This Picture Shows The Scandal Over MP's Rochester Picture Is Manufactured

This picture tweeted in 2012 by the MP at the heart of #WhiteVanGate suggests that the accusations of snobbery being thrown at Emily Thornberry are wide of the mark (my thanks to @Pete_Spence for pointing it out):

Thornberry was widely criticised for tweeting a picture from Rochester earlier on Thursday showing a white van outside a house with three St George flags hanging from it:

The response from the media was swift. The Spectator’s Isabel Hardman claimed that the tweet “opened Labour up to the charge of being too posh, too remote, too Oxford/Primrose Hill to understand a place even like Rochester” suggesting that Thornberry had even received a dressing-down from Labour leader Ed Miliband.

Even the Guardian weighed in with journalist Anne Perkins writing:

“It may be the most devastating message Labour has managed to deliver in the past four years. It’s already being described as the party’s “47%” moment — a reference to the observation that nailed shut the lid on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, when he dismissed the 47% of American voters who wouldn’t ever back the Republicans.”

Thornberry has now apologised “f
or any offence caused by the 3 flag picture“. However, in light of her previous tweet, can we really read snobbery into the photo? Or is this just another case of media overreaction calculated to create a story?

If reports of Miliband’s intervention are right then there may at least be one inference that we can take from #WhiteVanGate — neatly summed up by Declan Gaffney:

UPDATE: Thornberry has now resigned from the shadow cabinet.

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