We Don’t Believe You – Why Populists and the Establishment See the World Differently

I was recently interviewed on the Politics and Polemics podcast about my book ‘We Don’t Believe You: Why Populists and the Establishment See the World Differently’.

The podcast is available to listen to here.

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  1. Martin in Cardiff
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Well, the first rule of populism is to misrepresent who and what the Establishment are, and John dutifully obliges.

    The term British Establishment became popular in the 1960s. It means the Royals and the Landed. It includes the military, security, diplomatic and intelligence top brass, and it also takes in the established Church, along with the judiciary, the Governors of the BBC, and media owners. It includes the Tory Government and the Executive, along with senior civil servants and bankers, and many other ex-Eton, and other such schools bigwigs. It absolutely does not include trade unions, the Greens, Labour, the LDs, mutual societies, co-operatives, the general scientific community, and the like. Yes, Alexander Johnson and many of the Tories are all in it, as is Nigel Farage. Jeremy Corbyn is definitely not, however, and it is why you will have read endless distortions about him in Establishment-serving newspapers.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      You totally mix up the meaning of the words populism and establishment.
      That answer would get zero marks in an exam.

      • jerry
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

        @Edward2; Are you sure?

        Read MiC first sentence again, I suspect you didn’t bothered to read past the word “misrepresent” and then skipped to the main paragraph! His description was, until this Century, the accepted definition of the establishment, and still is for most beyond the alt-right.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

          Your post fails because you see it all and analyse things through a class war prism of left versus right wing and of rich versus poor.
          Populism is a rising number of people who dislike the way organisations like the UN, the EU and all the Quangos and agencies have taken so much power over their lives.
          And are generally unelected, undemocratic top down organisations.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

            Meant to be in reply to Martin not you Jerry

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

            Ed, our national government have just shown us what “power over people’s lives” means.

            Not the European Union, nor the UN, nor the IMF nor any other such body could have imposed these restrictions.

            That shows where the power is.

            People have been steered to the wrong targets by the populists, by the real Establishment, that is.

          • jerry
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

            @Edward2; I think yours was a reply to yourself rather than one direct to me but meant for MiC!…

            Populism is what ever someone or a organised group wants it to be, back in the 1980s and early 1990s “populism” was CND and/or the New Age movement, by the late 1990s it was Blairism, now it is the alt-right.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

            Complete nonsense.
            The lockdown is a unique requirement to save lives.
            The Government is polling high figures in its action.
            And it is an action which you have been agreeing with on here in your endless postings.
            In fact you called for it to have happened even earlier.
            We get to elect our Government every few years.
            Unlike the organisationc I listed.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

            Jerry CND and the New Age travellers were rebellious minority fringes.

            Populism elected Trump and enabled us to leave the EU and is changing the political landscape in Europe.

          • jerry
            Posted April 3, 2020 at 3:31 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; But the left and centre, and indeed some on the right, believe the current (passing?) fad for right-wing popularism is noting but a “rebellious minority fringe” too.

            The point you’re missing is that populism is not unique to the alt-right or even Euroscepticism. It’s arguable that Attlee, Wilson, Thatcher & Blair were all first elected on a wave of populism.

            “The Government is polling high figures in its action.”

            Well that depends upon who is asked, by whom, and what information they have to make a judgement…

            [your reply to MiC]
            “Government every few years.
            Unlike the organisationc I listed.”

            Does that also include all the unelected quangos and agencies (or private contractors) [1] here in the UK that have been created since 1979 by Whitehall, often taking direct control away from local politicians and their electorate?

            [1] who asked the public if they wanted roadside refuge collection, or slop bins, for example

          • Edward2
            Posted April 3, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

            I dont miss that point Jerry.
            But thanks for your further post.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        Your mistake, on the second, is exactly my point.

    • margaret
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Although I believe you are partially correct in your assertion, there seems to be a certain amount of wooliness in interpretation.

      According to Wikipedia ; British Journalist Henry Fairlie wrote in the’ Spectator’ (1955)
      ” By the establishment I do not only mean the centres of official power- though they are certainly part of it-but rather the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised. The exercise of power in the UK cannot be understood unless it is recognised socially .”
      There are cross boundaries of power here as populists also become the establishment.

    • NickC
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      Martin, When redefining the term “establishment” to suit your own prejudices you need to be clear whether you’re talking about the 1960s or now. You’re not clear, because you use the phrase “It means” – the present tense – rather than “meant”.

      I think you will find that Corbyn’s background was rather more privileged, middle-class, and “establishment” than Farage’s. As for Labour and the Lib-Dems, they are clearly part of the establishment – replete with the necessary globalist Remain anti-populist views, and idolising authoritarianism (providing they’re running it, of course).

