‘The European Parliament is a sham’

Claire Fox talks to Brendan O’Neill about what she learned from her time in the EU.

Topics Brexit Politics UK

Claire Fox, former Brexit Party MEP and director of the Academy of Ideas, joins spiked’s editor for the latest episode of The Brendan O’Neill Show. They discuss her time in the European Parliament, the demonisation of Leave voters, and how to make democracy come alive after Brexit.

Claire Fox is the co-convenor of ‘Changing Politics for Good: What Next?’, which will take place at the Cheshire Conference Centre in Stockport on 29 February. Get tickets here.

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


Christopher Tyson

29th February 2020 at 4:26 pm

An autodidact is not necessarily entirely self-taught, some are just curious other have interests outside their formal area of specialisation, others under-achieved or had their educations interrupted, some for ill-health, lack of interest, preference for night-clubs course work, choosing the wrong subject, lack of maturity. Sometimes later in life we appreciate more the opportunities we did not take advantage of. I argue for the authority of Reason. I have a vested interest in this. If you lack social power, a reasoned argument demands a response. Alas it feels like a parallel universe, the place where discussion are had and where decisions of importance are taken. If I believe that George Osborne has made a flawed argument, where do I take my criticism? What is the likelihood that George Osborne would say ‘fair point, I was wrong’? We can talk about free speech, but we need a place to speak and someone to speak to. It is no small achievement of Clair Fox’s that in her work as driving force behind the academy of ideas she has often managed to bring autodidacts, mis-fits and weirdos, waifs and strays, Oxbridge types and PhD’s together in one room.

Christopher Tyson

29th February 2020 at 3:53 pm

When a political operator like George Osborne likens Brexit to falling off a cliff he may be serious or this may be hyperbole. For the sake of argument I’ll assume the former. In our lives we make leaps of faith everyday, we expect today to be much the same as yesterday, we set off for work presuming that the office hasn’t been burnt down overnight etc. Somewhere along the line most or many of us will make a life changing decision, where the outcome is uncertain, leaving a job, getting married, emigrating etc.

Christopher Tyson

29th February 2020 at 4:08 pm

Not so long ago it was a mantra of the business guru, bosses and managers that we had to get used to constant change. We could no longer expect a job for life, we would have to adjust to technical and wider economic changes. How hollow that sounds now. We have voted for a major change, and the business guru class are angst-ridden that we may have fallen off a cliff. Their anxiety is a symptom of their own prejudices. Yes, as I have said taking a leap of faith is something that we must do at some point in our lives. We cannot even make an argument for rationality, ‘I want to be a rational person because…’.There is no rational answer to that question. Osborne and other have presumed that Brexit was mindless, reckless, driven by primal or irrational instincts, emotions and prejudices. They cannot imagine that there are people who didn’t go to Oxbridge and don’t have a PhD’s who are capable of rational and intelligent thought.

Christopher Tyson

29th February 2020 at 4:16 pm

It was in Sartre’s Nausea, that I became aware of the word ‘autodidact’, it is a funny word, and Sartre’s autodidact (spoiler alert) turned out to be pretty strange. Nonetheless I stand in solidarity with autodidacts. However at a time when more young people in the UK are in further education than ever before with A*’s coming out of their ears, isn’t it an indictment of our education system that some of the Remainer class regard so many of their fellow citizens as thick.

Christopher Tyson

29th February 2020 at 4:34 pm

Just to clarify Reason, but I can’t justify Reason by using Reason, why be a rational person? This itself is a leap of faith, it may that our desire for development and progress pushes us to develop our rational abilities, may we are just wired that way, maybe Reason helps us to get what we want. But if you ask me why your should be rational, I can’t answer that questions, I would say that you have to take a leap of faith to be a rational person.

Stephan frankling

6th March 2020 at 8:56 am

In regard to the job for life expectancy I would agree that many of us have a relationship with our fellow workers which can and often does become a second type of family, a family which most of us shall spend more awake time with than our actual family. This then leads to a total shock when as recently a hitherto stable commercial entity suddenly without any warning to the other than boardroom workers, it is to some a wrench almost as bad as leaving one’s real family.
Unless of course one belongs to that opaque group of workers collectively known as civil servants.
So to see on titled one emerge into the dazzle of real life recently citing bullying was a revelation in itself he had voluntarily fallen on his own sword.
So you are correct many life changing events happen after you leave for work.
Life changing.

sojix jatoi

27th February 2020 at 4:13 pm



26th February 2020 at 10:28 pm

The answer is to reform the EU Parliament and make it sovereign, not stupidly to undermine it.

