While fallout from the Jacob Rees Mogg UWE incident continues to circulate - the latest revelation coming from Skwawkbox, which has discovered photos of Paul Townsley, aka the White-Shirted Assailant, dressed in an SS uniform in an echo of former Tory MP Aidan Burley and his Nazi-themed stag party in a French Alpine resort - the Tory Party is desperately clinging on to the pretence that Momentum Done It.
'Ere Missus, I've got a luvverly bunch of principles going cheap - get them while they're still sort of fresh ...
This is despite Momentum not having been involved, but the first call after the fracas became public knowledge came from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog - an infamous borderline Fake News site - who called the incident as Momentum’s doing. This, by the most fortunate of coincidences, fed the narrative the Tories wanted to advance on clamping down on abusive behaviour towards MPs.
So it was that new party chairman Brandon “Barrow Boy” Lewis sent out the following slice of creative fiction: “Last night, Momentum-supporting thugs broke into a University event and tried to silence Conservatives. Wearing balaclavas, they tried through violence and intimidation to stop the ideas that they disagreed with from being heard. Help us back free speech by signing our petition today”. And there was more in the same vein.
But, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, there was only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. Nobody broke into anything, Momentum were not involved, those protesting did not use violence - but one of Rees Mogg’s side definitely did - and the protestors (an Antifa offshoot) would have left the MP in peace, had his pal not kicked off.
This is such a blatant and obvious use of Fake News to conveniently advance a cause that the Barrow Boy was soon called out on it. Frances Coppola asked him “How do the Tories know the people in balaclavas were from Momentum? Did they have badges saying ‘We are Momentum’?” Lewis’ reply was a dead giveaway: he quoted the Fawkes blog.
So Ms Coppola had to point out “I suggest you look at the unclipped video. This version has been deliberately clipped to imply that the violence was started by the left protesters. The full version (circulated by Breitbart) shows the violence started when a man in a white shirt attacked a protester”. Yes, even the convocation of the irredeemably batshit otherwise known as Breitbart had a more accurate version of events.
And Gower’s new Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi had yet worse news for Lewis, as she Tweeted “.@BrandonLewis... I’d like to thank you for sending emails to my constituents which are a total pack of lies... your members are so disgusted with you and your Conservative party email that they are sending them to me! Stirring up hatred on this level is surely illegal”. Tory Party members have already seen through the charade.
In Westminster politics, everyone and their dog knows that The Great Guido long ago sold out to the Press Establishment, especially its right-leaning part. The Fawkes blog is effectively the sub-boot boy branch of the Murdoch mafiosi. Their take on the Rees Mogg incident is so selective and dishonest as to be totally transparent. And totally wrong.
When the Tories’ new chairman lowers his party to that level, you know that any pretence of principle and decency has gone out of the window. No surprise there, then.