Features

The EU is a feminist issue. I’m voting to leave

26 March 2016

9:00 AM

26 March 2016

9:00 AM

For decades — even before it had its name, which sounds thrilling, as words with an X in them tend to — I’ve been a Brexiter. I even mistrusted the Common Market, as we called the mild-mannered Dr Jekyll before it showed us the deformed, power-crazed face of the EU’s Mr Hyde.

The adored MP of my childhood, Tony Benn, preached against it in any shape or form. ‘When I saw how the European Union was developing,’ he said, ‘it was very obvious what they had in mind was not democratic. In Britain, you vote for a government so the government has to listen to you, and if you don’t like it you can change it.’

I’m aware that being against the EU has always been about as popular in ‘civilised’ circles as being pro-capital punishment. (Which I also am.) Imagine my delight when, in recent months, two of the contemporaries I admire most — Suzanne Moore at the Guardian and Janice Turner at the Times — wrote magnificent columns in support of Brexit. And interestingly, they took robustly feminist views of the proceedings, which is handy, because of the third of Britons undecided on how to vote on 23 June, 60 per cent of them are women.

From Britain’s dubious induction into the wretched gang by that arch-misogynist Ted Heath to Neil Kinnock’s shameful monstering of the brave Brussels whistleblower Marta Andreasen, it’s hard not to see the EU as the biggest boy’s club of all. The recent letter by the ‘Women In’ group claimed that Europe has given us equal pay and anti-discrimination laws — but countries outside the Magic Circle have those too, while inside (Ireland closest to home) are only just dragging their attitudes to women into the 20th century. We Brexiters are fighting back by pointing out that £350 million a week is blown on the EU, which could be better spent on the priorities of women voters, such as healthcare.


Women are thought to be less Eurosceptic than men — but this doesn’t indicate open-mindedness, in my book, so much as fearfulness, which is surely not to be encouraged. What has quite rightly been called Project Fear plays on the Nervous Nellie in all people, evoking anxieties about more expense and less security, as though Britain had been some sad wraith of a nation in the pre-EU 1960s instead of the robust, confident country it so memorably was.

In fact, the behaviour of the pro-EU mob makes me think of the mode of manipulation known as gaslighting — ‘a form of mental abuse in which information is twisted or spun, selectively omitted to favour the abuser, or false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity’. Repeatedly, this small but dynamic country is told: ‘You’ll be nothing without me!’ ‘No one else will want you!’ and of course ‘You look fat in that dress.’ (See constant comparison of overweight, fun-loving Englishwomen to dull, thin French ones.)

It’s creepily similar to a bad marriage even before you bring in the German Question. Is Germany a homicidal maniac itching to start the third world war the minute we leave (those warnings that the EU has ‘kept the peace in Europe for 70 years’ — nothing to do with Nato, then?), or is it the cool-headed big brother that keeps unruly Britain in sensible shoes? It’s hard to see how it can be both.

The country is being ‘mansplained’ — another word popular with we feminists meaning ‘to explain something to someone, typically a man to a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronising’ — on a massive scale when it comes to Brexit. But the mansplainers aren’t aware of how dumb they look, and how much their own desires distort their point of view.

There are lots of high-flown reasons to want to stay in the EU. But there are, I suspect, a sizable tranche of deeply uncool people who imagine that a bit of subtitled European cool might rub off on them. Emma Thompson’s recent rant about baked goods comes immediately to mind.

EU cheerleaders imagine themselves to be the repositories of French savoir faire, Italian passion and Scandi egalitarianism, but they are, ironically, generally a horribly recognisable English type — the metropolitan smuggie whose self-love is matched only by their loathing of their fellow citizens and the country that made them.

I see a stuck-in-the-mud, male-power institution that needs a good feminist kicking — and then I feel that even that would be a waste of our time, energy and pedicures. Let’s just leave them to get on with it, and go our own merry way. As every broad worth her weight in pinches of salt knows, the endgame with any gaslighter, bully or abusive spouse is not confrontation but non-engagement. Bring on the Brexit!

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first 10 weeks for just $10


Show comments
  • Captain Dryland

    Thanks for the mansplanation Julie.

  • RingedPlover

    A woman can’t be ‘condescending or patronising’ when talking to a man? You seem as much if not more anti, males, as the EU. That being said, as a male, I too want out of the EU.

  • Alison H

    “EU cheerleaders imagine themselves to be the repositories of French savoir faire, Italian passion and Scandi egalitarianism, but they are, ironically, generally a horribly recognisable English type — the metropolitan smuggie whose self-love is matched only by their loathing of their fellow citizens and the country that made them.”

    Yes, I can just see them dunking their croissants, watching ‘The Bridge’ without subtitles, and swanning of to their villas in Tuscany, in their imaginations. The bastards.

    • polidorisghost

      I’m not sure that you can dunk croissants – particularly the chocolate ones.
      Though dunking in ones gin martini might come across as nicely subversive.
      Just thinking out loud.

      • Alison H

        Of course you can, I got some reduced in Morrisons, Goole, only last night and just finished dunking one in my instant coffee. It wan’t very nice and I much preferred my first breakfast of burnt toast done on the hot plate of the Aga but even that had Lidl raspberry jam on it.

        • polidorisghost

          Oh, ok, if you’ve tried it.
          Though my version is more fun, surely.

          • Alison H

            Yes, your version would certainly be worth trying with one of my favourite tipples which is gin and milk (full fat). According to the resident snob at the Mail Online you should only drink gin when nobody is looking because common people like it these days, but one way round is to splash some into your milk, so it is entirely disguised. If you did so at breakfast you could both dunk and wash down your reduced, Morrisons croissants with it. I bet none of those snobbish ‘remain’ types would think of such an elegant thing.

          • JabbaPapa

            Good GRIEF woman — Gin belongs in a chill glass with ice, some non-crappy lemon slice(s), tonic and not much else — where exactly does your barbarian custom hive from ?

          • Alison H

            Running out of I.T, necessity being the mother of invention, and having a sense of humour.

