This rotten parliament

The spiked team discuss Brexit and the elite’s turn against democracy.

Topics Brexit Politics UK

Has parliament lost its legitimacy? Can Brexit survive all the legal challenges? Has Boris bottled it on No Deal? Brendan O’Neill, Ella Whelan and Fraser Myers discuss all this and more 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.


Marvin Jones

17th September 2019 at 2:46 pm

So, this is the Mother of all democracies then. Two thirds of MPs in Parliament ignoring and debasing the vote of 17.4 million leavers. Taking over the powers from the government, overturning the referendum result and forcing our PM to beg for an extension to remain attached to the EU forever. Then to top it all off, prevent us from having a GE because we intend to clean the swamp of the biggest “Fat Berg” that is clogging up our freedom and exit from the biggest and most corrupt gang of morons ever to assemble in Europe.

Brandy Cluster

15th September 2019 at 2:18 am

Spiked is doing a simply magnificent job of outlining the issues and detecting the danger. I refer to Spiked all the time when I’m commenting on other media.

Winston Stanley

15th September 2019 at 1:55 am

The country agrees, Westminster is institutionally unfit for purpose.

> Brits have completely lost confidence in country’s MPs – shock poll

British people have no confidence in the country’s politicians as the Brexit crisis hits new depths, a stunning poll has revealed.

Almost eight in 10 believe Parliament is in desperate need of reform and 74 percent believe it is not fit for the 21st century. Seven in 10 think it fails to reflect the nation’s views and three-quarters believe that, internationally, it does not show Britain in a good light. A ComRes survey, carried out for the Sunday Express, found that almost six in 10 say it has not respected the 2016 referendum result – causing Brexiteers to blame the lack of trust in MPs on the failure to leave the EU.

However, the poll also showed that Remain voters were fed up with MPs, with 73 percent of them saying Parliament is in desperate need of reform, compared to 85 percent of Leavers.

The results also show that 73 percent of all voters believe that Parliament does not attract the brightest and best, and that as an institution it puts political point-scoring above the interests of the country.

“To say that Parliament is in desperate need of an overhaul is a gross understatement,” said ComRes’s chairman Andrew Hawkins.

ComRes’s Mr Hawkins said that the disillusionment was sparked by Parliament’s failure to deal with those trying the thwart the 2016 Brexit result.

Winston Stanley

15th September 2019 at 1:56 am

The Express.

Warren Alexander

14th September 2019 at 6:12 pm

I heard an interesting take on the referendum result from a Remainer civil servant today. He claimed that Remain did NOT lose. Whilst he accepted that Leave gained more votes in the referendum, the 17.4 million people who voted Leave did not represent a majority of the population of the UK therefore there is no mandate to leave the EU.

Jerry Owen

14th September 2019 at 7:19 pm

Yes, apparently because the unborn didn’t vote it’s an illegitimate referendum !

Warren Alexander

14th September 2019 at 8:27 pm

Well, he didn’t actually say that, but I’m sure if pressed he would have claimed to be speaking for generations as yet unborn

Jim Lawrie

15th September 2019 at 10:45 am

Another example of them deciding for us what we did not vote for.

Dominic Straiton

14th September 2019 at 5:53 pm

It seems to me that either Parliament under the eu is Sovereign or the franchise under the Queen is Sovereign.

Winston Stanley

14th September 2019 at 5:28 pm

The time has come to take a chainsaw to the British State.

I always said that the British parliamentary system has to be broken up. It is designed to be unrepresentative. We do not live in a democracy, we live under a fake capitalist “democracy” that is designed to disempower the demos and to perpetuate the status quo in the interests of capital. Brexit has confirmed that. CBI, BCC, B of E etc. opposed Brexit and they get what they want. Westminster remained unresponsive to us even when we won a referendum. There are no circumstances in which it would be responsive. The establishment status quo parties will do what they want and regardless of what the demos wants.

The next step forward is to break up the UK. The UK is nothing to us, only genuine democracy interests us. Westminster is nothing to us, only genuine democracy satisfies us and Westminster cannot provide that. It is our enemy and the enemy of all democrats and we need to be clear about that and to act toward it accordingly.

We have tried the constructive path and now it is time to go the destructive path. Support Scottish independence, Irish unity, and Welsh independence. Break up the UK as much as possible. The British state must be punished for the Brexit betrayal. It has told us that UK is not a democracy and that it has no intention of being one. Let us hear that message and fully take it on board. The time for rose eyed loyalty to the state is long over. This is the time to go to war with the state.

