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:
This is how the Corbyn cultists behave. What scum bags. Leave his kids alone. https://t.co/mqXw4MhJqA
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) September 12, 2018
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:
— Class War (@Classwar2015) September 7, 2018
In other words, the police, and Rees-Mogg, knew the protest was happening. As one social media user pointed out:
So 5 days ago, the media, Jacob and his family, all knew this demo by Class War was going to take place. That is why the children did not look scared, nor were they whisked away…as any other parent might have done.
So let’s just hold back on the outrage, shall we ? https://t.co/9KJErBObze
— Angie Ray (@ripplecabin) September 13, 2018
And Class War told Labour MP Yvette Cooper:
Well it was Moggie that brought his family out for a 'chat'. Let's not worry about the facts though when you can get your tweet in the papers looking smug and saintly. https://t.co/cd7eqWeucL
— Class War (@Classwar2015) September 13, 2018
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:
It is scum like this who have taken over @UKLabour, who are bullying and threatening moderate Labour MPs, and this particular bit of work is being really nasty to young children on video.#Corbyn should be ashamed of himself.
Watch the video.https://t.co/CApb714nYg
— Michael Fabricant (@Mike_Fabricant) September 12, 2018
The behaviour of the people intimidating Jacob and is family is disgusting and unacceptable. So much for “kinder, gentler politics “. pic.twitter.com/7alB9Fe4zP
— James Cleverly (@JamesCleverly) September 12, 2018
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:
- It is an anarchist group.
- It doesn’t support Corbyn:
— Class War (@Classwar2015) September 9, 2018
This guy is called Ian Bone and he's a member of an anarchist group Class War -neither of the left nor the right. Look at the Tweet pinned to his Twitter feed pic.twitter.com/zSHAd247bH
— Bob Thomas (@timeforbob) September 12, 2018
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:
— Class War (@Classwar2015) September 12, 2018
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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