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        It isn’t Labour who idolise authoritarians such as Bolsonaro, Orban, Duterte, and the like, is it? Or Putin, for that matter?

        Your claims are a complete shambles, I think.

  2. agricola
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I assume that by populist you mean the opinion of the majority of the electorate. Their only vehicle , short of street riots is the referendum. The referendum gave us a retention of our FPTP electoral system, Scotland remaining in the UK, and the biggy, Brexit. All three were enemies of establishment political parties.

    Establishment analysis, often the legitimatization of propaganda, has been used to politically endorse an establishment view rather than to reveal any truth. Witness the Bank of England, the CBI, and the Treasury in the run up to achieving Brexit.

    This is why the populist electorate does not believe much of what the establishment tries to tell them, but when push comes to shove they do believe and comply with what the medical profession tell them in the current Covid19 crisis. Sadly there will always be a few social fighter pilots who think they can never be shot down.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      When the true death rate from Coronavirus is calculated, the medics will never be believed again either.

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

        We’ll be in a communist state by then.

        We’ll have to believe what we’re told.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Why not?

        They admit that they do not know what it is, but have to act according to the precautionary principle on what evidence they have.

        And around the world they are being overwhelmed by the numbers of gravely ill people.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

          They have no evidence which is why your first statement is correct – ‘they don’t know what it is’. They don’t act according to the ‘precautionary principle’ on other circumstances, they value lives at a rate per year! Look at NICE for details.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

            Sorry, the evidence is piling up as we write, Lynn.

      • Zorro
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, there is a sense of desperation in the air for them. I suspect that the army will be brought in soon. They must ensure that they do not bring any of their tools with them or there will be issues.


        • steve
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:09 pm | Permalink


          “They must ensure that they do not bring any of their tools with them”

          They do not dare !

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          The army will have to think about whose side they are on. On the Rhodesian Question they were not asked to go because it was known that they would refuse.

          That’s why the EU strategy was always to deploy ‘national’ armies in different ‘countries’. Easier to open fire on people you are not related to, apparently.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

            The European Union has no military and no defence strategy.

            There is an aim to develop such in the Lisbon Treaty, but that requires unanimity of the members.

            So long as the UK had been in, it would have vetoed that. Other nations probably still will.

            There is joint military arrangement between some member countries, but that is on an at-will basis between nations in their sovereign capacity.

            The UK envisages some degree of involvement in this too, from what I can gather.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

            It will happen.
            Why deny it?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 3, 2020 at 6:30 am | Permalink

            Yes it will perhaps happen and very good too. I don’t want it vetoed and I’m not denying it.

            The UK’s exit makes it far more likely, happily.

          • czerwonadupa
            Posted April 3, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

            MiC Only if they all pay their fair share which they patently don’t do in NATO. With only the USA, UK, Poland Greece, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania & Bulgaria paying the target of 2% of GDP. You’ll notice it’s mainly the poorest in Europe paying their way while the richest led by Merkel & Macron refuse.
            Unless these two pay more for their army it will only good for internal suppression.

      • agricola
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        Bullshit, the medics are responsible for keeping as many people alive as possible. They are not bean or body counters. There are enough people in the administration of the NHS , coroners departments etc to keep tabs on the ultimate numbers. There are much greater issues than the body count.

        • jerry
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 6:23 am | Permalink

          @agricola; Indeed. Also all the tripe being dished out by those on the hard right, that deaths are being over-attributed to CV19 because the person had underlying health issues anyway is a bit like saying a pedestrian wasn’t killed in a road traffic accident but because they had COPD or angina etc! – no they died because they were involved in a RTA (read as; caught CV19).

          • NickC
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

            Jerry, Tripe. There are some people with such adverse medical conditions that any extra burden will cause death. Whether that straw was SARS-CV-2 or simply a worsening of any of the existing conditions cannot be known for sure. Doctors must thus make a judgement – it’s not as black and white as you imagine. Therefore some people are being recorded as dying “of” Covid19 when they could have died “with” Covid19.

          • jerry
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

            @NickC; Stop pushing alt-right fake-news nonsense.

            If someone has a CV19 infection and dies of complications brought on by the CV19 that is the cause of their death. People can and often do live decades with “underlying” health issues, having economic and socially productive lives.

            Next you’ll be suggesting people do not die from HIV/AIDs….

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink

          Yes the bankrupting of the country is a bigger issue than the reduced-from-average body count in the whole of Europe for the 1st Quarter of 2020.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

            Half a million dead would mean millions of bereaved people, many millions, if you take even moderately extended families.

            How would you expect those families to react, if they knew that their loss was perfectly avoidable?

          • Fred H
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

            Martin are you frothing at the mouth with your hysteria.? Calm down or you’ll need counselling you cannot get right now.

