Matthew Parris

Leave campaigners aren’t being disrespected. They’re being paranoid

They seem to think that the Prime Minister should be some kind of neutral observer in the debate

30 April 2016

9:00 AM

30 April 2016

9:00 AM

There are moments when one wonders whether one is seeing and hearing the same things as others. For me such a moment occurred a fortnight ago when reading The Spectator’s weekly column by our political editor, James Forsyth. James is exceptionally well plugged in to the world of Westminster, but — beyond that — a person of cool and sensitive judgment, so I read what he writes with attention.

He said this: ‘[The Prime Minister] is campaigning with no thought for the feelings of those in the party who disagree with him. It is one thing for a leader to disagree with close to half of his MPs and most of his activists, but quite another not to do it respectfully.’

And for the first time in my life I had literally no idea what James was on about.

First, then, the evidence. Except there isn’t any. Ever since the pre-campaign campaign for our EU referendum began, I’ve been listening carefully to what David Cameron has been saying and the tone in which he’s been saying it. Study his remarks. They are notable for the care he’s been taking not to be personal about leading Leave campaigners, and not to question their good faith.

I can find only one partial exception to that. Without naming names, Mr Cameron did say he had complete respect for Leave campaigners whose objections to Britain’s EU membership had been well-known and long-standing. This may be taken at face value: opposition to EU membership has a long and honourable tradition at Westminster and it is impossible not to acknowledge the sincerity and tenacity of many of the leading voices. But when Cameron added that he was not standing for re-election it was fair to guess (as some commentators did) that he had Boris Johnson in his sights. Mr Johnson had just surprised many of us by coming out for Leave. Cameron meant (it was suggested) to imply that Mr Johnson was behaving opportunistically.

I dare say the PM did mean that to be read into his remark. It was a fair comment on a matter of public interest but should arguably have been left to others to make.

But that’s it. I can find no other example of Cameron going for the man rather than the argument. He had to say something about Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation, and saying he was ‘puzzled and disappointed’ struck me as mild. This, remember, was a resignation in which Mr Duncan Smith himself had criticised a budget that was ‘deeply unfair’ and called it evidence that when the Chancellor and Prime Minister said we were ‘all in this together’, that was not true.

How about George Osborne? Did James Forsyth mean to include the Chancellor in his strictures? So far as I know, all Mr Osborne has done is fiercely attack the economic case for leaving, describing it as self-harm. This is what he believes: it is the gravamen of his case.

So let us now look at how leading Leavers have comported themselves. IDS has said the Remain campaign has been characterised by ‘spin, smears and threats’ and ‘bully-ing opponents… acrimonious conduct… desperate and unsubstantiated claims’. Cameron’s renegotiation package he described as a ‘dodgy dossier’. Meanwhile Michael Gove has accused the Prime Minister and Chancellor of treating the public ‘like children’ who need to be ‘frightened into obedience’, called the government’s Remain leaflet a ‘one-sided piece of propaganda’ and said it’s inappropriate that public money should be spent distributing it.

But remaining in the EU is government policy. Mr Gove would not have composed a leaflet arguing for (say) his academisation programme that was designed to do other than promote government policy.

In the past week, Owen Paterson has described the PM’s Remain campaign as being ‘a bit like going back to the Civil War, when Charles I lost touch with the counties’. Liam Fox has said that Britain cannot afford to be ‘conned by Cameron’s “renegotiation” deal’ and suggested we’ve been ‘stitched up’ and the ‘whole renegotiation’ was a ‘sham from start to finish’. Bernard Jenkin has said that ‘Everything is dictated from the top for short-term political advantage.’ And Boris Johnson has described the renegotiation as achieving ‘two-thirds of diddly squat’.

I will not go on. Avid Leavers will retort that all these comments are true. They may be. But they also, almost without exception and often quite explicitly and in colourful language, impugn the integrity and the good faith of David Cameron, George Osborne, or both. How can those who dish out such insults and allegations, and seek in such ways to smear the reputation and question the goodwill of Cameron and Osborne, then complain that they are being treated disrespectfully by the Prime Minister?

In the comments section beneath my Times columns I’ve noticed a pattern among Ukip supporters and Brexit Tories. They appear to think that because the PM agreed to let those opposed to the government’s EU policy speak out, he should therefore be some kind of neutral observer, or umpire, in the subsequent debate. When he takes his own side, this appears to throw them into a rage. When he does so vigorously, they scream at him for disrespecting them. My own respect for James Forsyth leads me to believe that he must be describing how the Leave Tories actually feel, rather than endorsing their opinion as reasonable or accurate.

For this is indeed how they feel. Which leads me to my closing question. Does being a Leave supporter implant in an individual the disposition to believe they are being cheated and bullied? Or does being the type of person disposed to feel cheated and bullied lead you to be a Leave supporter?