          • polidorisghost

            “I bet none of those snobbish ‘remain’ types would think of such an elegant thing. ”

            I’m sure they wouldn’t!

      • JabbaPapa

        You REALLY need a good afternoon or evening meal (or several) at the Polidor in Paris, at Rue Monsieur le Prince near the Luxembourg Gardens.

        Croissants are designed to be dunked — but don’t worry ; Le Polidor doesn’t serve breakfast anyway !!!

        • polidorisghost

          You can tell I’m just a provincial can’t you?

          • JabbaPapa

            With a high culture internet tag like yours ? No, not for an instant ;o)

          • polidorisghost

            I’m all fur coat Jabba.

          • JabbaPapa

            No matter how tout fourrure you might be, the Polidor is an excellent and likely unimprovable haunt of solid petty bourgeois gastronomy, of the sort that Elizabeth David imitated. I suggest this as a 100% positive. I can remember not more than a dozen or so better or more satisfying meals than those that are habitually served in that place on a daily basis.

            If I weren’t 2000 km distant, you’d find me there frequently.

            (though if you DO visit Paris, not eating at least once at the Train Bleu railway station restaurant at the Gare de Lyon would be a grave mistake)

          • polidorisghost

            If I make it to Paris with sufficient money in my pocket I’ll follow up your recommendations.

          • JabbaPapa

            Awesome !!!

            (both of my recommended eateries are as low-budget as they are excellent BTW)

      • Conway

        If you can’t dunk croissants in your breakfast chocolat or café, what on earth are they for?

        • polidorisghost

          Oh I dunno.
          Didn’t give it much thought.

        • JabbaPapa

          If they’re not au beurre and still hot from the oven, then not very much indeed.

          Well spotted !!!

          • Little Black Censored

            Tout furrure”, “au beurre” – give us a break.

        • JohnnyNorfolk

          Only the french do that.

      • JohnnyNorfolk

        I remember when france was a great place to live.

    • WuffoTheWonderDog

      That’s a very unkind thing to call Polly Toynbee.

  • ZJX

    Another feminist who thinks it is acceptable to use terms such as ‘mansplaining’. If a man had written an anti-EU piece, and referred to women as ‘womansplainers’, ‘naggers’ or ‘feminazis’, I’m sure she would have vigorously critiqued it instantly.

    ‘Women are taught to be less Eurosceptic than men,’ – so they’re not strong and independent enough to form their own opinions? Does the author need to teach them the right ones? And please, what is this rhetoric? If Europe ever was a huge ‘boy’s club’, Angela Merkel is running it, disastrously.

    Despite the somewhat paranoid tone and myopic nature of the article, I share the same anti-EU sentiments. But the EU is a global issue, not only a feminist one.

    • polidorisghost

      “But the EU is a global issue, not only a feminist one.”
      I think she knows that

      • ZJX

        I think she does too. But why title the article ‘The EU is a feminist issue’? It’s a bit misleading and insular. Why not instead call it ‘The feministic aspects of the EU debate’, and put points across maturely, without usage of the derogatory word ‘mansplaining’?

        • polidorisghost

          “Why not instead call it ‘The feministic aspects of the EU debate’, and
          put points across maturely, without usage of the derogatory word
          ‘mansplaining’?”
          Because you probably wouldn’t have read it. Admire a girl who knows her trade.
          Actually, I don’t think she gets to write the headline bit.

          • ZJX

            Firstly I would have read it; its somewhat more inviting than a straightforward statement. Secondly, I’ll admire – anyone, regardless of gender – who knows their trade. But the business of feminism in the west is largely a redundant one.

          • WuffoTheWonderDog

            And an invented one.

        • Damaris Tighe

          I think she’s echoing the title of a famous book, ‘Fat is a Feminist Issue’.

          • WuffoTheWonderDog

            A feminist problem, surely?
            At bottom?

          • Damaris Tighe

            I read the book but still didn’t get thin.

        • MacGuffin

          I always think the term ‘mansplain’ is double-edged, because surely it only happens to the idiotic females who need things explained to them?

        • FrankS2

          Why not? Because she’s not that boring!

          • ZJX

            Better to be boring and accurate rather than pretentious and misleading.

    • Andrew Cole

      No wonder the independent are getting rid of all the women writers when their articles consist of multitudes of invented words that no-one can understand.

    • Bosanova

      For a while I’ve been mulling the idea of have the sentence “how’s my manspreading?” lettered discretely on my trouser inseam, only to be legible when seated in a “genitally comfortable” posture (or when manspreading as it seems to be known now).

      • JabbaPapa

        Why don’t you put “womanspreading” instead, you sexist ?

        • Bosanova

          I chose to give vent to my inner phallocrat. “Womanspreading” was too gyneco-centric for my liking (or do I mean gynecological?)

      • Gen d’Eau

        Are wimminz still womanplaining about this? I thought they were womanwhining about VAT on tampons. So hard to keep up with the terrible travails of first world life for the gyna-enabled.

      • Gen d’Eau

        Are wimminz still womanplaining about this? I thought they were womanwhining about VAT on tampons. So hard to keep up with the terrible travails of first world life for the gyna-enabled.

  • edithgrove

    “I even mistrusted the Common Market, as we called the mild-mannered Dr Jekyll before it showed us the deformed, power-crazed face of the EU’s Mr Hyde.”
    Julie Burchill, as brilliant as ever here.

    • polidorisghost

      Never praise a girl unconditionally Edith – It’ll go to her head.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Treat um mean, keep um keen.

    • Outraged Tunbridge Wells

      But apparently the wrong kind of feminist, so hard to keep up nowadays ….

  • monkeyinsingapore

    Glad your voting Brexit……………………..not so sure about the feminist angle though.

  • We all know feminists, but you Ms Burchill are no feminist.

    • polidorisghost

      What is she then?

    • Outraged Tunbridge Wells

      What a completely puerile comment. Are you Ronnie Pickering in disguise?

