Hiding behind his fader and famous for talking over people he disagrees with and deflecting conversations, James O’Brien hosts his own show on LBC between 10am-1pm on weekdays.
But would O’Brien be as effective in a neutral environment with a public debate and chairman to officiate? My friend ,Gerald Gravett, has issued the following challenge –
Mr James O’Brien.
I am a regular listener to your radio programme. I listen as I like to keep an open mind.
May I congratulate you on the preparation and construction of your arguments. You clearly select angles which brilliantly favour your stance. Your weakness seems to me to be that whether you are right or wrong, you alienate many people by verbally denigrating and abusing those who disagree with you. You surely need to rely on strong arguments supporting your contention – which you do really well – but do rather less shouting at opposing views. You have perfected the art of shouting in a quiet but condescending manner, one that appears specifically designed to aggravate and provoke anger in those who disagree with you. You do yourself no favours in this regard. Understand opposing views, address them directly and do not just rail against them.
You criticise observers and reporters by saying they are all talk and it is easy for them to talk as they are not in a position to make decisions. But these people are able to influence those who make decisions by leading and reflecting public opinion. You fall into this category, as do your colleagues on LBC such as Nigel Farage, Ian Dale etcetera.
You call such as Gove, Johnson, Davies, Mogg, clowns. You say that the rebel remoaners, who are against the referendum’s democratic decision are more intelligent than them. This is what I mean by ‘quiet’ shouting.
You say the public didn’t know what they were voting for in the referendum. Mr Cameron and Company clearly stated their views on the effects of leaving the single market, the customs union, the jurisdiction of the European court and so on. Mr Cameron and his supporters thought this would persuade the public to vote remain. As history clearly demonstrates, this backfired badly, as it actually helped people decide to vote leave. It’s all over YouTube. It was called ‘project fear’. The public clearly knew what they were voting for. You are denigrating the Intelligence of the British public. This insulting behaviour is typical of the rebel remoaners. I am surprised at a man of your obvious intelligence and debating capability not appearing to accept or understand this.
Consider the real position. Given the black and white choice – leave or remain – and being fully aware of the ‘warnings’ given in ‘project fear’, the British public decided that they wished to leave. The margins were huge by all measurable standards. There was an overall majority of over 1,250,000 to leave. It was the biggest turnout in history in any democratic vote in this country. In terms of Parliamentary constituencies, about 406 voted leave and only about 244 voted remain.
You need to grasp why 62% of constituencies voted to leave and only 38% voted to remain in the EU, after 544 (84%) MPs voted in support of a referendum, saying it is “for the people to decide.” You need to accept that over 80% of people voted for a party which undertook to respect the outcome of the referendum. Many voters rejected the idea that the “era of the nation state is over” and that Parliament is to be emasculated – which is the EU agenda.
None of this tears of prevarication would be happening if MP’s respected the views of their constituents instead of coming out with condescending comments such as needing to educate their constituents.
The leave vote was solid. Even Mr Cameron and his supporters accepted the result and their failure and walked off into the sunset. Yes, the chief protagonists of ‘remain’ walked away. Despite the fact that the prime minister had long put off his promise to hold a referendum ‘until the time is right’, despite years of waiting for the time to be right, he still got it – from his point of view – wrong. I wonder what the result of the vote would have been if he had held it when he considered the time was not right.
There is no doubt about where the EU is headed. On 25th Feb 2005 Hans Bury, a German Minister said that the new EU Constitution was the “birth certificate” for a giant super state and a framework for ever closer union.” An EU official was quoted by the FT as saying: “There is no such thing as a sovereign country any more. It’s an illusion the Brits are all chasing, but it has gone”.
Many who voted in the 1975 referendum have watched the EU morph from a common market, towards Fiscal, Political and Military union and they do not want that. It should be clear that monetary union is not sustainable without fiscal union and that an EU foreign policy has to run alongside military union, for practical purposes.
Ask yourself, why would the British people want to be run by an EU where presidents are not directly elected, where 90% of MEPs don’t live in the U.K, when many important vetoes have been lost, when so many regulations are being proposed by unelected EU officials and where treaties are self-amending?
Why wouldn’t they choose instead to have all regulations proposed in their own Parliament, by directly elected MPs who are accountable to them? Don’t be surprised at the many who attach a much higher priority to that than to anything else. The era of the British nation state is not over for them and as far as many are concerned, it will never be.
You seem to be in denial of the reality of the position.
What if there were to be another referendum, one on the proposed deal. Are the public going to be offered the opportunity to vote on every single individual aspect of it, point by point. Such a list would be very long and clearly impractical.
Immigration, which you speak so much about on your programme, was definitely a benefit to this country when it was running at the lower levels of 10,000 to 20,000 a year. They were people that we needed for specific jobs.
All that most people – a majority of our population – wish is that we have a sensible immigration policy not governed by the European Union and that we welcome people with skills that we need and not those who come for unskilled work attracting the minimum wage which has two effects on our economy.
Firstly, it drives down wages at the lower end and secondly it costs the country in welfare and housing benefits to compensate for their low wages. This in turn puts pressure on our housing, welfare and other services, which is simply unable to cope with such enormously seismic and sudden changes. I am surprised that you do not agree and accept this position as reality in view of the fact that this is all primarily driven by the huge, tax avoiding international companies desire for cheap labour.
Further, it is not just about the economy it’s about culture and tradition and not wanting sudden enormous change. The gradual change that has existed for centuries is fine, excellent, brilliant but not at the rate it’s going on at now which makes many people feel uncomfortable.
Cultural change was gradual and no shock to the system and the people accepted and embraced this but with immigration running at 20 times as much, at anything up to 600,000 a year is difficult for many people to comfortably accept.
I view your opposition to the wishes of majority of this country in relation to leaving the European Union and its knock-on effects to be seriously flawed and I challenge you to be part of a public debate in front of an audience in a theatre type situation.
I will find a venue, fund it, together with your travel and hotel expenses should you agree. I feel such an event could be live streamed and that it would create enormous public interest and even that it may help to polarise and clarify people’s views and help us to move forward.
I suspect that you may be too busy or subject to contractual restrictions. However, I would hope that you could find time in you heavy schedule for such an important venture and that your employer – LBC – might feel able to support the venture and even live broadcast it.
I fervently hope that you feel able to agree that a constructive, well, argued, public debate in front of an audience would be of benefit to the people of this country.
So, does O’Brien have the guts to venture out from behind his desk and face an impartial audience? I truly hope so