Dear Jacob …

Jacob Rees-Mogg – Source: Creative Commons (CC BY 3.0)

In his role as Minister of Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency, Jacob Rees-Mogg used his column in the Sun newspaper to appeal to its ‘wise’ readers to tell him which EU regulations they would like to see abolished. I felt duty-bound to help him out.

Dear Jacob,

First of all congrats on the new role. A Sun columnist! Oh, and well done too on your appointment as Minister of Brexit Opportunities. In your article you used the famous words of Lord Kitchener from 1914, “Your country needs you.” Reminding us that, once again, this is a national effort. What an apt analogy that is. Just putting to one side the bit about a rich elite leading the masses to slaughter, I for one stand ready to volunteer!

As you say, now we are out of the EU, we can now take back control of ‘every jot and tittle’ of our regulations. I tell you what, just thinking about that has put a spring in my step. God it feels good. By the way, these jots and tittles you talk of; are they old imperial weights and measures I’ve forgotten about? I think that 144 tittles made a bushel but I might be wrong about that.

Anyway, inspired by your stirring words, I’ve been giving it some thought. The thing is, I’ve racked my brains and the only one I can think of just at the moment is that pesky working hours directive that stopped my boss from making me work more than 48 hours a week. I mean, if he wants to drive me into the ground for the good of the nation then who am I to complain? Other than that I’m struggling, to be honest. Wasn’t there something about the shape of bananas, or was it cucumbers? Whatever, now we’re out of the EU, I can go into Morrisons, safe in the knowledge that they can’t interfere with the good old British carrot. I mean, if that’s not a Brexit win then my name is Angela Merkel (it isn’t by the way).

You say that many of your constituents were complaining on a daily basis of being burdened by EU regulations. Yes, that’s right, a daily basis. Literally every day! Shocking. You mentioned farmers and electricians in particular, although you didn’t actually specify which EU laws they were talking about. Still, I’m sure that farmers are already feeling the freedom of no longer being weighed down by those crushing EU subsidies. Bloody EU, just handing out money all over the place, I mean, who do they think they are!

I hear that thanks to the triumphant trade deal with Australia, farmers will finally have unfettered, tariff-free access to a very lucrative market. Obviously that’s Australian farmers, but I hear that our farmers will now have the chance to spend their time planting hedgerows and wild flowers which will be lovely.

A Flock of Australian Sheep Mudgegonga Victoria - CC BY 4.0
A Flock of Australian Sheep Mudgegonga Victoria – CC BY 4.0

As for electricians, you’ll have to fill me in on that one. The last time I had a ‘sparks’ around to do some work on my house he didn’t mention the EU once. So either he was a secret remainer, or was simply unaware of how entangled he was by Brussels bureaucracy. I’m sure he too will be relieved to be free from troublesome EU safety laws. Perhaps now he’ll be free to re-wire my house however the heck he wants.

You also mention that small businesses will be given the chance to win public contracts. That could be good news for my friend Jean, who’s a florist. She’s looking to diversify, as for some reason, she suddenly has all sorts of problems importing flowers from Europe. So if you could clarify the sort of contracts you’re talking about that would be great, because although she’s the kind of person who can turn her hand to anything, building a bypass might be beyond her.

Tulips in Netherlands – Source: Wikimedia

Even better, as you say, we now have MPs who are truly accountable to us. Finally, without the meddlesome EU Parliament interfering, you’ll be able to make a law! I bet you’re just gagging to get at those statute books and start deregulating. I suppose that’s why you were forced to lounge on the House of Commons benches. You were just resting, waiting for that moment to leap into action and start some serious law-making. By the way, I did write to you about the drains in Batheaston High Street in 2011, so now you are released from the tyranny of EU lawmakers, perhaps you could get back to me on that one.

I have to say that I do love your colourful turn of phrase. You really have a talent for it, much like your old school chum, the Prime Minister. What a wonderful education Eton gave you both. Acquiring the sense of superiority so essential in leading the country, and the ability to write a sentence like:

“Over decades of membership of the EU, the ship of state became encrusted by regulatory barnacles which need removing one by one”.

I actually repeated this literary gem to my friend Rob. I regret to say that Rob is a poor, misguided remainer. He said that maybe it was all of those barnacles that were holding a rotten hull together in the first place, and once they’re removed we’ll all fall into the sea and drown. I’m afraid he’s rather negative like that.

I said, “Rob, that’s just Project Fear.” He said, “No, it’s now Project Fact.” Then he went on and on and on, listing things like: long queues of lorries at Dover, businesses struggling because it’s harder to sell their goods in Europe, European businesses not wanting to trade with us because it’s too difficult, food rotting in fields due to lack of labour, loss of our freedom of movement, musicians not being able to tour in Europe so easily, students losing the chance to study in Europe because of the cancellation of the Erasmus scheme, the return of roaming charges when we go on holiday to Spain, the economy shrinking, blah, blah, blah.

I tried ignoring him by sticking my fingers in my ears and singing the national anthem, but eventually I got a bit fed up and said, “Rob, you need to get over it. Brexit is done.” He didn’t have an answer to that. Possibly because at the words, ‘Brexit is done,’ he started laughing hysterically.

Actually, I think he’s a bit miffed because he won’t be able to spend so much time in that property he was doing up in Italy. But who wants to spend their summer holiday sipping white wine on a sunny terrace in Tuscany? No thank you, I’d rather be in a cosy cafe in Weston Super Mare, drinking a good old British cuppa while waiting for the rain to stop.

Later when he had calmed down I reminded of him of the quote from Ronald Reagan that you used in your article: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help’.” He said the most terrifying words are: ‘I’m Jacob Rees-Mogg, and I’m here to help’. So rude.

So, sorry, Jacob, I don’t feel I’ve helped you much. Other than to say that I stand four-square behind your efforts. As you say, the opportunities are immense. Whatever they are. Perhaps you could expand on those in your next column because I’m still a bit hazy to be honest.

I’m also looking forward to receiving the Brexit bonus you mention. However you did once seem to suggest this might take up to 50 years to come to fruition. As I’ll be 110 years old by then it would great if you could speed the whole process up a bit. Thanks in advance!

In the meantime if any EU regulations that have been hampering me over the last 40 years do come to mind, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Yours with hands unbound,
Jon Wakeham

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