What on earth is Jacob Rees-Mogg doing in Parliament during the 21st century? He belongs in the 19th.
It’s hard to know where to start, when discussing this particular wet-wipe. Perhaps the best way to do so would be to point out that a new constituency had to be created before he could actually win a Parliamentary seat – and even that is only a Tory marginal, perhaps because The Guardian‘s criticism that this candidate’s highly privileged life ran against the Tories’ then-current narrative of social inclusion rang true with the electorate.
In 1997, Rees-Mogg attracted ridicule after canvassing a working-class neighbourhood of the Labour seat of Central Fife with his nanny. Rumours he had gone around the constituency in a Bentley were dismissed by Rees-Mogg as “scurrilous” – he insisted it had been a Mercedes.
In 2001, he stood for The Wrekin in Shropshire – and lost again, this time to Labour’s Peter Bradley, who managed a 0.95 per cent swing to Labour against the national trend of a 3.5 per cent swing to the Conservatives.
He finally achieved his ambition of a Parliamentary seat in 2010, in the newly-created North East Somerset constituency, with a majority of just 4,914. It seems he was not above a few dirty tricks to achieve this, however: In December 2009, a pamphlet which purported to show him talking to a local constituent and calling on the Government to “show more honesty” was criticised after it emerged that the “constituent” was a London-based employee of his investment firm.
“The Honourable Member for the Early 20th Century”, as Parliamentary sketch-writers are said to describe him, then embarked on a voting career that seemed to have very little to do with his party’s policies and a lot to do with his own extreme right-wing views. He voted against the government whip on the Fixed-term Parliaments Bill, the October 2011 European Union Referendum Motion and the House of Lords Reform Bill 2012.
His main claim to fame appears to be in the art of the filibuster – talking-out a Private Member’s Parliamentary Bill in order to prevent it from going to the vote and progressing further. Examples of this include his speeches on the Daylight Savings Bill 2010-2012 and the Sustainable Livestock Bill 2010-12.
In his speech on the Sustainable Livestock Bill, he recited poetry; spoke of the superior quality of Somerset eggs; and mentioned fictional pig the Empress of Blandings, who won silver at the Shropshire County Show three years in a row, before moving on to talk about the sewerage system and the Battle of Agincourt.
He also attempted to amend the Daylight Saving Bill to give the county of Somerset its own time zone, 15 minutes behind London.
In February 2012, Rees-Mogg made the record books with the use of floccinaucinihilipilification, an Eton college neologism meaning “the habit of considering as worthless”, in the House of Commons, which became the longest word in Hansard.
Perhaps a future Prime Minister should consider a Bill to outlaw filibustering, in which case Rees-Mogg, if he retains his seat, will become a prime candidate for floccinaucinihilipilification himself.
Examples of his right-wing chauvinism abound. For example, in a debate on London Local Authorities Bill on December 7, 2011, he said that council officials who have the power to issue on-the-spot fines should be forced to wear bowler hats.
He supports zero-hour contracts, arguing that they benefit employees – including students – by providing flexibility and could provide a route into more permanent employment. He rejected criticism by Vince Cable and others that they were exploitative as “the standard response of the Left”.
In December 2014, Rees-Mogg was reported to the Parliament’s standards watchdog for speaking in debates on tobacco, mining and oil and gas without first declaring he is founding partner and director of Somerset Capital, which has multimillion pound investments in the sectors. However, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Hudson, displayed the lack of judgement which has made her justifiably infamous in some sectors by deciding that no wrongdoing had been committed and so no investigation would take place.
How would North East Somerset residents vote if they knew Jacob Rees-Mogg’s voting record? Let’s find out.
He is very strongly against increasing income tax paid by the extremely rich; strongly against a bankers’ bonus tax; strongly supports cutting Corporation Tax (even though this does not make companies more likely to invest in the UK or its workforce); and supported the increase in VAT very strongly. Clearly this extremely rich Tory has no objection to taxing the poor to pay for himself.
Like so many of his fellow Tories, he is very strongly in favour of the current government’s creeping privatisation of the NHS, and the opportunities for profit that it affords to private shareholders at the expense of care.
He very strongly supports the Bedroom Tax.
He very strongly supported cuts to social security benefits including Jobseekers’ Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, the Personal Independence Payment and so on.
He very strongly supported the benefit uprating cap, ensuring that benefits do not rise in line with prices.
He voted very strongly to make local councils responsible for helping people afford council tax – and for reducing the amount available for such support.
He very strongly supported the twin drains on the education budget that are privately-run ‘Free Schools’ and privately-owned ‘Academy Schools’; he voted very strongly for the increase in undergraduate tuition fees to £9,000 per year; and he voted to end financial support for 16-19 year olds in training and further education. This toff Tory only wants education to be available to those who can pay for it.
He is a strong supporter of military operations overseas.
He voted strongly for replacing Trident with more nuclear weapons.
He is against further EU integration and voted moderately for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU.
He voted very strongly against same-sex marriage and equal rights for gay people.
He is against localism and has voted to reduce both the powers of local councils and their funding.
He very strongly supported the waste of money that is Police and Crime Commissioners.
He voted very strongly against removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords and making it a wholly-elected house – as a backward-thinking Tory toff, you couldn’t expect anything else.
He strongly supported the restriction of Legal Aid that has made justice available only to the rich.
He strongly supported the invasion of privacy that allows the security services to monitor and keep information about your communications.
He very strongly supports secret courts.
This is a right-wing would-be dictator who wants to ensure that the proles are monitored and controlled.
He voted very strongly for the botched privatisation of the Royal Mail – and very strongly for the sale of England’s state-owned forests.
He opposes green energy generation.
He strongly supported the badger cull.
If you live in North East Somerset, you need to know this information.
Vox Political readers are invited to distribute it to friends and relatives who live there.
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