I suspect it’s the latter. If so, this article is just spitting into the wind, and what’s needed is not argument but psychotherapy. And yes, darlings, before you yelp, let me merrily concede: that last remark was intended to give offence. You’re being disrespected and bullied. Diddums.

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Show comments
  • davidshort10

    It’s obvious that it’s Saudi Arabia and Russia who are the main puppeteers in the anti-fracking campaign, but I do wonder who are the powerful influences who pull the strings of all the people who are so against the Leave point of view. They include the leaders of three of the four main political parties in Britain, so much so that the leader of the government party makes schoolboyish insults about how the leader of the fourth pronounces his surname. There’s something very sinister going on.

    • rhys

      It’s a mass stupidity, look at the Emperor’s lovely clothes, thing. Very few people are prepared to sit down and have a damn good THINK.

  • Rik

    No Matthew,what i expect from those that back remain is honesty and truth,not the blatant brazen lies that is all we seem to get from their smug smirking mouths,Goebbels would be proud of the remain campaign.

    • Pip

      If something is unsaleable one has to lie in order to sell it.

    • Isaiah

      If you were a Labour party member and could be identified, you would have been made to resign/sacked/suspended by now for writing what you wrote.

      • Rosenbaum’s Tinted Spectacles

        One rule for us, no rules for them?

        • Hermine Funkington-Rumpelstilz

          One rule for them, no rules for us!

  • Tamerlane

    Oh balls man, Leave campaigners rightly note the real strategy is not ‘Project Fear’ but simply ‘Project Ignore’. When every newspaper, news site and most columnist begin every headline with the title ‘X fears blah blah blah’ day after day after day you have to ask what’s the point? When the ‘Leave’ campaign is given a token ten second slot to put their side of it at the back end of the story where’s the balance?

    Don’t worry in or out of the EU Matthew Parris and chums will still be able to sip culturally superior fay wines along the Rhone in crushed velvet pantaloons listening to Bach and observing the hoi-poloi from the very, very safe decks of a river boat.

    • rhys

      But not forever.
      The country is already full up and overflowing ( London has already become a foreign, overcrowded, mess – people having to pay £950 pcm for a mattress space under the stairs ). The élites want it all to continue and yet more and more of it…………….
      Turkey next in line.
      At some point the whole thing will break down into chaos. Being on a boat in a river will be no protection.

    • WTF

      Every article with a comments section in pretty much every newspaper that had articles with project fear by the remainiacs, has consistently seen 66% and more backing leave. Facts and figures that were conveniently ‘forgotten’ by liberal journalists have appeared all over the blog sites and neutralized the likes of Parris and many others here and elsewhere. Even with this article there’s a 2-1 in favour of leave as the remainiacs can’t substantiate their assertions as they lack the facts to support themselves.

      As you rightly say, for the leavers it’s Project Ignore, followed by Project Facts backed up with stats and there’s little Parris or any others remainiacs can do about that..

  • Zanderz

    Parris may have missed Cameron’s snide PMQ remark about the pronunciation of Farage / Farridge. It quite clearly showed his contempt for Farage and by association all Leavers.

    • Marvin

      Cameron seems to have an inherent hatred of anyone who has not inherited as much money as himself. He has been bred to think of us plebs as just pesky pests, UNTIL ELECTION TIME!

    • Lawrence James.

      Well deserved.

    • HenryWood

      I wonder how Cameron pronounces Parris? Does he use a poncey, fake French accent when referring to his r slicking follower Matt Paree? How gay.

    • Lady Magdalene

      Parris has also conveniently forgotten all the insults routinely levied at the Brexiteers: loonies, fruitcakes, swivel-eyed, racists and bigots, little Englanders ….. Cameron himself is responsible for quite a few of them.

    • Man on the Clapham omnibus

      Parris has completely lost the plot.

  • Mary Ann

    Cameron is campaigning for the good of his country, it’s what a good prime minister should do.

    • Roger Hudson

      Is this a joke?

      • Johnnydub

        When mad leftists are supporting Cameron it shows how badly Cameron has betrayed Conservatism..

    • Aberrant_Apostrophe

      His rich friends. Get it right.

    • WTF

      Did you forget your meds again !

  • Anthony Thompson

    Matthew Parris is the kindly, liberal, sensitive face of Conservatism, a delightful prose style and, on the radio, a speaking voice that is reasonableness personified.


    The reality is a shock jock for the educated classes. He tiptoes through his columns with a razor and sawn-off shot gun, prejudiced, bruising and cunning.

    • Lady Magdalene

      The mask slipped when he wrote THAT column about conservative voters in Clacton.

  • hobspawn

    tl;dr but the way to wipe the sneer off these treasonous ​bastards’ faces is to get out there and get leafletting for vote leave. Get out there, put some time in, leaflet letter boxes, put a sticker in your car, wear a badge, read Hannan’s book, talk to people in the street. The foot soldiers can win it because we give a ​shit about our country unlike these blinkered fifth column narcissists.