          • NickC
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

            Martin, Well that’s peculiar coming from you. After many months of supporting Andy as he gloats over elderly Brexit voters dying off, now you pretend concern about vulnerable elderly people . . . . dying off. Not once did you castigate Andy. It seems you don’t actually care about bereaved people, you just want a chance to slap Boris.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

            Hardly, Nick.

            I’m old.

    • steve
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink


      “I assume that by populist you mean the opinion of the majority of the electorate.”

      I guess he does.

      • Hope
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        JR, your govt is now in trouble. Sharma could not answer one question at the briefing today and instead chose to ignore and move on. The press and public latched onto the woeful disgraceful response of the govt as the glaring facts now become clear.

        The govt allowed open borders from people who travelled from hotspot countries without quarantining or testing. Like its mass immigration policy it is overwhelming public services and us in stark contrast to our house arrest. There is no rationale or reason to comply. The govt acted recklessly with our lives and will not be forgiven.

        Public Health England representatives have unquestionably demonstrated beyond doubt it has no tangible value in providing health care to the public or co-ordinating health care. It is a self serving body for those who hold grand titles and are vastly over paid beyond any ability. A layer of unnecessary bean counter bureaucracy that should be dispensed with immediately.

        Layer upon layer of NHS management similarly ripe for dispatch and replaced with nurses, doctors, radiologists etc and cleaners.

        • steve
          Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink


          “JR, your govt is now in trouble.”

          Yes, very serious trouble. They haven’t had control of this since day one.

          The only things they have had control of is how to make life bloody difficult, and leave loopholes for bad employers.

          “Sharma could not answer one question at the briefing today and instead chose to ignore and move on”

          …..deserved of the response – Oi ! I asked you a question !

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

            I thought that I would never say it, but I must commend the Daily Mail for their website reporting.

            They are headlining with the key hard facts, such as the comparison between actions taken in other countries, and those – or the lack of them – taken here, along with contrasting case outcomes.

            They must make extremely uncomfortable reading for the Government.

            Well done that paper, for holding the Government’s feet to the fire over this.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    All sensible stuff.

    Top down economies never work, not even when the people at the top are honest and actually trying to do their best for the people (and they are often/usually not doing).

    The commanders at the top are never in touch with the realities at the coal face and can never get the economic incentives right to motivate people to do and supply the right things. Too much interference from government, too much red tape, taxation and virtual monopolies in health care, education and market rigging in energy and elsewhere is dragging the UK economy down all over the place.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      An interesting Spectator Radio podcast on – is the NHS ready – the abandonment of some red tape and with more medics in charge, a war time spirit (and the middle management out of the way or “working” from home) seem to have made them rather more efficient. Let us hope they do not revert to their old sclerotic ways and learn from the experience. The sooner the NHS can cope the sooner the economy can get back on course.

    • Zorro
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, how much of the economy will be left in three months? All the green crap, 50% pension blah blah you spout will mean nothing soon.


    • Ed M
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:26 pm | Permalink


      I was following your comments from a few weeks ago – you were bang on correct, sir.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

        Thanks – it is just simple maths and logic.

  4. Lifelogic
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Once out of this mess we need a much smaller state, cheap reliable energy and a bonfire of red tape. If we get one the economy will boom – is Boris up to it?

    • glen cullen
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

      Wise comments indeed but what people need right now is a target end date to the lockdown, even a periodic review end date would do

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        We have it seems 563 deaths today (though it seems even the death count reporting is looking a rather odd).

        We need an NHS that can cope with the demand of the next three days to four weeks or so. This so that not too many die for lack of decent medical care, and then we all need to slowly get back to work.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          We do need a Health Service that can cope – insurance based is the way to go a the Germans have proved, and which had long been advocated for the U.K. by the silenced few!

      • steve
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        glen cullen

        review was one of the things Boris Johnson said would happen, but whether or not this happens is anyone’s guess.

        More likely he’ll deliver more ambiguous instructions with the usual loopholes for selfish employers, and we’ll end up with increased dose of s%^! Life Syndrome.

        In short, review or not don’t expect life to get better any time soon.

      • Zorro
        Posted April 1, 2020 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, we need an exit plan now, the numbers are plateauing now even before SOCIAL DISTANCING measures have kicked in. JR needs to get his brethren to start kicking a** otherwise this will be an ERM moment in 5 years time. Remember?


        • glen cullen
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          fully agree

          also don’t you just love the new term ‘social distancing’ in my day i.e before covid19, if we had the flu we’d just spend 2 weeks in bed

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink


    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      I think that there will be a great deal of thought around the world as to what “we” need and as to who “we” are too.

