Professor Benjamin Zephaniah appeared on Question Time on 30 November. Much of the programme focused on the ongoing mess that is Theresa May’s proposed Brexit deal. But while the politicians came up with the usual spiel, poet and writer Zephaniah cut through the crap.
“The workers will get screwed”
Zephaniah injected a dose of reality into the debate:
It doesn’t matter if we have Brexit, Remain or Leave, however you look at it, trust me, the workers will get screwed.
Get the news that really mattersSign me up
‘However you look at it, the workers will get screwed’@BZephaniah says that Brexit or no Brexit, it is about picking the option that does the least damage to the country’s workers. #bbcqt pic.twitter.com/yvD8lejQJG
— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) November 29, 2018
The banks are screwing you; the insurance companies are screwing you; the utility companies are screwing you. It’s just about how much you get screwed.
Many social media users agreed that Zephaniah nailed it:
— Brendan Moohan (@BrendanMoohan) November 30, 2018
— Ali Malik (@Ali_Malik) November 29, 2018
Hats off to the legend that is @BZephaniah – he has a finger on the pulse of our communities. Either way, it'll be the working class that gets screwed by #Brexit. #BenjaminZephaniah https://t.co/b6KKdqJJKl
— Football Lads & Lasses Against Fascism (@LadsLasses) November 30, 2018
“Fish should be in the sea”
Later in the programme, the panel discussed fishing rights post Brexit. Again, Zephaniah demolished the political waffle with one simple sentence:
I believe all fish should be in the sea.
A beautifully simple answer by Benjamin Zephaniah on BBC Question Time to a question about the future of UK fisheries policy post-Brexit if we sign the withdrawal agreement……. pic.twitter.com/hhV2tDiGJa
— Mike Gardner (@mikegardner_wb) November 30, 2018
Many people appreciated his “his beautifully simple answer”:
Benjamin Zephaniah… "Fish belong in the sea." Beautiful simple real talk… #bbcqt
— joby clayton (@firewalkerjobe) November 30, 2018
— Michael Cowan (@mrmikecowan) November 29, 2018
Others said it was the best comment of the night:
— Jaki McCarrick (@jakimccarrick) November 30, 2018
Cutting through the crap
Zephaniah’s direct comments were perhaps unsurprising though, as this uncompromising honesty is what he does best. In an interview published by Red Pepper, Zephaniah said:
Reforming does nothing. That’s why I’m an anarchist.
Meanwhile, when he was touted as the next Poet Laureate, he responded:
I won’t work for them. They oppress me, they upset me, and they are not worthy. I write to connect with people and have never felt the need to go via the church, the state, or the monarchy to reach my people. No money. Freedom or death.
After hours of media time devoted to Brexit, May’s deal, the financial implications, and general crap about ‘taking back our country’, Zephaniah’s simple but direct statements rang true with people. Devoid of bullshit and party political manoeuvring, his comments stood out with those two simple observations: “Workers will get screwed over” and “Fish should be in the sea”.
Featured image via screengrab
Since you're here ...
We know you don't need a lecture. You wouldn't be here if you didn't care.
Now, more than ever, we need your help to challenge the rightwing press and hold power to account. Please help us survive and thrive.