It seems the whole of Britain was watching a puppet show. I fell for it myself, and feel rather stupid.
It turns out, it was a Rees-Mogg supporter who technically precipitated actual physicality/violence: quite deliberately by the look of it.
How many times do the hard-right & far-right have to watch this before grasping that a Jacob Rees-Mogg supporter, enraged by dissent, hit a young woman in the face. The ensuing scuffle was to prevent HIM from battering her again or harming other people pic.twitter.com/BMkOd87J3P— Will Black (@WillBlackWriter) February 3, 2018
And would you look at that... it turns out a reporter named Ben Kew, employed by Rees-Mogg's new Nazi friends at Breitbart, was quite literally ready and waiting with the camera rolling.
American-owned Breitbart News, at a minor and niche UK university talk. No, nothing fishy there.
My initial reaction, like everyone else, was to condemn the apparently violent protesters, and somewhat begrudgingly praise JRM's dealing with the situation. However, when I first saw the footage of him striding up the auditorium (as if on horseback) to reprimand the young hoodlums, standing there trying to reason with them, I did also chuckle to myself that he looked like a fish out of water. Extremely uncomfortable, to say the least. And I honestly couldn't help but wonder why he threw himself in apparent harm's way on that specific occasion.
Ah... the Breitbart reporter. That'd be it. NOW it makes sense.
And would you also look at that. This rather pathetic and virtually manufactured scuffle also seemingly made the BBC and wider press entirely forget about tens of thousands of people marching through London on behalf of the NHS yesterday. An issue of far more importance to this country, and a catastrophic failure that doesn't make the BBC's paymasters look very good.
Meanwhile, the right-wing now flounce around pretending that Corbyn, Momentum, and left-wing politics are the cause of all thuggery, dissent and violence in Britain:
Except they all conveniently seem to forget. The only ACTUAL murder and serious act of violence against a politician in this country in recent times, was the far-right fanatic who killed MP Jo Cox shortly before the EU referendum. A barbaric and heinous crime that pretty much served as the starter pistol for this whole mess.
Back then, I dared to hope that Jo's murder would assure success for the remain campaign: I thought there was no possible way the majority of Britain would want to associate with those kinds of people - or even be on the same 'team'. That maybe... just maybe a sizeable share of the UK populace would start to appreciate the insidious ideologies at the heart of all this, and what they would be enabling. I was wrong. And today, as a result, Britain is a very different place.
Leftist aggression takes place as a symbiotic reaction to unbridled far-right influence. It springs up only when oppressors overstep their bounds. It's as simple as that. Like most things, there is a cause, and a reaction. And while the reaction may be misguided or excessive, the fact it is a reaction must be considered. (Part of the reason we have a judiciary system.) A violent campaigner for human rights may be misguided, but to lump them as somehow 'the same' as a violent thug campaigning for segregation and ethnic profiling/subjugation is just warped.
Ergo we today have an elitist gang of ideologists, mostly relying on the support of thugs, trying to tell us that anyone who opposes them, are thugs. And people are lapping it up.
He bounced up there and stuck his chin out. He was hoping for a smack. You see the word is out to discredit any left wing protests. A violent reaction would be perfect. When nobody popped Mogg the second attempt was to clip the woman and get a retaliation. Done.— Franqs1ight (@howkoolizdiss) February 3, 2018
Funny how Mogg meets Bannon. Has dinner with a Nazi then this half baked Antifa style incident happens. Looks dodgy to me— LINDA (@lindajedwards) February 3, 2018
If all concerned were actually angling for Rees-Mogg to get a thump (which let's face it, seems unlikely, but would have been their joyous Brexit equivalent of communists supposedly burning down the Reichstag), it would certainly explain why he looked so bloody nervous - yet still put himself right in the middle of the fray.
Either way, this is media manipulation and propaganda in action, make no mistake. The footage aired by the BBC etc did not show the full story at all, eg: the bully in the white shirt smacking Andreea Dumitrache, a protesting Romanian student in the face, or mention a couple of key details. Like a Breitbart reporter sitting there earnestly waiting.
Hi @Jacob_Rees_Mogg, you know how you say you dont know #whiteShirtMan, who hit the young woman at your #UWE event? Hate to tell you this but he seems to be following you around. It's almost like he thinks he's your bodyguard and on your team. #HesBehindYou pic.twitter.com/6lH6b2DXfK— Will Black (@WillBlackWriter) February 4, 2018
The more I think about this and read about this, the more I look at the footage and consider the larger political picture, what else is going on and where; the way that so many are cooing how Laura Kuenssberg and the BBC are taking a 'tougher line' of questioning with Theresa May - but coincidentally just as Jacob Rees-Mogg is now splashed everywhere portrayed like the 21st century equivalent of Sir Lancelot... and truly, it smells bad to me. Like the way is being subliminally paved for a political shift of some sort, in the Conservative party at least.
Concurrently, we also seem to be partaking in a society-wide overreaction and crusade of piety/moral judgement, often packaged as 'feminism', against things like pretty girls who like to make a living from dressing up and looking nice, adding glitz and glam to otherwise mind-numbingly dull affairs like Motorsport. Witch-hunts that people like 'devout Christian' Jacob Ress-Mogg would no doubt be on board with, and use as a populist sideshow to bridge support bases, and distract from all the unspeakable stuff he's doing behind the scenes. A very worrying combination. Puritanism, until recently, was generally considered a bad thing.
In recent times, I've slightly gulped to acknowledge eerie similarities between Jacob Rees-Mogg and the character 'Chancellor Sutler', in V for Vendetta. (As the film itself points out, "artists use lies to tell the truth".) JRM is a bit more softly spoken and charming than John Hurt's slightly OTT depiction, but no doubt the two of them would get on very well at dinner. And now could quite feasibly be the part of the film when Sutler breaks away from the Conservative party, and starts something new. Or re-brands it as 'Norsefire'.
"England prevails." Sound familiar?
My fear has long been that right-wing fascism and totalitarianism seem to be approaching in bite-sized palatable chunks, that the populace don't seem to notice they're swallowing. Orwell word-for-word predicted it:
"The people will not revolt. They will not look up from their screens long enough to notice what's happening."Each time it gets just a little worse. Cameron and Osborne now seem like positive libertarians next to May and her Hammer Horror montage of cabinet members, but ramping up to a Tory party led by the likes of Rees-Mogg, Johnson and Gove? It would be yet another right shift incrementally, all over again.
It's amazing how poor, oppressed and justifiably angry people are now back to being the baddies. Those pesky sorts fed up with being marginalised, fed up with being burned alive in tower blocks, fed up with wars in their name, being priced out of homes, fed up with racism and bigotry casually defended and propagated, fed up with corporate exploitation, abuse of both human and animal rights - well, they are again the enemy. Yep, we're all ANTIFA now. How neat.
As someone who literally worked in the theatre, I can't help but feel it all has a tang of feeling slightly staged, or at least manipulated. And I do say that fully and acutely aware that even by thinking or suggesting such a thing, I immediately sound like a nutcase to some.
The suspicion lingers, regardless. And the fact I sound like a nutcase is quite unequivocally the best (and likely only) defence to discredit it.