Rosie's Brexit Diary
22 December 2018

Yellow Vests v Anna Soubry: Where do right and wrong lie?

Yesterday I talked about social class and the difference between Britain and France.


Britain has 1000-year-old class divisions which divide people into distinct social groups. Politicians exploit and manipulate these divisions which weakens our society in every way and leads to very bad political decision-making. France does not seem to suffer from this type of problem.


The result is that the French Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement has enormous general support, and this despite the rougher end of the movement setting fire to cars and the like and ready to engage in street battles with riot police.


Meanwhile Yellow Vests UK have been extremely mild in their behaviour and yet received widespread condemnation.


Given the scale of the problems that Yellow Vests UK demonstrate about, and the routine character-assassinations that the political elite indulge themselves in, I find the low level of general public support for them surprising. Their complaints are understandable and their protests mild. Our political leaders constantly appeal to our “empathy” for other people and I would like to know .... where is their empathy for the people of Britain - and where is middle class empathy for the working classes?


Brendan O’Neill discusses the class distinction as follows:


“It is unquestionable that the intensity of the media class’s hatred for these protesters is down to the fact that they are from the lower classes. Watch the video. They don’t have refined accents. They express themselves plainly and coarsely. They don’t look like protesters are meant to look – they aren’t fresh-faced and middle class and politely concerned about climate change or some such; they are portly and slightly withered-looking and they bark out their fury about the betrayal of Brexit in a tone of voice most media types only hear when a bloke comes round to fix their toilet.”


Here (again) is the incident he is referring to:


19 December, 6 minute video




The Independent reports on the incident and identifies the individuals involved:


This report from The Independent is profoundly dishonest and manipulative. As readers, we are so accustomed to reading reports of this nature that perhaps we have become numbed to the deceit. This report is similar in tone but the dishonesty is more blatant:

The basic strategy is to present opinion (or belief, or partial fact) as a general and balanced factual assessment ... in a manner that draws people in under the assumption that all decent and right-minded people agree. The reasoning is then developed from this dishonest basis.

The reasoning is often sound ... but as it is constructed upon a basis of lies, (a) the lies are obscured and (b) the entire argument is flawed and should fall - but instead is propped up by the entire government and media machine, as well as the useful members of the public who Tweet on and loudly agree with the false story. Together, this all generates groupthink and social compliance into agreeing with many things that are both untrue and morally wrong.

Most of the journalists and politicians should be ashamed of themselves - but shame is something they left behind long ago.


Anna Soubry had not one but two police officers with her to protect her as she walked along.

This is Brendan O’Neill’s conclusion:

“The right to protest is essential. The right to let politicians know what you think of them is a key plank of democratic life. The right to use fruity language in political debate is important, too. Soubry should know this – she told me to ‘fuck off’ within two minutes of meeting me behind the scenes at Any Questions earlier this year. People telling her to fuck off on account of her anti-democratic activism is not alarming – it’s the least shocking political development of 2018.”


Who’s who?

Anna Soubry is the Conservative MP for Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire. Born in 1956, she is also a barrister and journalist. Her constituency voted by 55% to 45% to Leave the EU (a margin of over 6000 people) and yet Ms Soubry campaigned for Remain and since the 2016 referendum has campaigned for the result to be ignored - even though she stood on the Conservative Party manifesto to leave the EU in full.


Brendan O’Neill

From Wikipedia: Brendan O’Neill is the editor of Spiked Online and a columnist for The Australian and The Big Issue.

He began his career at Spiked's predecessor, Living Marxism, the journal of the Revolutionary Communist Party, which ceased publication after ITN won their libel action against it. Since then, O'Neill has contributed articles to publications in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia including The Spectator, the New Statesman, BBC News Online, The Christian Science Monitor, The American Conservative, Salon, Rising East and occasionally blogged for The Guardian and wrote for The Daily Telegraph during 2016.


He is sometimes described as hard-left, sometimes described as far-right, and generally favours honesty and integrity.




Tomorrow I hope to have time to take a closer look at the ‘discussion’ between Anna Soubry and the Yellow Vests.