The Dangerous Poison Behind Rees-Mogg’s Façade

Will Black
8 min readMay 14, 2023

It’s easy to get caught up in mocking Jacob Rees-Mogg. Many of us have done so but in doing so we can miss opportunities to expose something more sinister than his anachronistic pseudo-toff figures of speech, costumes and distractions.

The first time I set eyes on him was in 1999 when he was interviewed by ‘Ali G’ (another Oxbridge history graduate called Sacha Baron Cohen). That interview focused on class and culminated in the deceptively dressed and skillfully play-acting Cambridge graduate wearing the top hat of the deceptively dressed and skillfully play-acting Oxford graduate.

It wasn’t obvious to me at the time, though probably was to Baron Cohen, that Rees-Mogg was faking it just as much as the satirist. Asking if wearing a top hat or being “so rich they have a swimming pool” makes you upper class doesn’t seem so frivolous now we know that Mogg is two generations away from driving a lorry, which is a MUCH more useful occupation than hedge fund predator or hard-right activist masquerading as an MP.

The above illustrates one of my two core concerns about Jacob Rees-Mogg and the danger he poses — he’s always masquerading! From the pseudo-toff affectations he has cultivated since school to his claim to be a devout follower of Jesus ( a man many on the right would call a ‘woke’ socialist activist), to his claim to be concerned about democracy.

This leads to my second core concern about Rees-Mogg. Once we understand the ideology that drives him we can never accept that his concern is with democracy — unless it is with undermining democracy on behalf of money hoarders and hard-right extremist vandals.

The next bit is a bit more complex than describing an Ali G interview — but stick with me. It’s something always glossed over (if mentioned at all) on news and debate shows.

The Neoliberal Agenda

Differences between social liberalism and neoliberalism are rarely explained by the media, but it is critical to understand them to see what Rees-Mogg and his cronies are pushing.

Liberalism is a philosophy based on the concepts of freedom and equality. Neoliberalism is often deceitfully linked to social and political liberalism in order to accuse those who…

--

--

Will Black

Will is an anthropologist, journalist and former clinician. He is the author or Veneer of Civilisation, Psychopathic Cultures and Beyond the End of the World