Thank God for Andrew Bridgen. Poor old Jacob Rees-Mogg has had a rather frightful time of it today, after innocently suggesting that the 72 victims of the Grenfell perished in the tragic fire because they lacked the “common sense” to ignore the advice of the fire service. Jacob has been frantically apologising all day to make his meaning clear: thankfully, his old colleague Andrew Bridgen also took to the airwaves to help clear the whole matter up: to put the matter, as Bridgen put it, “in the context of Jacob”.
Here’s the full exchange between Bridgen and Evan Davis on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme this evening.
Bridgen: “Jacob is a good friend of mine. An extremely intelligent and compassionate human being… Jacob is a leader, he’s an authority figure. What he’s failed to realise is that in a life threatening and stressful situation, most people would probably defer to the advice of an authority figure – be that someone from the fire authority or the police – and not come to their own conclusions. As we know with regard Grenfell, that advice was flawed.”
Davis: “Do you think he meant to say that he thought he would not have stayed out?”
Bridgen: “That’s what he meant to say! That’s what he meant to say!”
Davis: “But in a way that is exactly what people object to, in a way [Jacob Rees-Mogg] is saying ‘I wouldn’t have died because I would in effect have been cleverer than the people who took the fire bridgade’s advice’?”
A long pause followed.
“But we want very clever people running the country, don’t we Evan?” replied Bridgen.
No, he didn’t even stop there. Good old Andrew, defending his oh-so clever mate, he went on!
“That’s a by-product of what Jacob is. And that’s why he’s in a position of authority. What he’s actually saying is that he would have given a better decision than the authority figures who gave that advice. But there is absolutely no malice…”
Glad that’s cleared up, then.
When you’re in a hole, keep digging. As a mole, I would know.