Watch Jacob Rees-Mogg defend Churchill’s support of concentration camps on Question Time

Jacob Rees-Mogg next to Grace Blakeley
Joshua Funnell

The article was updated on 16 February at 09:45 to reflect the fact that Churchill supported concentration camps during the Boer War but was not responsible for them.

The refusal of some to criticise Winston Churchill has reached absurd new levels. But on the 14 February edition of the BBC‘s Question Time, Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg took it even further. Rees-Mogg attempted to defend Churchill’s support of concentration camps during the Boer War.

Rees Mogg jumps to Churchill’s defence

During an eventful episode, John McDonnell’s critical comments about Churchill were the subject of an audience question:

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Few were surprised when Etonian MP Jacob Rees-Mogg sprang to Churchill’s defence. But his attempt to justify Churchill’s support of concentration camps might shock many:

The online backlash

As seen in the video, Rees-Mogg was challenged by economics commentator Grace Blakeley. Blakeley later reflected on her experience on Twitter:

And Rees-Mogg’s comments didn’t go unnoticed by others. Momentum pointed out the scale of death in the camps:

The editor of Channel 4 News was also less than impressed by Rees-Mogg’s historical accuracy:

And journalist Liam O’Hare responded to Rees-Mogg’s argument that the death rates in the camps were similar to those in Glasgow at the time:

Another Twitter user highlighted the questionable distinctions Rees-Mogg made to justify Churchill’s policy:

And responding to Rees-Mogg’s claim that Boers were interned for “their own safety” Aaron Bastani of Novara Media reminded us that:

We need to overcome the stupid simplification of this discussion

The most thoughtful take on Churchill came from the person who asked the original question:

And yet in mainstream discussion, Churchill is only spoken of in one of two ways. Firstly, those that believe Churchill is a national saint and that to criticise him is blasphemy. Or, secondly, those that believe he was a genocidal monster who embodied imperialism and white supremacism. But there is a third option. And that is that Churchill was a flawed wartime leader who committed racist atrocities.

But Rees-Mogg’s attempt to defend one of the most indefensible episodes in Churchill’s past is a step too far. And it reveals the desperate lengths some will go to protect Churchill’s reputation.

Featured image via Twitter – Piers Disappears 

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    1. I hate to break it to people but Winston Churchill wasn’t this infallible war hero as he’s often made out to be. People should read Peter Hitchens’s superb myth busting book “The Phony Victory: The World War II Illusion” and everything Grace said about Churchill was spot on and if people can’t have mature discussions about his legacy then I’m sorry but history and politics isn’t the subject for you have fun in PR and propaganda making or better yet just stick to real estate and finance. and Jacob Rees Mogg revisionist history of Churchill’s war crimes in the Boer Wars and gassing of anti-colonial fighters in the Middle East is disgusting and THAT should cause a bigger controversy then John McDonnell’s comments, Churchill enabled fascism in Spain and Portugal, liked Hitler and Mussolini because of their rabid anti-communist, anti-worker’s views, and supported fascist and Nazi collaborators to take back Greece after WWII and supported the concentration camps way before and after WII when anti-colonialists made trouble for the empire so people can fuck off with his “he defeated Hitler so give him a pass”. Grace Blakely did good at presenting the case against Churchill and again if people can’t hack it then history and politics isn’t the subject for you.

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