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The phenomenon that is Jacob Rees-Mogg in UK politics is an interesting one. He is the quintessential English “gentleman” politician – an upper classed toff of a Conservative MP who appears to fulfil all the stereotypes you can muster. And I’m not just goint OTT here in attacking someone who sits politically opposite to my position: he really is quite an amazing figure. Here are a few facts to give you a flavour:

  • He went to Eton.
  • In January 2007 Rees-Mogg married Helena de Chair. She is the daughter of Somerset de Chair and his fourth wife Lady Juliet Tadgell, the only child of the eighth Earl Fitzwilliam. Along with headline grabbing baby Sixtus, Rees-Mogg has four other sons and a daughter – Alfred Wulfric Leyson Pius, Thomas Wentworth Somerset Dunstan, Peter Theodore Alphege, Anselm Charles Fitzwilliam and Mary Anne Charlotte Emma Rees-Mogg.
  • He is a founding partner in a capital management firm and a strong Brexiteer.
  • He is touted as the next leader of the Conservative Party.
  • Consistently voted against equal gay rights, smoking bans, same-sex marriage, allowing terminally ill people to be given assistance to end their life and generally voted against laws to promote equality and human right.
  • He has been jokingly called “the honourable gentleman for the 18th century” in Commons.
  • Wentworth Woodhouse, his wife’s ancestral home (England’s largest private home), benefitted from £7.6m state rescue.

In some ways, I have been impressed with Rees-Mogg when I have heard him in the manner that he answers questions. He answers intellectually and often with decent substance that makes you need to engage on a much deeper level than the usual vacuous soundbite nonsense aimed at the lowest common denominator. I may fundamentally disagree with the substance and have found myself shouting at the TV or radio, but he has often given properly substantive answers.

With regard to this latest interview, he should also be praised for being honest and not hiding away from notoriously prickly subjects and beliefs. Watch what has become quite a divisive and controversial interview:

YouTube video

So he publicly supports a pro-life position to the point that abortion for someone raped by their own family member is morally reprehensible. End of. And Same-sex marriage is a no-no.

I do think he did do a good deal of sidestepping here, despite me generously praising his honesty… He was trying to sound acceptable by driving a wedge between his own personal moral beliefs and the law of the land.

However, there are huge problems in this. If he believes in the moral superiority and absolutism of, say, the Catholic Church and its doctrines and beliefs, then he by extension believes that this should be the case for all humans. No religionist believes in their own moral relativism to the extent he is trying to argue for. He must believe that the UK should have the moral views that he holds, otherwise he is admitting to holding incorrect moral views! In this way, he has navigated the least damaging course through this really tricky subject, but he is being properly disingenuous.

It is no good saying:

“She would have a right under UK Law… But that law is not going to change… My personal opinion is that life begins at conception and abortion is morally indefensible.”

And when asked if he would make a raped woman (from a family member) have her baby:

“No I wouldn’t.”

This is not good enough.

He then sidetracked and was not pressed on this really important point. He is trying to divorce his own position (and that of the Catholic Church) from the law of the land, and not admitting that, if he was leader, he would have a huge influence in being able to change that and chip away (as is happening in the US) at the civil and moral liberties of people in the country. This is where he can come off sounding quite competent in his answers because he sounds intelligent and well-to-do, but the devil is in the detail. He should have been taken to the cleaners on this point.

Let’s take this to the extreme because this is a great way to isolate the logic of a statement or argument. If Rees-Mogg happened to be someone who thought that genocide was morally good and that, for example, all black people or all Jews should be killed, then we would find it much more morally problematic that he would or could be in charge of the country and hold those views even though they are not the law of the land. In other words, the moral character of an individual is, of course, important in whether we deem them a good decision for ruling a country.

Now, in terms of whether someone who believes genocide was morally good could actually enact serious legislation that would allow them to carry out genocide in a democratic country, I doubt that they would be able to easily enforce any acts of law. However, when it comes to things like abortion and same-sex marriage and other similar moral positions, if one was a ruler and held such views then one could easily enact legislation or put forward an agenda that could lead to such a moral framework in society. For example, one could easily see Rees-Mogg introduce legislation that favoured faith schools, or that put an end to the attempts to get abortion allowed in Northern Ireland, or chipped away at existing abortion legislation and legislation for pharmacies – all of which, over time, would lend themselves to repealing abortion legislation. Indeed, there are so many areas that Rees-Mogg could have a huge legislative effect on if he was the leader of the country and so divorcing his own moral position and that of the Catholic church from the law of the land is really problematic.

