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Interview with The Mogg

(258 Posts)
Baggs Sun 13-Aug-17 09:25:54

I thought some peeps might like to get their teeth into this article from today's Sunday Times.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, an English Trump but better at Latin

Chris Lange-KuettnerAugust 13 2017, 12:01am,
As Moggmentum surges, the historian Tim Newark grills his fogeyish back-bench Tory friend about his leadership plans over plum crumble

Jacob Rees-Mogg came round for lunch with us last week in Bath, a suitable location for this politician dubbed “MP for the 18th century”. As it was the summer recess I thought he might have loosened his top button a little but no: he arrived impeccably dressed in a double-breasted suit with a shirt and tie. Rees-Mogg says he has “never worn a pair of jeans”.

Charming and polite throughout lunch, he praised the plum crumble my wife made for him, knowing his delight in traditional British food.

Rees-Mogg is exactly as you would imagine him to be. And these days authenticity is the major currency of any politician with eyes on high office. Only recently taking to Twitter with a Latin maxim, he gets more “likes” and “shares” for his tweets than any cabinet member, including the prime minister.

Fiercely loyal to Theresa May so long as she remains Conservative Party leader, he strikes a growing number of Tory backbenchers as just too good to be left on the back benches. Here is a man with a sharp intellect who serves on the ­Treasury select committee and gave Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, a hard time about his anti-Brexit advice before the referendum.

To his fans Rees-Mogg is straight talking, has disarming humour, is good on television, unflinchingly patriotic and a successful businessman from a privileged background who nevertheless understands the concerns of ordinary men and women. Like an English version of Donald Trump but with a better grasp of Latin. Does he see any similarity?

Rees-Mogg answers carefully and says that he fully understands the message of the populist revolution in 2016 that rocked the ruling classes on both sides of the Atlantic. “The governing elite in both the US and the UK,” he said, “had come to the conclusion that the only reason that people wouldn’t do what they said is because they didn’t understand.

“You see this in the shockingly condescending views expressed by some Remoaners who think that the people that voted for Brexit were all stupid. It’s a very odd way of looking at things if you believe in democracy.”

Rees-Mogg said serving the grassroots lies at the heart of his political philosophy: “As a constituency MP I am always seeking to represent the people remote from the centres of power, rather than the interests of lobby groups.”

Asked why he cares so much about Brexit, he said it is “all about democracy. Can the British people have the government that they want?

“The problem with the European Union is we can be ­outvoted by a qualified majority vote and therefore laws can be passed that the ­British people have not only not consented to but have opposed.”

Was he upset that May laughed at the suggestion of him being in the cabinet? If he is he does not show it, rebuffing the question with good humour: “I’m a back-bench MP. I’m supporting Theresa May. My ambition is to be re-elected in North East Somerset. It would be unreal­is­tic of me to have further ambitions.”

His recent interventions suggest otherwise. Rees-Mogg put the chancellor in his place over collective cabinet responsi­bility and slapped down a proposal from James Chap­man, a former aide to David Davis and George Osborne, for a new “Democrats” anti-Brexit party.

With his experience in business and the City, is Rees-Mogg well placed to take on the role of chancellor in due course — like a Boris with financial brains? He sidestepped the question: “I don’t think it’s going to be offered.”

Certainly, some part of the Conservative grassroots is all agog with the thought of him standing as leader when the time is right. “Cometh the hour, cometh the Mogg” is a recurring line. But others — including the former Conservative MP Matthew Parris — are not so keen.

In his Times column yesterday Parris described Rees-Mogg’s views on moral, social, sexual and reproductive issues as “brute moral conservative” and warned that electing him as leader would kill off the “broad-church Conservative Party”.

Does Rees-Mogg even have the hunger for high political office? Recently celebra­ting the birth of his sixth child, naturally named Sixtus, he rejoices in his large ­family, lives in a mansion dating back to 1600 deep in the Somerset countryside and has amassed a fortune through his Somer­set Capital Management business.

Having entered the Commons only in 2010, Rees-Mogg claims repeatedly that he has already attained his highest ambition of being MP for North East Somerset.

“The local party is part of who I am and what I am,” he insists. But surely he wants to ride the Moggmentum into a cabinet post?

“I’m very interested in political ideas, developing Conservative thinking, and I’m very keen that we should have a positive message for Conservatism,” he said.

“Our last manifesto was much too defensive and much too managerial. That was why we went from having such a strong lead in the polls to having a very marginal election victory . . . The campaign did not succeed. You can have a role in that without holding great office.”

Will he never throw his hat into the ring of a future leadership election?

“I think if I threw my hat in the ring, my hat would be thrown back at me pretty quickly,” he said.

Nor will he be drawn on who should be the next party leader. “There are so many people that would be capable of doing it,” he said, “and who it ends up being, as with Mrs May getting it, is a matter of luck as anything.”

Surely he wants a Brexiteer? “By the time Mrs May finally decides to become a countess and go to the House of Lords,” he reassures me, “we’ll have long since left the European Union.”

Rees-Mogg, 48, was born in Hammersmith, west London. His father was The Times editor William Rees-Mogg. The family has long ties with Somerset thanks to owning local coalmines.

Educated at Eton, he read history at Trinity College, Oxford but regrets not studying classics: “All the really clever people do that and a 2:1 in classics is worth a first in PPE.”

He did not follow his father into journalism: “My father was much better at it than I was ever going to be so I thought I could only ever fail by comparison.”

Instead he chose a career in the City, working in emerging markets for Lloyd George Management, which included a stint in Hong Kong before setting up his own investment business in 2007.

His leisure time is dominated by his large family: “It’s the most important thing. I’ve got six lovely, delightful child­ren. I’m very lucky. I have a wonderful wife who looks after us all.”

