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.
“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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