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Samizdata quote of the day

Perusing the NME’s sad, stuffy, small-c conservative freakout over this big change in British politics got me thinking: Brexit is actually the most rock’n’roll thing to have happened in a generation. What we have here is ordinary people, including vast swathes of the working class, saying ‘No’ to the status quo, sticking two fingers up at an aloof elite, channelling Rotten and Vicious to say screw you (or something rather tastier) to that illiberal, risk-averse layer of bureaucracy in Brussels. It makes the student radicals of the 60s and even the anarchic punks of the 70s look like rank amateurs in comparison. Sure, those guys might have waved flowers against the Vietnam War or put safety pins through their snouts, but did they send the political class, the chattering class and the business elite into an existential tailspin by delivering a severe sucker punch to these people’s favourite institution? No, they didn’t. Brexit did, though.

Brendan O’Neill

37 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • BO’N hit that for six. He certainly is on form today.

  • Lee Moore

    As I believe I mentioned before the Brexit vote, when faced with the complexities of a big political decision, a good rule of thumb is to see which decision will upset the people who desperately need upsetting. So without delving into the economics, it was easy enough to work out that Brexit had to be the right answer.

    The same principle applies to the apparently appalling choice between Trump and Clinton. In the end it’s pretty easy. A Trump victory would upset the right people.

  • jerry

    Indeed, as per Trump v Clinton, I mentioned to the wife that I like him because all the right people hate him.

  • Wouldn’t a victory for Johnson/Weld upset pretty much everyone?

  • bob sykes

    Weren’t the 60’s and 70’s guys the ones who voted for Brexit?

  • Jacob

    “Wouldn’t a victory for Johnson/Weld upset pretty much everyone?”
    Yes, it would. But it won’t happen.

  • Gene

    Perry, for us Yanks I suspect “hit that for six” would translate as “hit that one out of the park.” Correct?

  • Lee Moore

    As Jacob says, never gonna happen. (Though it must be said that President Trump is not at all likely either.)

    But, suspending disbelief for the sake of argument, a victory for Johnson/Weld wouldn’t upset the right people nearly as much as a victory for Trump.
    Johnson/Weld are not outside the PC Pale. Trump is Major League meltdown territory for the BBC and the Graun.

  • Y. Knott

    – And shouldn’t, IMHO. Karl Denninger (market-ticker.org) has some scathing things to say about U.S. Libertarians in general and Johnson in particular; he quit them in disgust when it became apparent that even if they took power, they didn’t intend to actually do anything about it all. For those with ‘Smart’ personalities (which in Pokémon, apparently prefer bitter taste), Karl makes for entertaining browsing; he throws a glaring spotlight on the biggest crisis in the U.S. (other than the egregious lying), which is that Obamacare will bankrupt them quickly – shot-through as it is with rampant crony-corruption that’s flagrantly illegal under existing U.S. law – and that so far, not one presidential candidate (including Johnson) has even mentioned it.

  • Watchman

    I think it’s lovely the way the establishment likes to think it’s radical and youth-orientated these days. It’s a nice twist on the normal middle-class, middle-aged establishment we normally have…

    …or maybe not, since they are still middle class and middle aged (many of them may have been working class and young once, but the price of success is middle-classdom). For some reason the people still making establishment decisions are rationalising them as good for young people though. Must be a hangover of having been cool once and wanting to think you still are.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Voting because it upsets people strikes me as an unreliable course of action; one can confuse naughtiness for serious radicalism and originality. I see nothing especially radical, or original, in Americans voting for Trump, even though I totally understand the desire to crush Clinton.

    Voting for Johnson would indeed upset some people; it would also bewilder those who cannot think of how a person can be “right wing” (pro free market) and “left” (liberalise drugs, free speech, relatively relaxed on immigration, non-interventionist on foreign policy, etc). Libertarianism can provoke rage from those who, rightly, realise how dangerous it is to the worldview, but I still find a lot of people don’t have much of a idea. It took me a while to explain it to my Mum (RIP).