      • NickC
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        Martin, You’ve got what you wanted – a dirigiste, over-centralised, socialist state. So what are you whingeing about now? Oh I know – the authoritarianism is coming from London rather than the Brussels.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

          Your posts get ever sillier.

          What I want is to extinguish this epidemic, so that everyone, including me, can live a normal life.

          Everyone includes the elderly and those with health conditions. They must not be subject to indefinite apartheid because of some wrongly-named “herd immunity” scheme which is, in fact, a cull.

    • steve
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 4:38 pm | Permalink


      “Once out of this mess…”

      ….I look forward to the next general election and doing my bit to slinging that buffoon out of No 10.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

        Who would be better?

      Posted April 1, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

      No, of course Boris isn’t up to it. He’s a careerist not a conviction politician like Thatcher. He’s already shown his true colours. Big State, pro-public sector, pro-identity politics adherent. If he was leading New Labour I wouldn’t even notice.

      Do you think Thatcher would’ve promoted Johnson to her Cabinet? No chance

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        Sadly I think Mrs T might have done, she had worse in her cabinet – Douglas Hurd, Kenneth Clarke, Howe, Hestletine, the hopeless Major! .. on and on. They were there not because she agreed with them but because she was afraid of them.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Why populists and the establishment see the world differently? Well they live in totally different circumstance, places and conditions, do different jobs, have different qualification and have different motivations.

    Some see their wages undercut by imported plumbers, builders and factory workers. Other delight in cheap plumbers, builders, child carers & domestic staff. MPs and top civil servants wages are unlikely to have their wages under cut by people from Romania after all. They probably very much enjoyed their expenses paid fact finding trips to Brussels and the likes.

    Which other taxpayers on far lower pay are paying for. While having their wages undercut.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Doesn’t much matter anymore, Lifelogic.

      Because of the hysterical response to Covid the west now faces soup kitchens this winter. A spike in undiagnosed and untreated cancers next year, the year after, the year after…. suicides among physically healthy and previously motivated people through the roof.

      As I write, about 850 thousand people are said to have been diagnosed with the virus in a global population of nine thousand million – so, if my mental arithmetic is correct, about one in ten thousand. Most of those get better. Meanwhile the economy has been trashed and a very disturbing precedent has been set with regard to the relationship between state and individual.

      Get a grip on yourself !

      Have a good look at what we’ve just done.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        And Boris and his hysterical advisors are culpable!

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

          The Government will probably get away with any recklessness or other failures.

          They have the extremes of the Right, demanding to know why they didn’t just let hundreds of thousands die, and that would submerge the perfectly reasonable question, as to why they did not implement rigorous testing and tracing at the start, which would have saved perhaps tens of thousands.

          • NickC
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

            Martin, Can you post the source of your claim that “the extremes of the Right” are actually “demanding to know why they didn’t just let hundreds of thousands die”? Just so we know we’re not relying on your pub-bore routine?

    • glen cullen
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Alarm bells go off in my head when I hear politicians say they don’t like referendum nor populist ideas.

      Politicians shouldn’t fear but rather welcome and embrace populism

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Yes, we’d still have the Ducking Stool if you had your way.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

          Another heckle from you Martin.

        • NickC
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          Martin, Your obvious fear of other people is caused by an inflated view of your own superiority. It’s not real, you know, it’s just in your imagination.

        • glen cullen
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          I’d implement ducking stools tomorrow if the majority voted for it, you see I’m a democrat

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 3, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

            Yes, thanks, Glen.

    • Zorro
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      Trust me Lifelogic, not all civil servants are like that….


      • Lifelogic
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 1:06 am | Permalink

        Indeed not all, but in general.

  6. Leaver
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Slightly tangential. But what is being done about the banks?

    They are refusing to give loans as the economy seizes up. My mother cannot even get a small loan on her mortgage-free London house to cover her business costs.

    It seems the banks are claiming to be supporting the economy by giving loans while hoarding all the cash they can get, and lending on ruinous terms.

    Moreover, the government is sitting idly by, claiming to be giving loans which nobody has seen head or tail of.

    I don’t mind. But I’m simply going to stop paying for anything and give people IOUs as I watch businesses go bust all around me.

    • Leaver
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Also, as a postscript, I can’t even blame the banks.

      If I was a bank and a business approached me asking for money, I would immediately say no on the grounds that if the business needs money, there is a big risk of it going bust and the bank being left carrying the can.

      In short, it’s a catch-22. I think the banks will only be willing to lend to those people and businesses who do not ask for money.

      In my opinion, the government needs to lend directly, not through the banks.

      • Man of Kent
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        I was taught that there only three questions that a lender needs answers to –

        Can you pay ?

        Will you pay ?

        If you don’t pay will I get my money back ?

        That surely applies to Banks and Government .