    • Bosanova

      Even feminists can’t agree on what a feminist is – witness the Twitter monstering of Germaine Greer – so what hope have us mortals?
      Isn’t it just easier these days to agree that equal opportunity for both sexes and all races would be a nice goal to strive for – what use is a label after all if you don’t know what it stands for?

  • JabbaPapa

    Describing the EU as “feminist” is completely moronic.

    PS No, the normal human person is not “pansexual” either.

  • Genuine patriotism… fear of migrants… weird analogies to identity politics…

    I don’t care why people vote to leave, as long as they do!

  • Andrew Cole

    Didn’t understand much of that personally. Too many made up words. Are you saying women should be denied the vote because they are too easily ‘persuaded’ to vote a particularly way?

    I understood the support Brexit prelude though.

  • goodsoldier

    Welcome to the Brexit club, Julie. You have joined a group of rational, independent people who speak their mind and will not be bullied by the likes of Cameron, Theresa May and all the apparatchiks at the BBC who have slandered us for decades. It will be great to hear your brash voice joining us in an effort of combatence against the media and the robots and career politicians and the sanctimonious phonies. Great Britain must become itself again.

  • rationality

    I cant believe that people actually think that feminism is some sort of noble system for the benefit of society. Feminism is all about promoting women so that they don’t need men to the detriment of society. So we have women treated better in education so they earn more than men which leads to less marriages as women prefer higher earning men; we have quotas for women in work so there are less women actually having children; constantly attacking a fraudulent rape culture with white men then silence on an actual rape culture; used to stop so called ‘sexism’ ie banter which causes unnecessary friction.

    Feminism is actually poison to a society packaged to look virtuous. A bit like racism and all the other progressivism causes. Anyone would think that there was an agenda to undermine Western society. Oh that’s right, there is.

    • JabbaPapa

      YES

      It would be lovely if MANY more women understood this

  • Conway

    If women are undecided about whether to leave the EU or not, showing pictures of Cologne and the events in Sweden should convince them to vote out in double quick time!

    • whyayeman

      Yes, except that contrary to Corporal Jones’s view, some of them obviously do like it up them !

  • Tickertapeguy

    If support for the European Union was mainly due to feminism (the reasons are not clear) then the end of it should also be due to feminism, since it is European women who have been the main target of violence due to the EU policies that allowed thousands of Misogynist Muslim men into Europe.

  • whyayeman

    As a male, I’m almost totally confounded by your reasoning, but I support your conclusion.

    • The Patriarchy

      As a male, I’m almost totally confounded by her lack of reasoning, but I support her conclusion.

  • Bluesman_1

    “they are, ironically, generally a horribly recognisable English type —
    the metropolitan smuggie whose self-love is matched only by their
    loathing of their fellow citizens and the country that made them.”

    Not quite Orwell, but welcome aboard. Read Flexcit (mansplaining free).

    Article 50.

  • Bosanova

    I wholeheartedly agree. Britain in the EU is analogous to an abusive relationship. Time to rediscover some dignity, remember the saying from a more self confident era that “British is Best”, get out fast and get on with our lives.
    Love democracy? Vote out.

  • The Masked Marvel

    In other words, there aren’t enough good, fundamental reasons to get out, and some people need the identity politics angle to be convinced. What next, the Afro-Caribbean reason for Brexit? The Transgender reason for Brexit? The Society For Putting Things On Top Of Other Things reason for Brexit?

    • FriendlyFire

      I think “it’s not democratic” covers everything.

      Clear for you now?

      • The Masked Marvel

        That was the original good, fundamental reason to which I was referring. It should be enough without identity politics. What did you think I meant?

        • FriendlyFire

          Ah, I thought you meant that you thought there aren’t enough good, fundamental reasons to get out. But you didn’t mean that.

          That’s clear for me now.

          (I’m with you on all the identity nonsense, by the way.)

          • The Masked Marvel

            To be fair, Burchill did mention the non-democratic aspect, but almost as an aside before moving on the ‘important’ issue.

        • secretpeople

          Julie referred to the 60% of ‘undecideds’ who are women, and may have been referencing them.

      • sussexoracle

        What’s not democratic? The unelected House of Lords? Our unelected monarchy? The first past the post electoral system that rarely elects someone who gets an overall majority? I think democracy would be a good idea.

        • FriendlyFire

          All valid points. And please explain to me how adding yet another layer of unelected, undemocratic institutions – and ones that are SUPRA-national and so not even accountable to a government – actually helps.

          • sussexoracle

            This is a matter of rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s…
            If there is to be an open, fair and free market across all borders and boundaries, then there have to be agreed standards. Nearly everything we trade is made to standards determined by the EU. That is a long tortuous process of painful turgid negotiation between member states each trying to protect its own interests, but one that is necessary.

            This was made unnecessarily difficult by the unseemly rush to expand the EU to include Eastern European countries, some of which, to be candid, were not ready for it. One must look west rather than east for the driving force behind that.

            Last time I looked, we elected MEPs by proportional representation, which is by any reckoning far more democratic and representative of the voting public than any we use for local elections or our Parliament. Scottish Parliament excepted, of course.

            The issue some seem to have is with the Commission, which has commissioners appointed by the elected governments of member states.

            No more undemocratic, I would suggest, than ambassadors and other diplomats.

            We do have a lot of unelected council officers and civil servants in this country who appear to have more power and influence than any elected minister. (See Alan Clark’s Diaries and others)

            I suspect the real reason behind the Brexit campaign is a dread of taxation parity and transparency which is on the distant horizon.

            At the present time, corporations can run rings around the taxes of each member state. Harmonisation would be bad news for all the protectorate ‘Treasure Islands’ around the globe which offer tax refuge with the financial security of the Union Flag flying above them.

            But whatever the reasons, I am pretty certain that the money behind the Brexit campaign is not in the least motivated by a new found wish for some sort of idealistic democracy.

            I wish it was. We might for once get a government elected by popular mandate, rather than a minority intent on inflicting its own dogma on the rest of us.

