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QC at the centre of Brexit legal challenge forced to defend working class background in wake of Twitter abuse

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Yes my father is an ex-Etonian author, but he denied paternity, says Jolyon Maugham

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Devereux Chambers’ Jolyon Maugham QC has come out swinging against Twitter trolls who doubted his working class background.

The top tax barrister has been faced with an onslaught of online abuse in recent weeks following his involvement in a number of Brexit legal challenges, some examples of which are embedded below.

This week, a number of tweeters rounded in on his claim he is from a working class background. In his blog’s ‘About Me’ section, Durham graduate Maugham said:

I had a difficult time at home and, from the age of 16, supported myself as a cleaner and then a secretary. At 17, I came to England [from New Zealand] initially living with an old family friend in a pit village in the North East where my grandfather’s family had lived. I worked for several years, initially as a clerk, at the BBC where I wrote a play for Radio 4 and a feature for Radio 3, before studying law. I feel keenly the need for more voices in public debate who have experienced poverty, who do not come from privileged backgrounds, and who view public policy as it impacts on people’s real lives.

But it seems the Twitter trolls can’t accept this, particularly Vote Leave’s Scottish “spokesman” Jack Montgomery.

A wave of abuse followed.

Eventually Montgomery asked Maugham whether he is the son of David Benedictus — an Eton-educated author and theatre director, whose most recent work is a Winnie the Pooh novel.

The leading barrister has remained dignified in his silence throughout the Twitter abuse, but it seems Montgomery’s question hit a nerve. Not only did he apparently block the Leave campaigner, he also made a series of tweets in seeming response.

His confessional has been met with a wave of support. One tweeter encouraged Maugham to ignore the “fools”, while another said she “never doubted” him.

118 Comments

Prince Harry

Hang in there buddy, my real daddy doesn’t wanna know either.

(41)(3)

Anonymous

I never understood why people try to justify themselves to absolute uneducated idiotic fools, especially when you’ve already explained your history/story. People love to talk for no reason, don’t feed their attention (to Maugham and anyone else)

(15)(10)

True-Man LJ

I’d imagine it derives from a sense of insecurity. The fact that an Twidiot judges you / your background is wholly irrelevant if you’re comfortable with your self and your knowledge of the truth.

(3)(10)

Anonymous

“An Twidiot” – Great work, champ. You show ’em who the real brainbox is!

(3)(1)

Anonymous

With gutter tabloids blathering on daily about an ‘out-of-touch elite’ in order to sell more copy to dissatisfied Brits (making the out-of-touch, elite billionaire press barons and their editors even richer) people are being taught to despise self-generated success and wealth.

Jo Maugham QC is typical: an elite professional who has cheated the system and become rich by putting in years of gruelling study and hard work. Compare this to the honest toil of Brits who win the national lottery to make their fortune. He is simply a disgrace!

No wonder people are so cross with him. And no wonder he tries to find common ground to communicate what he is about, rather than be instantly dismissed with inane put downs over his uncommon forename or his accent.

Play the ball, not the man. It’s what intelligent people do, once they’ve grown up.

(6)(2)

Anonymous

Hmm, seems to be a recurrence in the fact that the people going against brexit are the rich ones.

(19)(12)

Anonymous The Second

Yeah, funny that. Also seems to be a recurrence that the people insisting on it in as bloody-minded, swivel-eyed and suicidal a manner as possible tend to be the biggest dumbfucks..

(8)(11)

Anonymous the turd

The recurrence is not a difference between rich and poor, but between normal and thick as pig s41t… Anonymous seems to fall in the latter part of my societal venn diagram… with all the other dumbfucks..

(5)(5)

Anonymous

Just because you lost.

(8)(6)

Anonymous

It’s not necessarily that people think the EU is pitch perfect, but more that they oppose the likely consequences of Brexit : an economic meltdown from which we will not recover … a much greater sacrifice of sovereignty to super states like China and the USA in trade deals … and a charmless future of missed opportunity for new generations, growing up in a decaying and isolated nation – a society destroyed by its own stupidity. The grass is only looking greener because it’s Astroturf. Like the Brexit promises, it’s a complete fake.

There were several distinct voting trends linked to educational achievement, age and wealth. It seems mainly the younger, better educated and more successful understood the value of EU membership in supporting the economy, universities, scientific and medical research; and the benefits of sharing effort on, for example, security, European airspace coordination and pharmaceutical clearance. Many activities will have to be pointlessly duplicated after Brexit. Even now the bill is out of control and the NHS will be the first to suffer. The worst is yet to come. Ignorance will not shelter Brexiteers from the fallout.

(6)(5)

Anonymous

As if he is trying to act like he is from a poor background. I was sharing a room with my two brothers and my parents were sleeping on the couch for the first five years of my life. He is posh so stop trying to make excuses for him being undemocratic.

(13)(25)

Anonymous

That last sentence gave me an aneurism.

