QUENTIN LETTS on Labour’s Barry Sheerman Brexit bashing

31 Oct

At the age of 77, Huddersfield’s Labour MP Barry Sheerman may not plan to stand again for re-election to the House of Commons.

We must certainly assume so given that the old booby just let slip he thinks his constituents in West Yorkshire are ill-educated. As election-winning strategies go, it is at least novel. Vote for me, thickos!

Mr Sheerman, a blowy Europhile, made his outburst during a television discussion at the weekend. Maybe the heat of the studio got to him, or over-excitement at being asked to take part in a live discussion on BBC TV’s Sunday Politics (backbencher Barry is rarely considered important enough for such invitations these days).

Talk turned to our EU referendum and Mr Sheerman closed his eyes, tilted his head and said: ‘The truth is that when you look at who voted to remain, most of them were the better educated people in our country.’ 

Disdain

If that was not la-di-dah enough for an MP whose own constituency is in an area (Kirklees) that voted by 54 per cent to leave the EU, Mr Sheerman also took a swipe at people who were educated at polytechnics.

He was cross that Conservative MP Chris Heaton-Harris has written to universities trying to find out what is being taught about Brexit.

‘This man who went to Wolverhampton Polytechnic,’ shuddered Mr Sheerman. ‘Who does he think he is? Trying to frighten my university in Huddersfield!’ The thrust of this was clear: poly-educated oiks such as Heaton-Harris have no place offering their opinion to us Varsity types.

That’s the Brexit vote and the Polytechnic vote slagged off in seconds. Good work, Barry. At this rate Theresa May will give you a knighthood for services to the Tory party.

Let us begin by trying to understand Mr Sheerman’s ‘snobbery’ — as one fellow guest in the studio put it. There is certainly data to show university graduates voted two to one in June 2016 to stay in the European Union.

Cambridge and Oxford, our best-known university strongholds, were hot for Remain. The British political, legal, media and academic elites were, and still are, markedly anti-Brexit. They clutch their necks with condescending disdain at those lower orders who voted for British independence.

It may seem unfair to pick on so slight a political figure as Barry Sheerman, a spongy middler who in the Blair years won the ‘Golden Pager Award’ for asking the most obsequious questions in Parliameny 

It may seem unfair to pick on so slight a political figure as Barry Sheerman, a spongy middler who in the Blair years won the ‘Golden Pager Award’ for asking the most obsequious questions in Parliameny 

It may seem unfair to pick on so slight a political figure as Barry Sheerman, a spongy middler who in the Blair years won the ‘Golden Pager Award’ for asking the most obsequious questions in Parliameny 

Mr Sheerman, it could be said, was merely stating facts when he hailed the intellectualism of the Remain camp. But it brings us up against the old truism that the longer someone has studied at university, the less clued up he or she may be. I say that as someone who attended three universities and who has often felt a hamfisted nincompoop alongside non-university friends.

Some of the quickest wits I know never went near a college campus, and many of our biggest idiots are those with fancy letters after their names.

It may seem unfair to pick on so slight a political figure as Barry Sheerman, a spongy middler who in the Blair years won the ‘Golden Pager Award’ for asking the most obsequious questions in Parliament.

In the past he has called for Buckingham Palace to be torn down (because it is one of Britain’s ugliest buildings), demanded that Britain join the Euro, and described a £7,000 pay rise for MPs as ‘pathetic’.

It probably tells you all you need to know about this sorry little man, but he’s again placed his head above the parapet, so here goes with the polemical mallet. His attitude stinks of entitlement, of patronising disdain, of a self-righteous sense of superiority over ‘the little people’. For a Labour MP — a Labour MP! — to express such views is dreadful; yet hardly surprising.

Mr Sheerman is typical of the illiberal Centre-Left which has done so much damage to this country in recent decades.

Labour sloganeering about ‘the many not the few’ is tommy-rot. They are vicious snobs and regard ‘the many’ as a herd of dumb cattle. There sits Mr Sheerman in the House of Commons, supposedly representing his constituents, yet plainly regards the majority of them as educationally inferior.

He studied at the London School of Economics, long a seed-bed of the worst sort of anti-popular, neo-elitist, pocket-filling Leftism. He has both a BSc and MSc in economics to his name. Bow down, ye voters of Huddersfield, to your twice mortar-boarded Member of Parliament.

Hail to your intellectual master, the chin-stroker, the brow-clutcher, that Erasmus de nos jours, Barry ‘the Brainbox’ Sheerman! You won’t be surprised to hear he opposes grammar schools (even though he went to one).

We don’t want the working-classes getting ideas above their stations, do we, Barry? This ninny, this snoot, this velvet-lined codpiece, Sheerman is typical of a Parliament which, with its allies in the Establishment, has gone on dirty protest about Brexit.

They kick, stamp, pout and blow bubbles about last year’s stonking, revolutionary referendum result. The Leave vote was a close but clear rejection not just of the European Union but also of the stooges and suck-ups who for years anti-democratically pushed Brussels down our throats.

Crucial

The Sheermans of this world argue that MPs are chosen by constituents to act and vote on various matters as they personally see fit. That an MP is entitled to take his or her view on, say, capital punishment, even though it may clash with majority opinion in the constituency. This, Burkean view of democracy — as argued by philosopher Edmund Burke — raises parliamentarians to the level of autonomous trustees, sent to the Commons to do as they see fit for the nation. Except, except, except . . . it is more complicated than that.

The EU referendum was not a parliamentary vote. The crucial thing was that it was beyond and above the House of Commons, and it was established as such by Parliament.

It trumped the Burkean ideal. If there was an element of trusteeship, it was that the Parliamentary class would obey the referendum’s verdict.

From Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer and Tory Dominic Grieve, to dimmer bulbs such as Mr Sheerman, Westminster’s Remainers put themselves above the majority — and pooh-pooh them as morons who ‘didn’t vote to become poorer’ or ‘didn’t vote to leave the Single Market’.

In his TV appearance, Mr Sheerman derided Conservatives for agreeing to respect the EU referendum result.

Theresa May will give Sheerman a knighthood for services to the Tory party if he keeps on offending voters at his current rate

Theresa May will give Sheerman a knighthood for services to the Tory party if he keeps on offending voters at his current rate

Theresa May will give Sheerman a knighthood for services to the Tory party if he keeps on offending voters at his current rate

Exquisite

The Tories were now ‘no longer the nasty party’ but ‘the stupid party’, he tweeted later.

Yes, how stupid of politicians to respect the will of the majority of voters in the biggest plebiscite held in our country.

The arrogance of these Remain extremists is sometimes matched only by the over-ripeness of their claims.

I recently heard Mr Sheerman claim, in the Commons, that he had met ‘not one person’ in the manufacturing or business sectors of Huddersfield or Leeds who wanted to leave the EU. He was either lying or picks acquaintances in pro-Brexit Yorkshire with exquisite hygiene.

Let us close by returning to the polling data from pro-EU areas. What exactly do those statistics from university towns tell us? Do they prove the intellectual superiority of the Remain case? Even if they did, the democratic will would surely have to prevail — unless you want riots on the street.

But might the statistics not just tell us our college populations like the world the way it is? University types, who tend to do better financially than non-degree holders, may not have wished their elitist privileges to be imperilled by change. Voting patterns may just be down to all-too human greed and protectionism.

Only a very stupid politician — such as Barry Sheerman — would fail to admit the possibility of that.

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