DEBATE: Should we take Jacob Rees-Mogg seriously as a leadership contender?
YES – Laura Perrins, co-editor of The Conservative Woman.
It’s time for the Conservative party to drop the wishy-washy failed mantra of the middle ground. Not only is it a risky election strategy, it is morally bankrupt. Jacob Rees-Mogg is a classic constitutional conservative who understands the moral good of proper conservatism. This means refraining from extorting money from one group of workers to redistribute to another group of special interests. It means not using the hard earned labour of workers to further a leftist agenda. It means not burdening future generations with massive amounts of debt to buy votes. He recognises the importance of family, community, and civil society – all of which are independent of the state. He knows that to get the best for British business we must be outside the European Union. He makes the case for conservatism without apologising. He can call out leftist ideology for what it is – evil. He has a strong social media backing that can be built upon. He is superb in debates, as demonstrated by his appearances on Question Time. It is time for some proper conservatism. It’s time for Mogg-mania.
NO – Rupert Myers, barrister, writer, and associate fellow at Bright Blue.
David Cameron became PM because he wasn’t the prisoner of his upbringing. It wasn’t about where he had come from, it was about where he was going. Jacob Rees-Mogg has never managed to shed his comfortable upbringing. If anything, he has exaggerated it. The Tories are trapped with the stereotype that they do not understand ordinary people. Rees-Mogg behaves as if living in a rarefied world is a virtue, when he should see it as a disadvantage. He tweets in Latin, has six children but claims that he has never changed a nappy, and – fatally – has shown signs that the focus of his policy agenda is on assisting the better off. He may be right that people know best how to spend their money, but calling for a drop in stamp duty should not be the focus of his agenda. His political judgement is questionable: he gave an after-dinner speech to a group that thought Doreen Lawrence and millions of others should be “requested to return to their natural homelands” despite being warned about the group by an anti-fascist organisation. He may be the stalking horse for a more serious candidate, but Jacob should not be seriously considered.