    • Dryermartinithanyours

      Halleluja. This is such a juvenile piece. But then all hate politics is juvenile.

    • PaD

      or ‘those that dont want their daughters raped for brexit’?or their population overwhelmed by immigrants for brexit? or their’laws for UK only for brexit?

      • The Masked Marvel

        If those are feminist reasons, odd that Burchill didn’t mention them, don’t you think?

  • sandy winder

    Surely the biggest problem with the EU is that its restrictive trade barriers do much harm to many struggling African and Asian countries. This then leads to exodus and the desire to be inside the big white man’s club. Dismantling the EU and allowing each country to compete and have free trade with all these countries is the best long term way to help these countries, which in turn helps us.

    That alone is a good enough reason to get out of an organisation which is cumbersome, bureaucratic, uncompetitive and anti-democratic.

    • JabbaPapa

      Sounds like an awesome way to hide the funding of terrorists !!!

  • Mike

    As far as I’m concerned, you’re welcome to join NAFTA if you need a trade block, though you’d probably want to stay in the EFTA, which has real benefits, as opposed to the EU, which is an undemocratic bureaucracy that will likely implode under its own weight within a few years.

    • MacGuffin

      You do realise that the NA in NAFTA stands for ‘North America’, right?

      • hobspawn

        …and for a hundred years or so we have been ‘North America’s’ greatest ally.

      • Mike

        Yes, but de facto, other countries have joined as well, for example the Canada-Chile agreement which has essentially the same language.

        It wouldn’t be hard to add another willing country.

  • WFC

    There are lots of high-flown reasons to want to stay in the EU.

    Are there? Can’t think of any, off hand, can you?

    Because I haven’t seen a single positive argument for staying in.

    • WuffoTheWonderDog

      There are the three million jobs at risk and entirely dependent on us being in the EU that make Lord Ashdown cry whenever he mentions them. He is always so upset when he does that he is unable to identify any of them. I think he must be thinking of the car workers at Mercedes, BMW & VW that will lose their jobs when we leave and Der Fuehrer of the Fourth Reich says we are vermin that must be cast into the outer darkness.

      • Dr. Heath

        You’ve forgotten to mention one crucial and overlooked fact pointed out by, I think, someone on The Granudia’s site, which is that the number of Thai and Vietnamese restaurants [yes, I know neither state is in the EU but this is in the nature of posts from the mentally deranged] has dramatically increased. They’d have to shut down, just like those car plants, the moment we pulled our keks up and said we weren’t playing snakes and ladders with the EU any longer.

      • You forgot Audi, Opel, Porsche..

    • WuffoTheWonderDog

      There are the three million jobs at risk and entirely dependent on us being in the EU that make Lord Ashdown cry whenever he mentions them. He is always so upset when he does that he is unable to identify any of them. I think he must be thinking of the car workers at Mercedes, BMW & VW that will lose their jobs when we leave and Der Fuehrer of the Fourth Reich says we are vermin that must be cast into the outer darkness.

  • Mc

    “two of the contemporaries I admire most — Suzanne Moore at the Guardian and Janice Turner at the Times — wrote magnificent columns in support of Brexit.”

    Considering that Janice Turner writes endless streams of laughable articles like this – http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article4468961.ece – I’m not sure she’s someone worthy of admiration

  • JCinUSA

    Excellent piece.

  • CRM_114

    I suppose Merkel is an honorary man for the purposes of this ridiculous argument?

    Still, George Galloway was allowed on stage. We’d better let Julie get up there too….

  • AnaMorales

    I’ve always enjoyed Julie Burchill (and she’s right here). Everyone needs to read her piece on Lauren Booth.

  • Space 1999

    I have loved Julie since ‘The Boy Looked at Johnny’, all those years ago. I couldn’t imagine her taking an anti-Brexit stance – she’s far too clever. The EU is the new establishment, it’s the new old order, a declining empire of stale, fetid, crumbling schemes. Time for our great country to leave…

  • Jake

    A few fairly put arguments here. I forced myself to read on beyond the author being pro capital punishment as that is an entirely different issue that has nothing to do with this argument. (unless of course we do leave the EU and it’s brought back in order to hang the poor, with no regulations to hold our Tory government back) However, I have two main gripes; Firstly feminism isn’t solely an issue to be voted on by women. Suggesting it is ‘handy’ that there are Pro-brexit articles with feminist views because 60 percent of undecided voters are women, in my privileged opinion, perpetuates a view that feminism is not an issue for men. Secondly, having read the article to the end, I have been offered the most ludicrous analogy of comparing being in the EU as to being in an abusive relationship. Even if we do continue this analogy, will we not just be coming home to our paternal house, only to be abused by our family. Tony Benn was also one of my heroes, and he was right that the EU was and is not democratic, but times change and most importantly don’t change unless you do something about it. If you know of a different planet we can go to and call a safe house then please let me know, as in the real world a whole country can’t be given witness protection, either against those they have left or indeed themselves.

    • MC73

      WTF are you on about?

  • hobspawn

    Although you’re mad, keep up the good work! Right for the wrong reasons is still right.

  • James Chilton

    Doesn’t Julie Burchill ever weary of writing this kind of predictable and trite stuff?

    • Mal

      “Boo-hoo-hoooooooo! …sniff….snivel…..”
      That’s it. Have a good cry, Deirdre; you’ll feel better.
      As if.

  • balance_and_reason

    I’ll tell you what is a feminist issue…..the complete mismatch of sentencing for ‘sexual crimes…witness Mr Johnson on the one hand and several high profile ‘technical rapes by deception or otherwise by women…all received substantially lower sentences…one avoided jail all together…not seeing any feminists agitating for equality on this issue.

  • JonBW

    Three cheers for Julie Burchill; she makes me proud to be an ex-punk rocker and former reader of “The Face”.

  • The Patriarchy

    Can anyone think why women were given the vote?

    • James

      Do we know if women can fit the June referendum into the diary? Seemingly this clashes with sunbathing in the garden.