    If you all get out there and campaign in the streets we will wake up on the 24th to a wonderful new day. It will not be the end, nor the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning.

    Let’s fight for it. Don’t just vote to leave, join Vote Leave, campaign to leave, and keep voting for the Leave side every time, year after year.

    Remains rot, Leaves grow.

    • Lawrence James.

      Tomorrow belongs to me . . .

  • polidorisghost

    “Leave campaigners aren’t being disrespected. They’re being paranoid”

    Doesn’t mean you’re not out to get us Matthew.

    • Aberrant_Apostrophe

      Makes a change from being called ‘bigoted xenophobes’, I suppose.

      • WTF

        Faint praise indeed from Parris !

  • tjamesjones

    I used to enjoy this stuff before the last election, but it’s just shooting fish in a barrel Matthew. between them our kipper friends here don’t have a hill of beans for an argument – it seems to be “the elites want us to stay in.” If that clinches it for you, then I think Matthew has proven his point.

    • rhys

      Very few of us are members of ‘the élites’.
      It is therefore reasonable ( not paranoiacal ) to be sceptical of the merits of a course of action which the élites en masse are arguing ( if that is the word ) for : namely remaining in a dysfunctional institution which has caused us ( the non élite ) an awful lot of damage.
      Of course, if you have amassed a lot of wealth ( four houses was it at the last count ?) from doing very little over the years by way of hard graft, then yes, carrying on as before will be very pleasant…………. If on the other hand, you are a worker who has seen his daily rate very substantially reduced because of the influx of workers from Europe who are happy to accept lower pay you might indeed be sceptical as to the EU’s benefits.
      Ditto if you are on average pay, and because there are now millions more people competing for housing you cannot afford to rent or buy even the one flat ( not four ), and thus are having to continue to live at your parents’ into your thirties and beyond – then you might also wonder at the marvellous benefits of mass uncontrolled immigration ( oh, and Turkey next, if our élites get their way ).
      That enough beans in the hill for you ?

      • tjamesjones

        yep that’s what I meant. short of a revolution, you’re kind of stuck with your elites. if you have a revolution, you’ll get a new set. this is a conservative paper, conservatives don’t believe in some grand alternative world, we muddle along as best we can. however we vote on 23rd June, the EU will still exist, and we’ll still have a relationship with it, largely along the terms we do now – not part of euro, not part of schengen, but trading, with free movement of trade and capital etc. there is no bright alternative future just the other side of the hill.

    • WTF

      I suggest you watch that Speccie debate if you want to see vacuous comments with no argument and it was all from the remainer side. Do you want examples or will you bother to see for your self ?

      • tjamesjones

        people with plans to change always have the more interesting arguments. that’s how it works – you get to say whatever you want. but as Ronald Reagan said: don’t just do something, stand there.

        • WTF

          That’s true but the point of the debate was to discuss facts and answer specific questions given by the audience and Liz Kendall was an epic fail when she refused to answer the question on border control. As interesting as her arguments might be to some about migrants that wasn’t the question. She should have the courtesy to answer a fair question in an honest way rather than make some party political speech to remain.

  • Richard Lally

    You are spot on Matthew. It is obvious from what they say that many, perhaps most, Leavers are extremely passionate in their hatred of “Brussels”. (This contracts greatly with the “on balance we are better off in (yawn)” of most Remainers).
    Why so passionate? Paranoia.
    I suspect the paranoia comes about from believing all the lies and exaggerations about “Brussels” in the right wing press.

    • Mr B J Mann


      Only half of it is true!

      The other half was true about “Strasbourg”!!!

    • WTF

      Such as ? Was anything Farage or Hannan said in that Speccie debate a lie ?

      Why did Liz Kendall refuse to answer a question from the audience as in “Can we control our borders whilst in the EU”.

      If its all lies and exaggeration then the dumb cow should have easily answered that question but she refused to despite several attempts by Andrew Neil to make her. What was even more amusing was the subdued gasp from the audience when the questioner asked that question as they knew exactly where it was heading and waited to see Kendall getting roasted. Thing is, we’ve been here many times before and its no secret the remainers refuse to answer hard questions at all including Cameron & Osborne who have chickened out on many occasions.

      I don’t hate Brussels, I disagree with their undemocratic process’s but all I want is straight answers to straight questions. If the remainers can’t or wont give us answers, then they have no credibility and we can’t believe any cr** they come out with. Only they can change their perception through honesty and openness but if they can’t, it begs the question that the EU probably is as bad as many make out.

  • davidblameron

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>THURSDAY 23rd JUNE : YOUR LOCAL POLLING STATION : 07:00 a:m : VOTE LEAVE X<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

    • Roger Hudson

      Except you don’t put an ‘X’, you put a tick in th ebox.

      • davidblameron

        as long as Britain LEAVEs, I don’t care

      • Aberrant_Apostrophe

        You can make any mark you like, as long it is mostly within the box – even the outline of a willy, as was reported a few weeks ago.

