The Boris delusion

The spiked team discuss the Tory leadership, Iran and Islamophobia.

Topics Brexit Politics UK

Will Boris deliver Brexit? How did we get to the brink of war with Iran? Why is it a sackable offence to joke about Islam? Brendan O’Neill, Tim Black and Fraser Myers discuss on this week’s spiked podcast.

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.


Mad Dog Earle

30th June 2019 at 6:31 pm

“The spiked team discuss the Tory leadership, Iran and Islamophobia.”

There’s no such thing as ‘Islamophobia’. It is a control word used by the Liberal/Left and by Muslims to try and silence and shout down any criticism of Islam by inferring that there is something wrong with you.

A phobia is an irrational fear or hatred but there is nothing irrational or wrong or (illegal) with fearing or hating Islam. Women, Jews, gays and non-believers have good reason to fear Islam which hates them all, it is an intolerant, divisive, violent, supremacist, hateful, backward and misogynistic ideology with a track record of intolerance and actual violence, and threats of violence to anyone who dares to challenge or criticise it. Opposition to Islam is entirely, and demonstrably, rational. Indeed, given the irrationality of Islam, opposition is actually a defence of rationality.

As someone else once said, Islamophobia is a word created by fascists and used by cowards to manipulate morons.

Hana Jinks

30th June 2019 at 11:53 pm

You know this. And l know this. And pretty much every person you or l speak to knows this. What does that make those responsible for the infliction of this upon our societies? And why do they continue to use these neologisms? And in the face of Rotherham, Molenbeek, Malmo and Marseille, why are they broadening the scope of this attack, as opposed to abandoning it as a bad joke?

Winston Stanley

29th June 2019 at 11:27 pm

BREAKING: Support for Welsh independence from the British State rises to 41%, unprecedented and far higher than ever, while Scottish independence remains on a knife edge at 49/51% and the polls suggest that it has got nothing to do with Brexit. British State is a capitalist state, a money-grabbing cult, nothing more and nothing less – never was, never will be. Wales must be free, Scotland must be free – Ireland must be free. Maybe England will get its independence at this rate – maybe we should declare independence first so that we do not get stuck with the BS Lib Lab Con?

Winston Smith

29th June 2019 at 6:40 pm

I hate Iran. Is that Islamophobic?

Hana Jinks

30th June 2019 at 1:27 am

I hate islam. Is that islamophobic?

James Chilton

29th June 2019 at 5:32 pm

We already know that “Boris” is a shallow, self-serving and ambitious blustermonger. He doesn’t change his principles: he has none. He relies on pure blarney to dodge any proper examination of his “policies” etc., etc.

The question Brendan O’Neill and his colleagues never address is why British politics, or maybe public life in general, is full of unprincipled, mendacious and ridiculous wretches. How has it become possible for an obvious charlatan like BoJo to be in the running for the prime minister’s job? Something is rotten in our state of affairs.

Gloria Britanniæ

29th June 2019 at 7:23 pm

Our mistake was starting to pay them in 1911. Since Simon de Montfort summoned the first Parliament at Westminster in 1265 (and from before that, Parliament’s origins lying in the 8th Century Saxon Witan and Moot) until 1911, its members sat without expectation of remuneration—and we had far better MPs when they enjoyed no salaries or expenses than ever since: J.S. Mill, Edmund Burke, radicals like William Cobbett, PMs such as Pitt the Younger, Wellington, Peel, Palmerston, Salisbury, etc. Other than Winston, who have we had since that compares to those political titans? (I’ll give you Attlee if you insist.)

With few opportunities to dip one’s snout into the taxpayers’ trough, entering politics was seen more as a service to one’s country. Being unsalaried, it required them to have *actual talent*: to make money (as ex-Sergeant Major Cobbett did, financing himself through his writing) or to convince a patron that they were worthy of their support (as Burke convinced Lord Verney and William Hamilton), or to have made their fortune before entering politics (such as successful naval officers rich from prizes, like Sir Edward Pellew, who some believe the inspiration for Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey).

MPs once saw their job as simply safely steering Plato’s ‘Ship of State’—taking in a reef here, setting full sail there, battening down the hatches and seeking safe harbour when necessary; a steady hand on the tiller rather than a slalom ride—and not be forever trying to rebuild the entire ship from the keel up, as our MPs do now, seeking headlines for their latest whim to radically restructure our country. For many, being an MP was part-time (and being unpaid, the public little minded them taking long holidays or concentrating on their businesses), with MPs such as John Norris, who combined representing Rye (1708–22, 1734–49) and Portsmouth (1722–34) with a Royal Naval career, commanding operational cruises to the Baltic; and Admiral Thomas Cochrane (inspiration for C.S. Forester’s Hornblower) who led daring expeditions against Buonaparte’s forces in the Med while representing Westminster (1807–18).

