Sunday 3 March 2019

Mark Mardell and Jacob Rees-Mogg

Was it "a disgraceful hatchet job on Jacob Rees-Mogg" from Mark Mardell on The World This Weekend today?

Well, the feature began with Mark saying this:
He declined our offer of an interview so, the next best thing, I've been to his constituency of North East Somerset...
And it included commentary from Mark Mardell that said this:
Whatever happens next Jacob Rees-Mogg is likely to have a big role. While he plays on politesse, like Brexit itself, he divides people into armed camps.
So he's divisive and he "plays on" his politeness? Hmm.

Anyhow, the meat of this segment was on its use of local people (vox pops and interviewees) to give their views on Mr. Rees-Mogg (or "Rees-Mogg", as Mark kept on calling him). So, to see if Hand At The Back really has a point, I've transcribed the bits specifically about Mr. Rees-Mogg from Mark's report - presented in order of first appearance:
  • I think it is to support. I'm not so sure that posh boys should be put in charge because they do think they are natural leaders, but I'm not so sure about that. I think he's a very destructive character.
  • I suppose she's [Mrs May] got to be pushed a bit, but he can probably stop now I think. 
  • I think Jacob's a nice person. He is highly intelligent. However I think he's very intransigent about the whole thing. At the moment his group of MPs are causing all sorts of problems for the nation.
  • He's a very measured man. He's not putting incendiary arguments.
  • I think he's just being against May and the Cabinet. I think he's just been the proverbial pain in their backside, and I don't know if it's been to the good.
  • I've been very interested to see that Jacob has been much more conciliatory than some of the other members. Probably a feeling of necessity is part of it, in view of recent votes. Above all I find that he's honest, I remember saying to him in 2008, some time like that, "Jacob, you're going to get hammered. Some of these things are not politically correct, or not considered so". And he kind of shrugged his shoulders and says he feels that's inevitable. He's going to say what he thinks anyway and he'll take the consequences. {MM: Would he make a good leader, good Prime Minister?}. Superb, yes. yes.
  • I've written to him on many occasions. I always get a reply back - he's very courteous- always on House of Commons notepaper. And it nearly always has a transcript of his most recent speech, which nearly always seems to refer to something happening in the 19th or 18th century, and doesn't stand up to scrutiny actually. His Brexit arguments are preposterous. I think they're self-serving and I think he's intending to take us, the peasants, for a ride. The first Sunday of every month We have a demonstration in Bath and one occasion in the summer when Mr. Rees Mogg was being particularly objectionable I dressed up as Rees-Mogg - top hat, tails and white tie - and did a little semi-scripted song and dance based on Babar the Elephant. {MM: Can you give us a burst?}. No, I can't remember the words. {MM: Sadly, very sadly. no one thought to record that rendition}. It's been a coup of the right. They've basically taken us to the cleaners. 
A vox pop count and a word count there would suggest that Mr. Rees-Mogg isn't the toast of North-East Somerset. And a length of contribution count would make that seem even starker: The fourth contributor in the list ("He's a very measured man") said just that, without introduction, and then vanished, while the "peasants" guy (a People's Vote campaigner) got by far the longest 'go' at having his say about Mr. Rees-Mogg and even the "superb" guy was, as MM said, "not uncritical" of Mr. Rees-Mogg.

But was it a hatchet job? Well, there's wriggle-room for Mark Mardell to claim that both sides of the Jacob Rees-Mogg war were represented here, and he could - and doubtless would - say that he talked to some people, recorded what they said and then faithfully played it all back to us (though that requires us to place our trust in his complete integrity as a BBC reporter), but the balance was definitely heavily against the Member for the 18th Century here and a constituency that voted 52% for Leave was made to seem unsympathetic towards him. 

I wonder if he listened to it?


  1. Mardell stopped being a journalist and became a crude propagandist in the Goebbels tradition many years ago.

  2. J R-M also got nearly 54% of the vote and has increased his vote since first standing.

  3. Mardell. Sweeney. Simpson. Bowen. Trying to think of a collective term... A 'Big Beast of Beeboids'?
    Old, white, pale, male, stale, like a drink clearly... on exes... no problem at all.


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.