Graham Southern

27th February 2020 at 4:03 pm

Yes, when we joined – and for decades after that – that was hope and target of most pro-EU Brits. I include myself in that. By now it has become obvious that there is no impetus and no desire, to reform and empower the EU parliament. Quite the opposite.
I’m not sure if you watched this, Zenobia, but if you did then, unless you think the interviewee is lying, you must agree that it is clear that the parliament is window-dressing; a talking shop designed to give the impression of democracy.

Jerry Owen

27th February 2020 at 4:33 pm

The site idiot that loves the EU empire has been saying for about a year it needs ‘reforming’. She is the gift that just keeps giving!
Oh .. just when did we ‘vote to join the EU’ as you hilariously think.

David Webb

26th February 2020 at 2:47 pm

Claire Fox is a fake Brexiteer, just like Brendan O’Neill. They support “democracy”, but oppose the idea that working class people should decide issues such as immigration. Shamima Begum IS NOT BRITISH AND NEVER HAS BEEN. Being born here doesn’t mean someone is British. Are the Chinese being settled in Tibet now Tibetans? Claire is saying “ooh, immigration is all very complicated – we mustn’t let working class people simplify it”, etc etc etc. Theresa May also said “Brexit is all so very complicated”. Claire, you want a CLOSED debate on race and immigration. This is our country. Try a referendum on immigration. Look, Claire and Brendan, Brexit can’t just be Brexit – we want more populism. But you stand in favour of immigration, in favour of the “racism” canard, in favour of feminism, gay rights etc etc. These are all elite causes. Your idea of change amounts to even more elitist and globalist crap…. Your have small, wonkish ideas, like abolishing the Lords. But what is the point of that if you just want to carry on with the same set of policies we have now – forcefeeding multiracialism, feminism and homosexualism on the population.


26th February 2020 at 5:29 pm

That’s OK as long as you accept that you yourself should not be allowed into any other country. After all, why should the more pragmatic, more rational Dutch, Germans or Spanish allow their countries to be contaminated by poisonous blood and soil English nationalism?

Jerry Owen

26th February 2020 at 5:50 pm

Poor old ZP thinks leaving the EU is isolation.. ever heard of ‘the rest of the world’? I’ll give you a clue, it’s far bigger than Europe who we also will trade with.
Remember we had an empire and then a commonwealth, you like empires so you should be happy that we have experience of trading with the rest of the world.
Oh and when was it we voted to join the ..ahem ..EU as you asserted, I have asked you before but you never answer?
You are the gift that keeps giving!


26th February 2020 at 9:16 pm

JERRY OWEN — David Web is clearly a reactionary bigot. He despises what he does not understand and deliberately keeps his range of experiences limited so that the can cope by making the world much smaller and less complex than it really is.

Jerry Owen

26th February 2020 at 9:34 pm

No response to my post ….never a straight answer from you eh?
In fact never an answer.
As I say Frit!

David Webb

26th February 2020 at 1:22 pm

Brendan – a fascinating story today – about Chartists who left graffiti in the House of Commons. See https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/feb/26/westminster-secret-passageway-discovery-reveals-169-year-old-graffiti Stone masons working on the House of Commons left a pencil inscription dated 1851 stating that they were Real Democrats. The Real Democrats were part of the Chartist movement. Just think: they didn’t have the vote in 1851, but were employed doing masonry work there – and they memorialised for history their support for democracy. Early Brexiteers, I would say.


26th February 2020 at 5:35 pm

‘Early Brexiteers’ — What a stupid comment. Chartism was about universal manhood suffrage and social justice, not self-imposed economic sanctions and pointless isolationism.

