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Pelosi Schooled by Banjo Player at University Debate

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Nancy Pelosi might have won the battle, but the war is a different story.

On a trip to England in April, the former House speaker kept up her crusade against former President Donald Trump’s brand of politics by arguing at an Oxford University debate that “populism is a threat to democracy.”

Her side got more votes in the debating hall, but as video of the event circulates, her opponent is getting the word out, and it’s not making Pelosi look good.

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In the final debate summations, Pelosi was pitted against Winston Marshall, a native Briton best known to Americans as a former banjo player and guitarist for the folk group Mumford & Sons who was targeted by the cancel-culture left for praising a book exposing the radicals of antifa.

(He also quickly learned just how ferociously unforgiving that cancel culture can be.)

That experience could be why he was chosen to participate in the debate since he, like Pelosi, is not a graduate of Oxford.

As the Oxford student newspaper Cherwell reported, Pelosi and Marshall were the last speakers on their sides, with Pelosi arguing that the true danger posed by “populism” is “the misrepresentation of people who exploit the populist attitude of ‘I want to have my say’ and then use it to get elected and then hurt those people the most.”

Her full speech is below for readers who have 15 minutes of their lives to throw away.



It’s unclear how much resonance Pelosi’s words might have had with the Oxford lads and lasses, but American voters familiar with American politics, in particular Nancy Pelosi’s two tenures as speaker of the House, might think that sounded an awful lot like the 21st century Democratic Party. This is a party that has thrived on pretending to give the poor and minorities their “say,” then hurts them more with dreadful Democratic-run schools and dangerous Democratic-run cities than any Republican has, especially Republicans named Donald Trump.

But Marshall’s response should resonate with any residents of the Western world who have watched as their governments have become almost divorced from will of the people.

From his beginning, where he noted sardonically that words such as “woman” have changed meanings over the years (largely thanks to leftists), to the end, he articulated almost exactly the logic of the conservative cause — a cause the left disparages as “populism” in an effort to destroy it.

“Mainstream media elites are part of a class who don’t just disdain populism, they disdain the people,” he said.

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It’s not just the mainstream media, of course, it’s the entrenched powers of government who disdain the people — the point of Marshall’s entire response.

Check it out here. It might be a little heavy on references to European and U.K. politics that won’t exactly land with most American viewers, but from a philosophical point of view, it’s worth a quarter-hour of any American’s time.

WARNING: The video contains language that might offend some viewers.



And judging by the social media reaction — 2.6 million views since it was posted May 10, more than 28,000 “likes” — the speech is striking even more chords than Marshall did in his Mumford & Sons days.

But it was Marshall’s ending that summed up the case — and summed up the experience of the United States and much of the Western world in the current century, but especially since the coronavirus pandemic brought on new level of state bullying and state or state-supported censorship:

“Ladies and gentlemen, populism is not a threat to democracy, but I’ll tell you what is. It is elites ordering social media to censor political opponents.

“It’s police shutting down dissenters, be it anti-monarchists in this country or gender-critical voices here, or last week in Brussels, the National Conservative Movement,” he said.

“I’ll tell you what is a threat to democracy.

Do you agree that Marshall won this debate?

“It’s Brussels, D.C., Westminster, the mainstream media, Big Tech, Big Pharma, corporate collusion and the Davos cronies. The threat to democracy comes from those who write off ordinary people as ‘deplorable.’ The threat to democracy comes from those who smear working people as ‘racists.’ The threat to democracy comes from those who write off working people as ‘populists.’

“And I’ll say one last thing. This populist age can be brought to an end at the snap of a finger. All that needs to be done is for elites to start listening to, respecting, and God forbid, working for ordinary people.”

Pretty much every word of those paragraphs were direct hits on Pelosi and the political party she leads.

Her side won the debate at the Oxford Union by a vote of 177-68, according to Cherwell — an almost foregone conclusion considering the makeup of pretty much any university these days.

But that was only the battle. The wider war is still very much going on.

There’s no doubt Marshall helped his side.

Pelosi, by highlighting — if unknowingly — the behavior of the Democratic Party, probably only hurt hers.

And probably more than she’ll ever know.


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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.
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