Jacob Rees-Mogg makes no attempt to conceal his immense privilege. He has, for the entirety of his life, been provided a tremendous head start at every stage.
Son to a life peer, growing up in an 18th century mansion, educated at Eton and Oxford, and receiving his first Bentley at age 23; nowhere is the reflection of his grotesque level of advantage more apparent than in his notoriously posh accent.
He has so effectively managed to caricature himself into a Victorian English gentleman that just a few months ago The Daily Mash published a satirical article titled ‘Jacob Rees-Mogg sent from 1923 to save Conservative Party’. We joke, but the fact that this man embodies a political and social realm so alien and extreme to most of us, that we feel the need to situate him in an entirely different period just to make sense of him should speak volumes as to the kind of person we’re really dealing with.
And with Theresa May’s popularity seemingly crumbling at an ever-increasing speed, talk of who’s next to inherit the throne of the Conservative Party is making the news more and more frequently and Rees-Mogg appears to have become a real contender. With this in mind, it is worth understanding exactly where he stands politically.
The Rees-Mogg vision for the country is reflective of the current right-wing reflex towards dismantling barriers to corporate power, eradicating vital welfare protections, and ignoring the very real environmental crisis of our generation. Not surprisingly then, he holds true to his staunchly Conservative roots, allegedly becoming a devout Thatcherite aged nine. As such, he is a loyal advocate of zero-hours-contracts and, therefore, of growing worker insecurity.
Rees-Mogg’s calm, impeccably polite, and highly intelligent appearance should not convince us that his opinions are in any way reasonable.
He has consistently voted for a reduction in the rate of corporation tax, a testament to his pro-corporation ethos. His record on welfare is even more optimistic; he welcomes the rise in the use of food banks, even encourages it. And on environmental issues, Rees-Mogg calls for the abolishment of environmental protections. Whilst acknowledging that India is the 4th biggest polluter of carbon emissions, he outlines his position by suggesting that: “We could say, if it’s good enough in India, it’s good enough for here”.
Mogg doesn’t shy away from making public his views on the inclusion of marginalised groups into his own party either. In 2006, he was critical of David Cameron’s efforts to increase the numbers of ethnic minorities on the party candidate list, justifying his position on the grounds that the country was “95% white”.
Rees-Mogg’s chillingly socially conservative stance doesn’t stop there: he opposes same-sex marriage and, as has come to light, all forms of abortion, even in cases of rape (despite the fact his investment fund invests in Indonesian abortion pills).
His performance as an MP illuminates where his true priorities lie. In short, he is driven by an ideology that sees the purpose of government as liberating the most powerful and wealthy corners of society at the expense of the many, promoting senseless and dangerous social values, and doing everything in his power to do nothing at all for those most in need.
Rees-Mogg’s calm, impeccably polite, and highly intelligent appearance should not convince us that his opinions are in any way reasonable, sensible, or are somehow responsive to the challenges that many Britons face. He is, albeit well-mannered, a fusion of dogmatic Thatcherism and a profoundly nonsensical brand of religion that denies women basic rights with regard to abortion.
This toxic concoction of right-wing reactionism, religious fervor, and outright indifference to the hardships endured by millions would spell disaster for the most vulnerable in society – from the marginalised to the economically destitute.
Therefore, with Moggmentum supposedly making strides, we would do well to remind ourselves of what his agenda would really mean for Britain.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons