The two major parties have had a kicking. Good. They should have listened to us sooner

PUBLISHED: 12:15 28 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:15 28 May 2019

Who will we be voting for next time? Labour and the Conservative had better watch out, says James Marston Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Who will we be voting for next time? Labour and the Conservative had better watch out, says James Marston Picture: Victoria Pertusa


James Marston says it’s time for a referendum. And for the two main parties to sort their lives out - or face becoming extinct

I bet the politicians in London don't want a general election now, do they?

How exciting it has all been to watch, not least observing the BBC reporters barely concealing their shock and annoyance at Nigel Farage's stunning success.

I can't ever remember staying up late to watch the Euro Elections but I did this year.

I can't ever remember a six week old political party making the two mainstream political parties shake in their boots.

Despite the result and the polarisation of views - people want it sorted one way or the other - I note both Labour and the Conservatives are still trying to claim they know best.

This is what annoys me the most, that they think they know better than us when, in fact, they don't.

Power, as we have been reminded, is held by our politicians at the behest of the people, not at the behest of the politicians because it's the way it has always been.

Alongside remain v leave and London v everywhere else and Scotland/Ireland V England, an underlying question in all this Brexit mess is who rules Britain?

Do our politicians do our bidding or is it the other way around?

It seems to me it is usually a bit of both but, in recent years, it has seemed somewhat unbalanced.

Brexit is little more than an assertion of power, a timely rebalancing and reminder of the power of the people.

And our political class has only itself to blame.

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Brexit comes on the back of the MPs expenses scandal, the back of devolution and indyref, the back of European Union federalism, the back of being ignored for too long.

It may well be too late but suddenly and finally the main political parties are realising something is wrong; that they have lost their prestige as people who have always voted for them exercise their mandate elsewhere, forced to vote for parties they would never have even considered in order that their voice be heard.

These European elections have been a salutatory reminder of how powerful we are and whatever your view on Brexit this is maybe no bad thing that the Conservative and Labour voices have been marginalised - even if only briefly - and their conceit threatened.

I can't see how a new Prime Minister is going to help break the deadlock much, and neither of the main parties will want to dare risk a general election. Therefore, I'm beginning to see that a referendum is almost inevitable - another so-called people's vote. This is exactly what the EU wants of course and is why they are saying nothing and simply playing a game of wait and see. It has worked in the past when the people have voted in a way they haven't liked.

I could support a referendum if it were on two simple questions - remain or leave on World Trade Organisation rules, not pay this ridiculous £39billion for the privilege and take our chances in the world.

James knows best but I suspect there'll be some sort of fudge now minds are concentrated on both Labour and Conservative sides.

The threat to the two main parties of being wiped off the face of the political stage will force them to sort this out, their survival instinct will take over however distasteful it might be for both of them.

After all, it's been going on for long enough already.

Is James right? What do you think? Write to him at

James' Mailbag

Good morning James.

Congratulations on a fair and balanced appraisal of the recent milkshake incident.

Too many media commentators allow their personal views to colour their output. Yesterday I was appalled by the reaction of a woman reporter on Radio 4 who when asked for her view gave a half hearted condemnation of the incident and said that the worst thing was that it was an appalling waste of food! This, I am afraid is typical of the type of bias demonstrated by BBC political reporters led by Theresa May's inquisitor in chief, Laura Kuenssberg. Your treatment of the incident was a breath of fresh air in a polluted atmosphere.


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