Once we have broken up the UK, we can start to break up England into independent regions with fully sovereign and directly democratic parliaments. The national state is the power of national capital and it has proved irredeemably anti-democratic. So let us break it up. If the City of London wants its sovereignty and independence then let us give it what it wants by taking the rest of the island off it.

These are fantastically destructive times, Westminster is in public disarray and discredited. This is the time to strike at it, support the independence movements and break up the British State as much as possible. The time for reform is over, this is the time for revolution – a purely pragmatic siding with all of the enemies of the British State.

It is genuinely on the cards that we can break up the UK over the next decade and we should seize that opportunity and make it happen. Seize the day! Ironically we can use the anti-Brexit movements to do that. The anti-Brexit independence movements have come out of Brexit emboldened and with increased support. They stand at the threshold of victory. Let us do whatever we can to help them get that victory. The British State must pay for what has done with Brexit and this gives us the perfect opportunity. Let us take a chainsaw to the British State.

Winston Stanley

15th September 2019 at 1:15 am

A new poll just out shows that a majority of British voters are in favour of a Scottish independence referendum, including Brexit Party voters, and a clear majority supports a border poll on Irish unity. Recent polls have shown majorities in favour of Scottish independence and Irish unity in the respective lands. Westminster totally deserves a break up of the UK after the Brexit betrayal.

> Most voters believe government should allow Scotland and Northern Ireland to decide on UK membership after Brexit, poll finds

Britain’s voters are ready to let Scotland and Northern Ireland choose whether they wish to remain part of the United Kingdom following Brexit, a new poll has suggested.

The BMG survey for The Independent found significantly more voters than not believe that the government should permit an independence referendum in Scotland and a border poll in Northern Ireland.

The poll of 1,504 people in England, Scotland and Wales found that 45 per cent believe the government should allow a second independence referendum north of the border, against 30 per cent who thought it should be blocked. When don’t knows are removed, the split is an emphatic 60-40 in favour of permitting a referendum. There were majorities in favour of permitting a poll in England, Scotland and Wales and among supporters of Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party, while Tory voters were split 44-42 against.

On the question of whether a border poll should be permitted after Brexit to allow Northern Ireland to decide whether to remain in the UK or join the Republic, the result was an even starker 52 per cent for allowing a referendum against just 19 per cent for blocking it. When don’t knows are removed the margin is 73-27. (The Independent)

Jim Lawrie

15th September 2019 at 11:09 am

5 of the last 6 polls in Scotland show a majority for staying in the UK. You cherry pick one.

Where is the evidence of support in Scotland for Indyref2? What support there is for Indyref2 does not equal support for independence, because a high number of those who oppose Independence support a second vote to put it to bed.

When the number of “don’t knows” falls in Scottish polls, support for the status quo rises.

Nicola Sturgeon trying to make it he law in Scotland that we have one every time she judges it necessary.

Winston Stanley

15th September 2019 at 4:58 pm

Support for Scottish independence has gradually risen over the past couple of years. The recent Ashcroft poll showed that 47% want another independence referendum within the next two years, with 45% against. Support for independence stands at 46% for and 43% against (52%-48% with don’t knows excluded).

The mandate for Indy2 comes Holyrood. SNP won the Holyrood election on a platform to have another referendum should the circumstances materially change. The next election is in May 2021 and it would return the same mandate.

Indy2 could go either way, Indy1 saw a huge surge for YES during the campaign, it would take much less this time.

Jim Lawrie

15th September 2019 at 9:56 pm

Winston Stanley you have twice quoted the one poll from early August, and twice ignored all others. I repeat where is the evidence of support in Scotland for Indyref2?

Winston Stanley

15th September 2019 at 11:47 pm

Polls on Scottish independence have been on a knife edge. The referendum itself will establish the exact level of support. Frit?

17 of 19 polls before May 2015 showed higher support for staying in the EU than for leaving but Cameron had a mandate to call a referendum b/c he was elected on a manifesto to do so – just as SNP has been elected to do so and will be again in 2021.

Winston Stanley

16th September 2019 at 4:06 am

And btw there is no “pledge” that an independence referendum would be “once in a generation”.

