Their movement has finally found its man: Jacob Rees-Moggby David Maddox / April 17, 2018 / Leave a comment
Published in May 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
A towering monument stands near Loch Shiel where Bonnie Prince Charlie launched the Jacobite rebellion in 1745 but it seems unlikely that there will be any memorial in Manchester Town Hall to mark the rise of the Neo-Jacobites on 2nd October last year.
The event was a packed Conservative conference fringe, organised by the Bruges Group which cemented the legend of Jacob Rees Mogg, helped by an invasion of leftwing protesters. After calmly debating with the socialists before they quietly left, he opened his speech with the confident righteousness that all ideologically driven groups want to hear.
“We don’t need to shout, we don’t need to scream. We need calm considered deliberative discussion and then we can show people that conservative ideas and values are best for this nation.”
A movement in need of a “sound” leader had finally found its man. After the referendum Boris had proven to be too soft on immigration then leadership, Gove untrustworthy, and Farage disappeared stage right pursuing Donald Trump.
The “Jacobite” tag may rile some historical purists, but there are real parallels in the twin movements of (largely) Tory reactionaries. Both share a nostalgic view of a past political order—be it the lost Stuart ascendency, or the years of “Sovereignty” before 1973. Both seek to restore this, by harnessing the power of nationalism, whether that nationalism be that Scottish in 1745 or British in 2018. And then there is the Catholic factor. The old Jacobites hoped for religious freedom from a hard-line Anglicanism in England and Presbyterianism in Scotland. The Neo-Jacobites are not mostly Catholics, but they do want “religious freedom” to be social conservatives about gay marriage, transexuality and abortion, positions which their leaders’ devout Catholicism leads him to. When Piers Morgan thought he trapped Rees Mogg by getting him to give a rigid Catholic anti-abortion stance, he actually fuelled support.