      • milford

        Actually it clashes with the European Cup. What a stroke of luck, all those numpties who say ‘It doesn’t affect me’ will be in the pub or on the sofa watching that.

  • John Andrews

    Bring on the Brexit! Yes, yes, yes.

  • BorderReiver100

    ‘Metropolitan smuggie’ love the phrase, I only know three men who want to stay in the EU and that description fits all three of them to a T.

    • Fraser Bailey

      I would imagine those three men live in QuIslington.

  • Dryermartinithanyours

    I agree on the Brexit and was aghast when the Euro was being mooted. But surely you might graduate Political Science 101 from the Western Soviet era, and discuss this without seeing the world as populated by good women and bad men. It’s the sort of world view for which people could be treated by psychologists before it became of political, making it sane. As for 60% of voters being women and thus feminist, this is part of your delusion.

  • Joey Edgecombe

    Very pleased you’re backing the Leave vote Julie.
    More articles like this please.

    • PaD

      but dont forget to mention Frauke Petry.. Marine Le Pen et al in further anti EU comment

  • Sean L

    Don’t think I agree with any of this, apart from the premiss and conclusion.

  • milford

    ‘… a sizable tranche of deeply uncool people who imagine that a bit of subtitled European cool might rub off on them. ‘ You’ve got that spot on Julie. Anyone I know who wants to remain is in that category.

  • airborne ally

    Spot on and out gives us clout !

  • mikewaller

    May I share with others a sovereign guide to ignoramuses and/or charlatans in the great Brexit debate? It is the use of the figure £350 per week to quantify our weekly contribution to the EU . In fact, due diligence – an exercise rarely performed by Brexiters – reveals that the net figure having allowed for various cash flow the other way, is about £200 million. Still a great deal of money but nowhere near the amount that is being lazily claimed. Nor should the routinely made canard that we pay disproportionately be accepted. Per capita,the richer countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Sweden all pay more than we do.

    Another guide to nonsense on stilts is the veneration of “Saint” Tony Benn. Whilst capable of the occasional pleasing rhetorical flourish, dear of A.W-B was for the most part a purveyor of the kind of nonsense rightly excoriated by Rod Liddle in his column this week.

    If Ms Birchell takes the trouble to do a little bit of historical research she will find that this country has been going downhill as a trading nation for over 100 years, something for which the sheer timespan precludes the EU being responsible. If that does not convince, consider the case of Germany which in precisely the same circumstances with regards the rest of the world, is the exporter par excellence. As to why this is so, I give a number of reasons in a comment below Martin Vander Weyer’s this week’s piece. Another might reasonably be deduced from Theodore Dalrymple’s contribution, again this week’s.

    • Jeffrey Vernon

      Admitted. But what is the positive case for staying in? The Stay spokesmen all seem like a half-hearted lot to me; ‘if we leave, xyz will go wrong.’

      • mikewaller

        Might that not be reason enough? Were I a cartoonist, I would draw an idiot, more likely old than young, in the process of jumping into a swamp full of alligators, giving two fingers to a bystander whose shouting “You’ll be sorry!”

        Even dear old Charles Moore had the honesty in a recent addition to admit that [as with Global Warning] one’s attitude is determined far more by one’s personality than by the facts. As is instanced by Ms Birchill, I find the personalities of most of the Brexiters I came across both here and elsewhere somewhat short in the confidence building department, with their own ego needs rather than the facts, paramount!

        • sussexoracle

          I only need to see La Burchill’s name join George Galloway, Liam Werrity, ooops Fox, Iain Hamilton, Gove et al to realise where the right side of this debate lies.

          • mikewaller

            Don’t forget the proven liar Boris, the failed leader IDS, the failed everything David Davis, etc. etc.

          • MightyDiego

            Exactly. Let them speak and make as much noise as they want. Boris in front of the select committee the other day – perfect. Stay calm, hold one’s nerve and these nutters will do the job for us.

        • MightyDiego

          Absolutely. Delusional and with nostalgia for a “great past” that, in our lifetime, never existed.

          • secretpeople

            It did in mine.

          • MightyDiego

            Bet that spam tasted great.

    • MightyDiego

      Excellent.

  • mikewaller

    She’s even wider of the mark than I thought. The Radio 4 programme PM offers a valuable service in checking Brexit facts and figures. At about 5:50 this evening, today’s edition informed us that when full account is taken of all our receipts, the net figure of payments into the EU is about £160 million. Put another way, that amounts to about £280 per household p.a. and is thus in the same ballpark as what we pay for a Police and Crime Commissioner who in this locality at least, in my view, has proved to be somewhat of a chocolate teapot.

    Given her adherence to the facts, this suggests a new vocation for Ms Birchill, that of double-glazing salesperson.

    • mdj

      You regard Radio 4 as a source of unbiased information? Such people still exist?

      • mikewaller

        Don’t trade in childish cliches. Get on the Net, find a source which you find credible and come back, if you can, with a few facts.

        • mdj

          R4 frequently quotes people as authorities on the topic of the EU, while evading to mention when they are financially beholden to the EU, to take a simple and everyday example. I think that you’re the one who needs to look for wider sources of information.

          • mikewaller

            As Burns said, “O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us…” Can you not see that you are just churning out your tired old presumptions whereas as I have actually checked my facts, and not initially with the BBC. Only come back if you have done likewise and can quote chapter and verse. I have sadly to say that you come across to me as a typical Brexiter: all wind, fury and no substance..

          • PaD

            and you are too full of yourself..you can f…k off with trying to give OUR country away.

          • mikewaller

            If you can’t take the heat……………..

          • MightyDiego

            Exactly, when the facts become inconvenient and the arguments difficult, clowns like this simply lash out. Sad, pathetic but quite predictable.

          • MightyDiego

            Let’s hit thus on the head – which sources would you recommend?

          • mdj

            ‘Hit this on the head?’? You come on to a discussion page wanting to shut down discussion? That’s interesting.