Firstly, Alex Salmond was in no position to pledge anything on behalf of the Scottish nation, and secondly he gave not a pledge but an _opinion_ that Indy1 was “a once in a generation _opportunity_”.

Amusingly some of the staunch British State loyalists will come out with the most ridiculous claims.

Democrats will welcome a fresh opportunity for Scotland to decide its future, just as anti-democrats will oppose it. Some ppl put state loyalty above democracy and even above common sense and that is unconscionable in a genuinely democratic society.

Jonathan Yonge

14th September 2019 at 12:30 pm

The only way to make sense out of this is the assumption that ‘it will all blow over’ once a second referendum / repeal article 50 / BRINO has taken place.

Will it all blow over ? Its possible but I really don’t know.
Speaking for myself I feel ‘radicalised’ in my comfy middle-class affluence. But my only influence is through my vote.
A vote for Conservative is for some fudged resolution to Brexit followed by more of the same.
That is no longer enough now

Jerry Owen

14th September 2019 at 11:28 am

Time for us leavers to converge on Parliament in our hundreds of thousands day by day and strike fear into their smug arrogant evil souls. Our democratic voice has been ignored.
We have no other options now other than to use our numerical strength, and justifiably so.
I’m ready.

Jerry Owen

14th September 2019 at 11:19 am

I always wondered how democratic countries became non democratic. I can now see how it happens , it is a slippery slope ‘ normalized ‘ at each stage by those that we ( most people ) trust, it is a constant drip by drip flow of doublespeak / newspeak as predicted by the great author George Orwell who is being proven correct day by day, how he would feel if he were around today .. I think we can all guess . It is quite frightening to witness what is happening right now. The majority being criminalized , one should dwell on that .
I listened to BBC radio Surrey the other day discussing ‘ yellow hammer ‘ , apparently one worst case scenario was redacted, the BBC presenter made it clear that the redaction was clearly because it was so bad that we the public shouldn’t be told what it was.. yes, project fear not using fear ! The presenter clearly representing the BBC was actually arguing the case for forgetting Brexit and simply remaining in the EU.. no second referendum, no deal of any kind, just stay in the EU.
As I have stated before , we are not leaving, and each time I state it I am that much more convinced that I am right.
We live in a tyrannical times indeed.

Bridget Jones

14th September 2019 at 10:18 am

Politicians appear to have forgotten that they need to successfully sell their proposals to the electorate. They’re like a barrow boy yelling “oih stupid ignorant ugly morons don’t you know this is a bargain” at those who are just looking then judging their walking away as the absolute proof of it.

Christopher Tyson

14th September 2019 at 9:52 am

I agree with the panel, I think we have to prepare for Remain. Politicians, technocrats, business people have not prepared for Brexit. For Brexit to work it was always necessary for a significant proportion of the movers and shakers in society to get on board with it, this has not happened. If we do leave the EU and are left with a resentful and uncooperative ruling elite, it will be a pyrrhic victory for Brexiteers. I don’t think that there has been that much exaggeration around Brexit, it has been a genuine major disruption, there will be all manner of repercussions that we cannot begin to imagine. We have not prepared for Brexit but we have not prepared for Remain either, the alienation and social divisions which lead to the Brexit vote remain. I don’t know what comes next, so I will do what I do in these circumstances, go back to rock n roll, serious people can look away now. I was trying to think of a quote from the great Jim Morrison, something like, someone says ‘where do we good from here?’ Jim says ‘there is nowhere to go from here’. I fill my head with stuff and leave things to ferment so that I can make creative connection even as I sleep, the down side is I don’t always remember who said what or where I got something from, I will never be the footnote guy. Anyway I didn’t find the Morrison quote on google, but I did find a clip of an interview with his dad and sister, it has been there for some time, but it was new to me, it was interesting and moving, but I digress. I hear that Jay Ashton formally of 80’s pop group Bucks Fizz will be standing for the Brexit Party in the next election. Bucks Fizz’s biggest hit ‘making your mind up’ is clearly apposite. But Bucks Fizz also had a hit with a song called ‘the land of make believe’. Bucks Fizz were a pretty cheesy pop group, so when the writer of the song said that he was making a political statement with the song, people just laughed. Brexit gave us a glimpse of reality, perhaps too much, and maybe we will all slink back to our land of make believe, Boris will comeback with some smoke and mirrors Emperor’s new deal, and the government will send out a mailshot with personalised certificates inscribed with ‘you have now left the EU’. Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.

