Jacob Rees-Mogg – instructions on social distancing for returning MPs (non Latin version)

“Senatores grata patria!”

As Leader of the House of Commons, it has fallen to oneself to smooth our return to Mother Parliament and one is resolved to ensure that as we do so, things are kept as straightforward as possible.

The last three months have been intolerable and tedious for us all.  Trapped in our manor houses, unable to show off our knowledge of obscure historical precedents or debate even the most inconsequential of bills, many of us have been obliged to do little more than field tiresome correspondence from ‘constituents’ and affect an interest in their concerns.

For one’s own part, being cooped up in a pokey 18 bedroom country pile has very much tested the mettle. At times the tapestries in the East Wing felt as if they were closing in and it was almost impossible to ostentatiously catch up on the life of Livius Andronicus, as one’s concentration was frequently distracted by the sound of one’s children laughing merrily in distant out-buildings.

As with so many other ordinary people across the country, this ghastly pestilence has brought considerable personal tragedy to the Rees-Mogg household. For almost three weeks Cook was unable to get goose fat and we were obliged to furlough the under valet as one simply didn’t need the usual quantity of starched collars. Worse still, in March two shipments of Chateaux Margaux ’86 were delayed and on one desperate Sunday afternoon, we came perilously close to running out of sherry.

But we are through it now and with life returning to normal it is time for Westminster to lead the way forward before the hoi polloi start getting ideas.

Of course one does not wish, in so doing, to put the lives of one’s honourable friends at risk and so it is imperative that everyone is up to speed on the new guidelines.

Contrary to what you may think, one has long been an enormous fan of social distancing as one has been practising it for most of one’s life. The only difference is that these new measures apply to us all, regardless of our standing in the social hierarchy. Yes, even you Mr Blackford!

Officially we are being advised to remain (ghastly word) “two metres” apart but frankly one does not wish to sully the oldest and greatest parliament in the world with Napoleonic metrification. So MPs are politely requested to maintain a distance of six feet, five and three quarters of an inch from each other at all times.

Debates will continue as normal, but Labour and other opposition MPs fearful for their health and the risk of tipping us all into collective lassitude, are welcome to stay away.

The new system for voting is so simple that even members of the Liberal Democrats will be able to grasp it.

social distance
How the queuing system will look

MPs will form an orderly queue of 60 chains from Westminster Hall, to the statue of Cromwell on the south side of Parliament Square. When everyone is assembled I shall blow my whistle thrice to get your attention and then eight times more to signal that it is time to move. Thence members will form in two lines, one quarter of a furlong apart and proceed at a speed of two knots towards the tellers. It is imperative that as you do so you maintain straight backs and a distance of 78 and a quarter inches from each other. If one has socialist inclinations – or a beard – I would request that you increase that measure to eight yards.

I have arranged for members of the household cavalry to position themselves two chains apart and beat a solemn marching pace on their drums as we proceed to our constitutional duty.

Having voted, MPs are asked to hop on their left leg to the nearest washroom wherein to cleanse their hands while singing all six verses of ‘God Save the Queen’ including the one about decapitating the Scots.

I have been repeatedly asked if the hopping and singing is really necessary, to which the answer is “Yes”.

One is very much looking forward to seeing you all during the new parliamentary term. If you have any questions do please pop them in one’s pigeon hole and I shall endeavour to deign to read them, but only if they have been correctly punctuated and written on vellum.

In the meantime I am your most trusted,

Jacob Rees-Mogg

(as told to Otto English)


Sextus, Pugs, Baroque and Prole – the life and times of Jacob Rees-Mogg – an unofficial biography (part 1)

Lord Ashcroft has written an unauthorised biography of Jacob Rees-Mogg – but here is the only take you need

Jacob Rees-Mogg was born in Hammersmith on the 24th of May 1969. His father William, then Editor of The Times of London, was busy eating marmalade and could not be present; nor could his mother, who had decided on a whim to visit a maiden aunt in Weybridge. Jacob has no memory of his birth in Hammersmith but there can be few in Hammersmith who have never heard of Jacob Rees-Mogg – and those who haven’t are probably illegal immigrants.