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        And at 0% interest, which is basically what the banks are getting. The banks have proven themselves redundant. They still owe us our bale out money, so it’s not even as if they will not lend – they are refusing to repay the loans we are now calling in.

  7. Andy
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    I do find it amusing how the actual establishment have rebranded normal people as ‘the establishment’.

    Take the Brexiteers:

    Farage – posh public school, City trader, life-long politician
    Johnson – born into wealth, Eton, Oxbridge, Telegraph, career politician
    Mogg – born into wealth, Eton, Oxbridge, career banker and politician
    Hannan – posh private school, Oxbridge, career politician

    The list goes on and they are mostly the same. Mostly privately and Oxbridge educated, from affluent well connected backgrounds and have – more or less – been life-long politicians.

    I grew up on a council estate, went to the local failing comp, became the first member of my family to go to university and then had a successful career without any help from anyone. I am apparently the establishment – the elite – and the posh public schoolboys are not. Weird.

    Still I guess I occasionally go to Waitrose.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

      Yes Andy – so you actually listened to the podcast too.

    • Richard1
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

      As on just about every issue there are posh people and non-posh people on both sides of the debate. Did you listen to the point Sir John made in the interview about treating people you don’t agree with with a modicum of respect and accepting that their motivations might be good and indeed that you might yourself be wrong? Could be food for thought for you there in spite of all your achievements.

    • Edward2
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

      Many in the other political parties have similar CVs

    • everyone knows
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 6:00 am | Permalink

      Andy. a few weeks ago you told me I should be scared of this virus and that I would know someone who had died from it. Well, let me tell you Andy, no one I know, knows anyone who has even got this virus. It only affects politicians and celebrities, thank goodness.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        My sister-in-law has been very ill with it – in her fifties, in Sunderland, son and his housemates have had it in London, plus many associates.

        Your post is nonsense.

    • NickC
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Andy, You were the one sneering that Brexit was “populist”, and sneering at populists. For nearly 60 years the establishment of the UK (defined as those who hold the power over the rest of us) idolised the EU. I simply don’t care whether you think you are part of that establishment, or not, or are merely a Remain fellow traveller.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

        I think that the present restrictions show exactly who has power over us.

        They were not, and could not have been, imposed by the European Union, by the UN, by the IMF, by the Bank of England, by the LSE, by UCL, by the Guardian, by the BBC, by Channel Four, or by any other of those whom you utterly wrongly label as “the Establishment”.

        See the first post in this thread.

        And learn.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

          You still don’t understand what populism is.
          And your definition of the establishment is decades out of date.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 3, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

            Please list the bodies and offices, that you claim comprise the “establishment” and how they have material power.

            E.g. to impose the present restrictions.


          • Edward2
            Posted April 3, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

            I already did in my original post.

  8. Jiminyjim
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    An excellent analysis, Sir John, thanks for bringing it to our attention. Andy, Martin in C, Margaret Howard etc would all do well to listen. However, that might disturb them from their very comfortable prejudices, so I bet they don’t.
    One of the things that continues to amaze me is why anyone would want to invite themselves into someone’s home, so as to insult and abuse their host. Mysterious.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      John makes some very good points throughout the podcast on his book, but, as ever, they are highly selective. He also repeats and reinforces some false assertions, such as that the people in 1975 were misled, as to for what they were voting in the EC referendum. I read the pamphlet sent to me and to the rest of the country, and the European Union today is pretty well exactly as foreseen and described by that document as the aim.

      Not once did he or his host define who they meant by “the Establishment” nor “the elite”. It seemed to be whoever would fit the bogeyman role for the uninformed listener in relation to the particular point under discussion. Sometimes it would seem to be perhaps a teenaged Scandinavian environmental campaigner, others the Bank of England, then maybe a Remain-voting college lecturer or a teacher.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        You have read the leaflet from 1975.
        It missed out mentioning the ambitions for the anthem, the flag, the embassies, the growth from nine to twenty eight, the powers of European Court of Justice, the unelected Presidents, the common tax rules and its own armed forces
        The leaflet dodged answering the question of loss of sovereignty.
        Heath derided and shouted down anyone who dared to mention it.

        It was presented to the people as an economic community only.
        Had the real ambition to move from the Common Market and turn it into the United States of Europe been revealed, then the result would have been very different.