  • Frank

    Cameron couldn’t bully anything over the age of ten, he is, like you, a wimp. So I don’t think anyone in the “leave group” would call him a bully, I think they would probably just describe him as a sh*t.
    As for Osborne, he appears to be completely detached from humanity.
    Ah well, both will be sacked in June, so they can then seek therapy.

  • David S

    Oh do F**k off Matthew. Your last paragraph is pure trolling.

  • David S

    You say the comments may be true. If they are, then it is the facts, rather than the people pointing them out, that impugn the integrity of Messrs C and O.

  • norman’s nonsense

    Remainiacs.. glass half empty, private frasers! LEAVERS.. glass half full optimists with a smile… i know where i shall be sticking my scrawl

  • veryveryoldfella

    Matthew, there is an old saying which springs to mind, “They’re all jealous now I conquered my paranoia” You writing pieces of propaganda in here and the Times doesn’t invalidate the concerns that spring to mind when the question of remaining in the EU is considered. I have made my mind up, I’m voting OUT and I hope the majority votes the same. I have no doubt if we remain, this question will not go away, Cameron is finished, Corbyn has betrayed 40 plus years of being a Eurosceptic, 2020 GE could be like no other.

  • Terence Hale

    One misrepresented and confused issue of Britain leaving the European Union is its economics’. Dark clouds had been painted about Britain missing out of the European Union economic association. On the contrary economically Britain could profit from leaving the European Union. Foreign companies will no longer be able to hide behind European Union laws to avoid paying tax. Companies wishing to do business in Britain will then have to abide by the British tax system which will directly go to the British treasury.

  • HenryWood

    One paranoiac issue I now have is that my subscription to the print edition is now supporting/paying for this toady, Parris. Subscribers should be allowed to support excellent columnists like Rod Liddle and opt out of supporting toady Cameron supporters like Paree. Introduce REPRESENTATIVE SUBSCRIPTIONS, I say!

  • Johnny Foreigner ✓ Very angry

    Parris pieces, should now be moved to the BDSM section of The Spectator, if you participate in the pain inducing reading of his efforts, you should be made to pay more, to satisfy your disgusting fetish.

  • James Chilton

    I imagine Matthew Parris, though he writes well, does so with a smile of contempt for his readers.

    • Johnnydub

      Remember Parris’s article about the chavs of Clacton.. positively dripping with Contempt.

      He however would never discuss the Asian/black/Chinese community in such terms.

      A classic Orwellian self loathing liberal.

      And a cheerleader for the ethnic and cultural apocalypse of mass immigration.

      • James Chilton

        Agree. He can cheerlead with impunity because mass immigration doesn’t affect the toffs.

    • MikePage

      He’s a plastic tory, doesn’t represent conservatives.

    • newminster

      Judging by some of the comments on here a smile of contempt would be more than justified.
      Has the Leave campaign nothing positive to say in this fairly important debate? So far all I can hear is early rehearsals of the chorus of “we was robbed”. Unless Leave can start saying something worth listening to instead of complaining about what the other side is doing they can whistle for my vote.

      • PaD

        The EU treaty that was voted for 40years ago was a false document even then..a deliberate LIE as political union incremental and with stealth was its real destination…for most people this revelation has come fairly recently.
        Dont expect them to be happy about it.
        Uk MEPs and ALL govts for those 40years are party to this treason.
        You want the victims to smile and ‘be nice’ while they are being assaulted?

      • Mr B J Mann

        I’m positive that those who would surrender liberty and sovereignty for a false promise of economic security, who undermine democratic principles to campaign for it, and whose campaign consists of scaremongering and insults, don’t deserve a vote.

        Is that better?!

  • Mary Ann

    Cameron doesn’t want to go down in history as the idiot that took us out of the EU.

    • John Carins

      Cameron whatever the result will go down as an idiot.

      • Mary Ann

        I find it hard to disagree with you. As long as he isn’t replaced by Boris, probably good company at a dinner party, but representing Britain across the world, No thanks.

        • WTF

          The Queen represent the country far more than some weasel politician.

      • davidblameron


    • Aberrant_Apostrophe

      If he had kept his word about taking us out if he didn’t win any substantial concessions from the EU, which he didn’t BTW, he would have gone as a hero. As it is, he will go down as the traitor who, like Heath, lied to keep us shackled to the EU corpse.

    • WTF

      His legacy is already set in stone just like Oblunders.

    • phil

      There is an obvious counter argument that he could very well go down in History as the idiot who tried to keep us in the EU.

  • John Carins

    Parris forgets that the remain camp have an operational advantage – taxpayers money and the civil service. What may look like paranoia to him is simply a reaction to a fundamental unfairness. The real paranoid behaviour is from the remain camp who really feel threatened.

    • Mary Ann

      And the leave camp have nearly all the press on their side, I wonder what they hope to gain.