Soon after his arrival Jacob was whisked out of London to the family home – Ston Easton Park – a modest forty-six bedroom Grade I listed mansion set in a postage stamp 210 acres of sculpted parkland. The Rees-Moggs struggled to get by on an Editor’s salary and a handful of trust funds. There were years when the staff was diminished to as few as eighteen and JRM and his siblings were obliged to muck out their own horses, oversee the cleaning of their own tack and put their clothes on by themselves. Despite these considerable hardships young Jacob – like any child of the nineteen seventies – was an eager venture capitalist. From his nursery wing at Ston Easton his team invested what little he could in share portfolios, farmland in Southern Argentina and the Cincinatti Reds – a baseball team who he inadvertently acquired whilst recovering from a bout of tonsillitis.

jake 2
Ston Easton Park – a modest home for a modest man

Formally introduced to his parents for the first time just prior to his tenth birthday, young Jacob was shocked to discover that his father was ‘in trade’ and worse ‘a journalist.’ The trauma would have killed most ordinary people – but young Jacob was no ordinary person. He was picked up by a valet, dusted down by Nanny and sent off into the world with just his first Bentley and twelve million pounds to his name.

Prep School was not an easy time for the young Rees-Mogg, who was now obliged to ‘mix’ with ‘children.’ Jacob is often portrayed as a man out of touch with the experiences of ordinary British people but it was here that he first came face to face with the real hardships of life – experiences that would shape him and mould his nascent political thinking. To his dismay Jacob found that a good number of his school fellows had just the one barrel to their surname. Reporting the matter to the Headmaster, Mogg was informed bluntly that nothing could be done and that his time could be better spent.

Many of the masters had already taken against Mogg and one in particular – an inexplicably popular French teacher called Monsieur Charpentier – had the spiteful habit of correcting his pronunciation and telling him he had ‘made mistakes’ in his declensions. The bullying meted out by Charpentier would have broken most grown men, let alone a 10 year old boy – but Jacob was made of sterner stuff. He was not about to be told he was ‘making mistakes’ by a musk wearing continental with slip on shoes.

Jacob sold The Reds, bought the school and summarily fired the jumped up frog eating Charpentier before inviting the local constabulary to arrest him on suspicion of being a Napoleonic spy. Lifted high on the shoulders of his fellow pupils he was marched about town for an hour before being thrown from a bridge into a river.

From Prep School he progressed to Eton where Nanny and he both agreed that he did superbly. Tall, neat and arrogant he breezed through the establishment with all the confidence of a young scholar with eight figures in the piggy bank and the gait of a giraffe on roller skates. His habit of changing records at the school disco for Gregorian chants won him many friend (sic) but his genius naturally upset the very many lesser pupils. Unfortunately his insistence on speaking Latin to assistants in shops, or reporting people to MI5 for looking poor led to jealous accusations of ‘stupidity’ ‘arrogance’ and ‘time wasting’ but Jacob had by now endeared himself to the nation by threatening to sue the BBC for its leftist pretentions and there was no stopping him.

off to the school disco
Boys on their way to Eton school disco ca. 1986

Jacob’s arrival at Oxford was a game changer for the establishment which had been languishing in the academic third division for eight hundred years. This was the beginning of a glorious renaissence for the University which had already welcomed the brilliant minds of both Boris Johnson and Toby Young and was soon to witness the arrival of Daniel J Hannan; the greatest thinker of our age. Summoning the President of Trinity to his rooms JRM bluntly informed him that there was nothing he could be taught as he had already made his mind up about everything. But with typical generosity of spirit he promised to attend tutorials anyway – before tipping the Provost a ten bob note and sending him on his way. Mogg became President of the Oxford Conservative Union – where he delighted in wearing more impractical clothes than everybody else – and loftily telling those who had gone to secondary moderns that he was richer than them and therefore right about everything.

He left with a second class degree.

At this point many young men with Prime Ministerial ambitions might have selfishly entered politics – but Jacob was determined once again to ‘give something back.’ And so for almost a decade he altruistically worked for Rothschilds investment bank before setting up his own fund Management firm. Ever one to consider the most deprived in society, Jacob ensured that Somerset Capital Management was generously managed via subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands and Singapore – thus giving employment to some of the most desperate people on Earth.

Jacob Rees-Mogg loved by all

Having saved the third world – Jacob thought it was time to save Britain from the encroaching EU Nazi superstate and teach the French teacher Charpentier a ‘jolly good lesson’ in the process. The rabidly anti-success Conservative party stifled his ambitions from the get go. Aged just 26 he fought a seat in Fife – where he was ridiculed by ungrateful working class people for brightening up their otherwise insipid lives by campaigning alongside his Nanny in a Bentley. Jacob lost – as the people of Fife – envious of his brilliance – voted in vast numbers not to have him as their MP.

To any lesser man it may have felt like the end of the road – but in fact it was only a beginning of a road to the end of a road.

Jacob’t famous impersonation of a man slowly realising he’s sitting on a pin

Enemies of the people? Who was behind the letter to Downing Street and who is taking back control?

