I spent a chunk of yesterday discussing Jacob Rees-Mogg on Twitter with a bunch of people who don’t like him. Their concerns appear to be as follows:
1. JRM doesn’t believe in abortion. This is in itself bad, because the UN has apparently declared access to abortion services a human right.
2. JRM has a history of voting against abortion rights. This is evidence that if he were to become PM, this would become the Tory party line and he would change legislation to ban abortion. Given his control over healthcare spending, he could even do this without changing any laws.
3. By voting against abortion rights, JRM was “imposing his personal views” on other people.
Where to begin?
Firstly, JRM opposing abortion is an abomination to the left. There was a time when dissenting views were tolerated, but now only absolute acceptance of today’s shibboleths is allowed (Helen Dale makes this point here, on a different subject). Secondly, that the UN has declared something a human right is meaningless. Much as though supranational outfits such as the WHO and UN enjoy trying to set domestic policies on a global basis, it is pointless unless the people who make up the various societies go along with it. But that’s a subject for another post.
The second point raises two issues. Is voting history as an MP a good indicator over which direction a PM will lead their party once in power? I suspect it is, provided they’ve toed the party line. If they’ve voted in dissent of the party line on highly specific subjects, like abortion, it probably isn’t. For JRM to become Conservative party leader he would need to be in-synch with the other MPs on most issues. His views on abortion are likely to be out-of-synch with most Tories (but not all), hence he would be voted leader because of his other qualities and views. In other words, he’d be a solid Conservative with some outlying views on abortion. Would he then be able to make banning abortion the party line? No, he wouldn’t.
Of course, this assumes that he’d want to. Lefties assume that a PM, once in power, will immediately set about making his own personal views the party line, because this is what lefties do whenever they get in power anywhere. Yes, there is an awful lot of projection going on in the criticism of Jacob-Rees Mogg. The right have traditionally been more interested in pragmatism than ideological purity and imposing ruthless discipline of the party line (which is why they’ve lost the culture wars). It is almost certain that JRM, should he become PM, would not risk tearing his party apart in order to foist his minority views on abortion onto them. The left don’t believe it of course, one chap even saying he would ban abortion and abandon secularism across the country “if he could”, based on his personal views and voting record. Again, that’s because this is what their side would do once in power. The idea that JRM might hold principles in his head to do with not imposing ones unpopular views on the citizens of a representative democracy once in charge is alien to them.
The third point was rather tedious to keep having to deal with. The UK is a representative democracy, whereby MPs are elected to represent their constituents in the drawing up of legislation and voting it into law. This is a messy compromise to avoid the leader of a nation standing accused of “imposing his personal views” on the citizenry. In order to beat JRM over the head, lefties have declared that his voting on various issues is in itself “an attempt to impose his personal views on others”, as if the entire legislative process with all the consultations and horse-trading that accompanies it never took place. I could understand if he was championing an anti-abortion bill, or insisting health bills contained anti-abortion clauses, but merely voting a certain way is imposing one’s personal views on others? Since when?
Since JRM popped up, that’s when. Naturally, lefties have no problem with the absolute mountain of legislation which is imposed on the long-suffering British population via activist MPs, lobbyists, health-fascists, and other special interest groups which do represent the personal views of a very few people. That much of this is railroaded onto the statute books without proper scrutiny or debate doesn’t bother them one bit, and this is all ignoring the giant, lumbering elephant in the room: the EU.
Of course, they don’t believe half this stuff they’re saying about Jacob Rees-Mogg. They’re just throwing words around hoping some of them will stick: “he wants to impose his personal views”, “he doesn’t respect women’s rights”, “he’s an extremist”, “he’s a deadbeat Dad“, “we can’t take a chance”. They’ve looked across the Atlantic and seen this is how their counterparts are behaving and copied their techniques. But they didn’t stop to notice that it doesn’t work and, if anything, is rather counterproductive.
The British left have spotted a young, very bright, ambitious Tory MP who appears to be gaining somewhat of a following and, despite his poshness, is somehow quite likeable. He also appears to have integrity and principles, and so naturally scares everyone else – including a very great many Tory MPs – absolutely shitless. Their response has been to seize on the rather insignificant (at least in the UK) topic of abortion in order to paint him as a dangerous extremist who will take the country back to the Middle Ages. I give it another week and he’ll be labelled a white supremacist Nazi. This is exactly what American liberals did to Trump, and all it did was get him elected. The more the left express their hysteria over JRM, the more people will take a look at him and either like what they see (for the most part) or be glad he’s upsetting the right people.
Lefties project, but alas they don’t learn.