        Back then left wing politicians and trades unions all hated the idea of us joining.
        Calling it a bosses club and just for big business.
        How you’ve all changed.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          It implied them all.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 6:03 pm | Permalink


          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 3, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

            Yes, your claims are.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 3, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

            There was nothing in the leaflet in 1975 that mentioned any of the things I listed.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:31 am | Permalink

        I’m afraid that is true. Enoch Powell, Norris McWhirter etc specified in terms that the ‘Common Market’ was intended to become a single state. But the PM Heath lied in his teeth as no PM had ever done before. So the generous British people gave him credit, because nobody wants to accept that there is a problem which will disturb tranquil life, or believe that their PM is a liar or a fool.
        Britain paid a massive cost for that generosity.
        Similarly people want to give Boris the benefit of the doubt regarding the Coronavirus and are obeying his requests to shop seldom, stay indoors, shut their livelihoods down.
        Britain will pay a massive cost for that generosity.
        One day Britons will no longer be generous. Then the Archbishop of Canterbury wailing that ‘it’s in our DND’ will have to acknowledge that our generosity changed our DNA – at his insistence – and deal with a more selfish nation.

      • NickC
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

        Martin, You and I must have read different pamphlets and listened to different politicians, then. I remember the sheer weight of pro-EEC propaganda at the time – being assured over and over that we were joining merely a common market which would not damage our sovereignty.

        It was precisely as the EEC/EC/EU unfolded as a dirigiste, authoritarian super-state, that I became first sceptical, then an opponent, of the EU. We were misled and betrayed. Yes, there were some who warned us – Enoch Powell, Tony Benn, Peter Shore – but these people were subject to such vicious ad hominem attacks that they were effectively sidelined. Which was of course the object of the establishment.

        And you think you can undo half a century of facts with your pathetic idolisation of the EU?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 3, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

          I don’t know why you’re so bothered.

          The UK has left.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 3, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

            No we haven’t not until 31st December.
            And even that might be delayed.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 4, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

            And how many lives would that cost, Ed?

            None – people have less silly things to consider right now.

  9. steve
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Well JR when you sift through what we’re being told, and what the reality is, you can understand why the lack of trust.

    This morning’s Piers Morgan interview of Robert Jenrick MP perfectly demonstrates why we know we are being lied to on a daily basis.

    I’m eager for when covid-19 is over, many an embarrassing question will be asked. Like why was our country in such a weak position ? Why did our leaders fail to secure reagents and PPE ?

    Many a question to be answered, and no, we don’t trust politicians anymore, the trust is gone.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      Why? Because they obediently followed the Anglo-Saxon socio-economic fundamentalist model, exactly as prescribed by the IEA & co in Tufton Street SW1.

      You run the country as a sweatshop, with overstretched staffing even for ordinary demand, minimum investment, and short-term only planning.

      • NickC
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Why? Because you obediently hero-worship authoritarian regimes, whether the EU or China. And the more authoritarian, the more you idolise them. Which is probably why you idolise top-down 1950s style NHS management, despite their being far more culpable than the Anglo-Saxon socio-economic fundamentalist model which has given us the wealth we do have.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

          In what way does that silly nonsense answer Steve’s perfectly good questions?

          As it happens:

          I actually agree to a considerable extent with LifeLogic, that health provision in the UK needs fundamental reform.

          The European Union is neither a regime nor authoritarian.

          The UK could not have left if it were.

          I have only commented upon the material actions taken by China (and by anti-communist South Korea) re disease, and not on any aspect of their ideology.

    • dixie
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

      Why was it the responsibility of “our leaders” to secure reagents and PPE? Why isn’t it the responsibility of the well paid execs in the NHS to ensure they have proper supplies?

    • cornishstu
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      The obvious fact that the very basics like PPE were not stockpiled for such an event and resupply in place is criminal IMHO. SOPs appear to have been poorly thought out non-existent, at worst negligent. In the forces we have saying planning prevents piss poor performance, I am sure when this is all done and dusted we will have an enquiry with no one held to account and the usual lesson will be learned. Sorry if I sound over critical but one of governments primary roles is to protect its citizens, pandemic has been given a damn good ignoring to this end government have been playing catchup

  10. Iain Gill
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    good stuff thanks

  11. Mark B
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon

    Many thanks, Sir John.

  12. Everhopeful
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Oh that was a real treat!
    Much to think about…angles I’d never considered.
    Lovely…reminded me of late afternoon seminars.

  13. Ian Kaye
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    He is a bit hazy on when the Luddites made their appearance He could also have differentiated between Trotskyites , I’m thinking Ruth Fox here,and say the Labour party left wing

  14. Ian Kaye
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Ordering banks to stop paying dividend s is a major blunder

    • glen cullen
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      A massive blunder, forget for a monment that its an income for some people, it also injects cash in the economy

    • glen cullen
      Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      Its was a political decision. banks don’t need the cash they have all been stress tested

  15. Richard1
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Very good point on the tendency of the ‘liberal’ (actually illiberal) left to denigrate anyone and everyone who disagrees with them, often in very insulting and derogatory language. This is particularly noticeable on the issue of Brexit and policies aimed at stopping global warming.

  16. a-tracy
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed listening to the podcast thanks for sharing.