Earlier this week, the European Research Group, headed by Jacob Rees-Mogg, delivered a letter to Downing Street signed by 62 MPs, demanding that the UK should not be stopped from negotiating trade deals with other countries and gain full “regulatory autonomy” once we leave the EU. The taxpayer funded ERG is a small but influential gang of Brexit MPs who want Leave delivered whatever the cost. May is clearly a bit worried about them and thus responded to the note by inviting Mogg and a cluster of Brexiteers into Downing Street.

There are currently 650 Members of Parliament of whom 315 are Tory MPs. In any other circumstances a letter such as this would probably be ignored, but because of May’s precarious working majority, this very small but potentially damaging group of 62, feels it can dictate the course of the Leave negotiations and thus the destinies of 65 million others.

The ERG signatories – A Who’s Who and in some cases WHO??? of Brexiteers

So who are they all? I’ve spent the last 24 hours looking at these ERG signatories, analysing some common threads and asking – is this really about sovereignty? Is this really about ‘democracy’?And – who exactly is taking back control?

Let’s start with ERG Chairman, 48 year old multi-millionaire Old Etonian Jacob Rees-Mogg. He might be best known for his Lord Snooty tribute act, but beneath the posh suits lurks a very un-cuddly backward-looking patrician Tory. When not posing with Bagpuss, Jacob is one of the richest members of the Houses of Parliament. Indeed, he earns considerably more than the Prime Minister thanks to his ‘extra curricula activities’ at Somerset Capital Management whose emerging markets activities will no doubt benefit from Brexit. Estimates suggest Mogg netted at least £4 million during his 7 years as an MP on top of his £74k parliamentary salary. Behind the charming veneer, Jacob has genuinely deplorable views, believing that rape victims shouldn’t have abortions, that food banks are uplifting, that the human rights act should be ditched and that gay marriage is wrong. While Mogg has long wanted to ‘get back control’ he happily admits that he himself takes his orders from Rome; with a clear majority of voters in North East Somerset backing Remain – the concerns of his constituents are clearly the very last thing on his mind.

rees mogg
The danger with political jokes – is that they risk getting elected

Mogg is just one of the 32 (51%) of ex-public school alumni on a list that is overwhelmingly white, wealthy and male. 32% (19) of the signatories went to Oxford or Cambridge, just 16% are women and of those – 20% are called Anne-Marie. (Among all MPs – 29% went to private schools and 25% to Oxbridge. Source C4.)

The list is stuffed with the names of old style, aristocratic Tory fat cats such as “Sir Henry Bellingham” a descendent of Spencer Perceval’s assassin John Bellingham. Old Etonian ‘Henners’ fills in the time between representing his constituents by earning £108,000 per year, working just seven hours a month, for a mining company and when not doing that ‘Busy Bellingham’ is doing his other jobs as a senior advisor to a posh fund management company and as a non-executive Director of Developing Market Associates. Does this sound like the CV of a latter day Che Guevara, liberating the nation from the clutches of globalist corporate interests?

Working further down through the names, it is bewildering just how many of these hard working parliamentarian patriots find time for ‘second jobs.’ In between trying to stop the repeal of Section 28, pulling the UK out of the EU and striving for a decade to reintroduce the death penalty, Mr Bean tribute act John Redwood, for example has managed to ‘top up’ his MP salary by £200k a year as Chief Global Strategist at Charles Stanley and Co. John may be an ardent Brextremist but he’s an even more diligent corporate strategist and last year advised his clients to move their money out of Britain – because of Brexit. We may have been told that Brexit will be nothing but good by John Redwood himself – but perhaps that’s because we don’t pay him enough.

But Brexit is much more than mere financial details, isn’t it. It’s about getting the nation back on track. It’s about Sovereignty. It’s about engaging with the rest of the world – about being progressive and forward thinking and distancing ourselves from the ‘old ways.’

Odd then, that there are so many MPs on the list who are so keen to espouse what might best be termed ‘Extreme Victorian values’. Take Peter “funny” Bone who has long been preoccupied with others’ sex lives and in particular whether gay couples should marry. Peter believed ‘the people’ should decide on the issue of LGBT rights and was keen to invoke his wife, Mrs Bone’s views on all manner of matters of morality….. right up to the point when he dumped her for a model 20 years his junior. The Boner has been ‘entertaining’ his new girlfriend at his luxury £1.5 million taxpayer funded home ever since. Taking back control was never easier!