            The whole point is to take in as wide a spread of sources as possible, and exercise your own intelligence and scepticism; all have their biases, conscious or otherwise.
            There is a site called simply ‘Biased BBC’, which might be a start; you don’t have to like the commenters on Guido Fawkes to find the links that come up astounding ( and, obviously, incredible at times).
            Would we have known that Sweden has become the world’s rape capital via the BBC, to take a recent example?
            Would we have heard a word about Cologne , where there was a BBC correspondent stationed, had there not been days of intense coverage elsewhere that shamed their silence?
            Or that the CBI is heavily funded by the EU?
            Or that a majority of French people in a recent poll want a referendum to leave the EU?

            A good way to monitor the BBC for bias is to discover a story elsewhere, and see how soon, if ever, it gets coverage if it challenges the world view of benign statism it seeks to project.

          • MightyDiego

            Easy tiger. Just name your suggested alternatives. I really do want to be enlightened.

          • Seatofmypants

            its not just a correspondent the Beeb have in Cologne.

            It took the BBC six days to report the Cologne rapes/assaults even though their Main German office is less then a couple of Km’s away from Cologne station.

            Rotherham…strangely they knew nothing… (except go after their, then, bete noir Nick Griffin who brought, at least, the case to the public’s attention. They were determined to nail him and the BNP). But industrial scale rape of white working class girls? Nope. BBC Manchester had no idea at all.

      • David Freestone

        I find Radio 4 full of boring, monotonous people with no charisma, whatsoever !

    • Jeffrey Vernon

      Radio 4 asked Fullfact.org, a fact-checking charity. The UK pays £160 million PER WEEK. Whether you think this a lot or a little depends on your view of the EU, and the comparison with annual GDP (around 2 trillion). Fullfact cites three sources from the UK government and the House of Commons library. It is clear from the graphs shown that the data are ‘modelled’ and adjusted in various ways – with silly sums of money like this, no-one knows the real figure. It’s not as if the UK gov just writes a check for 8.5 billion every year.

      Does my view of the EU depend on the price tag? It’s a question of sovereignty for me; the main problem with the EU is that it gives the government deniability. They can introduce unpopular measures and then hide behind the skirts of Brussels.

      • mikewaller

        No one is disputing that its per week. Only the £280 was p.a. The key thing is that in this context, as with so many other Brexiters – both male and female – Ms Birchill is talking out of her fundamental orifice.

        As for sovereignty, we’ve never had it. As I think Voltaire said, “the English elect their masters every five years”. Pro Brexit politicians aren’t concerned about our illusory freedoms, but their right to continue exercising their tyranny over us. That is why they so hate the European Bill of Rights and the Court which backs it up. Together, they constitute a structure that has the temerity to review national legislation from the perspective of the little guy. The key give way is that the guy who would be happiest if we set the example of pulling out would be Putin. That surely must tell you something.

        • milford

          It tells me that Putin is sick to death of the EU (who can blame him after the calamity it created on his doorstep in the Ukraine) and would love to see it fail, just like lots of people all over Europe would.

          • mikewaller

            Your’s is a self-serving delusion. What Putin hates is a Convention to which Russia is a signatory having an associated court with the authority to challenge the disgusting ways in which so many Russian citizens are treated by his corrupt regime. 20% of the cases brought to the ECHR involve Russia, with the “freedom-loving” government of Turkey being next in this line of shame. We, for all the crap spouted by idiot Brexiters, are very much at the other end of the scale.

          • PaD

            except that we’re fu…d if we stay a minute longer in the hellhole of the EU.

          • mikewaller

            Even the battiest of the front-line Brexiters aren’t claiming that. Rather puts you in a class of your own.

          • MightyDiego

            How so?

        • Jeffrey Vernon

          You mean the European Convention on Human Rights? Russia is a signatory to that as well. I don’t think the ECHR has as much regard for the Little Guy as you do. An activist supreme court subverts the wishes of national electorates. But whether it does or not, it’s not an EU court, and we’ll still be signatories after Brexit. I’m still not hearing the positive case; you tell me that sovereignty is a myth and that Putin wants us to leave, but that cannot be the whole reason for staying in.

          • mikewaller

            Your narrowness of focus surprises me. In my experience, those who favour Brexit also want us to withdraw from the other European institutions, ergo my point about the ECHR and Putin. Indeed how could anybody with you belief in sovereignty not wish us to with draw from the ECHR? As for “the wishes of the national electorates”, pull the other one. Our infamous “first past the post” electoral system virtually guarantees the rule of minorities with unrestricted powers.

            As your demanding a positive case, why should I be required to oblige? You sound like a child demanding sugar with its pill! Kipling’s wonderful verse:

            As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
            There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
            That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
            And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

            is hardly positive, but wonderfully observant none the less. Given this country’s lacklustre performance as a trading nation both in an out of the EU over the past century or more, I think that to again seek go it alone would be a clear case of a “bandaged finger” going wabbling back the the Fire”. As a corollary, I think Brexiters are very properly described as “burnt fools”.

            Incidentally, if you want to get some real insight into what is coming down the track both globally and politically, read John R. MacArthur’s brilliant piece in this week’s Specky about the huge resentment that has built up in the breasts or ordinary Joe’s about the way the “democratically elected” political class has betrayed them by bringing on total exposure to globally free trade. Surely, for the sake of democracy and the need to maintain some semblance of a decent living standard for ordinary people, this is a time at which some form of protectionism will be on the way back. In such a context, to set yourself up as an independent sole trader, available to be shafted by all and sundry, is about as daft as it gets.

          • Jeffrey Vernon

            Protectionism and globalisation are not mutually exclusive. As members of the EU we are bound by the competition laws that prevent us giving illegal state aid. One consequence of this is that my research institute is not allowed to buy computers or software without competitive tendering, because the grant money comes from public funds. We can’t hire staff from India or Russia or Korea because there’s an EU preference for hiring, and it’s too difficult to get visas for them. If we DO get them in they are harassed by the Home Office and their visas are prematurely terminated at short notice.