Graham Southern

27th February 2020 at 4:16 pm

I don’t think you understand the British mentality, Zenobia. Isolation is not something we like, but independence certainly is. The British – and more especially the English – for long before the brief episode of the empire have been fiercely individualistic, outward-looking adventurers – let me give you some ammunition and rephrase it as ‘pirates’. We don’t like being pushed around; we obey rules, which is why we resent onerous or pointless ones. Slow to rouse, absolute bloody-minded b*st*rds when we are. Your dislike of the English shines through, Zenobia, but we can be good friends and ‘fair play’ really is a British thing.


27th February 2020 at 10:04 pm

GRAHAM SOUTHERN — Unfortunately, that ‘independence’ also carries with it a great deal of hypocrisy. Why do you think the Americans rejected your system of monarchy, deference and unnatural social hierarchy in favour of maximum individual liberty?

Jerry Owen

28th February 2020 at 8:17 am

What is the hypocrisy of independence .. do tell?

Ven Oods

2nd March 2020 at 8:31 am

“manhood suffrage”
Did you mean ‘male suffrage’, or was that ‘votes for dicks’?

Jim Lawrie

26th February 2020 at 12:59 pm

You complain about name calling directed at yourself then in the very next sentence brand Mr Sabisky a eugenicist (code for Nazi), for pointing out IQ differences by race. Eugenics is the proposition that we should selectively breed human beings. Can you point me to where he advocated that?

Biro Pen

26th February 2020 at 12:04 pm

I’d love to hear a podcast in which Brendan debates someone with whom he fundamentally disagrees. As it is, the Brendan O’Neil Show – which claims not to be a space space – is basically a very safe space for those who share his views. Let’s have some disagreements and debate – and not yet more head nodding and grunts of approval.


26th February 2020 at 5:32 pm

You got it in one. BON is frightened of having his views challenged. He is merely a provocateur who likes taking extreme positions on issues in order to provoke a reaction. He clearly gets off on this.

Jerry Owen

27th February 2020 at 4:35 pm

You are soooooo easy to pick apart . I know this will be hard for you but just click on ‘videos’ on the home page and watch the man debate.

Jerry Owen

26th February 2020 at 7:26 pm

Try YouTube and proove yourself wrong… Although you know you are anyway.
Especially watch him laying it some anti Brexit protestors in London.
Oh you’re here aren’t you?


27th February 2020 at 12:10 am

You have no idea where I am, Jerry.

Graham Southern

27th February 2020 at 4:04 pm

I think we have a fairly clear ball-park idea of where you are, Zenobia.

Jerry Owen

27th February 2020 at 4:36 pm

Why should I care?

Ven Oods

2nd March 2020 at 8:39 am

I agree about the lack of debate, but I did find this particular podcast interesting, inasmuch as I wanted to hear about Fox’s experience of the EU Parliament. Not that I share her politics, but she usually has something meaningful to say.

Asif Qadir

26th February 2020 at 7:02 am

Get a…Nationalist on…you bastard.

Asif Qadir

26th February 2020 at 6:59 am

Beta No’Zeal

“The Brendan O’Neill show” ? Why are you promoting yourself so proudly as the host of a leftist circle-jerk? You lame, fey weirdo. Get me on here before you start getting too excited as part of your leftist, fake news circle-jerk. ..you ve been sussed, and will be swinging by your nuts before too long due to your disgraceful, leftist positions.

Asif Qadir

26th February 2020 at 7:00 am

Traitorous scum

Asif Qadir

26th February 2020 at 7:01 am

Get s Nationalist on, you vile, politically illiterate scumbag.


26th February 2020 at 11:04 am

A few questions
1. What do you mean by a “Nationalist”?
2. Is your use of the word “fey” a miss type or don’t you know what “fey” means ?
3. To whom, precisely, are your insults addressed?


26th February 2020 at 5:29 pm

Asif Qadir is a bigot thicko, best ignored.

Jim Lawrie

27th February 2020 at 11:46 am

Asif I recommend camomile tea? With no sugar.

Jerry Owen

27th February 2020 at 4:38 pm

She was more sane under the pseudonym Anna Bollick.
As it is she’s just a retarded bunny boiler!

Ven Oods

2nd March 2020 at 8:42 am

I’d have suggested a darkened room, with some strong sedatives.

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