Yesterday, as part of Visit My Mosque Day, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visited Finsbury Park Mosque and Muslim Welfare House, which are in his Islington North constituency. This is the same Mosque and Welfare House that were targeted by Darren Osborne in an attack two years ago in which a man died. So when reports came in that Corbyn had been attacked outside the Mosque, some were concerned. But not everyone.
At first it was reported as an egg-throwing, which is bad enough, but then Jessica Elgot of the Guardian told “Understand that the incident with Jeremy Corbyn today is a little more serious than originally reported. No egg was thrown but a man is alleged to have hit Corbyn on the head, while holding an egg in his fist”. Sadly, the abuse had already begun.
One minor member of the Twitter brains trust sniped “Pity it was only an egg & not a bullet”. And as Dan Rees observed, Z-list Thesp Frances Barber had sneered that she would buy the perpetrator “a full English”. The atmosphere was already febrile, but then came another minor Sleb in the person of Countdown numbers person Rachel Riley.
Taking Owen Jones’ comment about someone egging Nick Griffin, an actual Nazi, who had said “If you don’t want eggs thrown at you, don’t be a Nazi”, Ms Riley had remarked “Good advice”. The inference was clear. And Jones was not impressed.
“A Brexiteer protester threw an egg at Jeremy Corbyn outside the same mosque which was attacked in 2017 by a far right terrorist, whose main motive was murdering Corbyn himself. The tweet you're quoting refers to Nick Griffin, *an actual Nazi*. You're in the absolute gutter”. And, just for those having difficulty with this, he added an explainer.
“If @RachelRileyRR thinks it's acceptable to compare refusing to condemn an anti-fascist egging a Nazi with a rightwing protester egging Corbyn - who she is de facto calling a Nazi - outside a mosque targeted by a far right terrorist who wanted him dead, she has no moral compass”. Ash Sarkar of Novara Media was thinking on the same lines.
“Jeremy Corbyn was egged by a pro-Brexit protestor outside the same mosque where a far-right terrorist (who initially wanted to murder Corbyn and Sadiq Khan) killed an innocent man in a racist attack 2 years ago. Imagine being an anti-racist campaigner blind to these optics”. So what say Ms Riley to all of that? “Thank you to all the people who checked the facts of this to call out this appalling distortion of the truth. To those calling for my arrest, urgh”. Deflection. Victimhood. It wasn’t her. Except others thought differently.
Laura Murray pointed out “Your tweet said ‘good idea’ to the words ‘if you don’t want to get egged, don’t be a Nazi’. The obvious interpretation of that is that you’re saying Corbyn is a Nazi and it’s a good idea to punch him. If you meant something different, please clarify it?”
Mike Symonds spelt it out for her. “Interpreting your tweet as you implying Corbyn is a Nazi is no more of a stretch then you interpreting a tweet as AS due to any tenuous connection to tropes, for which you go on to use your rather large platform to condemn without trial & lay it on Corbyn's doorstep … None of this is helpful, you're not being helpful, because you're just sniping & attacking, which results in you getting sniped at & attacked & the whole world burns because of it. Use your sodding platform more responsibly”. Quite.
And John O’Connell, noting that Tory Deputy Chairman James Cleverly had also taken the assault on Jezza less than totally seriously, concluded “Today both @RachelRileyRR and @JamesCleverly have been CELEBRATING a physical assault on Jeremy #Corbyn. Any moral high ground the former thought she ever held, has disappeared. The latter ... never had any to begin with”. Got it in one.
Cleverly can live with that - his reputation is already in the gutter. Where Ms Riley has now joined him. Violence towards our democratically elected representatives is unacceptable.
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