Monday, 21 October 2019

Media manipulation by Brexiteers

(NB: I reserve the term "brexiteer" for those dishonest folk who have bamboozled the good people of England and Wales for their own ends. The model is a word like "profiteer", or even those licensed pirates the "buccaneers". I mean no disrespect to genuine Leave voters.)

Over the weekend, there were widespread reports in the media, including social media, led by the Sun newspaper, that Jacob Rees-Mogg, his innocent young son, and Andrea Leadsom MP were physically threatened and subjected to taunts of "Nazi" and similar by participants in the People's Vote March last Saturday. The incidents were said to have occurred when the high-profile advocates of EU withdrawal without an agreement left the Palace of Westminster after the debate on the revised Brexit deal (video here). (Incidentally, the Leader of the House did not stay to hear all the points of order which were raised after he announced that the order of business would be changed to the detriment of the debate on the Queen's Speech. It was almost as if he had a pressing engagement to fulfil.)

A witness, who was actually on the million-plus march, posted the following account on Facebook this morning, giving the lie to the brexiteers' spin.

The story is fake news. I was there when he [Jacob Rees-Mogg] walked out of the backdoor of Parliament. We were a small jubilant crowd of Remainers being heckled by a rowdy bunch of Leavers ranting about the 17.4 etc. The two sides were engaged in lively but civil banter. There was no violence. I spoke to one of the police curious about his space-age backpack. He joked about it containing sandwiches then explained it was to transmit video to HQ of anyone making trouble. He said they’d used it only once earlier and complimented the crowd for being good tempered. 

A slow but steady stream of MPs were emerging from Parliament in black tinted window cars to be sped away. Emily Thornberry and other familiar Remain MPs were happy to face the crowd and emerged on foot to be cheered. They needed no guard in spite of heckling from Brexiters. Kate Hoey [an outspoken Leaver] walked out alone ignoring us jeering Remainers. No harm done. Bill Cash [a long-standing Europhobe MP] walked out alone to face jeers. No harm done. 

Rees-Mogg and Ledsom had lined up a police guard to be ready and waiting for them as they came out on foot. Of course the Brexit crowd cheered them and the Remainers jeered. I witnessed no violence. There was no risk of violence - others had walked out to no harm. But there was no reason for them to be on foot. They too could have left discreetly behind tinted glass instead of dramatically marked out by a yellow coated guard. It was a staged event designed to generate news footage that could be reported as negative towards the Remain campaign. Rees-Mogg had a smirk on his face, because he knew exactly what he would be reading in the papers the next day. What really distressed me is that even The Guardian reported this fake news story, clearly not taking the trouble to check their source. No wonder getting Leavers to hear the truth is so hard.

[My emphases and additional notes - FHL]

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