      • Aberrant_Apostrophe

        Perhaps they’ve finally seen the light? Six months ago the majority of the media were pro-Remain. The only except appears to be the EU-funded Bbc.

      • WTF

        Do you ever tell the truth ?

        The Indy has been pro EU from the beginning and still is although its remain – leave articles have gone from 95% remain 5% leave to around 60% remain 40% leave. If you had your eyes open you would have seen the same shift in the Mail and here over a similar period. The Mail is now split 50/50 whilst here its still 65% remain and 35% leave. These percentages represent the journalists persuasions not the comments sections which in all papers have been a minimum of 66% for leave. The ONLY news outlet which has been consistently leave is the Express.

        Considering the BBC is the mouth piece of both the government and the EU, its amazing that the leave campaign have done so well but truth will out eventually. There’s a very good reason why the leave has lagged the remain before overtaking it is the inherent disadvantage it has for access to raw data to form its policies and arguments whilst the remain campaign had the raw data from the outset.

        Its highly likely Cameron has left it too late to reverse the trend to leave as (a) the leavers have got their s*** together, (b) they are now getting most of the raw data they need, (c) events in Europe have helped prove their point and (d) interventions by Merkel, Juncker & Oblunder have back fired.

        It has been dogged hard efforts by the leavers and NOT any help from MSM that you’re now using as an excuse for the polls going against your position. Its pitiful that your side has to use the ‘blame game’ when its losing ground just like those who are losing against Trump in the USA. A bit of introspection is needed when progressives are losing their game rather than crying foul and throwing their toys out of their prams !

        • yeoman

          She doesn’t.

      • Little Black Censored

        That assertion needs backing up. Sun and Express are for Leave. Mail is hedging its bets. Telegraph has abandoned its readers. Guardian and Independent are true believers in the EU. By no stretch can that be called “nearly all the press” on the Leavers’ side.

  • Anthony Thompson

    Cameron set out in his Bloomberg speech moderate objectives for EU reform. It didn’t call for Westminster law to have primacy over EU law but it was a stance we could respect, even if we weren’t sure he meant it.

    What we can’t respect is a man who, having failed to obtain these sensible reforms, now tours the country claiming that we would be voting to remain in a “reformed” EU. Even Matthew Parris knows that this is ridiculous fiction.

    In his new stance we see a politician, red in tooth and claw. Beneath the Savile Row suit we see a rather grubby man who will say anything and do anything, however dishonest or underhand, to get his way.

    His manner and tone, like that of Matthew Parris, is all reasonableness. Beneath there’s a thug.

    • Lady Magdalene

      And he’s now changed Government policy towards Trade Union funding in order to buy their support and votes. Selling Manifesto Commitments for votes is disgraceful.

      Cameron would sell his mother if he thought it would get a few more votes for Remain.

  • Bardirect

    Bullshit. No cabinet vote was ever taken therefore the Government never decided anything. The Conservative Party which Cameron leads is ostensibly neutral. Remainers have simply usurped the machinery of government for their cause despite having no mandate to do so. Cameron got those things the wrong way around. His disdain for democracy is tangible

    • newminster

      The Cabinet approved the outcome of the negotiations. Claiming there was no vote doesn’t alter the facts. The Prime Minister is arguing for his policy. Too bad if you don’t like it. Try putting forward an argument for leaving instead of whingeing. I’m still waiting to hear one that makes economic or political sense.

      • Mr B J Mann

        Government policy was to negotiate for significant changes and if it didn’t get them to Leave.

        You can’t change insignificant and worthless agreements into something substantial with a Cabinet vote.

        And then not just claim the right to Remain on the back of it, but to change government policy to it!

        And to put, exclusively, taxpayers resources into backing it!!!

  • lakelander

    Matthew Parris loves an opportunity to taunt those with Eurosceptic beliefs. We don’t object to Cameron holding or expressing an opinion but to the way he has abused his position to advance the cause.

    • newminster

      He is supporting his government’s policy. Are you suggesting he should shut up and leave the field clear for you?
      Because that is the message I keep hearing. How DARE anyone express a pro-EU point of view is what keeps coming across to me.

      • Mr B J Mann


        It’s one thing speaking on party policy and funding it with part funds.

        It’s another to win an election and use taxpayer funds to enact and explain government manifest commitment that won “majority support.

        It’s something else entirely to have a manifesto commitment to put something to a fair and democratic vote in a referendum.

        And then have the government and the opposition split into two camps.

        And then have a cap on the two sides spending.

        And then allow side the Prime Minister supports (contrary to indications in the manifesto and election) to benefit from him more than matching the allowable maximum expenditure for the other side with taxpayer funds.

        Allow the side he supports to use civil service resources while barring the members of government who support the other side from doing the same.

        And for him to, contrary to all protocols, not only invite a head of state to visit in the middle of elections and the referendum campaign, but to have him campaign on his behalf.

