Aside from being a living ‘Lord Snooty’ caricature of the quintessential English Toff, Jacob Rees-Mogg has strategically positioned himself as one of the most powerful people within the ruling Tory party, despite never even having served as a junior government minister.
The way he’s done this is by becoming the leader of the hard-right Brextremist ‘party within a party’ called the European Reform Group (ERG). This shadowy organisation rakes in taxpayers’ cash to fund their campaign in favour of the hardest possible Brexit, and has easily enough members to call a no confidence vote in Theresa May at any moment.
The two previous leaders of this Brextremist pressure group Steve Baker and Suella Fernandes have both been rewarded with positions in Theresa May’s government, but Rees-Mogg doesn’t seem to be interested in just interested in bagging some junior ministerial role, he’s intent on using the ERG’s influence over Theresa May to control her every move.
May knows that if she steps out of line over any issue, the ERG have the power to oust her because they’ve got more than enough members to trigger a leadership election by registering letters of no confidence with the Chairman of the 1922 Committee (the archaic method by which the Tory party dispose of unwanted leaders like Margaret Thatcher and iain Duncan Smith).
Theresa May knows that if she defies the ERG then she’ll be out of Downing Street in a flash.
The upshot of all of this is that as the leader of the ERG Jacob Rees-Mogg is the de facto Prime Minister, a man who gets to call all the shots, but doesn’t have to take any of the flak when things go wrong because he can use the hapless and hopeless Theresa May as a bullet shield.
One interesting question is whether Rees-Mogg has used his indisputable power over the Prime Minister to push for things that go beyond the hard Brexit fanaticism that the secretive ERG pressure group exists to promote.
For example have Rees-Mogg and the ERG had any influence over the Tories’ extremely pro-Russian behaviour in the weeks before the Salisbury attack for example?
Given the revelation that Rees-Mogg’s Somerset Capital Management fund has a huge £90 million investment in Russia, including £57 million in the blacklisted Russian Sberbank, the very recent Tory party decision to deliberately obstruct the introduction of Magnitsky powers to clamp down on dodgy Russian money looks a tad suspicious.
Sberbank is already subject to EU and US economic sanctions, but somehow Rees-Mogg and his Somerset Capital management chums have seen fit to retain this dodgy investment despite the sanctions, and £43 million worth of other Russian assets.
These kinds of Russian investments obviously mean that any serious government moves to clamp down on Russian money flowing in and out of the UK would represent a risk to Rees-Mogg’s profit margins.
Because of the secrecy of their operation it’s impossible to know whether Rees-Mogg and the ERG are responsible for the Tory government’s very recent policy of obstructing Magnitsky powers, but their continual secrecy (despite being bankrolled by the taxpayer) leaves questions like this hanging in the air.
If they insist on being so secretive about their influence on government policy, it’s clearly invites questions about whether they would use this secret influence to further their own financial interests.
Unless they give up the secrecy and actually publish stuff like their membership list, all of their sources of funding, their contacts and communications with government ministers, their contacts with people and institutions outside the Tory party, and their own financial conflicts of interest, then these kinds of questions about how their influence could be misused are inevitable aren’t they?
It is of course possible to come at it from an alternative direction and ask the Tory government to provide a detailed explanation of their decision to brazenly obstruct Magnitsky powers up until very days before the Salisbury attack, but then that would require some journalists within the Westminster lobby to earn their salaries by actually holding the powerful to account, rather than uncritically churning out whatever hard-right propaganda trope is the chosen narrative of the day.
Would Jacob Rees-Mogg abuse his position as the most powerful man in the Tory party to further his own financial interests?
Given the culture of secrecy that runs through the ERG and Theresa May’s autocratic government, who knows if it’s even theoretically possible to answer the question. But given the abject lack of decent journalists within the Westminster bubble, it’s almost certainly a question that will never be answered.