Peter incidentally believes that Brexit will be a boost for Britain and in particular the humble British worker. Pin Prick wonders if this Peter Bone is in any way related to the one who was once dubbed “Britain’s meanest boss” after paying an employee just 87p an hour.

peter bone
Peter ‘funny’ Bone MP

But we are already half-way in and have barely troubled the tip of the ‘62’ iceberg – so let’s quickly run through some of the supporting cast: there’s lovely James Gray MP who is so keen to leave things that he dumped his wife while she was undergoing breast cancer treatment and ran off with another woman. There’s the aptly named ‘man of the people’ Philip Hollobone who wants to reintroduce National Service and who recently talked out a Bill that would protect the NHS from privatisation. There’s Old Harrovian Richard Grosvenor Plunkett Ernle-Erle-Drax Lord of the Manor of Longburton. There’s Lucy Allen who lives with her millionaire stockbroker husband in a Wandsworth mansion a full 160 miles from her Telford constituency. You may remember Lucy, incidentally, as the lovely MP who sacked an employee for taking sick leave (more of that to come post-Brexit) and was accused of aggressive and bullying behaviour by two others. There’s Bob Blackman who distinguished himself by talking openly about his moral opposition to same sex marriage – only to be called out by his secret mistress of 10 years standing. There’s Andrew Bridgen who thinks ordinary people are ‘put off’ becoming MPs by the paltry salary and who has thus taken matter into his own hands, got on his bike and gone off to work for the family firm for £93,276 pa for just 6 hours a week. Multi-millionaire Andy sold his £2million mansion to you and me the taxpayer (wasn’t that generous of us, do you remember) in 2015 under the HS2 ‘hardship scheme’ – because he was getting divorced. He took back control and we took back his home.

There’s David Jones MP, who outshone everyone in 2013, by charging the taxpayer to take a chauffeur driven Jaguar on a 100 metre ride.

There’s Andrew Rosindell of the Monday Club (flags division) who has dedicated much of his parliamentary career to trying to get a dedicated queue at Heathrow for people who come from other countries that have the Queen as their head of state. Oh and of course, there’s lovely Philip Davies who has busied himself about the Commons blocking bills he doesn’t like, by ‘talking them out.’ Free hospital parking for carers of seriously ill patients? BLOCKED. First aid provision in schools? BLOCKED. Phil was so busy blocking bills that in 2013 he neglected to mention that he had received £10,000 in ‘benefits’ from the gambling industry.

There’s Priti Patel, former ‘big tobacco’ PR supremo who was sacked…. Sorry who resigned for lying. And lovely Anne-Marie Trevelyan who voted against smoking bans, voted against LGBT rights, voted against laws to promote equality and human rights – and voted consistently for tax cuts for the rich and better provision for private patients in the NHS. The ‘other’ Anne-Marie (Morris) who has been an MP since 2010 is remembered mostly for that one appearance when she dismissed the threat of leaving the EU with no deal as a “n**ger in the woodpile.” She promptly lost the whip – but don’t worry they gave it back to her in the end.

These MPs may be fighting to take back control, but one has to question who exactly they are taking it back for. This question is perhaps most pertinent for the MPs on the list, who represent Remain constituencies. Step forward Matthew Offord, Bob Blackman, Jacob Rees-Mogg (again) Giacomo ‘Jack’ Lopresti, ‘Mad’ Bob Stewart, Stephen Kerr, Colin Clark, Iain Duncan Smith and John Redwood (again)

There is a remarkable and largely homogenous commonality of views between these Brexit backers that could best be described as ‘anti-NHS, anti-tax, anti-regulation, traditionalist, monarchist, anti-poor people, vigorously pro-wealth and very, very right wing.’ A clear majority have opposed any reform of the unelected House of Lords. A clear majority oppose LGBT rights. Most Britons and even most Conservative and UKIP member support same sex marriages – but most of these MPs (65%) have either voted consistently against LGBT rights and weddings or spoken fiercely against them. The bulk of those who were there for the Same Sex Couples Act of 2013, voted against. Nobody on the list supported Yes in the AV referendum or has spoken vocally in support of any change to our voting system, putting to bed the lie that Brexit is somehow about ‘the people’ being given autonomy or more democracy.

It isn’t.

From where the ERG is standing at least, it’s clearly about vested interests and old style Conservative values. In short – a power grab. And perhaps that extends well beyond the 62, for as has been pointed out by Matthew Holehouse among others, there is something rather peculiar about the document. While almost none of the signatories have a legal or trade expertise background, the letter itself is very, very specific in its demands. Indeed I would challenge most people to understand it without a ‘translation’. Have all the 62 members of the ERG actually comprehended what they have put their names to? There are rumours, allegedly emanating from Downing Street that the influential and rather shady Legatum Institute, at the heart of hard Brexit, may have played a role in its drafting. The funding of the Legatum Institute, which is owned by a Dubai Hedge Fund, remains somewhat shrouded in mystery and most people still have not heard of it – but if the Institute is indeed behind this letter then there are vested interests at surreptitious play and frankly we – the people – should know.


