“Jacob Rees-Mogg” answers our questionnaire:
__1.__What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Lunch surrounded by one’s family. Sunday lunch is a quintessential part of any Englishman’s weekly routine and one of the many benefits of Brexit is that we will soon, once again, have chlorinated chicken firmly back on the menu. It is perfectly safe of course. Indeed, as anyone with a General Certificate in Chemistry could tell you it is not only safe, but adds a dulcet “swimming pool” aroma to one’s meal. Since the EU banned it, one has been obliged to add one’s own chlorine at meal times.
__2.__On what occasions do you lie?
One never lies. One reclines.
__3.__What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
__4.__What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Ever since the EU Referendum last year, one section of our country has been mired in chumpery. A cottage industry has grown out of misery and doom-mongery – as liberal types busy themselves in newspaper columns and wireless interviews, accusing the government of being directionless, or pointing to the crashing pound and spiralling inflation and saying it was all a beastly idea to leave the EU. Balderdash of course for on the contrary, the Brexit negotiations have been trotting along very happily indeed. Our position is clear. We want everything we have already, along with all the other things that we don’t have and we don’t want to pay a penny for it.
__5.__What is your greatest extravagance?
One lives a very frugal life. The upkeep of the Bentley is one’s gift to future generations and thus not so much an extravagance, more a public duty. I suppose one could have one or two fewer homes and a smaller number of servants, but good staff are very hard to come by and take years of training so I see their employ as a long term investment. One does not want to be accused of overindulgence however and so last year when we took a rare family holiday to California I did ensure that the children and nanny flew in business class. It is essential that one’s offspring meet ordinary people now and then.
__7.__What is your current state of mind?
I am thrilled at the prospect of us leaving the EU. As the Chinese economy continues to boom, the sweat factories of South East Asia will need to move somewhere else and once rid of all that silly health and safety legislation I can envisage a bright future for Britain making cheap plastic toys for global markets. Brexit will undoubtedly have short term consequences on our imports and as we rely on the EU for so much of our food there will perhaps be a period of readjustment. This could be a very good thing. It is my hope that a system of rationing could be introduced – to make sure that the working man has a healthier diet. This in turn could resolve our current “obesity epidemic.” If one looks at photographs of chaps during the Blitz very few of them are “fat.” There is a good reason for that. There was no food.
__8.__What is your ambition?
One is very flattered to be touted about as the “Prime Minister in waiting” but it is all simply a bit of fun. That said, if the nation were to demand it of one it would be very bad manners to refuse. One is not measuring the curtains just yet however as that is the job of a qualified seamstress.
__9.__What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Tolerance. One of the great comforts of a Catholic upbringing is that one can merrily go about the place condemning other life-styles without having to sign up to the preposterous notion of “political correctness.” Take abortion for example. One frequently meets tiresome characters who say things along the lines of “but the Bible doesn’t mention abortion” or “where in the good book does it say that one should persecute homosexuals?” People are entitled to think whatsoever they might like of course, but in both cases they are entirely missing the point. Church is much like one’s school, in that while the rules and traditions might make no sense whatsoever, they exist, have done so for many years and should thus be respected and preserved that they might be passed on to the next generation.
__10.__Which living person do you most despise?
“Vince” Cable who is undoubtedly the most dangerous man in the world at the moment. One should be very wary indeed of the sort of chap who goes on caravanning holidays and has an “en suite” in his “loft extension.”
__12.__What qualities do you most like in a man?
A well-made suit and a natural aversion to kedgeree.
__13.__What is the quality you most like in a woman?
A propensity for silence.
__14.__Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Do you have any lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimhypotrimmatosilphioparaomelitokatakechymenokichlepikossyphophattoperisteralektryonoptekephalliokigklopeleiolagoiosiraiobaphetraganopterygon on the menu?” They rarely do.
__15.__What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Continentals might fall in love; Englishmen have stout socks and long underwear to prevent against that sort of thing.
__16.__When and where were you happiest?
Happiness is terribly déclassé.
__17.__What is your most treasured possession?
__18.__What do you most value in your friends?
Fortitude. Many good chums suffered terrible hardships after the economic crash in 2008. In some cases they had to let good staff go, or close up entire wings of their homes during the winter months. There is much talk of the squeezed middle classes, but this is a dreadful calumny against the travails of the squeezed upper classes. One has heard distressing tales of children being sent to second eleven public schools, or being obliged to drink non-vintage wine. One good friend was obliged to budget for his annual holiday in Bali – by “saving up.” We haven’t spoken since, lest the whole ghastly experience embarrass him.
__23.__What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
One has never known misery. Sadness perhaps. Of course like all children I was a little home sick when I first got sent to prep school aged six. The building seemed very unprepossessing. It was gothic and smelt a little ripe and obviously one wants to be seen to fit in, make a good impression and get on with things; but one felt a little trepidation – perhaps. One had heard the most ghastly things about being beaten or “flushed” by the older children and one was naturally a little apprehensive. In all the flurry of arriving and departing I missed my parents and didn’t have the opportunity to shake their hands good-bye. Which was a pity – but one just got on with things.
__24.__What is your favourite occupation?
“Flushed” was when one was grabbed by the other children and held above a lavatory, while they brayed like hyenas and pushed one’s head into the bowl.
__25.__What is your most marked characteristic?
Of course one was not alone in being on the receiving end of these sorts of hi-jinks.
__26__Who are your favourite writers?
Keats was a great comfort. The other boys would try to make fun of one and so I would regularly go and hide somewhere and read Keats.
__27__Who is your hero of fiction?
One night, long after I had drifted off to sleep, a group of the chaps woke me by pulling me from my bed. Lamp-posting I believe they called it. Despite my protestations they managed to get hold of my glasses, which I had hidden beneath my pillow and threw them from one to another – until the ring-leader – who now heads a major EU think tank – decided to dispense with them through the window. I found them the following morning – lost among the petunias at the bottom of the building.
__28.__Which historical figure do you most identify with?
I remember feeling rather alone. Father was terribly busy though and one didn’t want to
__29.__Who are your heroes in real life?
Bother him – one was expected to soldier on. To just get on with it. And so one did. One just got on with it. And put everything else – to the back of one’s mind.
(As told to Otto English – satire)