The History of Parliament website is fascinating, particularly the Members’ biographies: by no means were many the ‘idle wealthy’ (as described by Karen Straughan, a Canadian MRA of modest prominence, who I got into this with recently; despite my dispute, I recommend her videos and writing on social media).

If you want better MPs, stop paying the swine. N.b. This is only restoring a tried and tested solution, an established English then British practice that worked satisfactorily for centuries (to quote Cobbett: ‘We want great alteration, but we want nothing new.’).

James Chilton

30th June 2019 at 10:38 am

The idea that not paying a salary and expenses from public funds would encourage disinterested and public spirited people to become MPs is superficially attractive. it evidently worked in the past. But the past is a foreign country: they do things differently there. In the here and now, the idea is a complete non-starter.

On the broad question of why there’s a dearth of educated men and women who can be trusted with public office, I think it’s an effect with a multiplicity of causes – social, economic, and moral. And nothing less than a cultural revolution would be necessary in order to restore the norms which once governed public life. Of course, in an imperfect world, this could only be a matter of degree rather than a unqualified change for the better.

Your link doesn’t work.

Winston Stanley

30th June 2019 at 7:33 pm

Have I got this right, your “plan” is to stop MPs pay in the hope of stopping immigration?

A lot of us do not mind/ cope with immigration, and in any case immigration has already happened. About 40% of kids born in UK are now of an immigrant background. Immigration is not an issue, it is a fact.

I am surprised when people complain about “multiculturalism.” Multiculturalism is a fact, there are various cultures in this society. The British were able to cope with other cultures when they were running an empire, so why not now? If people are just being difficult, expecting everyone to have the exact same culture and manner as themselves, then that is just unrealistic. We do not dictate culture in a free, liberal society, people and communities can have whatever culture they like. I suspect that some people complain about multiculturalism because they simply do not want other races and ethnicities in the country. But that is already a done deal.

The general political problem as I see it is that the state is unresponsive to the demos. Eg. the majority want recreational cannabis legalised and assisted dying. I reckon that the solution is to have more direct democracy, the use of referenda to enact policies. The indirect “representative” parliamentary system acts as a buffer between the state and the demos, we need to overcome that. Parties have to stand on overall manifestoes and appeal to a wide section of society, so they fear upsetting this or that section of the demos with this or that policy and losing some support, so they try to avoid controversial issues, even when there is a clear majority in favour of a policy. Sometimes party politicos are just arrogant, they think that they know better, and they refuse to do what the demos wants.

The state has no authority over the demos in a democracy, we are supposed to have all authority over the state. We need more direct democracy so that we can wield that authority, regardless of ethnic background. Who needs party representation when we can have a referendum to settle a matter? The lack of referenda is a stark democratic deficit, we need a party that will change that, maybe the Lib Dems.

Hana Jinks

1st July 2019 at 6:42 am


It’s not about race. Are you carrying a diabolical ideology with you?

Gloria Britanniæ

30th June 2019 at 12:23 pm

I am ever perplexed at people’s aversion to restoring a tried and tested working practice, preferring to continue our lemming-like march over the cliffs or embrace a completely untried and untested idea.

Wrt G.K. Chesterton’s parable of ‘the Fence’—our country has had every fence blown away and now chaos reigns—animals wander hither and thither, people trespass and worse without care. I wander along and say, ‘Guys, I’ve been reading some old books and it seems we used to have something called “””””fen-ces””””” and “””””wa-alls”””””, which were a kind of “””””bar-ri-er””””” denoting property boundaries, containing animals and keeping out casual strangers. So… why don’t we rebuild some of those “”””fen-ces”””” and “”””wa-alls””””?’
[Blank looks]
‘It’s okay, the instructions for building these “””fences””” and “””walls””” are in these books, and you don’t have to pay me for them, they’re freely available; you don’t have to sign up for my religion or politics or make me Führer. Just read the books for yourselves.’
[Vacant expressions]
‘Just read the books, they’re free… Follow the instructions, easy to understand… Just read… Build… rebuild… ‘Fences’ worked well for millennia… It’s all in the books…’
[Empty stares]
Then someone wanders along with his idea for solving the problems by implementing mass levitation and everyone’s: ‘Hey, sign me up for that!’

The idea is certainly a non-starter if you give up at the first mention of it. So fine, surrender without even making the effort. Bow down meekly before your political masters.
Lucky you were not around at Agincourt—Look how many French there are! Beat them? The idea is a complete non-starter.
Lucky you were not around in 1940—No-one can beat the mighty Wehrmacht! The idea is a complete non-starter.
Lucky you were not advising Nigel Farage—Campaign for leaving the EU? The idea is a complete non-starter.