  17. Stuart K
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    A very enjoyable listen. Thanks for posting.

  18. Wrong religion
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I would like to opt out of the NHS and get my freedom back.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Me too!

  19. Ed M
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    @Sir John,

    With the crisis we’re now in (profoundly affecting healthy, economy and general national morale), I really think government should consider an emergency minister for the main challenges right now until the crisis is over:

    1) TESTING (Minister for)
    2) VENTILATORS (Health Minister for)
    3) PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (Health Minister for)
    4) INTENSIVE CARE BEDS (Health Minister for)
    5) SOCIAL DISTANCING (Minister for) (Learning from the Chinese here)
    6) VACCINE (Minister for)

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      It’s at this point that the country realises that the skills set of MPs as a group are not tailored at all to these circumstances.

      That’s the electorate’s fault more than theirs, arguably, though.

      We’ve – many of us – been living in a Fool’s Paradise.

      • NickC
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Yet you think foreign politicians, not elected by us, are better? You must do, because you keep saying we should be ruled by Brussels.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

          No, I don’t say those things.

        • Edward2
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

          He thinks it will bring about a socialist Europe.
          But the new aristocratic elite in the EU are just using the lower orders to compete their power grab and make themselves richer.

  20. Ed M
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    I would also consider calling in past politicians to help out here, people with experience: David Willets, David Cameron, George Osborne, and so on.

    We really need to nail this coronavirus crisis otherwise it could detrimentally affect our country for years to come.

    This is the greatest crisis to affect our country since WW2.

    • Fred H
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      that shower should never play a part in public life ever again….

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Can’t we get Hestletine, Major, Cameron in too? Then none of us will need to fear for the future, because the will not be one!

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      We need people with experience of getting material stuff done, and for pulling together what is needed.

      Project managers, from civil engineering or from technological projects would be more the type than today’s politicians.

      You can’t delegate properly without those insights, I don’t think.

      • NickC
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        Well, well, Who’d have thought that Martin would be advocating Anglo-Saxon private enterprise, rather than the top-down, dirigiste EU, as the solution, eh?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

          We could equally enlist them from the public sector, whether from here or from other countries.

          China built a 55km road bridge for a fraction of the cost of HS2, for instance.

          It is the skills that matter, not the economic model in which they were used.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

            You believe everything the Chinese tell you.

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 3, 2020 at 6:38 am | Permalink

            The bridge is visible from satellites, and people whom I know have used it.

            I think that they probably have built it, Ed.

          • Edward2
            Posted April 3, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

            I was referring to your continued confidence in all the figures the Chinese state press agencies put out.

            The bridge is an impressive feat of construction.

      • dixie
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Blimey, I agree with you on this point.

  21. steve
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    There is the taste of anarchy in the air, Boris botched this big time with his ‘advisers’ and his deliberate vagueness as to what is essential and to whom.

    Should have closed them borders, but hey, we’re just the ignorant plebs and government knows best.

    But what gov’t obviously doesn’t know, is that we know we’re being given BS on a daily basis.

    Better get what we need for normal daily life back up and running PDQ or there will be trouble, far far worse than what we do to the government at the next general election.

    And do it NOW.

    In any event cons are toast for this.

    • Not Bob
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 6:28 am | Permalink

      But what gov’t obviously doesn’t know, is that we know we’re being given BS on a daily basis.

      They have all gone mad, literally, Cummings, Boris, Hancock, they have lost the plot and someone needs to tell them quick the whole country knows it.

    • NickC
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      Steve, Yet Andy and Martin are supporting Boris’s lockdown. Andy wants the borders kept open, otherwise he’ll call you a xenophobe, and Martin salivates at the authoritarianism of the lockdown. Both of them now wail about the deaths of mainly elderly people, yet only months ago Martin failed to criticise Andy for revelling in the deaths of elderly Brexit people.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        No, you are wrong. I did advise Andy that some of his comments were not well-judged as I thought.

        I am finding the present strictures as bothersome as anyone else, but the epidemic cannot be extinguished without them.

        Your repeated presumption to be able to read people’s minds is a little strange, I think.

        Do you actually realise that you can’t?

      • ed2
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Yet Andy and Martin are supporting Boris’s lockdown

        wow, what a surprise

  22. steve
    Posted April 1, 2020 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    “We Don’t Believe You – Why Populists and the Establishment See the World Differently”

    Not so much that we see the world differently, more the fact that people are becoming savvy to the establishment’s lies.

  23. oh dear
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    The World Health Organisation website says they are running a LIVE SIMULATION for Covid-19.

    I think Boris needs to open the restaurants pretty quickly and start looking humble, especially that moron Hancock.