After all, this is why people become politicians, for goodness sake! They wish to take their moral paradigm and influence the roadmap of the country and society. Politicians spend their days in Parliament trying and vying and lobbying and arguing to get their moral position and obligations reflected in the laws and fabric of the country. It is no good thinking that politicians are merely or exclusively reflecctive mouthpieces for their constituencies: they also drive their consituencies and try to convince them of certain positions. Being an MP is a two-way thing.

Rees-Mogg sits in the traditional Conservative/conservative camp whereby traditional values and religion still play an important part. However, and similar to certain elements of the Republican Party, there are many libertarian types in the Conservative Party for which liberalism is relevant for personal moral choices as well as economic freedom.

As a result, there has been some backlash as well as some support from within his own party. The Telegraph has reported some views:

Margot James MP said: “Agree with @TimesOpinion about Jacob R-M who I like very much; but his views on pregnant women are utterly abhorrent”

Grant Shapps tweeted that he disagreed: “Great to have an authentic colleague like @Jacob_Rees_Mogg speaking his mind, but I’m afraid I FUNDAMENTALLY disagree with abortion comments”.

Iain Duncan Smith told Good Morning Britain that he does not agree with Mr Rees-Mogg’s views, and that they could be a “tipping point” if he ever ran for leader.

He said: “I voted for gay marriage. I am a strong supporter of stability and I believe if people want to have that final point, then it is the right thing to do… I don’t agree with him but it is a personal view.

 “If the party doesn’t agree with his sentiments that may well be a tipping point.”

A spokesman for the Prime Minister made clear yesterday  that she does not agree with him.

Number 10 said: “It’s a long-standing principle that abortion is for Parliament and for individual MPs and is a matter of conscience for them.

“The Prime Minister doesn’t happen to agree, but it is a matter of conscience.”#

Sir Nicholas Soames called for calm and reason, saying that Jacob Rees-Mogg was never going to be leader: “My dear friend @Jacob_Rees_Mogg hasn’t scuppered anything time everyone took a deep breath and rediscovered their reason#itaintgoingtohappen”.

Again, we return to this get-out-of-jail free card that it is a “personal view”. This is the very issue I am contending with. I think this is a weak position for his colleagues to take (though understandable for reasons of damage limitation). Labour have typically and understandably gone to town on him.

Rees-Mogg’s reply? Typically, a bit of Latin to ingratiate him with society at large:

Amid all the chaos, Jacob Rees-Mogg appeared relatively calm, tweeting in Latin: “Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam.”

This means: One holy catholic and apostolic church – appearing to reiterate that he takes his moral views from the Catholic church rather than Parliament.
And his views aren’t just personal views without effect. Just reading the comments on The Telegraph piece (enough to make me feel nauseous) shows that he is already whipping up those who have a similar outlook to him with his comments. This will also include those who disagree with him on this issue, but will suffer great cognitivie dissonance by liking him as a famous conservative orator, and thus will make them more susceptible to otherwise dislikeable views (imagine thier reaction if a Muslim had said these things!):

The good news is the present government has contributed £45,000 to an Anti Abortion charity.

So hopefully JRM will be the next PM and the majority of MPs will quickly come around to his view point and repeal the Abortion Act.

At the end of the day much better for women in our great country.


I’m beginning to like this guy more and more as time goes on.  The barbaric practice of killing babies in the womb is, as he says, morally indefensible.  Well done, JRM, for making a stand on this.

And shame on the media/celebs/other politicians for their howls of outrage.

It should be remembered by all these cretins who support murdering babies in the womb and the attacks on Christian morality, the family and sexual normality in favour, instead, of sexual perversion and paedophilia that “the future belongs to those who show up for it”.  One must hope that all those who believe in the values which ensure a stable life for the individual and for the nation as an entity, will take note of the names of this lot and ensure that, politically at least, the future will not belong to those who seek to destroy the future generation.


“abhorrent”  Why? it’s a considered, moral viewpoint held by tens of millions of Catholics world-wide. Of course, those hundreds of millions might well find a counterviewpoint “abhorrent” too. I applaud Mr. Rees-Mog for his stand on the matter – and for making clear he does not wish to change the law. Of course, those on the left condemming him conveniently forget about their stance on Islam and its many utterly wickerd creeds.

You get the point.

To conclude, his opinions are very important and he should not be able to defend them by merely appealing to the fact that they are not the law. If he was to become the leader of our country, it would be dangerous for our relatively liberal outlook.

Oh, and don’t read Telegraph comments sections. They make you feel sick. They are not too far from Daily Mail and Breitbart forums…

Oh, and I couldn’t resist a couple of tweets:


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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...