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Jacob Rees-Mogg and Jeremy Corbyn are two sides of the same coin. Like Corbyn, Rees-Mogg feels like a breath of fresh air after the stifling spin and polish which has dominated British politics for the last three decades. Like Corbyn, Rees-Mogg is polite to others and yet steadfast in his beliefs. Yet, unlike Corbyn, Rees-Mogg is witty, articulate and well-informed. He is unabashedly British with old-fashioned values and mannerisms. His rise in popularity signals that old-fashioned (and I mean pre-Stanley Baldwin) Toryism can strike a chord with people who have only witnessed it in Downton Abbey.
Mr. Rees-Mogg’s critics, in the party and outside it, say that Jacob Rees-Mogg cannot be considered a party leader because he is too Conservative, too posh, and too, well, nineteenth century. But what if an injection of a little nineteenth-century is just what twenty-first century Brexit Britain needs?
The British of the nineteenth century were the first to abolish slavery, and then sent the Royal Navy around the world to stamp it out beyond our borders. The British of the nineteenth century emancipated Catholics, enabling them to practise freely after centuries of unfair treatment. The British of the nineteenth century expanded the voting franchise from a very select group of wealthy landowners to virtually all men. The British of the nineteenth century brought us the social conscience literature of Dickens and the liberal philosophy of John Stuart Mill. The British of the nineteenth century abolished child labour and introduced compulsory schooling. The British of the nineteenth century elected a Jewish Prime Minister, and, for the first time, a non-white MP. The great leaders, from William Pitt to Gladstone, Disraeli to Queen Victoria, though not perfect people, helped support the great spirit of the age of Pax Britannia with dynamic vision and inspirational leadership.
There are three key issues facing twenty-first century Britain where a healthy dose of our ancestors’ vision would not go a miss: (1) in engaging with the world outside Europe, (2) in building homes and a property owning democracy and (3) restoring knowledge of British history, traditions and patriotism, among the general population, but especially the young. I believe Mr. Rees-Mogg is the best leader at this moment for dealing with all three issues.
Mr. Rees-Mogg, who spent his early career working in the Global Emerging Markets division of Lloyd George Management, knows how important emerging markets are to Britain for trade and prosperity. In 2016, he was not straight jacketed by the euro-centric group think of the now discredited project fear. In fact, his dismantling of Mr Carney’s arguments was so complete that even the left-leaning and Remain-backing Independent declared that Mr. Rees-Mogg gave Mr. Carney “the politest of beatings.”
On home building, Rees-Mogg’s vision is exactly what the United Kingdom needs. His speech on the issue, which went viral on YouTube, calls for building homes that people can own and buy. He calls for a “nation of homeowners” and attacks bureaucracy directing home building. At a time when young people can’t get on the housing ladder and are protesting by voting for communism, Britain is crying out for this sort of audacity.
Finally, Jacob Rees-Mogg is a first-class parliamentarian and historian. He has a deep-rooted understanding and appreciation of how history has shaped Britain, and speaks engagingly and eloquently on the subject. As we teeter on the cusp of our future outside of the EU, this eloquence about the past is exactly what we need. To understand and embrace the opportunities offered to us by Brexit, the whole country needs to be educated about Britain’s place in the history of the world.
The nation needs an inspiring leader to boost its confidence and lead it into the twenty-first century. Jacob Rees-Mogg could be that leader. Cometh the hour cometh the man- your country needs you Mr Rees-Mogg.