Anne Sutherland, a co-founder of Ready for Rees-Mogg, is a Scottish Conservative who has worked on five campaigns in the UK and the USA. She also worked for Vote Leave last year as Development Assistant.
During the last few weeks, there has been a lot of talk about “Moggmentum”. Odds have been slashed from 66/1 to 10/1 for Jacob Rees-Mogg to become next leader of the Conservative Party, and the campaign “Ready for Rees-Mogg” has garnered over 17,000 signatures of support, raised £3,000 and recruited hundreds of volunteers in a matter of days. But where has this grassroots-led energy suddenly come from?
To understand his sharp rise in popularity, all we need to do is revisit last week’s episode of Question Time. Those of you who tuned in will have witnessed a masterclass in conservatism. Rees-Mogg is a superior orator with a wealth of knowledge behind him, giving him the unique ability to explain the most complex of issues. On Question Time, he answered a question on pay rises in the public sector by answering by saying “we need to look at where we started”.
In looking to the reasons behind current politics, he shows that he is not a one-hit-wonder politician with a fix-all policy up his sleeve, happy to placate everyone. Rees-Mogg explains in layman’s terms how the extent of an issue is not simply a single issue with a single answer, but part of the complex nature of politics and history. Knowing this and relating it to a public who deal in single issues shows his leadership qualities. His measured responses were grounded with facts: there is not a single moment where another panelist got the better of him.
Another key reason for his surge is Brexit. Being an unwavering Eurosceptic before and during the referendum, he perfectly answered the audience member’s question on why we’re going for ‘hard Brexit’ with, ‘you are either in the European Union or you leave it’, cutting through the Remoaner-lead fantasy that Brexit can be ‘hard’ or ‘soft’. Rees-Mogg advocated that by leaving the EU’s protectionist policies behind, we can step into the wide open world of free trade.He also used the free market to advocate for Brexit and the good it will do for not just our economy, but for developing nations currently priced out of the EU protectionist policies. Championing the free market, if nothing else, is why Jacob Rees-Mogg is a great candidate for Conservative leader in the future, since goes right to the core of conservative principles.
The simple truth is that people are fed up with generic, cookie-cutter politicians; the average politician just doesn’t cut it in the age of social media. Rees-Mogg’s frank and consistent conservative politics, coupled with a unique and uncompromising character, has created a following like Jeremy Corbyn on the left that no other politician is currently capable of building. Neither Corbyn nor Rees-Mogg has changed their views, politics or themselves to placate anyone – and that in itself is refreshing. A Momentum-esque movement is exactly what the right is screaming for, and Rees-Mogg is cornering the woefully forgotten right wing social media platform with 32,500 followers in instagram. He has awakened an interest in conservatism in the younger generation, something desperately needed as there is currently no youth wing actively campaigning, strategising, or building the Conservative Party of the future.
No matter what your opinion of his voting record, Rees-Mogg is a man of conviction and principle. He is unapologetically Conservative in a time when the party has u-turned on key issues, announced policies which look like they belong in Labour’s manifesto, and in some cases were lifted straight out of a previous editions. Staying true to his conservative principles means that he stands for something; he is not willing to bow to the wind or changing tide and, listening to the passion he has for the policies and principles he believes in, he creates a belief in the listener too. Maybe this staunch conservative family man with a great sense of humour is just the leader we need to reignite Britain’s promise and lead us out into the world.
Fundamentally, at the end of the theatrics and the appeal his character creates, he is staunchly conservative in a time when politics seems to be about pleasing everybody possible and no one at all, and when political lines are becoming blurred in the face of a hung parliament. This stoic conservatism is refreshing. His ineffable character has created memes and a huge following – but luckily the man does not end there. Rees-Mogg has the intelligence, experience and gravitas to fully back up the support out there calling for his leadership of the Conservative Party and service as as Prime Minister. Even if there isn’t a leadership election for five years, or more, Rees-Mogg is clearly a strong contender for the role, and stands a good chance if the vote is cast by the members this time. If there is a leadership election sooner than that, well, we’re building the base to get him into Number 10.
If you support Rees-Mogg for leader, click here to sign our petition. We’ll be ready, when he is ready.