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If you’ve been anywhere near British Twitter lately, you may have come across #JacobReesSmug and a picture of one of our politicians lying down across the front benches of parliament.
The Right Honourable Jacob Rees-Mogg, old Etonian and Oxford graduate, former hedge fund manager, and member of Boris Johnson’s self-styled anti-elitist Tory party spent the parliamentary debate over extending article 50, and thereby the date at which we would leave the EU, sprawled and seemingly half asleep across the bench. An advocate of No Deal Brexit, where the UK would leave the EU with no deal covering trade, borders or travel in place, this may have been an expression of his contempt over the idea of extending that deadline in order to negotiate a deal, or simple disinterest in the debate. Whatever the reason, people are lambasting him for the lack of respect shown to the commons, and the people who elected him. From deep political disgust, memes are born.
Jacob Rees-Mogg memes
A popular format of the Rees-Mogg meme takes his own words on the supposed idleness of those on benefits and applies them to the image. The meme below features the Rees-Mogg quote, “We cannot have people simply loafing about, doing nothing and expecting the state to finance their lifestyles.”
While this one says, “you’ve got to judge people, ultimately, by their actions,” superimposed over an illustration of him asleep on the bench.
"You've got to judge people, ultimately, by their actions..." ~ Jacob Rees-Mogg— Illustrated Prosody (@IllustrateProse) September 4, 2019
.#toriesout #JacobRees #jacobreesmogg #politicalcartoon #GTTO #Parliament #PMQs #government #politics #PoliticsLive #JacobReesSmug #HouseOfCommons #ReesMogg #SaveDemocracy pic.twitter.com/J6KfNRhkte
Another popular take doesn’t feature the man himself, but rather the empty bench with anti-homelessness spikes photoshopped onto it, a reference both to this government’s punitive approach to poverty and the man’s hypocritical statement about laziness funded by the state.
While Tommy Rotten is pulling no punches with his take on Mogg’s approach to the poor in this cartoon of him being delivered by Death to Victorian London.
'I mean yes, the black plague is a fine way of killing off the poor, but what about cutting funding to hospitals, schools and making them rely on foodbanks? Isn't that much more fun?' - Death delivers Mogg to Victorian England, 1858.#JacobReesSmug #ToriesOut pic.twitter.com/4kYlNRF84q— Tommy Rotten (@Beardyknave) September 4, 2019
Then there are the ones designed just to make him look silly. See Mogg on a waterslide, with college party style graffiti on his face, and cuddling a book on Brexit for Dummies.
Plus a brilliant if uncanny animation referencing Monty Python’s ministry of silly walks.
Some are a bit lewd.
With a reference to Titanic thrown in.
'Paint me like one of those French Girls'... Well, one comes to mind... #LetThemEatCake (and you know what happened next boys and girls) #JacobReesSmug #brexitmehole #brexit pic.twitter.com/4MTu2BhNRN— Rachel Ray (@Rachel__Ray) September 4, 2019
Classical art was popular for some reason.
[email protected] (@marnanel) September 4, 2019
As was referencing his old-fashioned upperclass lifestyle.
That feeling when you get full marks in the Latin test, cook has made you your favourite supper, and nanny sings your favourite lullaby to send you to sleep after a long day in parliament. #JacobReesSmug pic.twitter.com/pkdHhrSTMH— Ryan (@TheRyanFanClub) September 4, 2019
Twitter user @marnanel helpfully created a Rees-Mogg template so other people can make their own memes.
[email protected] (@marnanel) September 4, 2019
And in a rare occurrence of memes leaving the internet and breaking through into real life, this was projected onto the side of Edinburgh Castle last night (Scotland universally voted to remain in the EU and is still markedly unhappy about all of this).
Edinburgh Castle pic.twitter.com/QPznVg8beN— Led By Donkeys (@ByDonkeys) September 5, 2019
The light show, which also included the slogans “they’re lying” and “no one voted for this,” was put on by campaign group Led By Donkeys, dedicated to exposing the hypocrisy and actual comments made about Brexit by various British politicians.
Though nothing’s going to top projecting it onto the side of a royal palace, there’s still plenty of Rees-Mogg memes over on Twitter that haven’t been featured here. So go check them out, you know, if you’re into that.
Siobhan Ball is a historian, archivist, and journalist. She also writes for Autostraddle and bi.org