Today’s Churchill – and Today’s Chamberlain
Like his Hitler-era counterpart, Jacob Rees-Mogg has no grasp of the dire threat facing his nation.
In the South Yorkshire town of Rotherham (pop. ca. 100,000), so-called Islamic “grooming gangs” were responsible for the repeated rape of about 1400 non-Muslim girls, mostly from the working classes, from the late 1980s on. Although local politicians, child-protection officials, police, and journalists were aware of the problem, they kept silent about it for decades, partly out of cowardice, partly out of political expediency, partly out of a misguided fear of inciting “Islamophobia,” and partly out of a classist disregard for the victims and their families. As a result, the perpetrators did not begin to be identified, arrested, and prosecuted until earlier in this decade.
There is nothing unique about Rotherham, of course: it just happens to be the place where the dam burst first. The list of British towns where similar gang activity has been uncovered is continues to grow longer, and the number of perpetrators and victims is increasing apace.
Meanwhile, on July 7, 2005, Muslim suicide bombers killed 52 people and wounded about 700 in London. On May 22, 2013, two Muslims slaughtered a British soldier, Lee Rigby, in Woolwich. On March 22, 2017, on Westminster Bridge, a Muslim behind the wheel of a car mowed down about four dozen pedestrians, four of whom were killed. On May 22, 2017, a Muslim suicide bomber took 22 lives at Manchester Arena. On June 3 of the same year, three Muslims with a van killed eight people on and near London bridge.
In addition, every so often during the past few years, some British newspaper has dared to publish a news story like the one that appeared in the Daily Mail on Saturday: according to a secret government report, more than 48 Islamic madrasas in Britain, all of them run by the Darul Uloom (“House of Knowledge”) network, are staffed by followers of the Deobandi movement, which produced the Taliban. The students, who are preparing to be imams, are thus “being taught that music and dancing comes from the devil and that women do not have the right to refuse sex to their husbands.”
Even as all these rapes and terrorist acts have been taking place and all these future imams being schooled in Koranic principles, the Islamic population of Britain has been on the rise, and with it the aggressiveness of the religion’s adherents and the readiness of powerful people in government, the academy, news organizations, cultural institutions, social-media companies – and, not least, Britain’s EU overlords in Brussels – to appease them and harass their religion’s critics. More and more ordinary British citizens feel that their country and their freedoms are slipping away. This is a big part of the reason why they voted three years ago to leave the EU – a decision that both parties in the House of Commons have shamefully conspired to thwart.
Now, in a development that seemed inconceivable the morning after the Brexit vote, the British are preparing to go to the polls on May 23 to elect new members of that Soviet-style rubber-stamp body known as the European Parliament. Two non-establishment parties are vying for the support of “Leave” voters who are outraged at Westminster’s betrayal of Brexit: one of them is UKIP, which led the Brexit campaign in the first place, and the other is Brexit, a new party formed by former UKIP head Nigel Farage. Also running for MEP – as an independent candidate in the North West – is Tommy Robinson, the working-class lad from Luton whose years-long effort to warn his fellow Brits about the dangers of Islam and, in particular, to sound the alarm about the grooming gangs, has won him the admiration of millions and the contempt of the political and media establishment.
The man who arguably represents that establishment more surely than anyone is Jacob Rees-Mogg, the natty Conservative MP from Somerset who (of course) went to Eton and Oxford, whose father was the editor of the Times of London, and whose accent is so ridiculously posh that it makes the late Sir John Gielgud sound like Andrew Dice Clay. Rees-Mogg voted for Britain to leave the EU, but is such a party loyalist that, until just the other day, he remained rock-solid in his support for Tory Prime Minister Theresa May, a “Remain” supporter who, though she insisted otherwise, was obviously out to sabotage Brexit. In the event, she ended up damaging her own party, which, if the polls and call-in shows can be believed, is set to lose the votes of millions of people who, though loyal Conservatives all their lives, now swear that they feel so betrayed that they will never support the party again.
It must be said that Rees-Mogg, the establishment man par excellence, is immensely articulate and comes off as intelligent and witty. Like most of his fellow MPs, however, he seems not to grasp the scale of what is going on in his country. “Anti-Islamic comments have no place in society,” he tweeted on April 18. Two days later, speaking to BBC Radio 4, today, he expanded on this statement, saying: “Anti-Islam comments are deeply disgraceful….I oppose them, I disapprove of them, I reject them.” He added: “I think that Islam is an important and interesting religion and that people in this country of the Muslim faith are as patriotic as Catholics are.”
