If the Conservatives are too frightened to make Jacob Rees-Mogg a Minister, they don't deserve to survive
By Paul Goodman
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All voters who know nothing about politics know of Jacob Rees-Mogg is that he is a rather distinguished-looking and very well-spoken man in spectacles who they see out of their corner of their eye on television and then promptly forget all about. All people who know a little about politics know of him is that he fought a by-election somewhere in Scotland supported by his nanny, his under-butler, Gussie Fink-Nottle, Charles Moore, Georgiana Cavendish, Julian Fffellowes, the entire cast of Downton Abbey, and the chap who lays out the toothpaste on his toothbruth each morning. This proves that people who know nothing about politics grasp a great deal more about it than those who know a little.
I'm all for a wider range of candidates and MPs - women and ethnic minority members and working class people (who get a bit forgotten in the great diversity drive) and, above all, the poorer would-be candidates who just can't afford the cost of modern politics. But when the powers-that-be are so paralysed by self-doubt that they're almost too frightened to cough, something is badly wrong. What happened to promotion on ability? Rees-Mogg perhaps shouldn't be first in the queue to be dispatched to some by-election in Greater Merseyside - though he would bring more verve to the task than some of his colleagues - but he would make a perfectly good Under-Secretary at, say, the Environment or Transport or Climate Change. If the Conservative Party is too scared of its own shadow to make the Moggster a Minister, it scarcely deserves to survive.