  • Mr Ed


    Your ‘translation’ is correct, hitting for six is to hit the ball over the boundary without it landing beforehand, and it is the highest score a batsman can achieve off one delivery possible barring ludicrous fielding giving you a chance to run and run between the stumps. The Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers was the first man to hit six sixes in one over in first class cricket.

  • Given how poorly Trump is perceived in media classes I find it odd that Johnson is not talked up to try to split the right-wing vote, JP perhaps explains this.

    I could not find out who Johnson is taking votes from when added to polls, another possible explanation is that it’s Hillary.

  • This could be read as Johnson stealing from Trump and Stein stealing from Hillary, but I am not a mathematician, or even American.

  • Bod

    The thing I never understood was whenever people get upset with the current political order, they always want to stick it to Rick Parfitt and Frank Rossi.

    Doesn’t seem fair … that’s all.

  • RAB

    The dioclese comment is almost certainly bogus. Dickie Doubleday again.

    Johnny Rotten could have amended the lyrics to No Future to… No future for you, if you stay in the EU.

  • RAB

    Mr Ed.

    I watched that live at the time. It was in Swansea and most of the balls didn’t just clear the boundary, they left the ground entirely and were bouncing down the High St.

  • The above comment at July 26, 2016 at 1:32 pm wasn’t from me. It’s from a troll up in Norfolk called Rickie or Dickie Doubleday

    He goes around various sites pretending to be other people and posting spurious and often offensive comments. He uses their email address from their blogs to fake their avatars.

    Richard Doubleday lives at Acrefield, Church Road Upton Norwich NR13 6AJ with a wife called Barbara. Poor cow! He’s been involved in a couple of failed businesses and presumably this inadequacy has driven him round the twist? He doesn’t seem to care who knows this.

    Loads of us are pissed off with him so we’ve set a little home page for him here.

    (Editor: sorted. Suggest you use a different e-mail to post that one will get auto-spammed now)

  • TDK

    The NME was always profoundly middle class. They loved the right indie bands like the Mekons and the Gang of 4 and despised the bands that oiks prefered like NWBHM and the Oi bands

  • Runcie Balspune

    I don’t buy the “sticking to the man” line. This was about political control, and a groundswell of people who, since the late 1980’s, have wanted to be rid of EU intervention in their daily lives, yet have been denied a voice for so very long. That continuous denial may have come from the political elite who “know better” and the business elite who were too busy feathering their nests, but that was a consequence not a reason.

  • Lee Moore

    RAB’s recollection reminds us of the correct translation of metaphors across the pond.

    Hitting it for six maps to hitting a home run. Hitting it out of the ground maps to hitting it out of the park. (We have cricket grounds, the colonials have baseball parks.) The first two are metaphors for a maximum score. The second two are metaphors for going beyond what is necessary for a maximum score, with a rare and spectacular flourish.

    Cricket can add further metaphors of spectacularity (as no doubt baseball can too) such as hitting it into the next county. Which was achieved on one occasion, when a six was hit out of the ground, and the ball landed in a passing railway wagon.

  • Paul Marks

    A good quote.

    However, it really is past time to drop the London term “Brexit”.

    It is a London media word that is just silly.

    If people mean British independence – that is what they should say.

  • Mr Ed

    I think that the term ‘Brexit’ is a knock-off of ‘Grexit’ a term to describe the fantasy of Greece being expelled from or leaving the EU. It is really accidental that it arose at all, and yes it is a silly term.

    And as for the music press, it is beyond silly for there to be journalism about pop music. NME always was fully of miserable Lefty drivel, with the same complaint as the sub-text: “We are not the Masters yet, damn all who would oppose us.”, ultimate conformity being their aim, under their control; they were not rebels, they were and are unhappy that they have not become the Masters.