  24. Ed M
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    And a special emergency minister for SMALL BUSINESSES and the SELF EMPLOYED etc. Sort of emergency specialised task leader for these specific challenges like you’d have in the army or business to deal with immediate crisis. People with real hands-on practical approach.

    I really think advanced social distancing techniques and technologies like in China now will help get far more people back into work and into non-essential consumer shopping (and children back into school) – not immediately but gradually over the summer (children back to school in September)

  25. Fred H
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Sadly the LL, Andy and Martin show is in full flow having nothing better to do than pollute what was once an intelligent discussional blog/diary.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Come on then Fred.

      Write something intelligent.

      • Edward2
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        What is it now Martin?
        Twenty posts a day?

      • Fred H
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

        Here goes – – have you considered that the Red China loving nonsense you write daily is a total bore and fabrication of pravda… give it a rest. So many others write meaningful discussion points I liked to read. Now I waste time sifting the shite from the worthwhile. Yours is claptrap.
        Sir John of course anxious to be ‘balanced’ will include the daily diatribe from you and yours but not this criticism.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted April 3, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

          I wouldn’t want to live in China for one moment, Fred.

          However, there are facts relating to what they have done re the virus.

          The fact that they have capacity to spare to assist others in the fight, and satellites show them closing temporary hospitals does suggest that they have achieved something, whatever it might be.

          And they did build that sea bridge.

          • Fred H
            Posted April 3, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

            They can easily enforce vast labour and technical resources to achieve impressive things -undoubted. However they do not allow us to witness the poverty and squalor that sucking the nation’s wealth and resources to put on a show for the World entails. Like N.Korea and to some extent Russia (possibly worse under USSR) the country is largely a closed society. Different to Russia and N.Korea where little capitalist trade is done outside (apart from easy energy supply and illegal sanctions trading), China has let loose entrepreneural spirit which of course leads to shortcuting quality and testing of products. By undercutting/dumping on the world markets, plus criminal copyright infringements and outright spying, they have conned too many countries, us significantly, into becoming reliant on poor quality products.
            Will that do for an intelligent subject for you to debate?

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted April 4, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

            You may well be right Fred.

            But if so, then that would still not change other facts about China which are also true.

  26. forthurst
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Anyone following JR’s blog will be familiar with most of his public positions already. I do not see that populism is in conflict with the Establishment per se. I see populism being in conflict with those who hold the reins of power and are determined not to let go whilst driving us further and further away from our roots as a country of English people, proud of our country and its history and who regard the present incumbents as usurpers put in place by a malevolent force lurking behind the curtain.

    JR has never been backward in castigating his fellow politicians for folly but is less forthcoming in speaking out against malevolent acts which he either ignores or ascribes to folly. It is however the malevolence which has done and is continuing to do lasting damage to our country.

    What motivates Johnson’s desire to leave the EU? It couldn’t be that he would much rather have freedom of movement for persons from outside Europe than from within? The only way to rid ourselves of those of genetically ordained disloyalty to our country is to get rid of an electoral system that is being used to sustain the status quo indefinitely.

    Of course the Establishment is incompetent and awards itself undeserved gongs but when the incumbents don’t care or possibility didn’t until they saw the public anger at the total unpreparedness for dealing with a force of nature which public oratory can do nothing to dispel, perhaps they will live to rue their nonchalance.

  27. a-tracy
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Tell you what I’m struggling to believe, does isolation work? how are the elderly that have been in self-isolation for over two weeks now catching it and turning up in big numbers, my parents haven’t left the house for three weeks, have these people turning up in hospital now been isolated or not?

    • rose
      Posted April 3, 2020 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      They may have contracted it some time ago and been ill for some weeks before going into hospital. It seems to take longer to peak in some cases than ‘flu.

  28. Homemead
    Posted April 3, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Is now the time to revalue the Worlds Currency?

    I am not sure how it would be done but when this pandemic ends it would be a good time to take stock and try to help the recovery. With the anticipated massive debts running into trillions the handling of the currency will be a major part of it.

    Over valued currency can lead to miss use and over charging as happened in the1960’s with Italy’s lira when for example you had to pay 5,000 lira for a one way taxi ride – no one (other than locals) could tell if it was a reasonable fare or a rip off. Then of course the German currency in the 1930’s became so over inflated that people were carrying suitcases of money just to pay for dinner at a restaurant.

    Of course today with the use of electronic money via credit and debit cards the currency inflation is largely hidden. However not many people can conceive of the concept of multi trillions of dollars, pounds or euro’s and in the UK £50 notes are now in regular use and there is virtually no value to lose change or 50p coins. Nor can people conceive of a Fox news anchor person being paid 20 million dollars a year for a show that airs once a week.

    So how about the UK government leads the way in bringing about much needed world currency revaluation?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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