I’ve been rather out the loop this week. Nothing too exciting I’m afraid. I’ve not been gallivanting off around the globe lion taming in the Sahara desert or anything – just a simple house move. That said, it’s been rather nice to find myself cut adrift from the miserable malaise that has enveloped the country. Rather than being beaten over the head with yet more grisly tales of unfathomable governmental incompetence upon first waking up in the morning, instead I’ve almost been in a period of hibernation – cocooning myself in a comfortingly bland reality defined by endless shopping trips and the eternal struggle of flat-pack furniture.
So what did I miss? Well, let’s see – Theresa May managed to maintain her frankly peerless record of alienating huge swathes of the country whenever she opens her mouth in public, her EU withdrawal agreement remains about as popular as an e-coli outbreak on a transatlantic flight and, having failed to schmooze prominent git Michael Gove into becoming Brexit Secretary, she was forced to employ a man so unknown and inconsequential that a whole thirty minutes spent staring at himself in the mirror wouldn’t spark the faintest glimmer of recognition.
Same shit, different day basically.
That said, there was something new which managed to penetrate through the suffocating smog of unbridled misery and offer up the faintest whiff of light relief.
Of course I speak of the glorious, almost life affirming failure of Jacob Rees-Mogg, as the pompous relic found himself at the helm of a ship he’d spent two years constructing, only to find it sinking twenty seconds after leaving port with only a crew that Captain Pugwash would look upon derisively for company.
It’s been a curious experience following the adventures of Jacob Rees-Mogg these past two years. Not only has he had a surprising amount of exposure for an ostensible back-bencher, his ghoulishly anachronistic presence haunting our screens on a near daily basis, his ultimate motives have long since been visible from the far side of Jupiter – to take out Theresa May by any means necessary.
In effect this puts him at the exact same end of the duplicity spectrum as Boris Johnson, only instead of masking his deceit with preposterous buffoonery, he opts for a veneer of quaint Edwardian absurdity – schmoozing his way through each public appearance with laser guided manners, attempts at Latin which are as befuddling as they are gratuitous, both of which ultimately create such a charade of incongruity that it’s often easy to forget that what he’s proposing isn’t just patently ridiculous, but often reprehensible.
You’d think that such transparent attempts at subterfuge would lead to Jacob being subjected to the most vociferous scrutiny imaginable from media outlets but, staggeringly, the kid gloves are rarely removed in his presence – as though interviewers are so bewildered by his presumed majesty they refrain from incisive interrogation in fear of committing an archaic yet treasonous faux pas.
This has always struck me as somewhat of a missed opportunity. Spit polished foibles and baffling colloquialisms aside, the Mogglodyte has a tendency to come unstuck when pitted against someone with an actual understanding of the issues that Jacob attempts to sell himself as an authority on.
Pontificating on matters he doesn’t really understand isn’t the only similarity our chronologically displaced friend shares with Boris either. Take a look at this often overlooked artefact of political curiosity in which, during the Tory leadership scramble of 2016 after Dave dropped a dookie upon the bed-sheets and scarpered before changing the linen, self appointed man of honour Jacob Rees-Mogg changes allegiances three times as the wind repeatedly shifted direction – rather ironically becoming a “total convert” to his current foe, one Theresa May.
Still, even though the masquerade was arguably one of political necessity, it was about as convincing a display as David Cameron at Villa Park. Jacob’s coat was always set for turning and, sure enough, he and his cronies at the European Research Group (the biggest misnomer since the Nazis claimed to be socialists) hatched their nefarious scheme to undermine their dear leader at every conceivable turn – and, if you bought into the narrative spun by the oh so complaint media perpetually doffing their cap in awe, it became a presumed inevitability that their coup would succeed.
At least until it didn’t.
In light of their spectacular defeat in their bid to topple an unfathomably unpopular Prime Minister, Jacob has found himself comparatively absent from the spotlight – as though those who exaggerated his influence (and indeed, competence) were acutely aware that they’d once again fallen victim to a chancer who failed to bring any amount of substance to go with his admittedly idiosyncratic style, and had subsequently cast him back into the shadows, hoping that nobody noticed their folly.
In short, the entire circus crafted around Rees-Mogg, which the media were only happy to exacerbate, amounted to a colossal waste of everyone’s time in which nothing was accomplished – time being a commodity we’ve never really had.
The failure of Jacob Rees-Mogg might well present a wry sense of amusement to those of us who’ve found his omnipresence insufferably obnoxious, but when all’s said and done the real dereliction of duty once again lies with the media outlets, whose entire raison d’etre is ostensibly to inform the great unwashed.
Whilst it’s now painfully obvious that the emperor never had any clothes, with even a mere morsel of journalistic diligence it wouldn’t have taken over two years to spot his gonads hanging sullenly in the open air while he insisted that the solutions were in his other jacket.Follow @grahamlithgow