot change the visuo-spatial ability of either sex to that of the other, nor the sex itself. Nor the emotional responses. There is no such thing as a “transwoman”.

The problem women face around the transphobia fallacy is that feminists have argued that we can me made to be the same. The trannies have taken that and said “now we are same”. The feminists only defence is to say that we are not, but they have forfeited that.

Jim Lawrie

26th October 2019 at 1:01 am

“Fake news” accusations will be used to stop any question the establishment don’t like.

George Orwell

26th October 2019 at 12:35 pm

Speaking of fake news I’m disappointed by Adam Boulton of Sky who lists a number of statements by Johnson et al and describes them as fake news but on reading them I just saw alternative ways of interpreting the same basic facts. Knowledge of context negates any element of ‘fakeness’.
For example, Johnson says that Parliament passed his new deal and we all know that he was referring only to the second reading so he is correct but he is being accused of lying because the deal has not been through all its stages.
Journalists’ linguistic rigour has been poor for decades and now it has gone altogether.

Jim Lawrie

26th October 2019 at 3:21 pm

They think we are all stupid.

George Orwell

26th October 2019 at 7:03 pm

They are gambling that enough are stupid (or rather, uneducated).
They could be right after what they have done to the education system.
We have plenty of clever, industrious and enthusiastic citizens but they have not been supplied with the tools that they need to see what is going on.

Jim Lawrie

26th October 2019 at 9:47 pm

George Orwell up here people are blinded by a base anti-Toryism.

I do agree that academia makes no attempt to introduce rigour into the thinking of their charges. In many cases the teachers themselves have little ability to think critically.
My attempts to discuss matters are often met with “whose effin side you oan?”

On the bright side, despite the combined attacks of Parliament, the media, the Police and the judiciary, combined support for The Conservatives, UKIP and The Brexit Party is still pushing 50%.
Other good news is that it is increasingly rare for The Guardian et al to commission a poll whose results they are willing to publish.

It may not be much, but I think the Brexit vote in Scotland will damage The SNP in the General Election.

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