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Sunday 24 June 2018

Spiked Butthurt At Peoples Vote

[Update at end of post]

Yesterday, hundreds of thousands marched in central London to demand a vote on whatever deal is, or is not, agreed between Britain and the EU over Brexit. Many had never marched before; the mood, though, was peaceful and the Police presence required minimal, which will have come as a relief to the Met Commissioner.
And as the March reached Westminster, there were speeches from a range of political leaders. This was all too much for the convocation of contrarians otherwise known as Spiked, so called because it should have been years ago. Whatever the march represented had to be framed as something seriously bad, and indeed undemocratic.
So it was that Brendan O’Neill and Fraser Myers sallied forth, telling anyone bothered “spiked’s Brendan O’Neill and @FraserMyers at the #PeoplesVoteMarch, trying to keep our spirits up in the middle of this tragic display of middle-class angst and anti-democratic entitlement!”, declaring that whatever this march was about was A Very Bad Thing Indeed.
Where was the angst? Where was the entitlement? What was anti-democratic about it? Best not ask. Instead, it was on to more selective reporting: “The #PeoplesVoteMarch is hands-down the whitest, most middle-class demo spiked has ever seen. This is a screech of rage of the comfortable classes against the masses who voted for Brexit”. People who cadged a coach fare to London are the “comfortable classes” in the retelling. But kudos to O’Neill and Myers for finding a view of the march with only white faces in it.
Their desperation reached its peak with the observation “The police presence here is the smallest spiked has ever seen at any demo - which is not surprising given this is a march defending the status quo”. Got that? A peaceful protest is A Very Bad Thing. People behaving peaceably means there is some sort of dastardly conspiracy at work!
And it got worse: “Here is spiked’s Brendan O’Neill and @FraserMyers arguing with Remainers at today’s pro-EU march. We passionately put the case for democracy and liberty against the stiff, haughty Brussels oligarchy. A great day arguing on the side of the people!” There was no evidence whatever of them arguing with anyone. There was, as far as is known, no Brussels presence. And who elected them to speak on behalf of the people? Ah well. Best not ask. Mustn’t cause even more butthurt.
But perhaps someone did speak to them. “Someone asked spiked today: ‘Do you support our right to march against Brexit?’ Our response was this: ‘Absolutely. Freedom and democracy should extend to everybody - even those who fear freedom and democracy, as Remoaners do.’” Abuse. Claims that those marching do not support democracy.
There were plenty of similar claims. “The wealthy, well-connected people who want to ‘Stop Brexit’ are really trying to stop democracy. They think their vote should count for more than ours. It is a brazen assault on the democratic ideal, says Brendan O’Neill”. Spiked cites Tony Blair and Richard Branson. Neither of whom was there. No-one is pretending that one person’s vote outweighs another. It’s just lies.
All that was left was for the great Brendan to make an official statement. “Brendan O’Neill on today’s #PeoplesVoteMarch against Brexit”. O’Neill let slip the vacuity of his position by claiming that only 50,000 turned up. Estimates have been in the hundreds of thousands.
This is what Brendan O'Neill thinks about democracy

What O’Neill really thought, and what he and Spiked don’t want us to see - because the Tweet has been deleted overnight - is the comment “Brendan O’Neill: ‘This has been my mood all day. #PeoplesVoteMarch was a gathering of the most entitled, democracy-suspicious people I have ever encountered. They genuinely think they have the moral authority to overthrow the largest vote in British history. This cannot stand.’” together with a sneering O’Neill giving the finger. There he is, the really entitled one.

The reality of Spiked’s smearing of the People’s Vote march is that Brendan O’Neill has his eye on the next commission from papers like the Murdoch Sun, which will lap up his contrarian nonsense. But one inconvenient fact blows his argument apart.

Brendan O’Neill’s whole schtick rests on framing the 2016 EU referendum as being set in stone, an immutable result which he then calls “democracy”, declaring anyone wanting - for instance - a vote on the final deal as “undemocratic”, or somehow fearful and suspicious of democracy. But what he is defending is not democracy.

