Friday, August 26, 2022

Jacob Rees-Mogg's schooldays

Watching Jacob Rees-Mogg lounging on the government front bench it was easy to imagine he way recreating his glory days at Eton.

But, by all accounts, it wasn't like that for him. Marina Hyde told the story back in 2018:
acob was a sort of urban myth on Eton High Street, down which he liked to proceed clicking his flapping umbrella as though it were a cane. Collectors of arcane school rules may care to know that at School, you weren’t allowed to fasten up your folded umbrella until you had attained a certain level of privilege (privilege in the earlier sense of the word, obviously, not the modern one: everyone at School obviously already had that). 
As he made his stately progress among the locals, he would frequently be followed by boggling younger boys, who already regarded his shtick as ludicrously affected. (Honestly, Moggmentum supporters – how self-loathing are you? I can’t think of anything more beaten than rallying behind someone even 13-year-old Etonians could see through in the 1980s.) 
It may be fashionable to hail Rees-Mogg’s intellect now, but back then his contributions to the debating society were ironically cheered before they got under way, and consisted of the likes of not caring too much what homosexuals do to each other as long as they didn’t do it to him. One who sat through quite a few of these zingers recalled him wearily as “a posh Karl Pilkington”.
So Rees-Mogg isn't reliving his schooldays so much as compensating himself for them.

To achieve this fully, you feel, he would like to able to summon a fag to make him toast and then find a pretext for beating him after he had eaten it. But for now lounging on the front bench will have to do.

There's an element of compensation for his schooldays about Boris Johnson's act too.

Remember he was 11 before he was packed off to board at prep school. That must have been a hell of a shock to someone previously educated at the European School in Brussels - he speaks fluent French though he pretends not to - and the same North London primary school that the Miliband brothers attended.

There's even a theory that "Boris" was originally used to tease him when classmates discovered his middle name, and that he adopted the name and a new persona to spite them.

As the poet George William Russell ("AE") put it:
In the lost boyhood of Judas Christ was betrayed.

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