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‘Who the f*** does he think he is’: Broadcaster Melvyn Bragg takes aim at Cameron, Brexiteers and… ‘that weasel’ Macron

5 min read

Brexit has become a cult like the Moonies, David Cameron is a “smarmy PR man”, Emmanuel Macron is a “weasel” and Theresa May could emerge “better than Boudica” if she backs staying in the EU. That is according to veteran broadcaster Melvyn Bragg.

In a colourful interview with The House magazine, the South Bank Show host hit out at “squirearchal, hedge funding, overprivileged” Brexiteers and accused them of offering no evidence for their arguments.

He also branded David Cameron “contemptible”, “pusillanimous”, a “leading wimp” and attacked him for apparently seeking a return to frontline politics, asking “who the f*** does he think he is”.

Lord Bragg, who presents Radio 4’s In Our Time, also called on Jeremy Corbyn to “come off the fence” and back Remain at a second referendum, warning his “dallying is doing the Labour party no good”.

The full interview can be seen here. Below are a selection of his quotes:

On Cameron:

“I’m looking forward to getting hold of his book, I can tell you. Self-serving, and now this swaggering on – ‘I’m very bored, I’d like another job now. Bit bored, so I’d like to be Foreign Secretary’. He ran away. He ran a lousy campaign and then he ran away – he said he’d stay but ran away, he resigned from the Commons – we’ve never heard a pip or a squeak from him. He didn’t go on the Remain march, he didn’t do anything. Cameron could have saved his name by leading the Remain minority.”

When asked about the Lords’ role on scrutinising Brexit, the Labour peer said:

“It’s terrific but we don’t have an impact. We’re derided. The stance of the Cameronites and duds like that is that ‘oh if they oppose us then we must abolish them’. What a witty, thoughtful, intelligent reaction to being opposed – ‘oh let’s abolish them’. Bloody child’s play. It’s like ‘I would like another job’ – who the f*** does he think he is?”

More Cameron:

“Now, Cameron, with his usual bloody stupidity, should have said ‘it’s got to be at least a 55%’ and so on. But he didn’t think that through because he doesn’t think things through. He is a smarmy PR man.”

On the Brexit result:

“They were lied to. There’s no getting around it. And Cameron – contemptable Cameron – got everything wrong. He needn’t have called it, he just gave into his right wing because he’s a pusillanimous person. Then the BBC gave Farage the space on radios… he didn’t have a seat in parliament, but he seemed to be on the radio every day.”

On "dangerous" Boris and Farage:

Boris Johnson, of course, gave his exhibitionist, narcissistic, self-seeking backing to it. People like Farage and Boris, some newspapers think ‘oh they make news, they’re so colourful’. They’re dangerous these people and so it turned out to be.”

On the "cult" of Brexit:

“These bunch of squirearchal, hedge funding, over-privileged people who think it’s going to be okay – it’s going to be okay for them. They’re not going to suffer – not a bit of it. They don’t offer any evidence now. It’s ceased to be a programme or a process, it’s a cult. It’s a bit like the Moonies. They just believe it because they believe because they believe it. Because they are who they are, they think them believing it is significant. No, it isn’t.”

On “traitorous” James Dyson:

“Their so-called figureheads like [Sir James] Dyson runs away, buggers off – traitorous you could say, in some ways. ‘I’m a big Brexit man’ – as soon as he sees an opportunity, he goes to Singapore. Puts two billion in there when he could have done it here. Isn’t he rich enough? He’s the biggest landowner in the country. How greedy can somebody get?... Horrible... Everything is wrong about it. It speaks to what is wrong about our country. It also has unleashed feelings that are very unpleasant. We were getting on pretty well.”

On minorities being right:

“Forty-eight per cent is not a minority. This country has been built on minorities. The slave trade was abolished because of the minority pegging away. The suffragettes, the trade unions… universal education came in… again and again and again. Minorities turn into majorities quite quickly, especially when they’re right. I won’t go as far as Oscar Wilde, who said that minorities are always right. They’re not always right – but they were in this case.”

On Theresa May/Boudica:

“Wouldn’t it be great – this is a fantasy – for Theresa May’s reputation... if she had the guts to say ‘I wasn’t elected to make this country a much worse place. I wasn’t elected to drive this country over a cliff. I was elected to do the best I could for it, and I’ve now discovered after a year or two… there’s no good news. There is no good news, so what am I supposed to do? Say come on chaps, let’s be the charge of the light brigade and get ourselves shot to bits just to show them we’re obstinate and stupid? Or is it to say, let’s rethink this because we might have got it wrong. The man who never made a mistake never made anything’.

“If she did that, I think she’d emerge better than Boudica.”

On his message to Jeremy Corbyn:

“I would like for Jeremy Corbyn to go flat out for another referendum and back it and say Remain because that is going to be the way to keep this country prosperous, to keep it tolerant by accepting people who come from other countries instead of setting up a system that repudiates people from other countries.”

“I’d say come off the fence, back Remain and get on with it. His dallying is doing the Labour party no good.”

“They should be streaking away, they should be streaking away. So, that’s disappointing.”

And on immigration fears:

“I was canvassing in Carlisle for the Labour party – you couldn’t believe it really – they were worried about immigration. Nearly ninety per cent of the people in Carlisle had been born in and around Carlisle… but ‘oh, this terrible threat of immigration!’”

“Why didn’t the Labour party tell people that. Why isn’t the Labour party behind the truth?”

How disappointed are you in the Labour party?

“Very… They’re fudgers, fudgers and fudgers.”

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