Laugh at Jacob Rees-Mogg, not with him

Image credit: LadyGeekTV

Youth turnout in the recent snap election reached its highest for 25 years, with 63% of 18-29 year old voters preferring Corbyn.  The Labour leader coloured his campaign with interviews by rappers and other Vice-inspired strategies, attracting a vast number of young voters.  However, since his appearance at Glastonbury, Corbyn has had to share his popularity among Britain’s youth with the bumbling Jacob Rees-Mogg.  It is hard to imagine many Tories supporting a potential leadership campaign, but we should be startled by ‘Moggmentum’ and his following.  Politically, the two are polar opposites but they share a cortege of Millenials who seem only interested in the pair’s seeming incompatibility with politics.

Corbyn was celebrated for getting younger generations more involved in politics but we may just discover that we prefer giggling at the inane to voting for the astute.  Perhaps we don’t just like Corbyn because he has promoted progressive policies that look to be in the genuine interests of young people - our next favourite voted 9 times against legislation to help the young and unemployed find jobs.  We celebrate Corbyn and Rees-Mogg because the media encourage us to perceive them as ‘unelectable’.  Apparently, they are far too embarrassing to be politicians and it is exactly that quality, that has engaged us. 

They are party rebels of very different causes.  Rees-Mogg would resurrect 19th century social standards in defiance of the Tory party line while Corbyn would merrily centralise the economy.  For a typical student, Rees-Mogg offers little and we should be wary of assuming that the charisma obvious in both is a symptom of benign politics.

Rees-Mogg is not a Conservative in the 21st century, listening-to-the-people mould, he is deeply conservative in the most regressive sense.  Notorious for outmoded social views and an infatuation with Latin, the North East Somerset MP was a little-known backbencher before the birth of his latest son, Sixtus, whose name has captured the online imagination.  Gay rights, smoking bans and climate change are out, Trump and Farage are in for a man who passionately realigned his allegiance at every twist of the most recent Conservative leadership contest, asserting his zeal for Mrs May only after she had won.  

It is difficult to detect what Jeremy ‘the absolute boy’ Corbyn and Jacob Rees-Mogg have in common besides a knack for the bizarre.   Although Rees-Mogg’s class of politicians are close to extinction and he probably wouldn’t have a hope against more evolved Tories in a leadership contest, we should laugh at him guardedly. 


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