They are working their way through the James Bond films: “We’re on ­Octopussy at the moment, had Live and Let Die a couple of nights ago.

“This might not be the most ­fashionable view — but then I’m not known for my fashion — but I think the late Sir Roger Moore is unquestion­ably the best James Bond.”

It seems an apt choice for Rees-Mogg. Not the action-packed aggression of ­Daniel Craig but the self-deprecating, humorous Bond — who ended up having the longest 007 career.

Tim Newark is a historian and the author of Protest Vote: How Mainstream Parties Lost the Plot (Gibson Square, £8.99)

Rees-Mogg is...

● Gay marriage
● Raising welfare benefits
● Smoking ban in private vehicles where a child is present
● Euthanasia
● A 2016 investigation into the Iraq War

● Trident, bedroom tax and academies
● Stricter asylum systems and a stronger enforcement of immigration rules
● Mass retention of data from communications and surveillance

POGS Sun 13-Aug-17 10:31:15

Rees - Mogg is pure Marmite.

I think you are about to find that out Baggs.

Anniebach Sun 13-Aug-17 10:35:45

I do like Rees-Mogg

Baggs Sun 13-Aug-17 10:47:40

I knew that already, pogs ?

I like him too, annie. One doesn't have to agree with everything a man agrees with to like a bloke. He seems a straight down the line, take it or leave it kind of chap.

maryeliza54 Sun 13-Aug-17 10:49:36

I wonder what he understands by the term 'euthanasia' ? I understand the other terms but this one would need more clarification. Maybe lazy journalism?

TerriBull Sun 13-Aug-17 10:55:05

My husband likes Rees-Mogg so much he is constantly Googling recordings of interviews on youtube the Mogg has had with various people and playing me bits. We are off to get the Sunday Times later so look forward to reading the article.

Anniebach Sun 13-Aug-17 10:55:39

I agree Baggs, I don't share his politics but I respect the fact he chooses to be honest regardless of the mocking he receives, and I think he has a great sense of humour which he covers well

TerriBull Sun 13-Aug-17 10:57:40

He is always exceedingly polite as well.

Anniebach Sun 13-Aug-17 11:03:02

He is Terri, and loyal to his party, it was so nasty he was mocked when he said his nanny had campaigned for him, if he had said his secretary this would have been accepted

TerriBull Sun 13-Aug-17 11:24:02

I think he always will be mocked Annie, he is a bit of anachronism from a bygone era, but certainly a maverick and they are the ones that make politics interesting.

Anniebach Sun 13-Aug-17 11:27:40

True Terri, he really interests me though, I am quite sure if I met him I would like him just as I do now

POGS Sun 13-Aug-17 11:34:03

Did anybody watch the Channel 4 News when Labour MP Jess Phillips and Jacob Rees - Mogg 'got together' during the run up to the General Election in his constuency in Somerset.?

It was interesting and ' Opposites that attract ' came to mind. Healthy in politics I would have thought.

Baggs Sun 13-Aug-17 11:39:36

I think definitely lazy journalism, maryeliza. Mind you, a lot of people think euthanasia is the same as assisted dying. The way I distinguish the two is this: if you are euthanised someone else is making the decision about how and when you die; if you have assisted dying, you are the one making any decisions about how and when but you may need assistance in carrying out your plan.

Baggs Sun 13-Aug-17 11:40:04

I'm against euthanasia but for assisted dying.

nigglynellie Sun 13-Aug-17 11:42:46

Although I don't agree with some of his views, I do like J.R.M. He is refreshingly polite no attempts at being trendy or running with the herd, and a keen political brain that shouldn't be underestimated. I can't help but wonder what the EU would make of him, or foreign governments generally, should he ever climb that greasy pole?!!

Anniebach Sun 13-Aug-17 11:43:54

I am against both , I fear some vulnerable people will be encouraged to die

nigglynellie Sun 13-Aug-17 11:45:12

I totally agree with your last post Baggs

Eloethan Sun 13-Aug-17 12:26:14

I don't understand how anyone who professes to be a Labour Party supporter - or indeed any party that supports equality - can admire Rees-Mogg. That old worlde charm, in my opinion, is no replacement for real decency and hides the very worst aspects of Conservatism. His voting record speaks for itself - showing him to be soft on the rich and hard on the poor and he is recorded as "generally voting against laws to promote equality and human rights", including voting against making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of caste (a wing of the Conservative Party actually made a play for Hindu votes by saying they would not commit to bringing in laws to prevent caste discrimination.)

Anniebach Sun 13-Aug-17 12:38:34

I am a Labour Party member and we have a leader who spouts peace but supports Hamas, IRA and the Venezuela dictator , who worked against grass roots members , who lies

Jane10 Sun 13-Aug-17 13:15:15

Well he's his own man certainly. Old fashioned and loyal to his principles however, others might find them unattractive.
I'm always glad to see these independent minds involved in politics. Nice that his constituents come first for him rather than grubbing around for office.

Jane10 Sun 13-Aug-17 13:16:22

Mogg that is not Annies bete noir!

whitewave Sun 13-Aug-17 14:01:29

In my view he is entirely up his own ass.

I disagree almost completely with his politics,

You can be absolutely certain that his manners will always be impecable, particularly as he stabs you in the back.

Anniebach Sun 13-Aug-17 14:06:22

If he does stab people in the back he is a novice compared to Corbyn, he would win a gold medal if back stabbing became an Olympic event , I should know, he did it to me

paddyann Sun 13-Aug-17 14:07:21

his voting record is appalling .if I said what I really want to say about him and his ilk I'd run to several pages of rant,so I will just repeat his voting record is appalling

nightowl Sun 13-Aug-17 14:11:08

Look behind the polite facade and judge the person by his actions. His voting record speaks for itself.