In appreciation of Jacob Rees-Mogg

Written by Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register. on 23 January 2012 in Diary
His suggestion of a separate timezone for Somerset may have been tongue in cheek, but Rees-Mogg is on his way to parliamentary immortality

With his array of bespoke suits, utterly superb spectacles and a voice than isn’t far short of perfection, Jacob Rees-Mogg quite understandably invokes feelings of reverence amongst his growing band of followers.

Last week he tabled a ‘fantabulous’ (his word, not mine) amendment to the Daylight Saving Bill that would grant his county of Somerset its own time-zone, meaning that clocks from Taunton to Bath would be set fifteen minutes behind those across the rest of Britain.

Rees-Mogg’s speech wasn’t just any speech; it was a lesson in oratory excellence, history and science that would have enlightened even the finest academic minds. Having taken his Westminster colleagues on a journey through the annals of Somerset’s illustrious past, the Conservative backbencher quite ingeniously informed a captivated House of Commons that ‘the sun is at its highest point at noon’.  

Always a bastion of support for his constituents, Rees-Mogg went on to argue that "as the centre of the universe, time should be set from Somerset". Passionately recalling the inception of Great Western Railway time in 1840, he told the house how Bristolians had introduced a second minute-hand in order to cope with their time-keeping predicament. His constituents, of course, wouldn’t need to resort to that: ‘the people of Somerset are so clever that they can deal with these things’.

Now in all honesty Rees-Mogg’s amendment was tongue-in-cheek, and was really nothing more than an attempt to effectively filibuster the Daylight Savings Bill. But whatever your thoughts on his tactics or on his politics – blue blood really does course through his veins – even those ready to lead a red revolution must be able to find a soft spot in their hearts for his idiosyncrasies.

At a time when real characters in British politics are all too rare (who really feels inspired by Ed Miliband, Vince Cable or Iain Duncan Smith?), Rees-Mogg is a breath of fresh air.

Politics might be a serious business but that doesn’t mean there is no place for a sense of humour. The likes of Dennis Skinner, Boris Johnson and Sir Peter Tapsell will all, quite rightly, be remembered for their comedic contributions to exchanges across the green benches.

It won’t be long before the proud name of Jacob Rees-Mogg is added to that list.

Alexander Wickham is a freelance journalist and blogger who writes for The Independent, amongst others. He tweets at @Wickham_A

Tags: Boris Johnson, Daylight saving time, Dennis Skinner, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Sir Peter Tapsell

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