  • RAB

    It is very sad. Once there were the big four Music papers that spearheaded youth trends, not just music. NME, Sounds, Melody Maker and Record Mirror. Each had their niche… Melody Maker the ponderous elderly statesman, like a musical Sunday Times, Record Mirror, the teenybop paper for all the fab and the flash, the Sun or Mirror, Sounds for the hard rock and heavy metal, and NME, which frankly saw itself as the Observer, left leaning and politically motivated, agi-prop and cutting edge angst, and frankly, pretentious in the extreme.

    Each of these papers though, in the 70’s and 80’s sold 300,000 copies a week each. I wrote for three of them back in the 70’s and 80’s, mainly Sounds but also NME and Melody Maker. Music and music papers were vital adjuncts to the culture of youth back then. Punk wasn’t just loud and lousy music that you wouldn’t want to listen to now (anybody played a Buzzcocks album recently?) it was an attitude of mind.No Mr Corporate Music Industry, you can’t dictate to us, we are gonna do it for ourselves. We don’t need your steenking contracts, we’re gonna record and press and sell the music ourselves!

    That attitude has lasted long after the music fell on its face. So yes it is sad to see those four big selling weeklies reduced to one, the NME, and that now a freesheet, just like Time Out. Music was once a vital, nay driving part of what it meant to be young, alive and striving for something different. Now it is just another choice in our electronic background noise world. Pokemon Go or Hendrix greatest hits? I know which one to choose!

  • Once there were the big four Music papers that spearheaded youth trends, not just music. NME, Sounds, Melody Maker and Record Mirror.

    What about Smash Hits?!!

  • Mr Ed

    Music was once a vital, nay driving part of what it meant to be young, alive and striving for something different.

    I think that is absolutely accurate. And what it meant to be truly adult, was to recognise that music does not matter as a way of labelling people or anything.

  • RAB,

    , we are gonna do it for ourselves. We don’t need your steenking contracts, we’re gonna record and press and sell the music ourselves!

    All that stuff still goes on, they’re just not making rock music anymore.

  • RAB

    No one with an ounce of cool would ever admit to reading Smash Hits Tim. My point was that before punk all that stuff did NOT go on. If you wanted to be rich and famous you had to have a recording contract to a major label. Punk broke that link forever.

  • Watchman


    Pretty certain people are still making rock music – try listening to the radio occasionally. It might not be the same rock music as when you were young (or when I was for that matter), which is good as making the same thing over again is pointless, but it is there.

  • I am only half joking when I say…

    Pretty certain people are still making rock music

    They are? I am so post-Rock… more like post-post-post-Rock.

    – try listening to the radio occasionally.

    Radio is still a thing? I though that kind of stuff was all eated by the internet 😛

    Like I said, only half joking 🙂

  • Yep, I have a mate who still makes pretty good rock music.
    Take a listen on his web site (it’s free) or Spotify or the like.
    You can find him on http://chascmusic.wordpress.com

  • Watchman

    Radio exists – it’s a way of hearing what other people think we should hear, which can be an amusing diversion at times. Or absolute torture.

    And the post rock comment once again confirms you as a metropolitan liberal – those of us in less metropolitan places (he says, ignoring the large city outside his window) can’t manage to be post-rock since we have no idea what that means (pebbles? gravel? Ah that’s it – it’s gravelly voices – you’re a Van Morrison fan?).

    And, as in just about everything, it’s likely I’m joking but I am no longer sure.

  • And, as in just about everything, it’s likely I’m joking but I am no longer sure.

    I feel that way most of the time too 😉

    I tend to listen to weird stuff like this and this or this these days.

  • Laird

    Sorry, Perry, but none of those do anything for me. Give me some uptempo jump blues, or some old-fashioned Dixieland jazz please.

  • I told you what I like is weird, but then I think that is the way things are going… people are becoming more fragmented in their tastes because it is so easy to access so much different stuff. The sort of music I like sounds like a horror movie soundtrack and the uptempo stuff you like would make my head implode 😀 But then I am into grimdark.

  • Laird

    De gustibus non est disputandum.

  • Thailover

    Jerry wrote,
    “Indeed, as per Trump v Clinton, I mentioned to the wife that I like him because all the right people hate him.”

    I said the same thing today at work.