A large part of British history is of us beating the odds, and facing far greater challenges than putting 650 oiks in their place by taking away their toys.

Obviously our MPs will be reluctant to get off the taxpayer-funded gravy train; but although normally loath to put forward my own ideas, preferring to learn from the giants who built our civilisation, I did have a notion that might persuade the public at large and even some of the MPs themselves. But as you’ve already run up the white flag, there is little point in my putting it forward here as you’ll only dismiss it out of hand: Change things? “””Change”””? Not with you, mate, not following at all.

And the link works fine for me, so the problem is your end. Did you try clicking on it or was that an effort too much for you as well?

Marvin Jones

1st July 2019 at 10:49 am


Gloria Britanniæ

30th June 2019 at 1:02 pm

On thinking about it, James, perhaps an ancestor of yours advised Elphinstone at Kabul? As George MacDonald Fraser put it:

Only [Elphinstone] could have permitted the First Afghan War and let it develop to such a ruinous defeat. It was not easy: he started with a good army, a secure position, some excellent officers, a disorganised enemy, and repeated opportunities to save the situation. But Elphy, with the touch of true genius, swept aside these obstacles with unerring precision, and out of order wrought complete chaos. We shall not, with luck, look upon his like again.

(Flashman. The Flashman Papers, vol.1, 1839–1842. 1969. HarperCollins, 1999. 113–114.)

As Winston prophetically addressed the Royal Society of St George in 1933:

The worst difficulties from which we suffer do not come from without. They come from within. … They come from a peculiar type of brainy people always found in our country, who, if they add something to its culture, take much from its strength. Our difficulties come from the mood of unwarrantable self-abasement, into which we have been cast by a powerful section of our intellectuals.

And Enoch in 1968:

Too often today people are ready to tell us, ‘This is not possible, that is not possible’. I say, whatever the true interest of our country calls for is always possible. We have nothing to fear but our own doubts.

And Tennyson in 1852:

Pray God our greatness may not fail
Thro’ craven fears of being great.

James Chilton

30th June 2019 at 6:38 pm

From your feeble attempts at satire (at my expense) I see it was unwise to respond to your comment. I won’t make the same mistake again.

Hana Jinks

1st July 2019 at 6:43 am


Are you single?

Marvin Jones

1st July 2019 at 10:42 am

The reason is because for the last 20 years, the young have been leaving education barely able to read and write, more interested in media and fame than history, politics and how the world works, hence, they are easily duped by hot air and bluster. Just look how the ERG, and the staunch Tory
leavers, got so badly duped by the remain side, who planted a rabid remain PM, who in turn engulfed herself with rabid remainers in turn, negotiating for Brexit. NOW! that is ignorance.

Winston Stanley

28th June 2019 at 6:23 pm

It was a disturbing insight that Boris is obsessed with making images of people smiling and waving on buses. Is that how he sees society and the demos? Our place is to smile and wave as we spend our prefabricated lives being taken on whichever journeys the state chooses to lay out for us? With no control over the routes and destinations, or our roles, other than to pay up and to sit on the bus waving and smiling? The demos in that vision is without genuine agency and autonomy, they are mere passengers, cut out characters on predetermined journeys. Are we characters in Boris’ nightmare dream scenario?

Our place is to smile and wave as we sit passively on our journeys. Perhaps Boris has inherited his view of society from his royal ancestors, George II via prince Paul Von Wurttemberg. Hopefully not even “queen” Elizabeth is so naive as to think that the plebs are really these silly characters who are disposed to smile and wave at their rulers and betters. Presumably not even she is so sheltered that she mistakes the smiling, waving crowds that she occasionally deigns to lift a hand to, with normal plebian behaviour. Of course that is how the state would like us to be, gormless, passive, obedient plebs with the mental age of a five year old, docilely admiring and practically worshipping our rulers.

Perhaps this goes some way to explain Boris’ nonchalance, resilience and obliviousness to his blunders, flip flops and faux pais. How could he be unnerved by a smiling waving crowd of passersby on a bus? His mentality is like he thinks that he is the queen, and we are some smiling, waving crowd calling out “we love you, long may you reign over us”, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Brexit is supposed to give us democratic control over our society, collective agency to determine our roles, our paths forward and the destiny of our society. Smiling, waving passive plebians on Boris’ bus routes, we are not supposed to be.

Winston Stanley

28th June 2019 at 11:04 pm

King Boris, Boadicea or King Canute?

Marvin Jones

1st July 2019 at 10:52 am


Hana Jinks

1st July 2019 at 1:32 pm

WinSTON, dude…

That racist shite aint gonna cut it.

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