One week and two very public meltdowns – but which one is the most offensive?
Ian Bone, a 71 year-old professional protester, took class war to a new low this week, shouting abuse at Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg’s children and an elderly woman who’s worked for his family for 51 years.
Attempting to draw attention to the plight of domestic servants who live in tied accommodation and are paid below the minimum wage, Mr Bone ranted ‘poor Nanny Crook who looks after you and wipes your bottom doesn’t get enough money but Daddy doesn’t care’.
Ian Bone (right), a 71 year-old professional protester, took class war to a new low this week, shouting abuse at Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg’s children and an elderly woman who’s worked for his family for 51 years
Serena Williams yells at chair umpire Carlos Ramos in the women’s final against Naomi Osaka
To be honest the kids (immaculately turned out in posh school uniforms) and Nanny Crook in her sensible shoes seemed totally bemused by the motley crew protesting six feet from their doorstep.
Nanny Crook told Mr Bone she was ‘very happy’ and her boss was ‘wonderful’.
Mr Bone was roundly condemned on all sides, from the Prime Minister to the Archbishop of Canterbury and parliamentarians of all persuasions. One MP reckoned that the kids would be ‘marked forever’.
The Home Secretary said it was ‘absolutely disgraceful’. Mr Rees-Mogg took a rather different line, telling journalists ‘I wouldn’t get too excited about it…it wasn’t terribly well organised, or terribly serious….we are a free country, they weren’t violent…not everybody is going to like me’.
Game, set and match to Rees Mogg and Nanny Crook.
Contrast Mr Bone’s raging in a London street with events at the US Open Women’s final last weekend.
The most successful female sportswoman of all time had a huge tantrum in front of a sold-out stadium, smashing her racquet, calling the umpire a liar and a thief – all of which cost her valuable penalty points and the loss of a game.
Furious Williams argues with Ramos
In the ensuing furore, we seemed to forget that another woman – Japan’s Naomi Osaka – won her first Grand Slam title – although she spent most of the awards ceremony head down, in tears.
Serena’s meltdown was justified by tennis legend Billie Jean King and former US Open runner up Victoria Azarenka, who agreed that the umpire was sexist and would not have treated a male player in the same way.
Billie Jean tweeted ‘when a woman is emotional, she’s ‘hysterical’ and she’s penalised for it. When a man does the same, he’s outspoken & there are no repercussions. Thank you @serenawilliams for calling out this double standard.’
Williams herself tweeted to say she was just expressing strong emotions, and that her rage might enable other women to feel free to do that.
One columnist has suggested that Serena’s meltdown was partly because her child is almost a year old, and that’s affected her brain, making her slightly bonkers, and pulled in two directions.
I disagree – Serena was out to win her 24th Grand Slam title, to make history, and she went off the rails when her master plan was derailed (Osaka won the first set) because she couldn’t control her emotions.
By saying she was a feminist, telling the umpire ‘I’m here fighting for women’s rights and for women’s equality…and for my daughter’, she was not empowering other women.
Unfortunately, she crossed the line from sportsmanship (or sportspersonship) into brat – surely she could have made her point without the racquet smashing, the shouting?
Class activists launched an extraordinary tirade at Jacob Rees-Mogg’s children – including his six-year-old son – telling them their daddy is a ‘totally horrible person’
Yes, her meltdown will make officials more careful in future, but is this how women should behave to get their rights? Do we have to fight as dirty as men do? I hate losing an argument, but when I start ranting and my voice cracks (as Serena’s did) I know that I have let myself down. Steely self-control gets you further in the end.
Mr Bone is not a likeable individual by any stretch of the imagination – but he is entitled to stage a demonstration for worker’s rights and to express his left wing opinions, even if it happens right outside a posh bloke’s home in Mayfair.
I’m not a fan of Rees-Mogg, with his antiquated view on birth control (he’s a devout Catholic) and Brexit (he’s rabidly pro-Brexit, determined to lead his party no matter what it takes), but I find his presence a bit of light relief in the dreary hinterland of British parliamentarians. Mostly, they parrot the party line, spending their time tweeting and being politically correct, not daring to step out of line for fear of demotion.
Britain hasn’t banned free speech (yet), and if Mr Bone finds the curiously faux-fogey Jacob Rees-Mogg a disgusting example of class and privilege and everything that is wrong with British society, fair enough.
One of the three violations Ramos called on Williams was for racket abuse, after the superstar smashed her racket (above) on the court in reaction to losing a game
As a student in London, I regularly went on anti-war protests, even chucking plastic bags of butcher’s blood at police horses and calling their riders ‘pigs’.
In the late 1960’s thousands of us participated in college sit-ins and demonstrations against nuclear war. In some ways, Mr Bone and his Class War colleagues are a throwback to these glorious days of anarchic protest. He thinks that people should be banned from going to Eton, and that the working class should be occupying the £10 million empty flats in London’s Shard.
His Class War newspaper has seen it’s circulation dwindle, even though they’ve come up with some publicity-grabbing stunts, like the front page headline after the birth of Prince William – ‘Another F*****g royal parasite’.
Although the rant at the Rees-Mogg nanny was distasteful, Bone has a point. The number of poor people working as slaves in domestic households in Britain has risen sharply in recent years – but they are just as likely to be trapped in middle class homes as obvious toffs like Mr R-M. And if Nanny Crook didn’t like her pay and conditions, what’s she still doing wiping bottoms after 71 years?
But if on the off-chance she has had enough on High Tory life she might bring her child-minding skills to help multi-millionaire Serena Williams control her tantrums.
The three clearly stunned youngsters stood while their parents tried to usher them inside, but they still heard the full bullying rant demanding that the protesters know how much their nanny Veronica Crook (above in black) is paid