Democracy is not setting one vote in stone and declaring it to be “the will of the people”. Democracy is a continuous, living process. The will of the people is never settled; it varies with issues and over time. It is Brendan O’Neill who is fearful of democracy - so fearful, in fact, that he is prepared to go out there and blatantly lie and smear.

But good of O’Neill and his pals to show their butthurt at seeing a genuinely popular movement out there that he cannot understand. The Sun will be calling him soon.

[UPDATE 1205 hours: Brendan O'Neill might like to explain the photo and accompanying narrative shown below.
The person who snapped the image tells "Do these two guys look familiar? Before the Anti-Brexit march yesterday I was in the Comedy Pub on Oxenden Street near Leicester Sq trying to watch ... the Australia vs Ireland rugby game ... These guys came in and sat near me and proceeded to have a loud discussion about the three marches that were going on that day. They were sharing passwords for Twitter accounts and talking about how 'Libs would be triggered' and that they had buses of people coming in from Kent".
The one with his face visible to the camera is Brendan O'Neill (the other is probably Fraser Myers). Perhaps The Great Man, or his pals at Spiked, would like to furnish an explanation]


ashie said...

If he thought that march was "the whitest.....spiked has ever seen", he should have seen the other, much smaller pro-Brexit demo just a few blocks away.

But that might have destroyed his carefully-cultivated and well-prepared schtick.

Anonymous said...

Reading through this blog post now and something else makes sense. I am the person who took the photo and overheard the conversation. The comment that made my ears prick up was when (the person I now know is) O’Niel said to (the person I now know is) Myers “I walked past a group of angry middle class people in Remain shirts.” To which Myers replied “Yep, Its going to be a great hook”. This would have been at about 11:55. The main talking point to come out from the Leavers - ‘small unrepresentative crowd of non-diverse middle class whites’ - sure seems to have been thought up in advance.

Sam Best said...

O'Neill already receives the Murdoch shilling via Rupert's beloved loss making Australian newspaper which sells to probably the "whitest" of white upper class Aussies. It's certainly not read by the masses in the working and middle class suburbs.
His trips to Australia are also financed by the shadowy extreme right wing IPA "think tank" which dictates to the ruling Liberal Party government of Malcolm Turnbull. The IPA demands the axing of all social welfare, the flogging off of every asset not nailed down, the demolition of socialized medicine Medicare (fortunately the kiss of death for any Oz party advocating it) etc etc.
As for "free speech" one of O'Neill's endless memes, the Liberal Party at it's conference just voted to sell off the state ABC TV & Radio broadcast network (an IPA & Rupert Murdoch wet dream) much to the angst of PM Malcolm Turnbull and his ministers who know that 77% of Aussies regularly watch the ABC and won't have a bar of selling it so that's now become a real headache with a looming election less than a year away with the Liberal's partners The Nationals whose country constituency live and breath ABC. So the IPA who regularly host O'Neill at talkfests have given Aussies yet another reason to ditch Turnbull & Co with no discernible benefit (which they will in a Labor landslide soon).
The IPA is funded by the whitest of white Aussie billionaires like Murdoch and Gina Rinehart (whose dad thought the mass poisoning off of Aboriginals was the best way to deal with that "problem").
O'Neill was so unpopular with viewers on the hugely popular ABC current affairs panel show Q&A that he's never been invited back.
# As a great example of the short sighted madness of the free marketeers who now pose as conservatives and in a deal O'Neill would have been proud of, the former Liberal PM John Howard decimated the ABC's superb South East Asia & Pacific broadcasting network that for decades was hugely popular with locals. As a result, it's finally dawned upon the clueless Oz "conservatives" that China has spent a decade steaming in to the Pacific, courting the various nations with huge infrastructure programs and massive loans and have set up their own broadcasting network ironically using the old Aussie airwaves.

Rich M said...

Dick Dastardly & Muttley?

Anonymous said...

Not one thing of this thread surprised me. Spiked published unverified articles by non-existent journalists before. Just made 'em up when Brendan O was editor! Sham outfit. Who in their rightest mind believes they are funded by their readers. They are a paid mouth piece for lobbyists and if they need to shift a view or two to get paid they will. #spikedonline #brendanoneill