29 Jul 2019

The British Restoration

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Breitbart is gleeful.

I remember having an argument about this once at a dinner thrown by Rees-Mogg’s old school chum William Sitwell. A fellow guest insisted that Mogg was far too posh to reach the highest levels in politics. But the person making this claim was a middle-class Remainer who was essentially projecting his liberal elite prejudices. Out in the country at large, however, people just don’t have this chippy attitude. Just as squaddies in the Army still often prefer it if their platoon commander is a Rupert with a proper public school accent, so constituents — as is certainly the case in Jacob’s North-East Somerset parliamentary seat — have a sneaking fondness for an old-fashioned, lord-of-the-manor type with impeccable manners, a mastery of the English language, and a respect for Britain’s traditions.

This is one of the things that has been so enjoyable about watching the Boris Johnson administration in action. It’s like watching Odysseus returning to Ithaca and clearing his court of all the wastrels, louts, and spendthrifts who have taken over in his absence; it’s like witnessing the Restoration of Charles II after years in which Britain had been in thrall to hatchet-faced, Christmas-and-Maypole-banning Puritans; it’s like Britain once more becoming the place we used to know and love before the social justice warriors and race-baiters and cry-bullies and diversity officers and sustainability consultants almost went and ruined everything.

Watching the new gang — Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg especially — competing in the Commons last week to see who could most wittily and imaginatively put down the Opposition, I was reminded of the good old days at the Oxford Union when Oxford was still a halfway decent university and hadn’t completely surrendered to whiny, entitled Communists.

The swagger, the confidence, the bantering good humour — where making your point is all very well, but what matters far more is the style and wit with which you do it — reminded me how much we’ve been missing in Parliament all these years as MPs with class and hinterland and oratorical skills were edged out by career-safe, virtue-signalling placemen and placewomen.

What we’re seeing happening in British politics now is very similar to what the U.S. has been experiencing under Donald Trump — only done in an English way. The bubble of pomposity has been pricked by our new God-Emperors of banter.



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