Monday 10 September 2018

Jacob Rees-Mogg and #Brexit - Am I missing something obvious?

When it comes to Jacob Rees-Mogg and Brexit, I am confused. In fact I'm confused and bemused. Let me explain, I've seen the following tweet being retweeted hundreds of times.

Lets look at a few points that no one who has been following #Brexit could possibly disagree with.

1. Theresa May's Chequers proposal does not form the basis of a workable Brexit for anyone, Remainers, Brexiteers, the EU or even those who haven't made their minds up. In the words of Monty Python "That Parrot is dead"

2.  The hard Brexiteers in the Tory Party have no confidence at all in Theresa May.

3. The Remainers in the Tory Party lack the Cojones to actually do anything to stand up to the Brexiteers.

4. Every survey has shown that 65-70% of Tory party members are hard Brexiteers.

5. There are easily enough Tory MP's who are hard Brexiteers to force a Leadership contest.

6. Jacob Rees-Mogg (like most across the political spectrum) believes that Brexit is the biggest issue facing Great Britain in the post war era and he has strong views on the direction it should proceed.

So put yourself in Mr Rees-Mogg's pyjamas as he surveys this mornings Daily Telegraph and sips his Earl Grey. Whatever you may think of him, he's not stupid. One can only imagine his horror as he sees Boris Johnson posturing for a leadership bid as the Knight in Shining Armour for the Brexiteer cause.  Rees-Mogg can be under no illusion as to what sort of administration Boris would run. Unlike Boris, for Rees-Mogg Brexit is not a fad, it is a lifelong obsession. It is not something to be bargained or bartered or played like an Ace of Diamonds in a Leadership bid. He must be all too aware that far from saving Brexit, Johnson is likely to be the man who buries it. He is a powderkeg, likely to take Brexit with him when he implodes.

Mr Rees-Mogg laid out his view on how we should proceed in a letter to Lord Adonis. I'm not going to go into the rights and wrongs of his preferred solution (which is a deal based on the deal Canada has with the EU). What is clear is that his proposed #Brexit is nothing like that which the leader of his party is proposing. One has to assume that Mr Rees-Mogg is ambitious and believes himself to be a man capable of great things. He has clearly and eloquently laid out what he believes the solution should be and how it can be delivered. He has outlined why he believes Project Fear to be nothing more than a bunch of lies to dupe the British public. He has outlined why he believes all the threats made by the EU are empty.

The only thing that he hasn't pronounced on in such an eloquent manner is why he hasn't thrown down the gauntlet, put his hat in the ring, rounded up the signatures from the hard Brexiteers in the Tory Party and made a bid for leadership. If he doesn't do it now, then the chance will be gone forever and a deal which he has conceded is as bad as remaining will be imposed on the UK. For all the many faults with Rees-Mogg's strategy, there is one thing that does commend it. He has actually said what he wants from the EU. The EU commission would at least know what they are dealing with.

The answer Tory friends have told me to explain his reticence is quite simple. He doesn't believe he can win given the fact that most Tory MP's are pro remain. To me, this is a cowardly excuse. As the majority of Tory MP's are sitting in staunchly Brexit constituencies, with staunchly Brexit party committees, a true leader would spell out in black and white exactly what should happen if MP's defy the views of their association. Given that 52% of voters backed #Brexit, if Rees-Mogg really had the courage of his convictions, then the threat of a bit of Corbynite local party democracy would more than likely do the trick, given that it is clear Tory Remainers lack Cojones. There are some very big financial heavy hitters who are staunchly Brexit that he could call on to fund such a guerrilla campaign.

So we are left with three possible reasons why Rees-Mogg is sitting on his hands and watching the world collapse around him. The first is that he lacks the bottle to actually take the dagger and do what is needed to become leader. For this to be true, he must know that his colleagues don't rate him and think he isn't up to the job and would simply face him down. The second is that Rees-Mogg lacks the ability to actually organise himself well enough to launch a bid. In other words, he's all talk and he knows it. His Father, William Rees-Mogg was the editor of The Times. Could it be that the Rees-Mogg's are all words and no action. Then there is the third option. Maybe Rees-Mogg knows full well that Brexit will be an absolute disaster however it is implemented. Maybe, he knows that he will always have a job and lots of telly and radio gigs as a Brexiteer. If he is completely outside the process, he will always be able to sit back and bang on about how everyone else has failed the country.

I've no idea which of the three options is true. What I do know is that if Mr Rees-Mogg doesn't man up and make a bid for the Leadership in the next month, he is either not up to Leadership or he knows damn well that he is proposing something dangerous and dishonest. When it comes to Mr Rees-Mogg, it really is as simple as that.


DaveO said...

Clearly and eloquently laid out what he thinks the solution should be? Well he makes it clear he's a complete lunatic who is ignorant of how things like the WTO work. There is only one country in the world who trades solely on WTO terms and it is Mauretania. Every other country is either in a trading block or has free trade agreements with other countries. Anyway, it's not what Rees-Mogg says you should worry about it's what he doesn't say. Brexit for him has always been the means to follow a hard right agenda. You will notice he mentions reforming the economy but doesn't tell you what that means. He never does and rarely mentions it but that is his real agenda. He'd rather bang on about the planes will still keep flying or not bothering to check medical imports to try and convince the gullible this is all plausible. What he never mentions is ripping up labour and environmental protections to make us more "competitive" in his eyes. Economic recession following Brexit will be his excuse. Before that all that waffle in his letter to Adonis is just that. Waffle. I don't think he even believes it himself and he's certainly not interested in stepping into the breach now to push it. No, Brexit for him must be someone else's disaster. I am sure he expects one and that is part of the plan. It's after Brexit you will see him make his move. He will use the inevitable crisis to push his ultra right wing deregulation agenda.

Rog T said...

DaveO, did you follow the link I provided to his letter to Lord Adonis? If you did, I would have expected you to have detected a tiny amount of irony when I said he'd laid his views out clearly and eloquently. Let me just say that I don't think Mr Rees-Mogg has a fantastic understanding of economics, although he has a marvellous understanding of how to get the rabid right foaming and frothing. He is typical of the pseudo-intellectuals supporting #Brexit who think that if you ignore all of the difficult regulatory, legal and technical questions #Brexit represents. For instance, anyone who ever has worked in IT on a serious level will know that a Digital customs border would take years to develop, test and implement and government projects haven't got a good track record of delivery on time, on budget and often at all./

DaveO said...

Yes I followed the link. Irony is in short supply in Brexit Britain so you will forgive me if I thought you were being rather too generous. As to Rees-Mogg he has clearly adopted the tactic with the line of "there is nothing to fear if we fall back on WTO rules for trade" of if you say something often enough it becomes the accepted truth even if it is complete nonsense.