As politicians and the media go into meltdown over the Jacob Rees-Mogg protest, here are some facts

Class War poster and Jeremy Corbyn
Emily Apple

On 11 September, Class War held a protest outside Jacob Rees-Mogg’s house to highlight its claim that Rees-Mogg’s nanny is not paid the living wage. The group released a video of the protest after Rees-Mogg unexpectedly turned up with his children and spoke to protesters. Subsequently, there has been outrage from politicians and the media over the way members of the group spoke to his children.

Much of this outrage has been directed broadly at the left, and specifically at Corbyn. Nadine Dorries, MP for a party that’s been responsible for 3.1 million children living in poverty, tweeted:

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Meanwhile the Sun, amongst others, clutched at straws and highlighted the fact that Class War member, Ian Bone, knows Corbyn’s brother.

“Ambushed”

Right-wing blogger Guido Fawkes and the Sun both wrote that Rees-Mogg was “ambushed”. This is untrue. On 7 September, Class War advertised its protest:

In other words, the police, and Rees-Mogg, knew the protest was happening. As one social media user pointed out:

And Class War told Labour MP Yvette Cooper:

Even Rees-Mogg himself downplayed the protest and the potential impact on his children:

I wouldn’t get too excited about it. It was a few anarchists who turned up and it wasn’t very well organised. It wasn’t terribly serious. We are a free country. They weren’t violent. They aren’t admirers of mine. I am in public life and not everybody is going to like me. That is a reality of public life.

But you’re all so nasty on the left

Dorries wasn’t the only MP trying to blame the protest on Corbyn:

And James Cleverly, deputy chair of a party that is prepared to support arms sales to Saudi Arabia to use in airstrikes that kill children in Yemen, also expressed outrage:

And even more tenuous were the attempts to link Corbyn to the protest because Bone knows his brother. As ever, facts don’t appear to matter when it comes to Corbyn bashing. It doesn’t take much more than a casual glance at Class War’s or Bone’s Twitter feeds to reveal two obvious facts:

  1. It is an anarchist group.
  2. It doesn’t support Corbyn:

Stop this gross manipulation

The reaction of some MPs and elements of the press is a gross manipulation of the facts. This isn’t about the rights and wrongs of the protest. It is about powerful people misrepresenting a situation to fit their own agendas.

Meanwhile Bone thanked the media for the publicity:

This has just been perfect – little effort and maximum publicity.

And Class War used the publicity to promote its next protest at the Conservative Party conference:

Whatever stance you take on the protest, two things are clear. Rees-Mogg knew it was happening, chose to be there with his children and was unperturbed by it. Secondly, it was nothing to do with Corbyn.

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Featured image via screengrab and Wikimedia/Sophie Brown

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Emily Apple