        And for him to even do a deal with opponents over legislation in exchange for them switching sides in the referendum campaign.

        I wonder what his reaction would be if Brexit Ministers used £9M of departmental funds to promote Brexit, invited foreign heads of state to pay a state visit and campaign for Brexit, and dropped sections of legislation they were sponsoring in exchange for opponents of the legislation and Brexit agreeing to support, and with yet more funding, Brexit?!

      • Aberrant_Apostrophe

        Cameron’s justification for his tax-payer funded pro-Remain propaganda brochure was that 85% of the public ‘wanted more information to make an informed decision’. I searched through it many times and could find not one single word about the risks of staying in the EU, such as the failing Eurozone, the disastrous Schengen Area, or TTIP. Sounds like his Government ‘policy’ is to keep the public totally in the dark and keep them in the EU. The old Supreme Soviet would have been proud of him.

    • Lawrence James.

      In other words, he rightly uses his prime-ministerial authority to squash the outbursts of characters like yourself. Parris is one the sanest and most cogent writers on the Spectator. More strength to his elbow and confusion to his enemies,.

  • Lady Magdalene

    Matthew Parris, cheerleader for Cameron, fails to see any justification in the criticism against the Dear Leader.

    Where do bears defecate? Will they change where they defecate?

    Neither will Parris.

  • Duncan Richardson

    The BBC’s script is now established
    1. Announcer reports fresh allegations of Brexit disaster
    2. First interviewee (pro-EU) responds, is not interrupted
    3. Second interviewee (anti-EU) responds, is often interrupted
    4. First interviewee speaks again, is not interrupted, makes final pro-EU points
    5. Interviews terminated

    • Aberrant_Apostrophe

      4a. Second interviewee is interrupted by Announcer saying “Sorry, that’s all we have time for”.

      I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve seen that happen, e.g on the last QT, when Alex Salmond was loudly talking over the pro-Leave person who was calmly pointing out the huge disparity of the money spent on Scots because of the Barnett Formula.

  • MikePage

    File under Useful Idiot.

  • Rich Austin

    What utter garbage and how typically high handed of pro-EU. When, exactly, did Government decide staying in the EU? When was this meeting? This vote? This decision? The artcle is just so typical of the pro-EU brigade – say it and it’s true.

    • Mary Ann

      They have never been anything other than pro EU.

      • Aberrant_Apostrophe

        Unlike Jezza. I wonder what dirt the EU have got on him to flip to the dark side?

    • newminster

      Cabinet approved the outcome of Cameron’s negotiation. At that point it became government policy.
      Sorry if you’re not having it all your own way but there are two sides to this argument.
      In reality I’m still waiting to hear yours. When do we get to hear some realistic reasons for leaving?

      • PaD

        So cabinet approved relinquishing their right to govern..because thats what further integration into EU will actually bring about…2nd thoughts that’s where we are NOW.
        Oh and Cologne

      • Central power

        The main one:Johnson for PM.He will get us some nice deals with Albania, San Marino and China. As for the latter:
        In 2015 the UK car exports 57% went to the EU (11 % increase), exports to China have significantly declined..

  • Jonathan Burns

    Next Parris will be claiming Wildebeest are paranoid about lions.
    It isn’t paranoia if they are out to get you.

  • Terence Wilkinson

    I used to believe that referenda were a good thing and would see serious issues debated in a serious manner. However the PR referendum, the SNP’s referendum and now this one have been more like the First Grade Class Presidential debate in The Simpsons. The only difference is that as well as calling each other “Booger head”, each side are, like a sixth form class with a ouija board, trying to conjure the biggest Bogey Man possible.

  • newminster

    Thank you, Matthew. I was beginning to think it was just me!
    From before Cameron even returned from the negotiations, the Leavers were complaining that the whole thing was going to be unfair, that Cameron was going to fail to get any concessions, that this, that and the other condition had to be met to ensure a level playing field.
    In fact I commented at the time that if the Leavers had their way they would have carte blanche and Remain’s hands would be tied behind their backs.
    And if calling the Remain campaign ‘Operation Fear’ isn’t an example of pots and kettles I don’t know what is!

    • Mr B J Mann


      Isn’t it the Remainders who have been accusing the Brexiters of running a fear campaign, especially over immigration, for years, and claiming the UK would only get 13,000 Poles and almost no Romanians?!

    • Aberrant_Apostrophe

      Well, it certainly isn’t ‘Operation Truth and Fairness’, is it? Go on, be honest.

    • WTF

      Well, Camerloon didn’t get any worthwhile guaranteed concessions did he, the leavers were right ! Then he used Oblunder to threaten the country with trade issues along with the normal fear baiting from the EU, of course its not a level playing field.

  • Oriolus

    Wow Matthew, really helping to elevate the tone of discourse here. Anyone writing such nasty things under your own columns gets dismissed as a troll, in your position you could and should do better. If you can’t be civil about the EU go back to writing about llamas, we all liked that.

