Category: Quotes & snippets

Assorted quotes, snippets & asides

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

We have had enough of experts. Yes, really.

Michael Gove’s famous or infamous quote about having “had enough of experts” has often been held up as an example of anti-intellectualism. Perhaps if Faisal Islam had spent less of the next half minute in outraged repetition of the words “Had enough of experts?” he might have heard what Gove said next about the particular experts in question having been wrong before. FullFact belatedly acknowledged that the full quote about specific experts with a bad record was a good deal less incendiary than the truncated version about experts in general, when the site made this correction:

We’ve updated this piece to source the full quote from Michael Gove. Previously it read “People in this country have had enough of experts.”

But you know what? Even the simplistic, cut-off-mid-sentence version of Gove’s quote does well enough. The referendum result demonstrated that a lot of people had had enough of anything billed as expert opinion in the field of economics, and no wonder. Predictions of equal accuracy to theirs could have been obtained from expert astrologers. Matthew Goodwin has written a piece for UnHerd that talks about why the record of economic and political experts is so dismal:

How political bias blinds us: Ideological cocoons prevent experts from seeing, and engaging with, the wider world.

When the referendum arrived in 2016, another survey of nearly 600 experts delivered a remarkably clear view. Nearly 90% expected Remain to win. Just 5% felt that Brexit was the most likely outcome. Journalists were noticeably worse: 97% predicted Remain and just 3% Brexit. And most expected Remain to win by at least 10-points. There were simply too few people willing to question and challenge the herd thinking.

He Who Fights Monsters

As Guido reports, the speech that Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit Coordinator, made to the Liberal Democrat conference was rapturously received.

He said,

We cannot continue, dear friends, with a Europe that is always acting too little and too late. In the world order of tomorrow – the world order of tomorrow is not a world order based on nation states or countries; it is a world order that is based on empires. China is not a nation, it is a civilisation [inaudible word]. India – you know it better than I do – is not a nation. There are two thousand nations in India. There are twenty different languages that are used there. There are four big religions. At the same time it is the biggest democracy worldwide. The US is also an empire, more than a nation. Maybe tomorrow they will speak there more Spanish than English, I don’t know what will happen. And then finally, the Russian Federation. The world of tomorrow is a world of empires, in which we Europeans and you British can only defend your interests, your way of life, by doing it together in a European framework and in the European Union.

Some people objected to Guido’s description of this speech as saying that the EU needed to become an empire. Fair enough, he never said that. But he certainly seems to think that in order to survive among a world of empires the EU must become more like an empire than it is at present. And – how shall I put this? – neither he nor his audience seemed unhappy at the prospect. Liberalism once meant something different from this.

Boris must win against barmy Tory Remainers…

If Parliament continues to block Brexit, Mr Johnson is right to shut it down. Just this week a ComRes survey showed 54 percent of Britons would support him proroguing Parliament to ensure we leave on October 31. If Remainer MPs win a vote of no confidence, Boris should call an election for immediately after we have left. These barmy MPs must no longer be allowed to derail our democratic process. They voted to give us the choice in 2016 and must stick by their decision. It really is the People’s PM against Parliament – and Boris must win for the sake of democracy.

Otherwise what is the point of voting ever again? Especially when a handful of deluded MPs think it’s better to entrust our nation to a Marxist dinosaur than simply extricating ourselves from a failing EU.

Tim Newark

Herr Oettinger seems a bit confused

Herr Oettinger doesn’t have any input into what the British credit rating is. The European Union doesn’t, nor even the European Commission or the European Central Bank. Any and all of them can refuse to deal with Britain, the British Government, and of course we all desire that they do. But a credit rating is not something determined by a government in the slightest. It’s a market response.

Tim Worstall

Parliament is not aligned with the people

A comment on Guido Fawkes:

This has gone on far too long. A simple democratic exercise (not to mention the largest such in our history) has been obstructed by the very parliament that voted to put the question to the people in the first place and then promised to enact the result. It is becoming clearer by the day that the only way we will be able to preserve our precious democracy and deliver on that result is to vote in a new parliament. That will involve the de-selection of large numbers of MPs who have been complicit in this betrayal of their manifesto promises or the wholesale defection of their previous supporters to the Brexit Party. Whichever it is, even if it leads to a Corbyn-led coalition (which would be a far bigger national disaster than any form of “hard” Brexit could ever be) the responsibility will rest squarely and solely on the shoulders of these dishonourable MPs.

The only deal on offer now or in the future from the EU is a very bad deal. Ruling out no deal effectively means remaining in the EU. They can dress it up any way they like but the public are not stupid and know this full well. Any appeal from the Tory Party to trust it again for fear of getting Corbyn (unless the above de-selections have thoroughly purged candidates who will not support Brexit) will simply fall onto deaf ears and they would be very stupid to think otherwise. Millions will have their Brexit or they will have their revenge. In an ideal world they will have both.

Parliamentary indecision

More than six people cannot agree on anything, three is better–and one is perfect for a job that one can do. This is why parliamentary bodies all through history, when they accomplished anything, owed it to a few strong men who dominated the rest.

— Professor Bernardo de la Paz, from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein

Is Boris ‘the man’?

Boris Johnson, however, has been an unstinting and passionate advocate for leaving the European Union since a time when it was still an unfashionable, anti-Establishment view. As Mayor of London, he defied the call from Prime Minister David Cameron to row in behind the Remain campaign and became an energetic advocate for Vote Leave. (Indeed, it’s a pity that he did not take the helm of the ship of state when Cameron left office after the referendum, but let’s not rake over old coals). And then, exactly one year ago today, Johnson again put his career on the line for the Brexit cause when he, along with David Davis and Steve Baker, resigned from the Government in protest at Theresa May’s unacceptable Chequers proposal.

Jonathan Isaby and Matthew Elliott