The haunted, double-breasted anachronism that is Jacob Rees-Mogg, Member of Parliament for North East Somerset, has sought to burnish his credentials as a man-of-the-people. The technical impossibility of that feat notwithstanding, Rees-Mogg, an unconventional Twitter user at the best of times, has used the pseudo-scandal of chancellor Rishi Sunak badvertising Yorkshire Tea to enter the fray and declare a surprising predilection for ready salted Walker’s crisps and Pringles.
Or has he? Rees-Mogg’s tweet is in fact responding to a hypothetical scenario in which he is enlisted to endorse “ethical” crisps, imagined in a Grocer story on methods for un-cancelling a food brand in the wake of unwelcome publicity from an unpopular public figure. Given Rees-Mogg’s inescapability from the aristocracy he so clearly represents, he is presenting the two brands as a decoy, leaning into his reputation as a villainous politician. “Tyrrell’s? Me? Nay; Kettle Chips, Sir? Never heard of thee.” Walkers and Pringles are, in Rees-Mogg’s mind, the foods of the laypeople; another example of the inaccurate culinary authentocracy that continues to dog British politics’ class discourse.
I can reassure the manufacturers of artisan crisps that they are in no danger, in fact I am a Walker’s crisps man or Pringles when I’m feeling extravagant. https://t.co/Z5lL7K04x2 pic.twitter.com/VnEpE78kW3— Jacob Rees-Mogg (@Jacob_Rees_Mogg) February 26, 2020
“I can reassure the manufacturers of artisan crisps that they are in no danger, in fact I am a Walker’s crisps man or Pringles when I’m feeling extravagant,” he wrote, posing with the hastily acquired red packages on his desk. (On the right, eagle-eyed observers will notice a mini cream egg sitting on top of the Pringles tube. The two products together, whether by accident or design, double as an abstract maquette of Jacob himself.)
Jokes aside: In a very, very competitive field, Rees-Mogg might be the worst sitting British politician. This is a man who posted a video of the far-right, anti-immigration German AfD party on Twitter, said on live morning television said he would be unwilling to advocate for abortion in the event of rape, and who, in December last year, implied that victims of the Grenfell Tower fire lacked common sense when obeying instructions from the fire brigade to remain in their homes. He tries his best to repeatedly convince the British public that he views them with contempt.
So while Rees-Mogg fancies himself as a bonafide wind-up merchant, one must ignore any of his proclamations, especially on the important matter of crisps.