  • Mr B J Mann

    “Frst, then, the evidence. Except there isn’t any. Ever since the pre-campaign campaign for our EU referendum began, I’ve been listening carefully to what David Cameron has been saying and the tone in which he’s been saying it. Study his remarks. They are notable for the care he’s been taking not to be personal about leading Leave campaigners, and not to question their good faith.

    “I can find only one partial exception to that. Without naming names, Mr Cameron did say he had complete respect for Leave campaigners whose objections to Britain’s EU membership had been well-known…….”

    As the rantings of swivel- eyed loony fruitcake Little Englander xenophobic racists, Matthew?

    Would that be what you “liberals” like to call “projection”?!

    You could run a ten screen multiplex on your own!!!

  • Mr B J Mann

    “Did James Forsyth mean to include the Chancellor in his strictures? So far as I know, all Mr Osborne has done is fiercely attack the economic case for leaving, describing it as self-harm. This is what he believes: it is the gravamen of his case.”

    Ah the joys of predictive text!

    I take it you tried to type “fabricate an attack on”:

    Not “fiercely attack”?!

    And ‘self-harm” should have been “self-evident”!!

    As for “gravamen” you obviously tried to type “gravy-train”!!!

  • davidblameron

    Liam Halligan in the DT says that moves are afoot to convince Brexiters that their case is hopeless. Do they take us as stupid as them?

  • Aberrant_Apostrophe

    Ah, Matthew Parrrisss. What more do I need say?

  • WTF

    The first trick of any party or individual without facts to support their position is to blame their opposition with the very faults and traits they suffer from. That means you Mr. Parris !

  • yeoman

    There are lawyers who have concerns about the constitutional propriety of one or two of Cameron’s actions. But I defer to Mr Parris, they must be paranoid.

  • 60yearsaBlue

    For some time I now I had begun to suspect that Parris has lost it. On the basis of the last paragraph of this vacuous piece of polemicism I now know he has. A petulant twelve year old assailing his class mates would probably show more intelligence

  • mikewaller

    A brilliant piece of writing; pity so many folks commenting on it are afflicted with the same disease. A couple of choice items that might have been included were the parliamentary half-wit who likened Cameron’s behaviour to that of Robert Mugabe; and the similarly cerebrally challenged member who objected to what may or may not have been a deal done with the TUC to secure them for the “Remain” camp. As Churchill made clear in respect of the Soviet Union during WW2, in times of National crisis sensible politicians must find their allies where they can and do what is necessary to keep them on board.

    However, possibly as a Murdoch stipendiary, Matthew also misses out the greatest hypocrisy of all: Brexiters such as Johnston and Farage frothing at the mouth with regard Obama’s brief intervention into UK politics whilst maintaining entirely silent about that other influential American, dear old Rup. Murdoch, having stuck his great fat oar in to our business for decades. If one didn’t laugh, one would cry!

    • yeoman

      ‘As Churchill made clear in respect of the Soviet Union during WW2, in times of National crisis sensible politicians must find their allies where they can and do what is necessary to keep them on board.’

      ‘…in time of national crisis….’
      As Cameron gave the referendum, and during his negotiations intimated that he might lead the ‘leave’ campaign, I’m not quite clear where the ‘national crisis’ is.
      The amount of abuse in your post is not helpful to the ‘remain’ campaign.

      • mikewaller

        Go read Parris’s article again and then look at the wholly mistaken crap directed at me in the post above yours from the halfwit, Bertie. As for national crisis, I can see a tidal wave of goods produced by folks on a fraction of European wages swamping our market with a Brexited UK powerless to do anything about it. In the new world of massively surplus production which most folks have yet to wake up to, only the EU has the numbers to protect our living standards. A go it alone UK will be screwed by everybody! America, on the other hand, can readily revert to isolationism, shutting us out along with everybody else.

    • Bertie

      Rupert Murdoch isnt American, he’s Australian you halfwit.

      “He is of English, Irish, and Scottish ancestry”

      His parents were also born in Australia – in melbourne!

      “Murdoch’s parents were also born in Melbourne”

      So no hypocrisy as your analysis is based on a basic false premise that even an 11 year old could have identified!!!

      No basis to laugh unfortunately, but plenty on which to cry..

      Must do better next time – suggest you actually do some research before telling blatant porkies.

      • mikewaller

        What is it like to make Grade A fool of yourself?

        Murdoch Becomes U.S. Citizen, Can Buy TV Network

        September 04, 1985|United Press International

        NEW YORK — Rupert Murdoch, Australian-born publishing magnate, became a U.S. citizen today, removing an obstacle to his acquisition of a network of independent American television stations.

        Murdoch, 54, has been living in the United States since 1973. He was joined in the courtroom ceremony by 185 other aliens.

        By becoming an American citizen, Murdoch gave up his Australian citizenship since neither government recognizes dual citizenship.