            The most consistent case I hear for staying is that the EU will protect us from our own governments. No wonder the electorate is staying away from the polls: whoever you vote for, you get the EU party. I’m not being peevish in asking why you want to remain: I am assuming that there’s a positive social or political case for it, but it seems that no-one wants to make it. Are they all embarrassed by the parliament, the Council, the Commission, the budget, the Euro, the agri policy? Is the ECJ really all that stands between us and barbarism?

            Your point about UK trade can be argued both ways. We applied to join the EU in the very same year when sterling began to slide against the Deutschmark in the early 60s. If we joined to arrest the decline, it hasn’t worked very well.

          • mikewaller

            Regarding your last point, it is only the relative decline that has kept us in business. No one would buy our goods if the the Euro equivalent of (I think) 11 marks to the pound I experience in the 1950s were still current.

            What I would appreciate your doing is commenting on the MacArthur article on page 14 of this week’s Specky. That gives the little man’s view of your desire to have fully open borders when it comes to recruitment. I do not believe that folks are staying away from the polls because all parties are pro-EU. After all Ukip remains an option. Their aversion to politics arise from the reasons given by MacArthur: they have come to realise that they have been just a royally screwed over globalisation and free trade as they were over immigration. Some of them think that cutting lose would take us back to the happy days of full employment and wage levels dramatically above the world average. Sadly, the world has changed and it won’t. Our only hope lies in being in a trade bloc big enough to be strike favourable deals on the World stage whilst having wage levels not dissimilar from our own. It won’t work for ever but it is far better than jumping off the Brexit cliff!

          • PaD

            self aggrandising verbiage.
            Protectionism..where was the protection for the murdered of Paris Belgium ?..the sexually assaulted of Cologne..?deliberately NOT reported by EU MSN.

            nobody gives a f. k about the kind of stuff youre on about.

          • mikewaller

            Your are precisely the kind of woolly-minded thinker I would be deeply distressed every to find in common cause with me.

        • PaD

          Voltaire hadnt witnessed a Paris Belgium or Cologne..I presume

      • secretpeople

        GDP – determining our EU subsidy – takes into account ‘productivity’ arising from drug dealing and prostitution.. both of which do not generate tax receipts and, in all probability, cost us.

        • Jeffrey Vernon

          Illegal or informal activities like drugs, prostitution and unpaid domestic labour are not factored into official GDP, a criticism that is sometimes heard. I’d be surprised if their value varies greatly across the EU.

    • PaD

      and if you believe the BBC on ANYTHING relating to EU,
      that will make you a particularly gullible double-glazing customer..

      • mikewaller

        I am sure we will be forgiven for ignoring your unsubstantiated effusions.

  • mr davies

    Women spent many years campaigning for the right to get the Vote. Why would anyone want to Vote to stay in the Non Democratic Unelected EU. Very Soon both Women and Men will no longer have the ability to change ANY LAWS decreed by the EU. Stay in the EU YOU MUST BE MAD !! VOTE BREXIT, Save our once Democratic Country.

  • Jim Conway

    Re. “brave Brussels whistleblower Marta Andreasen”, Julie may not have followed her subsequent career with UKIP.

  • mickey667

    What a complete load of frivolous self indulgent nonsense.

  • Donafugata

    It has been said that a woman spends the first half of her life looking for Heathcliff and the second half trying to get rid of him.

    The British have had a similar relationship with the EU.

  • BaronHardup

    Why are people still employing Julie Burchill?

  • Morseman

    No it isn’t 350 million pounds a week, it is around 120 million.
    Back when the Sunday Times was a readable newspaper in print, I dropped it because Julie Burchill wrote an article in which she said “men stink”, and then proceeded to use lavatory comments about men.
    One of them, incidentally, must have made the disastrous mistake of impregnating her mother.

    • Gina Romsey

      No Morseman, the current forecast for payments to the EU Budget for 2016-2017 is:
      £19.228 billion gross contribution to the budget
      £4.444 billion is held back as the British Rebate negotiated by Margaret Thatcher
      £4.606 billion is spent in the UK by the EU as grants to Wales, Cornwall, Agricultural and Fisheries subsidies, etc.
      This gives an estimated net contribution of £10.178 billion. Just think what Chancellor George Osborne could do with this amount!

      • Morseman

        Hello Gina:
        Thank you for those figures.
        They work out at 165 quid a year per person (taking a population of 65 million; some say it is much more, which would reduce the payment).
        That is cheap for the great benefits of membership of the European Union.

        • secretpeople

          Those working age people (ie not your ‘per person’) – the taxpayers, that is – should have the right to choose how their money is spent.

          • Morseman

            Nobody in any country can tell even their own government how they want their money spent!
            Why should childless people pay to educate other people’s children?
            Why should pacifists have to pay for nuclear weapons?
            That’s life.

  • Sargon the bone crusher

    More absolute codswallop from Burchill. A strange and bizarre creature. Where did they dig her up?

    • Ipsmick

      Don’t ask.

    • David Beard

      I blame that Tony Parsons. Gotta be his fault.

  • Sargon the bone crusher

    The speccie is in fine censorship form today. I assume a big wig is ‘in with Burchill. ( ‘in’ meaning whatever)

  • wasteman

    still not a feminist issue its a democracy issue

  • green hackle

    I have Also heard the unelected parasites in the EU are worried what will happen to There beloved Euro When we Leave, I Dont know about you, But if i Could not give a Toss what happens to the EU what makes these Lying Scumbags think i give a Toss about There Euro, The EU is a Failed Experiment, We want Our Country Back..and we Will get it..

    • DBF

      Apparently you don’t care about spelling and grammar either.

      • secretpeople

        I received this via RightMove today (locales removed but the rest verbatim):

        FULLY MODERNISED/MOVE IN CONDITION/** BORDER AND IN THE CATHMENT AREA FOR *** GRAMMER SCHOOL.

  • Ipsmick

    That’s the problem, isn’t it? You think about voting to leave, and then realise that you’ll be allying yourself with Grayling, Galloway, Farage, Duncan Smith and now Burchill and suddenly the prospect begins to seem far less appealing.

