Moggmentum

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Logo used by the Moggmentum campaign

Moggmentum is an online conservative campaign and grassroots movement supporting Jacob Rees-Mogg, in a similar fashion to the 2015 phenomena of Milifandom and Momentum. The movement includes pressure for Rees-Mogg to become the Conservative Party leader in the United Kingdom. Comparisons between Moggmentum and the US Tea Party movement have been made with regard to their supporting "rightwing ideas, grassroots activism and shaking up the conservative establishment".[1]

History[edit]

In May 2017, during the general election campaign, Rees-Mogg posted a picture on Instagram of himself and his son standing outside a tattoo parlour in his constituency that was displaying a "Vote Labour" poster alongside a poster reading "Keep sane and don't vote Tory"; his picture was captioned: "We shall have to take our business elsewhere".[2][3] As a result, #Moggmentum began to trend on Twitter.

Jacob Rees-Mogg

#Moggmentum began to trend again in June 2017, as a result of Rees-Mogg interrupting Jeremy Corbyn during the debate on the Queen's Speech, an act that was criticised by Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow.[4] Following the speech, a series of memes were created with Rees-Mogg as the subject.[5] A petition was started to make Rees-Mogg Prime Minister; it gained £7,000 in support funding[6] and 13,000 signatures over the next two days.[7]

On 7 July 2017, Rees-Mogg gained significant publicity as the potential next Conservative Party leader when major news outlets began releasing articles about the subject. According to Pollstation, at the time Rees-Mogg had an opinion polling of 60% to take over as Conservative Party leader,[8] with Boris Johnson following with 12% of the votes. On the same day, betting odds were "slashed" from 50/1 to 16/1 on Oddschecker; this was directly attributed to the campaign.[9][10]

In late July and early August 2017, Moggmentum was featured in a number of foreign media, including prominent publications such as: Belgian De Redactie,[11] American The National Interest[12] and Polish Wprost.[13] It was reported in early August that Ross Atkinson, a Rees-Mogg supporter, had been tattooed with the Moggmentum logo. After this gained social media attention, Rees-Mogg responded by inviting Atkinson to "have tea in parliament".[14][15]

In September, Rees-Mogg emerged as the favourite to replace Theresa May as Tory leader.[16]

Responses[edit]

The BBC released a trending subject article on the movement on 3 July 2017, and two days later a two-minute video was added to the BBC website summarising the phenomenon.[17][18]

On 12 and 17 July, the New Statesman and The New European published articles calling the movement a cult.[19][20] The latter published another piece on 19 August, penned by Bonnie Greer, who called Rees-Mogg a "false memory".[21]

In 2018, as part of a Sunday Times investigation into online abuse following controversial comments made by Boris Johnson regarding the niqab and media controversy regarding Tory Islamophobia, it was revealed that a number of Facebook groups supportive of Rees-Mogg and Johnson (some of which included Conservative councillors and officials) were leaving "widespread" Islamophobic and racist comments on Johnson's Facebook page, including: support for Enoch Powell and his Rivers of Blood speech, incitement to violence and murder against Muslims, Islamophobic attacks on London mayor Sadiq Khan and support for far-right activist Tommy Robinson. In response, Rees-Mogg said he was supporting a private member's bill put forward by Labour MP Lucy Powell to regulate social media, and added "people who have these types of views should take no solace in using [Johnson's] comments as an excuse to take this approach".[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Stewart, Heather; Mason, Rowena (1 December 2017). "Jacob Rees-Mogg met Steve Bannon to discuss US-UK politics". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 April 2018. 
  2. ^ "Instagram post by Jacob Rees-Mogg • May 31, 2017 at 8:11pm UTC". Instagram. 
  3. ^ "Jacob Rees-Mogg's social media posts gain mass following as the local MP enters the digital age". Chew Valley Gazette. 30 June 2017. Retrieved 9 July 2017. 
  4. ^ Ovens, Ruth (4 July 2017). "5 times Jacob Rees-Mogg became an internet star with #Moggmentum". 
  5. ^ "#moggmentum: unlikely movement to make Jacob Rees-Mogg Prime Minister". 30 June 2017. 
  6. ^ Nickalls, Amy (28 August 2017). "Gillingham resident starts petition for Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg to run for party leader". Kent Online. Retrieved 6 September 2017. 
  7. ^ Ovens, Ruth (7 July 2017). "'Moggmentum' continues with North Somerset MP's Question Time appearance". 
  8. ^ "Who Should be the Next Conservative Party Leader?". 
  9. ^ Morrison, Caitlin (7 July 2017). "Odds slashed on Jacob Rees-Mogg to replace Theresa May as Tory leader". 
  10. ^ "Jacob Rees-Mogg in "serious contention" to become the next leader of the Conservative party". 7 July 2017. 
  11. ^ De Paepe, Harry (15 July 2017). "Stoot de "Mogg mania" Theresa May van haar troon? - Harry De Paepe". De Redactie. Retrieved 18 September 2017. 
  12. ^ Mills, Curt (26 July 2017). "This Outlandish Aristocrat Could Be the Next British Prime Minister". The National Interest. Retrieved 18 September 2017. 
  13. ^ Mielnik, Jakub (20 August 2017). "Buława w butonierce". Wprost. Retrieved 18 September 2017. 
  14. ^ Gye, Hugo (2 August 2017). "Jacob Rees-Mogg invites die-hard fan with a 'Moggmentum' tattoo to have tea with him in Parliament". The Sun. Retrieved 6 September 2017. 
  15. ^ "Rees-Mogg: 'It isn't realistic' to be next Conservative leader". ITV News. 14 August 2017. Retrieved 6 September 2017. 
  16. ^ "Jacob Rees-Mogg tops Conservative poll on next party leader". Sky News. Retrieved 8 September 2017. 
  17. ^ "Social media appeal of Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg". BBC News. 
  18. ^ Trending, Hannah Henderson BBC. "Jacob Rees-Mogg: The Conservative MP who's an unlikely social media star". BBC News. 
  19. ^ Garnier, Mark (12 July 2017). "Understanding #Moggmentum: the hollow cult of Jacob Rees-Mogg". New Statesman. Retrieved 6 September 2017. 
  20. ^ Tapley, Nathaniel (17 July 2017). "Moggmentum: Rees-Mogg mania and what it says about us". The New European. Retrieved 6 September 2017. 
  21. ^ Greer, Bonnie (19 August 2017). "Jacob Rees Mogg and the Prime Ministry of Silly Season". The New European. Retrieved 18 September 2017. 
  22. ^ Wheeler, Caroline; Walters, Tommy; Forbes, Felix (19 August 2018). "Boris Johnson's Facebook page mobbed by racists after burqa furore". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 25 August 2018. (Subscription required (help)).