        Murdoch recently purchased 50% of 20th Century Fox Film Corp. and plans to purchase Metromedia, the nation’s largest group of independent television stations, including KTTV in Los Angeles. Under federal regulations an alien may not own more than 20% of a broadcast license.

  • Toby

    It might be for Mr Parris a psychotic question but I would like to know, if it is “£6 million: Maximum amount groups can spend on official referendum campaigns”, how come the Government has spent already £9 million in leaflet to support the “remain” campaign?

    I am getting paranoid?

  • Raddiy

    What’s it like Matthew to be pi**ing in the wind.

    Few are listening, even fewer are interested in what you have to say.

    You bring to mind the sort of individual who is the political equivalent of the hypochondriac, self diagnosing because arrogance leads him to believe he knows better than the professional.

    The problem with you Matthew is that you seem incapable of seeing the big picture, you are trapped in a vicious circle of self selected information, ignoring that which detracts from your preferred argument.

    Your writing evokes a sense of desperation to the reader, of a writer out of sync, out of touch and out of time.

    You have had your last applause Matthew, your audience has left, your theatre has gone dark.

    Go quietly into the night Matthew, your time has come.

    • WTF

      I think its into the wind as it always comes back to hit him !

  • Bertie

    I see Matthew Parris is talking out of his proverbial again.

    If you don’t think Osborne’s recent Treasury forecast, riddled with deceit & blatant academic errors as it was, is anything but an attempt to cheat and bully then you’re even more duplicitous and downright dishonest that I previously thought .

    Still not surprised given Parris limp wristed liberal predilections

  • maic

    I agree that debate on this issue should actually focus on the issue and that personal attacks deflect attention from this focus.
    So remaining in the EU is government policy? Well, that’s the issue isn’t it. It might be government policy but it’s not citizen policy for many of the citizens. These citizens are rightly fired up at being led into relationships with a set of countries which have had outcomes which were never honestly explained.
    At that time at least some politicians showed that they couldn’t be trusted and at the present time I suggest that this is the situation now. The Leave advocates will no longer accept the line that us experts know best and that you should conform to our wise guidance and decisions and stop complaining and stop stubbornly demanding that you the people make the decisions.
    The best case for leaving the EU is the question that has been asked by others: Knowing what you know about the EU now, the advantages and disadvantages, would you vote for Britain to join the EU in the coming referendum?
    Here’s a thought: Sing the following version of a well known anthem to yourself or by yourself (in case people think you’ve gone nuts!)
    God save our great EU,
    Long live our great EU,
    God save EU.
    Send it victorious
    Happy and glorious,
    Long to rule over us,
    God save EU.
    Yes I know. You have these difficult citizens who keep trying to think for themselves and who would have the nerve to proclaim that
    1.The EU is not great.
    2.It is not happy.
    3.Can hardly be said to be victorious given its internal problems.
    4.That they reject its right to rule over us.
    Britain was once the head of a vast empire. It eventually had the sense to let its colonies go their own ways. Isn’t it ironic that Britain gave away its own sovereignty and decision making powers becoming (at least in some aspects) a colony of the EU. (“No, No” I hear the voices say, “We are partners!” Well if that’s a partnership you can keep it. Dissolve it.
    Let the British citizens run their own country and control their own borders and support the politicians who are willing to listen and act on their concerns. It’s your country Brits. Take it back while you can!

    • WTF

      “Knowing what you know about the EU now, the advantages and
      disadvantages, would you vote for Britain to join the EU in the coming

      This well used question would in my opinion result in most people staying out for the simple reason the FTA that we were sold has turned into political union in all but name. It may not be a complete political union but to all intents and purposes its very close to it.

  • Ipsmick

    Gove wishes to see the EU broken up into competing nation states. So does Vladimir Putin. Hmmm.

  • English Aborigine

    Leave is the future parris

    The pyscotherapy is all yours, so much disrespect for decent peoples reaction to blatant government propaganda

    Just another embittered Remainiac failure

  • Norman

    David Cameron set out reasonable asks in the renegotiation and in reality he got very little. He is now campaigning for that version of Remain and saying this is Government policy. However it is clear the cabinet was not unanimous, the parliamentary party is evenly split, the party outside parliament is clearly more leave than remain and the country is finely balance. Surely he would be wiser to be more circumspect is his use of Government to support Remain. The electoral commission called the £9.3 million leaflet – not in the spirit of the campaign. He seems to be orchestrating foreign politicians and organisations telling us what to do and just today on the DVLC website there was a link to the Governments EU Referendum page promoting Remain – which again seems to a layperson a little fast and loose with the rules of purdah. All this I would argue means those who want to Vote Leave are not paranoid they just realise this is an uneven battle and Remain will do just about anything to win. To that end if there is a narrow win for Leave that means much more that a narrow win for Remain. They have the incumbent position, the government machine and fear, uncertainty and doubt, all of which they a prepared to use without compunction.