Ignoring that: there is no centralized standard for what qualifies as a struggle or traumatic experience. Nor does it exist in any relation to you. Your experience was terrible for you, just as his experience was terrible for him and his mother. The fact that you think his upbringing wasn’t as rough as yours does nothing to relieve the stress he faced dealing with it, just as the fact you’re not some kid from Darfur who has survived famine and/or genocide doesn’t mean you didn’t find those first 5 year traumatic. It can always be worse, but that doesn’t belittle our individual view or reaction to our own experiences.

(18)(7)

Anonymous

It just sounds like some rich kid whining because his daddy paid for his first Aston Martin when he wanted a Ferrari.

(11)(10)

Anonymous

You obviously haven’t read anything remotely related to this. No, it sounds like he was abandoned by his father for the first 17 years of his life.

(8)(8)

Anonymous

Fair play to him, he has done well from a hard start in life, but there has not exactly been full disclosure in the About section of his website. The “working class” claims now seem unwise.

(22)(6)

Anonymous

Regardless of whether you’re pro or anti Brexit, I think everyone can agree that Jolyon is incredibly smug and self satisfied.

(45)(12)

Anonymous

I feel sorry for the guy. He may well have had more breaks than many who have experienced poverty. But actually, I do think it makes a huge amount of difference to have experienced poverty at all, and to have known people in under-privileged circumstances well. This guy may have had a different experience from many working class or poor people. But he probably has a better insight into their experience than most of the bar, and he at least recognises that this range of experience exists.

(9)(10)

Anonymous

He has never lived in poverty and he needs to stop talking like he has. I respect your non bias view point, but he has not had a tough life one bit.

(17)(4)

LawNOrder

Let’s be blunt here, people couldn’t lay a glove on his legal arguments regarding brexit, so went for him personally instead. disgraceful

(17)(34)

Anonymous

They went for him because he has no understanding of the people he’s effecting. He doesn’t understand that it’s the big corporations and rich people who don’t want brexit to happen. All he wants is for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer so shut up. You are probably some rich young boy who has been spoon fed your whole life but not everyone is like that. Have a day in the life of someone who is actually poor and let us see if you will still stick up for him.

(11)(20)

LawNOrder

Oh christ, it’s the fifth yorkshireman, defending the right of fuckwit proles to ruin their- and our- lives

(10)(8)

Anonymous

And you are the reason why poor people hate solicitors. You are a smug, self-centred posh man who is upset because not everyone in the uk agrees with him. So what you lost so shut up and stop calling brexiteers uneducated as you know nothing about us.

(11)(9)

LawNOrder

Mate, I had 40 years of obese povvos whinging about losing the first time, the very idea that I’d ‘shut up’ because I ‘lost’ is indicative of your criminally low intellect

Anonymous

Can confirm, I was obese povvo.

Anonymous

So you are just going to do the same and whinge then?

LawNOrder

No, I’m going to get rid of the reason to whinge, and stop this colossal collective tantrum

Anonymous

And I really hope when you do you get the shit kicked into you.

Master of the bowels...

No whingeing northern boy…. the NHS provides free gastric bands… try getting cheap carb from poundland once we brexit… chav

Anonymous

You may call me a chav but your grammar is disgraceful. Go get educated.

Dink

Correction:
If you read the article, it’s his father who “has no understanding of the people he’s effecting”. Maugham may have no understanding of the people he’s affecting.

(11)(0)

Anonymous

That is true to a certain extent but it’s also the case that he introduced the issue of his working class background, arguably to give greater effect to some of the arguments he was making. The Twitter trolls targeting him are nasty bunch but Maugham’s opponents are entitled to attack him on the working class point.

(13)(1)

Anonymous

He bought it upon himself by saying he was from a working class background. Like heck was he.

(12)(1)

unpopular opinion puffin

It’s the fact that his twitter bio has a link to his publicist which really grinds my gears.

Shameless self-promotion.

(20)(1)

Anonymous

This reminds me of the video where Donald Trump says “My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars, so no, it has not been easy for me.” This person knows nothing of poverty and the sooner he realises that the better.

(13)(2)

Trumpenkrieg

Yet another posho with a “faux prole” public persona! Similar to Lily Allen, who made a living out of being the avatar of urban council estate “culture” on stage but who was educated at Bedales and who is the daughter of Keith Allen the actor, whose connections gave her her break in the music industry.

(22)(1)

Anonymous

Similar to Donald Trump – see comment above.

(2)(0)

Trumpenkrieg

That’s not really the same kind of ‘pretending to be poor’, is it?

(2)(0)

Interloper

I see you’ve upticked yourself again 5 times you sad individual…

(0)(0)

'Flat Cap' Mulligan

Eh, by gum, thar’s our Jolyn done good. Ah remember when ‘e was born, I got t’news down the pit, brought by a canary, it was. I wouldn’t trade ‘im for a pint of bitter and a pork pie.

(12)(0)

Anonymous

A favourite game of rich people is to pretend to be poor.

(15)(1)

Trumpenkrieg

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(2)

LawNOrder

Eat a dick you scum sucking creep

(2)(4)

Anonymous

How does it feel knowing you lost and are never going to get over it. People like you make me hope brexit does fuck us over so you can be jobless and homeless like many of the people who voted leave are. Stop talking like you have any clue who brexit is going to effect when you’re some posh boy.

