The Hate-Song of J. William Rees-Mogg
by Chris Norris
My name is Jacob Rees-Mogg, and
I’ll have you peasants know
I'm here to save this precious land
From many a deadly foe.
I'm ten years old but please don't laugh;
I'm grown-up as can be.
I read the Daily Telegraph
And that’s the rag for me.
It's great, a name like J. Rees-Mogg;
It helps me meet celebs,
And keeps the tabloid press agog,
And wows the idiot plebs.
My way of talking’s a big plus:
Old man or pimply boy?
A cross between Gerontius
And Little Lord Fauntleroy.
But I have plans they cannot guess,
Those types who'll love to mock
My weird beliefs or style of dress;
They're in for quite a shock.
I like to say, when interviewed,
That my ambition's height
Is to have loads of dosh accrued
And put the nation right.
Sometimes I like to flummox them,
By saying I'll become PM
By age eighteen, perhaps.
But really what most stirs my soul
And seems the better plan
Is casting myself in the role
Of Mosley, my main man.
Already I've the right ideas
And the right attitudes
To make us two, across the years,
A hand-picked pair of dudes.
I look ahead and seem to see,
Like him eight decades back,
A fascist column proud and free
All dressed in shirts of black.
I'll meet their chief ideologues,
Their neo-Nazi clones,
And love it when they tell me 'Moggs,
You're fascist in your bones'.
* * * * * * * *
And now I tick each box of theirs,
Those splendid chaps who find
In Trump a president who shares
Their every turn of mind.
Yet – here’s the neat bit – people say
‘Rees-Mogg’s a harmless fool’,
Or ‘Anyone who talks that way
Deserves plain ridicule.’
Meanwhile I hold forth all the time
On all my latest fads,
Like making birth-control a crime
Or anything that adds
To my large fan-base among those
Who think me just a clown
And those for whom my class-act goes
A whole lot deeper down.
For some watch film-clips and recall
How many folk would scoff
When Mosley spoke; yet still they fall
For any right-wing toff.
It's still the same fifth-column stuff,
With Trump in Hitler's place,
And us his side-kicks keen enough
To push the fascist case.
This Brexit thing’s come bang on cue;
It’s set friend against friend,
Remobilized our street-mob crew,
And let me set the trend.
Meanwhile the Tory faithful choose
Me as their pin-up guy
And propagate my right-wing views
So followers multiply.
The beauty is, they’re simple folk
And know not what they speak,
Or half-suspect it’s all a joke
Amongst their Tory clique.
The Guardian sounds a warning note:
‘Don’t trust this man an inch
Or one day they’ll be at your throat,
Those who’ve long felt the pinch’.
‘For now’, its columnists intone,
‘This fraudster has their ear,
And though his head seems solid bone
His words are words to fear.’
But I can happily ignore
Their cautionary tales
Since for each reader twenty more
Pick up their Suns or Mails.
Else it will be some viral tweet
Passed on in that mixed mode
Of call-to-arms and ‘Can you beat
This guy?’ that they decode,
My readers, pretty much as taste
Or politics incline
Though few are favourably placed
To grasp my true design.
They said of Mosley he was our
Lost leader, one who might
Have done great things had lust-for-power
Not put his wits to flight.
Me, I’m much subtler in my bid;
I’m well prepared to wait
With powder dry and keep the lid
Tight lest it detonate.
For soon there’ll come a time when it’s
All up with bleeding hearts,
With those who say that Trump’s the pits,
Like his Brit counterparts,
Who think that I’m a nasty piece
Of work in clownish guise,
And whose emotions find release
In new things to despise.
I’ll keep it up, my fogey act,
But leave them in no doubt,
My trusty Blackshirts, of the fact
That what it’s all about
Is bringing on the day when we
Can raise our flag again
And celebrate the victory
Of true-born Englishmen.
Then there’ll be no more flannelling
To keep the Guardian quiet,
No delicate news-channelling
In case the peasants riot.
I’d come right out with it and nail
My theses to the door,
Except that Luther won’t prevail
With those who know the score.
For ours will be a nation ruled
By Catholic decrees,
Where women are from childhood schooled
Their men and God to please.
We’ll have no liberal talk of choice
But preach the right to life
And how each woman should rejoice
In what befits a wife.
For that’s God’s law as certified
By chaps, like J. R-M,
With God-appointed role of guide
To weaker souls like them.
Then we’ll be near to heaven on earth,
A heaven for all but pro-
Life activists who think of birth
As their gift to bestow,
Not God’s, or those poor infidels
Who question the command
Of scripture when it plainly tells
Truths given us first-hand.
So let them mock my speech so quaint,
My breakfast shirt and tie,
And say the patience of a saint
Is what my witterings try.
I’d just remind them: now we’ve Trump
And Boris plus the hordes
Of disaffected types who’ll plump
For anyone who lords
It over them like me and spouts,
In truth, a load of tosh
Yet wows them as he flaunts and flouts
The rules of being posh.
Deny it as you may, I’ve tapped
Into a certain vein
Of Brit class-sentiment that’s apt
To go against the grain
Only for those who spot my ruse
And think back eight decades
To the last time when toffs would use
It on the hate-brigades.
So don’t desert me now, my loyal
Supporters from the ranks
Of those on whose delight in royal
Occasions our lot banks.
For we’ve deep things to draw upon
And old myths to revive
Which might see you lot dead and gone
While we still live and thrive.
Christopher Norris is Distinguished Research Professor in Philosophy at the University of Cardiff. He is the author of more than thirty books on aspects of philosophy, politics, literature, the history of ideas, and music.