Jonathan Yonge

14th September 2019 at 1:26 pm

How bad is the lack of preparation for no-deal, do you know ?

Jerry Owen

14th September 2019 at 4:57 pm

No deal is quite well prepared for.. business is business .

Christopher Tyson

14th September 2019 at 10:59 pm

I wasn’t going to respond to your post, I didn’t think I had any thing to add, but you did get me thinking of the different meanings of ‘prepared’. There is ‘prepared’ as an objective or technical thing, and there is ‘prepared’ which could be subjective, moral, emotional, psychological. Like being prepared for a wedding, the guest invited, caterers paid, etc then on the day one of the couple decides to break it off. Same with other contracts like selling a house, all the contracts are prepared and then the seller doesn’t sign. I wasn’t even going to write this but I went to a function this afternoon and was chatting to someone, the subject of family secrets came up. He told me about a friend of his who found out that he had been adopted. He traced his real mother and tracked her down, he got as close as his biological mother’s house, then changed his mind, he felt disloyal to his adoptive parents, but his reasons were his own, he could have had any number of reasons. In terms of Brexit commitment to the cause matter more than technical preparedness. The middle classes, whatever their faults are still capable of making things happen when they put their minds to it. Committed to Brexit, problems would be dealt with as they arose, the technicalities are of course complex, and no doubt some plans have been made, but the psychological or subjective preparedness is not there. What subjective resistance is there to Brexit? Fear of the unknown, risk consciousness, a loss of control, a mistrust of emerging political movements, perhaps most importantly financial vested interests, the breaking up of a club that has serve some well, socially, economically and powerfully. When someone say ‘I’m not prepared to put up with this’, they don’t mean that they’re not ready yet, they mean that they don’t want to put up with it, ever.

Jim Lawrie

14th September 2019 at 11:53 pm

About the same as for the millennium bug, when the earth failed to flip on its axis, the poles did not switch and none of our bank accounts went from red to black.

Jerry Owen

15th September 2019 at 10:36 am

Christopher Tyson
Fortunately not one single ‘project fear ‘ prediction by the remain lobby has come to pass.
We should read a lot into that.

In Negative

14th September 2019 at 5:02 pm

nasty in you garden’s
patiently so it can have your heart.”

In Negative

14th September 2019 at 5:09 pm

Or better:

“Your world is turning
From night to day
Your dream is burning far, far away”

Jim Lawrie

13th September 2019 at 5:04 pm

When Tom Watson says the vote is now invalid he is relying on the outlawing of no deal by Act of Parliament, and thus unwittingly acknowledges that the 2016 decision was to leave without a deal.

Winston Stanley

13th September 2019 at 5:15 pm

Is that any truer or falser than it was at 3:15 pm?

Jim Lawrie

13th September 2019 at 9:21 pm

Sorry Winston. I didn’t see my post, assumed I hadn’t posted and redid it. Initially hadn’t a clue what your question was about.

Jerry Owen

14th September 2019 at 11:22 am

That is a rather brilliant point !

Jim Lawrie

14th September 2019 at 2:15 pm

From “Brother where art Thou”

Pete: Wait a minute. Who elected you leader of this outfit?

Ulysses Everett McGill: Well Pete, I figured it should be the one with the capacity for abstract thought. But if that ain’t the consensus view, then hell, let’s put it to a vote. (He expects to win, but is taken aback by both votes)

Pete: Suits me. I’m voting for yours truly.

Ulysses Everett McGill: Well I’m voting for yours truly too.

Delmar O’Donnell: Okay… I’m with you fellas.

Jim Lawrie

13th September 2019 at 4:30 pm

One small aspect that struck me as indicative of their growing arrogance was the QC in court in Edinburgh passing off quips about Boris’ class and education as legal argument. The judges, dazzled and admiring, revelling in their new found power, agreed.
The whole show gave the impression of “puppets in well rehearsed collusion”.

The QC himself is from a comfortable middle class background and privately educated.

Jim Lawrie

13th September 2019 at 3:15 pm

When Tom Watson says the 2016 vote is no longer valid he is referring to no deal being outlawed by Act of Parliament last week, and so unwittingly acknowledges that the 2016 decision was to leave with no deal.

The politicos are now posturing aggressively, hoping to intimidate us with the message that they have lost patience with us, and woe betide us if we do not accept their arguments and toe the line. Of course, they will have to carry out their threat.

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