THE next time Jacob Rees-Mogg requires a character reference, he will hope that the testimonial comes from someone other than fellow Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen.
Last November when JRM was under Leftist attack, for supposedly accusing those who died in Grenfell Tower of lacking common sense, Bridgen blunderingly provided the critics with further ammunition. Asked whether Rees-Mogg would have survived the fire because he is ‘cleverer’ than the victims who followed official advice to stay in the burning building, Bridgen brainlessly replied: ‘But we want very clever people running the country . . . what he is actually saying is, he would have made a better decision than the authority figures who gave that advice.’
Doh. No doubt under orders from Number 10, both Bridgen and Rees-Mogg issued apologies – even though no amount of public contrition ever satisfies the perpetually offended mob. Being an accomplished advocate for the Conservative cause and an adroit interviewee, Jacob Rees-Mogg ought to have been prominent in the national election campaign; instead, he was confined to his constituency, where there were occasional sightings of someone matching his general description, but who was in unusually casual (i.e. single-breasted) attire.
Jacob and his sports jacket spent the election campaign interned in North East Somerset. All because, during his regular radio spot with LBC’s Nick Ferrari, Rees-Mogg had uttered the fateful words: ‘The more one’s read over the weekend about the report and about the chances of people surviving, if you just ignore what you’re told and leave you are so much safer. And I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building. It just seems the commonsense thing to do. And it is such a tragedy that that didn’t happen.’
JRM was mournfully reflecting upon the official report from the first phase of the public inquiry, which had been ‘critical of London Fire Brigade, saying if they had changed advice for people to stay in their flats earlier then it is likely that fewer people would have died’. In that context, his sorrowful words were uncontroversial; indeed, in the above clip he emphasises that ‘the tragedy came about because of the cladding . . . compounded by the stay-put policy’. Amongst both pundits and public, he had much greater support than was ever acknowledged at the time.
Despite which, the then party chairman James Cleverly abjectly announced that Rees-Mogg’s anodyne remarks had ‘caused huge distress’ – a meek parroting of the Lefties who cynically had isolated the phrase ‘It just seems the commonsense thing to do’.
However, even David Lammy and Owen Jones did not go so far as to accuse JRM of ‘insulting dead children and mocking their families’. That idiotic interpretation came from James O’Brien, the activist radio host who has become a one-eyed political partisan.
On Friday, TCW’s John Smith reported how an honour at the Parliamentary Book Awards went to O’Brien – an inexplicable choice of recipient given that parliamentarians Edward Heath, Leon Brittan and Harvey Proctor all had their reputations wrongly besmirched by fantasist and paedophile Carl Beech, whose outlandish tales of sexual abuse had been eagerly and uncritically promoted by O’Brien.
As Lefties always do, odious O’Brien has shrugged aside his role in that shameful episode. Yet during the past week he continued sanctimoniously to assert that Jacob Rees-Mogg ‘thinks children burned to death in Grenfell Tower because they lacked “common sense”’.
With JRM having been silenced by Number 10 before the election, Mogg’s many admirers feared that his Cabinet position was also under threat. Happily, he survived the recent reshuffle and remains Leader of the House. During the past week he appeared to be back on form, amusing the Commons with self-deprecating humour and seemingly daring Lefties to do a ‘Yorkshire Tea’ on Walkers and Pringles by posing with his favoured brands of crisps.
But for jaundiced James O’Brien, levity by Jacob Rees-Mogg is no longer permissible because of (non sequitur alert) ‘the despicable way in which [he] insulted the memory of 72 people who burned to death’.
The cause of O’Brien’s vendetta almost certainly is this encounter from January 2019. On his LBC show, O’Brien is a flat-track bully who delights in using his privileged platform to embarrass inexperienced callers with opposing opinions. In Jacob Rees-Mogg, O’Brien found himself outclassed (in both senses) by an opponent who always had an answer and repeatedly teased the host while remaining unfailingly polite, hence O’Brien’s hyperbolic hatred.
During the final few minutes, JRM chides the increasingly irritable host for using a quote ‘selectively and out of context to make a wrong point’. James O’Brien’s continued trolling of Jacob Rees-Mogg over Grenfell is yet more of the same shtick.