Liz Truss and Jacob Rees-Mogg: Two useless people in high places

Liz Truss gave her farewell speech and seemed as clueless as ever. She advised her replacement Rishi Sunak of the need to ‘be bold’ although it was her very own boldness that led to one of the most spectacular downfalls in recent UK political history. She is is most likely to be remembered as the answer to two future trivia questions: Who had the shortest tenure as UK prime minister? And who was prime minister when Elizabeth Windsor died?

It is unlikely that Sunak will take her advice to be bold. He has probably learned that he needs to take things slow and at least give the appearance of being deliberative so as to remove the image that the Conservatives have now acquired for being reckless, even as he pushes the same right-wing policies that the Conservatives always push. Although he is cut from the same cloth as other Conservative leaders, coming from a wealthy and privileged background and went to the ‘right’ schools, I am sure that he is mindful that he is different in being an ethnic South Asian and Hindu. Being the first in any major category (gender, ethnicity, nationality, religion) to occupy a high position means that people are closely watching you. Failure will cause many to whisper that ‘people like them’ are simply not cut out to hold such positions. So Sunak’s first goal will be to not mess things up as much as Truss did and thus cautions is called for.

It was the same thing with Barack Obama as president. He was undoubtedly a disappointment to many in that he could have been a transformative leader instead of what he was, a competent, if run-of-the-mill, manager of the status quo. This was mostly because he was very much a product of the neoliberal establishment that backed him for the job and that role suited him. But I did give him a little slack for the fact that he did carry the burden of being the first Black president and thus simply could not afford to really mess up and confirm in the minds of racists that Black people should not be president. He thus likely felt that he had to be cautious.

And then we have Jacob Rees-Mogg.

He too comes from a privileged and wealthy background, went to the ‘right’ schools, and then made even more money in hedge funds so naturally that makes him the ‘right sort’ to be a leader. He is an ardent Brexiteer and free market extremist. He seems to perfectly epitomize the upper class twit that Monty Python mercilessly caricatured.

He even has the requisite hyphenated name. Whenever I read about him, I am reminded of the character Cyril ‘Barmy’ Fotheringay-Phipps (pronounced ‘Fungy Fips’) in the P. G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Bertie Wooster books. Fotheringay-Phipps is a member of Bertie Wooster’s Drones Club and although he is described as having the IQ of a backward clam, by the extremely low standards of the Drones Club membership, he is seen as an intellectual. Rees-Mogg very much fits that description. He seems to have been an insufferable brat from a very early age and there is even a photograph of him at the age of 12 wearing a trench coat and (God help us) a monocle.

He and Truss both seem to me to be both utterly unsuited to any high office. Hence he will also likely end up as the Conservative party leader and prime minister.


  1. says

    The really bad news here is that “useless” people in high places always turn out to be WORSE than useless. We may have heard the last of Truss, but I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of either Rees-Mogg or BoJo.

  2. ardipithecus says

    Cautious? Maybe . . . but it sure didn’t take him long to hang the Suella Braverman albatross around his own neck. At best, he’s showing a willingness to fill his cabinet with fuckwits (though, to be fair, he does have to pick Tories), at worst he has already lied to parliament. And that just a week before the Bojo lying to parliament hearings start.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    it was her very own boldness that led to one of the most spectacular downfalls in recent UK political history

    Fixed it for you.

  4. EigenSprocketUK says

    Rees-Mogg led the Privy Council the Queen at her estate in Balmoral to advise her to prorogue Parliament. They knew this was illegal at the time, and later the courts ruled it to be so.
    “Lying to the Queen” must be forever engraved on his record of service to the State.

  5. Deepak Shetty says

    , I am sure that he is mindful that he is different in being an ethnic South Asian and Hindu.

    Eh. Most rich, privileged people of different ethnicities who align themselves to the right usually strive to be whiter than white , more racist themselves , more conservative than the conservative and so on (See Thomas, Clarence or D’Souza, Dinesh).

  6. lanir says

    Playing nice with the racists doesn’t seem to have helped Obama at all. I’m pretty sure organized backlash against Obama that was completely unrelated to any of his policies is why we got Trump for president next. He got free media coverage every time he came up with a new excuse for birther nonsense.

    I know. I know, every single Trump voter wasn’t a racist. But they were all either improbably clueless about racism in the US, or they were just fine with voting in bigots.

  7. sonofrojblake says

    @lanir, 6:

    I know. I know, every single Trump voter wasn’t a racist.

    Indeed. Stewart Lee made this point very well indeed in his excellent show “Content Provider”.

    “I don’t know if you can make massive generalisations about people who voted for Trump, because people voted for Trump for all sorts of reasons. It wasn’t just racists who voted for Trump…. cunts did as well, didn’t they?”

    (Note, this is the post-interval section of the show, which is a word-for-word callback to the first half when the above sentiment was first stated about people who voted for Brexit.)

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