Because remember – this is supposed to be about our country and us taking back control, but it would seem that handing that ‘control’ to the ordinary British subject is the very last thing on the ERG agenda. These true believers of Brexit and their fellow travellers on the old right – may pretend they are working to deliver what the ‘people wanted’ – but all the time, they are very much aware, that it is now ‘their’ agenda and because of May’s weakness they have the power to deliver it. The ERG Tory signatories represent just 19% of the Conservative parliamentary party and just 9% of all elected MPs but they have decided that they have a mandate and that this is ‘their’ prize and it would seem that the lacklustre Mrs May is too weak or gutless to stop them.

This is no longer a process – it’s a coup – and it flies in the face of the interests of the vast majority of British people on both sides of the Brexit divide.


The Rees-Mogg Christmas Special


One has never ‘got on’ with Christmas songs. There is something intrinsically déclassé about the popular music ballad form and “Bing Crosbies” singing ghastly remembrances of ‘days past’ is one’s idea of a very personal Perdition; a glimpse perhaps of what it might have been to have gone to the ‘other place’ or to have voted ‘Remain.’ Popular music should be sung in Canticle form – or not at all.


One has powerful prejudices about flightless American birds. If a fowl is too indolent to trouble itself with the basic matter of learning to fly, one feels no predisposition whatsoever toward having it served up on the Rees-Mogg mahogany. Turkeys are the preserve of yahoos, Guardian readers and laggards – the very essence of the “Non U” Christmas lunch. A goose is for Christmas, Turkey is for holidaymakers in search of cheap sunshine – and easy access to Mesopotamia.

Rees Moog Xmas


Vegetables should never be served ‘al dente’ – that way lies insurrection, despotism and Continental notions of promiscuity. One has long held a profound suspicion of ‘greens’ anyway – which should be eaten – and never elected. Last year our 7 year old Æthelflæd of Damerham (the third) stood up, unprompted, in the midst of the Christmas meal and fired Cook on the spot for serving ‘suspiciously European’ carrots before breaking into a rousing chorus of “Rule Britannia.” The future is in very safe hands.


In recent years one has witnessed a distressing tendency toward the mounting of ‘decorative electronic illuminations’ outside homes and even on Christmas trees. It is unforgivably common to place ‘fairy lights’ on one’s tree. The chilling ever pervasive interference of meddling EU “health and safety” chumps over the last four decades has inevitably led to the dimming popularity of candles on pine – on account of the fire risk posed. If one stations a maid nearby, with an appropriate asbestos suit, fire-hose and beater, there is absolutely no reason at all why one should not preserve the tradition as it was meant to be and delight one’s children with an authentic wax dripping sapling.


One is a stickler for the correct dispersal of ‘presents.’ Once Nanny has assembled the children in the Main Hall, insist on a strict pecking order with youngest to eldest child un-wrapping their gifts before proffering their parents a good firm hand-shake. Toys should be wooden and preferably carved English oak. One remembers fondly playing with a hoop and stick well into teenage-hood. It is every bit as exciting as an ‘Atari game consulate’ and never runs out of batteries. Older children might prefer something a little more cerebral and it is never too early to buy a child Ovid.

Non U fowl


One thinks often of that little child – born so very long ago in a simple manger in Bethlehem and his loving parents. Not for them the hideous EU enslavements of ‘compulsory inoculations’ or ‘maternity leave.’ Certainly they had to contend with the ‘massacre of the innocents’ but that was as nothing when compared to the enforced ‘EU legislation’ that has brought despotic workers’ rights or ‘the freedom to travel’ to millions of enslaved Britons. As we look back on that first Christmas Day – let us remember the true Conservative legacy of Christ’s Life – that if one is born in a stable, one might still climb to the very top – but only if one is of the ‘right stock.’ Jesus was the ‘son of God’ and not just any old riff-raff. One feels that the infant Messiah would have been an instinctive Brexiteer; if one studies the Gospels closely there is barely a mention of ‘Common Agricultural Policies’ at all. Indeed, while Jesus was later to tell his followers that he would make them ‘fishers of men,’ he explicitly failed to mention ‘quotas’ once  in any of his delightful “parables.”

One’s very warmest festive greetings to you all.

As told to Otto English

massacre innocents
Brueghel – Massacre of Innocents

Exclusive: “Rees-Mogg” talks chlorinated chicken, Moggmentum, Vince Cable and misery


“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)