    • Dryermartinithanyours

      The others don’t faze me but Burchill does.

    • PaD

      no it does not..If it wasnt for Nigel Farage this referendum would not be even taking place.

    • David Beard

      Lol, do you think they’re double-agents ; – )

    • Gina Romsey

      Just remember the millions of EU migrants coming into Britain to draw on our benefits and send money home to their palaces in Eastern Europe, whilst your government tells you you’ve got to work till you are 75 before you can draw on the pension pot into which you have been contributing all your working life, then perhaps even Galloway would seem as attractive as your wife or hubby!

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Test

  • JohnnyNorfolk

    We joined on a lie. We should leave on the truth.

    • El Pochito

      as told by Julie Burchill?

    • MightyDiego

      And what’s that truth? List them out, come on.

      • JohnnyNorfolk

        You will need to work that out for yourself. those that forget their history will lose their way in the future. You cannot trust the French or the Germans can you.

        • MightyDiego

          Just the answer I expected. No answer – just an irrational dislike and mistrust of anything foreign.

          • JohnnyNorfolk

            Of course. The french are only interested in france and the germans are only interested in germany.
            If you think they are not you are a fool.

  • Jojje 3000

    Leaving the EU because of feminism ?

  • right1_left1

    I’ve never heard of ‘gaslighting’ but I do know a gasbagger when I hear one
    quote Tony Benn
    In Britain, you
    vote for a government so the government has to listen to you, and if you
    don’t like it you can change it

    Population totally ignored on
    Immigration,
    Violence in 70’s 80’s
    Crime in general
    No vote on Lisbon treaty

    Wimmen get on my nerves.
    They are always bursting into tears.

    • David Booth.

      It comes from the 1940 film called Gaslight with Anton Walbrook playing a dastardly husband trying to send his wife bonkers by surreptitiously controlling the illuminating effect of the house gas supply.
      Well worth watching.

      • secretpeople

        Film Noir then, stemming from the fact women were seen as a threat at that time and men sought catharsis via cinematic revenge!

        • David Booth.

          Err no! Stemming from the fact that a previous owner of the house had stashed some jewels in the place prior to being murdered by the Anton Walbrook character.
          As Freud said “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar”

  • Vote Remain for ever closer union. It’s as simple as that.

    • PaD

      EU can f…k off.
      ..its as simple as that.

    • StormInaDcup

      Eurine?

  • David Drane

    Feminism is equality for both sexes; Germany has a female Chancellor they have PR voting type system; UK has Government in power with less than 30% of popular vote; WHAT DEMOCRCACY!!!!!,

    • PaD

      and youre a paid remainian

  • David Drane

    lets just pay to stay in the club but on the frindges beside Norway, but further in; whilst free to nurture our specialrelaionship with USA; not as if the UK land is gng anywhere either way

  • El Pochito

    Burchill, Galloway, Farage, Toby Young, Louise Mensch. Some total tools coming out for Brexit, why dont we hear more from the real thinkers like Dan Hannan instead of these attentions seeking buffoons?

    • PaD

      because if it wasnt for Nigel Farage there wouldnt BE a f…g referendum..idiot

    • MightyDiego

      Hannan, who was taken to school the other night by Falconer?

  • Bert3000

    Real desperation from the biscuit camp. Burchill is always wrong about everything.

    • David Beard

      She’s inconsistent that’s for sure.

  • HotAirConditioning

    I wonder is there any aspect of life (animal, vegetable or mineral) that Julie Burchill does not consider to be a feminist issue?

  • PaD

    much as i applaud Julie Birchills anti EU stance, and while the article is about Brexit,her non mention of strong and determined women standing against ..eg Marine &Marie Le Pen.. Frauke Petry..is a bit puzzling..come on Julie do better

  • David Beard

    two of the contemporaries I admire most — Suzanne Moore at the Guardian

    Is this for real? Suzanne Moore? Even the most leftist of Guardian readers think she’s as mad as a box of frogs.
    Check the comments on almost any of her articles from the last two years or so. In fact just check her articles.
    Here’s a sample from one. Hilarious. “I live in London but I leave it often enough to know that parts of the country are pretty white, enough to scare my “white” children because they are just not used to such a monoculture and find it disturbing, unreal and, to be frank, lacking.”

    And she certainly gets about does Ms Moore. In more ways than one.

    Suzanne Moore – British Humanist Association
    https://humanism.org.uk/about/our-people/patrons/suzanne-moore/
    Suzanne Moore is an award-winning columnist on the Mail on Sunday. She has also written for Marxism Today, New Statesman, The Guardian and The …

    • Jankers

      nuff said. Soon they will get whatever it is thy deserve.

  • Edward Twoey

    There will be blue birds over
    the white cliffs of Dover
    Just you wait and see
    There will be love and laughter
    and peace ever after
    on June 24
    When, again, this country is free

  • David Booth.

    We joined following Edward Heath’s assurance that it was purely an economic association. When confronted with this years later Heath adopted that smug supercilious smile of his.
    Detestable man, detestable organisation.
    Vote No to EU.

  • Ian Young

    Julie Birchill is a contrarian gobshite who’ll write any old toss to order. It’s usually the same article; “those trendy Metropolitan wine drinking liberal toffs think they’re so clever but they’re not and are really all fascists.” I doubt if the EU has ever entered her conciousness until yesterday afternoon in the pub with her laptop.

  • HungryHorace

    She comes across like a teenager. As usual. Still, she’s made a career out of it. I have to hand it to her.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Feminism, encouraging women to raise their prices in a buyers’ market. So get real girls, before you are left on the shelf.

  • Static1

    “£350 million a week is blown on the EU, which could be better spent on the priorities of women voters,”

    “The country is being ‘mansplained’”

    Funniest article I’ve read so far this year.

  • Michael Hunt

    Julie Burchill, who nearly got prosecuted under the race relations act at a saint Patrick’s day parade. I really am glad she’s on the brexit side. Now, if only Enoch Powell were still alive, that would clinch it for me.

Close