Anna Campbell gave up her comfortable western lifestyle and her job to travel to the Kurdish region of northern Syria in order to fight ISIS. She did this because the democratic Kurdish Rojava are demonstrably the only real good guys in the brutal Syrian civil war (the other main forces being the Assad regime, ISIS, other Islamist terrorists, Russia, Turkey, and the increasingly marginalised anti-Assad rebels who kicked the whole thing off).
Of course she knew that she was putting her life in danger by taking up arms to defend Kurdish democracy from the threat of ISIS, but she wanted to help make the world a better place.
Anna was killed last week as a result of Turkish shelling in the Kurdish town of Afrin.
Turkey has continually intervened in the Syrian conflict in order to attack the Kurdish forces that are trying to drive ISIS and the other Islamist fanatics out of Syria.
Turkey also stands accused of allowing Islamist extremists and military supplies to flow across the border into and out of Syria, treating wounded ISIS fighters in Turkish hospitals, and funding ISIS by buying their oil.
Aside from their interventions in Syria to support ISIS and other Islamist terrorist groups, Turkey itself is in the grip of a brutal and repressive dictatorship. There are more journalists in Turkish jails than any other country on earth.
Theresa May and the Tories don’t care about any of this though. Human rights violations in Turkey, support for vile Islamist terrorists in neighbouring countries, attacks on the Kurds who are fighting back against ISIS … it’s all swept under the carpet because just like Saudi Arabia, Turkey is a marketplace for British weapons.
Just a couple of months ago Theresa May and the Tories signed a £100 million fighter jet deal with the Turkish tyrant Erdoğan.
And Theresa May and the Tories have also flogged an incredible £4.6 billion worth of arms Saudi Arabia in the full knowledge that they’re a barbaric tyranny that funds, arms, and supplies terrorist fighters to ISIS, and also uses British weapons to commit war crimes in Yemen.
If Anna Campbell hadn’t been killed by the British-backed Turkish forces behind her, she could just have easily have been killed by the Saudi Arabian and Turkish backed ISIS terrorists in front of her. Both of the enemies that wanted to kill Anna and wipe out the emerging democracy in Kurdistan are ultimately backed by Theresa May and the Tories.
Probably the worst thing of all is that it’s only really in unusual cases where this Tories’ grotesque foreign policy of hawking weapons to the most brutal and tyrannical regimes on earth ends up killing a British citizen that the British media pay any kind of attention.
So often the British press are willing to turn a blind eye when it’s gays and atheists being beheaded and crucified in Saudi Arabia; huge numbers of Yemeni civilians suffering Saudi war crimes and starvation; dozens of Turkish journalists languishing in jail for doing their jobs; millions of civilians displaced in Syria and Iraq as the Turkish/Saudi backed Islamist terrorists run amok; or hundreds of Kurdish democratic fighters being shot in the back by Turkish forces as they try to defend their region from Islamist terrorism.
When Britain should be following Anna Campbell’s lead and standing in solidarity with one of the few genuinely democratic movements in the Middle East, our government actually arms and supports the tyrants who seek to destroy them.
Backing one particular political party in another country’s general election is a serious breach of diplomatic protocol. Even if governments privately favour one particular party to win in another country’s election, it’s considered very bad diplomatic form to actually attempt to sway the election with partisan public statements.
So aside from demonstrating their willingness to ignore diplomatic protocol and interfere in other nations’ sovereign affairs, why would the Russian Embassy have chosen to back Theresa May and the Tories at the 2017 General Election?
Here are a few potential answers:
the fact that the bbc is still stating that the image “was not manipulated in any way” when it so clearly has been reveals the depths of their journalistic dishonesty, gaslighting, and conservative bias. even ignoring the issue of photoshopping, why choose this specific 2 year old photo of jeremy corbyn in the first place if the aim wasn’t to deliberately fit a narrative they wanted to construct.
i’m sure the conservative party would appreciate seeing the following below. the quote used is indeed factual.