The British Restoration
Boris Johnson, Britain, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Restoration
Breitbart is gleeful.
I remember having an argument about this once at a dinner thrown by Rees-Moggâ€™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 donâ€™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 â€” as is certainly the case in Jacobâ€™s North-East Somerset parliamentary seat â€” 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 Britainâ€™s traditions.
This is one of the things that has been so enjoyable about watching the Boris Johnson administration in action. Itâ€™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; itâ€™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; itâ€™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 â€” Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg especially â€” 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 hadnâ€™t completely surrendered to whiny, entitled Communists.
The swagger, the confidence, the bantering good humour â€” where making your point is all very well, but what matters far more is the style and wit with which you do it â€” reminded me how much weâ€™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 weâ€™re seeing happening in British politics now is very similar to what the U.S. has been experiencing under Donald Trump â€” only done in an English way. The bubble of pomposity has been pricked by our new God-Emperors of banter.