The Antidote?

BY JOHN ISMAEL

Reason states that the Corbynites certainly do not merit a reaction. Momentum and Labour activists tend to have loud voices rather than being in control of large swathes of voters. McDonnell, Abbott and Nugee are hardly of a calibre worth giving any respect to. Without JC, no doubt there will be dissent in the Labour Party and the cock will not need to crow three times before the party reverts to internecine conflict.

The Tory stalwarts remind us that the Conservative Party is a fine, old girl which tends to go for steady choices – a change in its coat of paint rather than structural changes. Nonetheless, the Tories have a problem here – the Reds are clearly winning the social media battle and technology is murdering the Conservative Party, whose message is getting drowned out. The risk of letting Corbyn into Downing Street even for a few months would be too great a price for the country to pay – even a week and we’ll face mayhem.

Still, red tap-tappers are winning the war of the web and have miraculously turned Corbyn into the most unlikely cult hero. The Blues are grey and clay-footed under Theresa May and her image is so badly damaged that she seems the opposite of what she really is (strong and incorruptible) while Corbyn in contrast seems the opposite of what he is (weak and highly flawed). Why? Lack of an effective communication strategy.

Is the brilliant communicator Jacob Rees-Mogg – he of many memes – the antidote to Tory woes? Should the Tory Party fight the Corbyn disciples with their Harry Potteresque wizard of words and top hats? Should the old Tory stalwarts realise that this is a time not of reason but of bashing one’s message home to a crowd who are desperate to kneel before a personable political guru?

Certainly, there is a growing clamour for change – and it’s coming from the Conservative Party membership. There is plenty of chuntering at the summer parties as glasses of punch are ladled. Members lost their trust in May as soon as that awful exit poll popped up on screen on June 8th. They had sat down with a glass of red to watch the destruction of the Labour Party and instead saw the beaming face of sweaty Tom Watson talking of Labour victory. Unforgivable. There is little support for Boris, Davis, Hammond or Rudd as leader. In a recent poll for Conservative Home, it was none of the above who won the leadership bar chart:

Is Jacob Rees-Mogg “none of the above”?

Rees-Mogg is an interesting chap. His eloquence is unmatched in the House of Commons now that Galloway and Salmond have gone. His poshness is also unmatched – he admits that he speaks the Queen’s English with a plum in his mouth and this is more pronounced than ever in a Westminster when those who speak with a Snickers in their mouth, like Angela Rayner, seem to be ubiquitous. Rees-Mogg would be the first Catholic British Prime Minister if elected Conservative Leader by the party membership in the event of a leadership contest.

#MoggMentum is impressive. Rees-Mogg certainly has the following of the kippers and many Labour followers. With every Question Time performance, his following grows – he puts the facts across succinctly and clearly, with an amusing air of self-deprecation and humility. As one supporter, Chris Scruton, who put their name to the #Moggmentum campaign, pointed out, “I think Jacob is a breath of fresh air and is able to debate and answer any questions which are put to him in a truthful, logical and straight forward way unlike most politicians. He is more than a match for any opposition politicians.”

On the other hand, his detractors claim that Rees-Mogg is too old school and not as fresh as at first seems. As was reported by the Independent a few years ago before it became a tawdry, Corbyn-supporting blog, Rees-Mogg is a founding partner and director of Somerset Capital Management, a firm whose funds then held investments worth £23m in tobacco companies, £3.07m in mining firms, and £2.4m in oil and gas producers. The Indie alleged that Rees-Mogg had spoken in four debates in the Chamber in support of the tobacco, mining and oil and gas industries without declaring that he is a founder and director of a firm with multimillion-pound investments in the sectors. Rees-Mogg voted against the introduction of same-sex marriage. Hardly an anti-establishment, reforming figure capable of filling stadia with spotty students?

Yes, Rees-Mogg is a product of privilege. So is Jeremy Corbyn. So was Clement Attlee.

At the 1997 general election, Rees-Mogg was the Conservative candidate for the traditional Labour seat of Central Fife and attracted ridicule, after canvassing a largely working-class neighbourhood with his former nanny. He has an ability to get away with such faux-pas – a vital quality in a Prime Minister. The working class forgive him his plum because he talks sense and bluntly.

Prime Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg?

Right now, the party members see the battle for Number Ten between him, Theresa and Boris. David Davis had his chance in the past and blew it.

 

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