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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Boris Johnson and the enemy within

Boris Johnson has published his personal manifesto for Brexit; and, by a curious coincidence, this has happened just days before his boss is due to outline the Government's official manifesto for Brexit.  As his colleagues immediately realised, this is a thinly veiled application for the job of Prime Minister.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Jacob Rees-Mogg and the sleep of reason

Quentin Letts made the worst mistake possible when he described Jacob Rees-Mogg as the Honourable Member for the Eighteenth Century.  To tag JRM as an authentic survival of the era of squires and slavery is to make the basic error of taking the man at face value.  That the son of a journalist from Hammersmith can dress and talk like JRM in the year 2017 is not a sign of the persistence of historical conservatism - it amounts to a radically postmodern form of identity fluidity, a kind of hard-right equivalent of declaring oneself to be genderqueer.  In this sense, JRM is several degrees more radical than Jeremy Corbyn, who has never pretended to be anything other than a middle-class lefty.  It is JRM's good fortune that his eyecatching identity-shopping has coincided with a tendency to treat politics as a species of entertainment, a tendency which gives an advantage to "characters" like Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage over dull worthies like Amber Rudd and Vince Cable.