(6)(5)

LawNOrder

Be careful what you wish for.

(1)(6)

Anonymous

I find it funny how you try to act like the big man on here. You are probably some fat obese middle aged man who has no job and lives at home with his mum who spends his whole day on here pretending he is not a failure at life.

LawNOrder

Projection, much?

Anonymous

That makes no sense, fair play.

LawNOrder

Actually, I’m living with your Mum, Anonymous…. she’s not homeless… and she’s definitely not jobless 😉

Anonymous

I like how you bring my mum into this just because you are trying to act like a kid. You stated earlier you were over the age of 40 so please explain to me how immature you must still be to bring peoples mothers into this?

Trumpenkrieg

Hey, cool it with the homophobic remarks, man.

(4)(1)

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(4)(2)

LawNOrder

Because his are anti-semetic, mine are simply opinon?

(1)(4)

Anonymous

Your comments are abusive, his comments are merely evidencing a pattern.

LawNOrder

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

LawNOrder

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

Anonymous

You are honestly the funniest person I have met in my life. Having an argument with you is like having an argument with a two year old. Unlike you, I am not a virgin. You however, are stuck in an endless loop or crying and wanking. Don’t insult me just because you have got no where in life. After your earlier comments of having to put up with whinging for 40 years of your life, that would insinuate that you are at least 40 years old. And you currently spend your days arguing with more intellectual people on Legal Cheek. You definitely need to get out the house and stop pretending like you made it in life.

Trumpenkrieg

Shouldn’t you at least be able to spell the name of the group you’re so desperate to cuck for?

Katie's mum

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(2)(1)

Anonymous

You missed a full stop.

Anyway in response to your comment, no. Just because you have raised a failure, doesn’t mean you have to get angry at someone whose parents didn’t.

Anonymous

Why don’t you just say you’re a proud anti-semite instead of mincing your words?

(3)(0)

Trumpenkrieg

What is anti-semitic about noticing patterns of recurring semitism in certain fields?

(2)(1)

Anonymous

Ah just ignore him. He’s trying to wind us up.

(3)(0)

Anonymous

The personal abuse is stupid.
The various legal actions are “proper”, in the sense that they raise tenable legal arguments. But they are pointless and very unwise. They will not stop Brexit – they will only make it more uncertain, more fractious, and more damaging. And they are bringing barristers, and the legal profession more generally, into disrepute. All they are achieving is to give the impression that lawyers are a bunch of anti-democratic snobs (whether or not their father is an old Etonian …).

(7)(2)

Anonymous

It is a good exchange of blows between the trolls and Jolyon…but his mum went to university, his blood father did get in touch and he had the amazing idea of working for the BBC and then getting a play published.

It is superb to be able to say “as was the Etonian manner of the time, he denied paternity”

But did the blood father lift him to the BBC ? Which university did his mother go to ?

One would imagine that from around 1984 the pit village that he lived in was in severe decline after the failure of the miner’s strike. To be submerged in the miner’s strike aftermath, and then practice the law set out below is unusual. One would expect that if you had similar roots to DH Lawrence, Arthur Scargill and George Galloway, you would be minded to try and use your skill in a community orientated fashion, like they do or did, not the fashion that he has chosen.

It’s a good exchange Jolyon, and it is good narrative on your About Me page, but I am skeptical given your output:

Jolyon has a predominantly litigation based practice in the fields of direct and indirect tax. He has particular expertise in avoidance, structured finance, intangible property, tax and judicial review, and employment taxation – Devereux Chambers website

(12)(0)

Respect

George Galloway “using his skill in a community orientated fashion”??? WTF, or are you being deeply ironic?

(2)(2)

WibbleWibbleWibble

What does anyone make of the statement of claim in the proposed Irish Brexit case? It’s on Jolyon’s website.

Can’t see it an Irish court making a reference to CJEU on this.

(2)(0)

Ciaran Goggins

So poor his Dad arrived on “Empire Windrush” and married a plate layers daughter in the 1911 census? Related to the Lindo’s of St Catherine’s Jamaica? We call him Jolyon “Reds” in a Brixton, Jah.

(6)(0)

Tyrion

In life you just have to ignore gossip, stories and lies about you. Sometimes its really hard but often your instinctive reaction will just make things worse. Those that love you don’t care what is said, they will love you regardless. Those that hate you don’t care about the truth, they just want to put you down. So just keep your head down and ignore it all.

(2)(5)

Anonymous

And the gayest comment award ever on legal cheek goes to you. Fair play.

(8)(1)

Anonymous

Lol.

(1)(0)

Tyrion

Nothing wrong with being gay chap.

(2)(2)

Anonymous

I have never wrong with gays. Just you.

(2)(0)

Tyrion

‘I have never wrong with gays…’ Says it all really, retard.

Anonymous

The reason why you’re gay is because you couldn’t get any girls. Stop living a lie.

Not Amused

I think it was a bit silly of him to raise this:

Live by identity politics, die by identity politics.

(11)(1)

Comments are closed.