Zombie Parliament

This parliament is not simply out of touch with public sentiment – something we already knew from the fact that 70 per cent of MPs, and a staggering 95 per cent of Labour MPs, voted Remain, while 52 per cent of the electorate voted Leave. No, it feels increasingly illegitimate, too. It lacks all political and moral authority. It is a zombie parliament. It has no real democratic mandate to govern.

Brendan O’Neill

Updated: 21st October 2019 — 8:31 pm


  1. In a sense, the events of the past few days – and of the past three years – have been valuable. They have made it clear that the greatest block to democracy in the UK is right here in the UK itself.

    I do not literally agree: the EU remains a yet greater threat. Here, a UK ‘elite’ is trying to introduce “You will vote again (and again) until you get the ‘right’ (our) answer.” In much of the EU, that custom was established some time ago; that battle is over and the fight is now having to be conducted by people in yellow vests and farmers in tractors.

    But I agree that recent events have given us valuable information on how eager some here are to make our political customs conform to the EU’s.

  2. Actually, 37% of the electorate voted Leave — but we all know that.

    Something which Mr O’Neill said which we also all know:
    “It is our own out-of-touch and morally emaciated elites who represent the greatest threat to democratic life in this country. To use a radical old slogan: the enemy is at home.”

    Unfortunately, hard-line Leavers have focused so obsessively on the process of Brexit that the objective has somewhat slipped into the background. At the risk of having Mr. Kilmartin correctly accuse me of being repetitive — What is the plan for the Day After Brexit?

    Recent events have made it crystal clear that there need to be some fairly substantial changes to the governance of the UK — not just the kind of reshuffling of players that would come from a General Election. But Brexiteers have assiduously avoided this essential topic.

    It may be that if Brexiteers had pushed harder on the changes they plan to introduce in UK governance after separation from the EU, the support for separation might have grown much larger than the Referendum’s 37% (or 52% if one prefers a different denominator). Maybe it is not too late to start talking about those governance changes now?

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