It is worth pointing out that while Rees-Mogg has taken the trouble to weigh in against “anti-Islamic comments,” he has said nothing – nothing! – about the outright threats (not just “comments”) made by violent Muslims and their infidel allies against Tommy Robinson, who announced on Sunday that police had refused to arrest three people who had assaulted him, that South Wales police had “liked a tweet celebrating an assault on me,” and that police were now telling him that “they have credible intelligence that someone is going to attempt to murder me on my campaign route and live stream it.” On the contrary, even as he has rushed to the defense of Islam, Rees-Mogg has consistently put down Tommy Robinson, telling the Express on April 19, for example, that Robinson “reflects a type of politics that is unattractive and not usual in Britain.” In his usual laconic manner, he warned the British electorate against taking the “extremist route.”
Yes, you read that right: in Britain in 2019, according to Jacob Rees-Mogg, Islam – which has inspired grooming gangs and suicide bombers and intimdated authorities into curbing centuries-old British freedoms – is “important and interesting” and Tommy Robinson, whose life has been threatened repeatedly by Muslims, embodies an “extremist” type of politics that is – horror of horrors – “unattractive and not usual.”
Rees-Mogg seems blithely unaware of it, but his nation is standing at a historical crisis point that calls for Churchillian resolve – and Churchillian rhetoric. It calls, that is, for rhetoric that is eloquent and stirring and tough – not for deliberately low-key, upper-class utterances of the sort that bring to mind some brandy-sipping Edwardian toff in some Merchant Ivory film. Yes, Islam is certainly “important and interesting.” It is also, like Nazism and Communism, a totalitarian ideology – and an existential threat to a free Britain. (Imagine Churchill, in the 1930s, giving speeches in Parliament in which he blandly referred to Nazism as “important and interesting”!)
And, yes, Tommy’s approach to politics is “not usual.” So are the times in which the people of the UK are now living. The last thing that Britain needs is politics as usual. Asked by an interviewer the other day about the electoral threat that UKIP and Brexit represent to his party, Rees-Mogg replied, “I would encourage all people at all time to vote Conservative in all elections.” He might as well have said simply, “I always put party ahead of country.”
If Tommy symbolizes a kind of politics of which Rees-Mogg disapproves, Rees-Mogg himself symbolizes exactly what Britain no longer needs: government by Oxbridge snobs who give belligerent Muslims the kid-glove treatment while showing nothing but contempt for their own working-class countrymen. Rees-Mogg is often waggishly referred to as “the member for the eighteenth century,” and he seems to take it as a compliment, a way of saying that he represents time-honored values and traditions. In fact he represents the very worst of English traditions – namely, the matter-of-fact assumption that some people are, by accident of birth, superior to others. It is because of this tradition, which many working-class Brits still reflexively countenance, that people in places like Luton and the East End – people who have had to live with the results of mass Muslim immigration, and who thus understand the challenges facing their country far better than their fellow citizens in Kensington and Knightsbridge – have virtually no influence over the decisions made in their name by the likes of Rees-Mogg.
Tommy Robinson is changing that – or, at least, trying to. Like President Trump in America, he is taking on the establishments of both of his country’s major parties in the name of the people – and, like Trump, he is being vilified for it by a legacy media that is aligned with the political elite and that has convinced millions of low-information citizens that he is a bigot, a fascist, a Nazi. While Trump’s enemies, moreover, sought to take him down by pinning on him baseless charges of collusion with the Russians – even though it’s his #1 enemy, Hillary Clinton, who has the dodgy foreign ties – Tommy’s enemies conspired to send him to prison, supposedly for imperiling a trial of Islamic rapists, when, in fact, he has done more than anyone else in the country to bring Islamic rapists to justice.
Briefly put: Rees-Mogg postures as a champion of British values, but, in his tepid, temperate way, not only refuses to take the bold action required to defend those values but frames Tommy Robinson, who has risked his life to defend them, as their enemy. When he looks in the mirror, Rees-Mogg may think he sees an heir to Churchill, that great Tory PM of the last century; when he looks at Tommy Robinson, he plainly sees an upstart, a guttersnipe, a lower-class council-flats type who has no proper place in the councils of state or, for that matter, in any of the exalted locales where Rees-Mogg lives his life. In fact, though he may not look or sound the part, Tommy Robinson is the closest thing that today’s Britain has to Winston Churchill. And Rees-Mogg, who looks down his nose at Tommy? He’s Neville Chamberlain. At best.