While ministers and their opposition shadows debate the shambles that is Brexit as they tour the TV studios, backbenchers are being neglected, and that’s a distressing prospect for any ambitious climber of the greasy pole. So it was that the honourable member for times long past Jacob Rees Mogg decided to get himself a little more of the action by summoning a suitably compliant individual to take dictation.
World's worst Jeeves and Wooster reboot enters production
The result, a lengthy article in the Mail on Sunday - arguably too lengthy, however well compressed its narrative - was all that the snooty patrician could have wished for. Here he was, heralded as something called a “Peacebroker”. He alone could “save Brexit” whatever that meant, although he would not perform such a cheap stunt as riding to the rescue. He does, after all, have chaps to do that sort of thing for him.
So it was that readers were told “Jacob Rees-Mogg emerged last night as Theresa May’s best hope to avert a snap General Election - or her forced departure from Downing Street by the spring … in a sign that the intensity of opposition could be lessening, Mr Rees-Mogg presents himself as a peacebroker committed to making Mrs May’s deal acceptable to her party”. And who is behind this supremely crafted bullshit?
There are three names on the by-line, but the one to which the largest share of guilt - and, indeed, floor space - should be allocated is the MoS’ alleged deputy political editor, the odious flannelled fool Master Harry Cole. It is he who has set the scene for such weapons grade drivel as “The powerful chairman of the European Research Group of Tory MPs uses an article in today’s Mail on Sunday to say: ‘If I had to choose between no deal and Mrs May’s original accord, I would have no hesitation of opting for no-deal Brexit – but even Mrs May’s deal would be better than not leaving at all.’” Powerful my arse.
That readers are being sold a pup is confirmed by “Mr Rees-Mogg, who infuriated No 10 by hosting a champagne party at his London townhouse to celebrate the loss [of last week’s Brexit deal vote], says: ‘The biggest obstacles within the Prime Minister’s current deal are the backstop [keeping Northern Ireland tied to EU rules] and the £39 billion we currently propose to give to Brussels but for which we get nothing in return’”.
In addition, we see “‘If Mrs May can persuade the EU to show flexibility on these, we could get the deal through the Commons’”. Rees Mogg knows the EU won’t move on the Irish backstop. He also knows the £39 billion is to honour our existing commitments.
So there isn’t going to be any “flexibility” on either point. The entire article, together with its false premise, is a sham, a glossily-presented slice of PR, a shameless advertisement selling Rees Mogg as being half-competent and with a grasp of both facts and reality, whereas he in fact can muster none of those attributes.
Readers of the Mail on Sunday are being taken for fools. And that photo of Master Cole alongside Jacob Rees Mogg taken outside Parliament recently is now looking terribly incriminating. Another fine mess.