On Saturday, together with a group of other activists and members of the public, I demonstrated outside Cheltenham Town Hall against the right wing, extremist Tory MP, Jacob Rees Mogg together with the new campaigning and political community I set up, called Stroud Red Shed and with the brilliant Lizzie Fletcher of Unity News.
Stroud Red Shed is becoming part of a brilliant new movement of social and political activists and campaigners that are taking politics directly to the people with energy and imagination. We do this because our political and public institutions are not currently fit for purpose. These institutions are corrupt, controlled by corporate interests and full of people that sadly have forgotten what it’s like to struggle, or who have no experience or understanding of this.
Our campaign group is small, but energetic and determined. We are basically parents who recognise that we are at a historical tipping point. The global economy is dead. Profit margins are collapsing, there are no new ‘niche’ markets anymore. Climate change is rendering ‘development and sustainability’ impossible. Just as in the 1930’s, political elites recognise that they are running out of countries and markets they can exploit with slavery and imperialism and so; they are looking back closer to home as to how they can create profits and yes, that means they are looking at the classic way to make huge profits, by creating wars and returning us to a workhouse, slave economy.
In 2015 at a Conservative fringe meeting, Tory Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt declared “British people will be encouraged to work as hard as the Chinese.” (The Guardian, Monday 5th October, 2015). In 2016, Jacob Rees-Mogg said regulations that were “good enough for India” could be good enough for the UK – arguing that the UK could go “a very long way” to rolling back high EU standards. (The Independent, Tuesday 6th December, 2016).
As a parent, I am terrified of what the elite are planning for us. I recognise their game as it’s in our history books and is already happening in other countries.
People write off Jacob Rees Mogg MP as a ‘loony right wing idiot’ that can’t become leader of the Tory party or prime minister. I think this is a dangerous attitude to have to modern politics. The last few years have proven to us that politics is no longer predictable. People never expected the UK to vote to leave the European Union. People never expected Donald Trump to become the President of the United States and people never expected Jeremy Corbyn to become leader of the Labour Party and make Labour electable again. We are living in the time of the ‘unexpected’. Rees Mogg and his allies recognise this and see the potential to float the idea of an extremist, alternative Conservative leader, a ‘British version of Trump’.
This is why I have been campaigning hard over the last month to highlight to the public what Mr Rees Mogg is about and to get people thinking and talking. With Stroud Red Shed, I visit Rees Moggs’ constituency town of Keynsham in Somerset every Saturday with our Stroud Red Shed Stall. We have been running a successful petition that has now almost reached 9k signatures that is asking for him to resign. We are using this as a powerful tool to engage with people in his constituency.
As a mother and a woman, I highly value my human rights and I recognise the risks for our children and the future generations when I see people like Rees Mogg being described as a ‘harmless entertainer’ or as a ’polite, lovely man’. There is nothing at all nice about a politician who believes that women who are raped should not have the right to an abortion and has investments in companies that produce pills that can be used for abortions in Indonesia (Sunday Mirror, 1stOctober). There is nothing at all nice about a politician who suggests that children that are not privately educated or do not attend Oxford or Cambridge are like ‘potted plants’. (The Independent, Weds 4th October, 2006)
As someone who proudly went to a good old comprehensive school and went to an average university, I was proud to dress up as a potted plant on Saturday and question Rees Mogg outside the Cheltenham Literature Festival.
As a ’potted plant’ I ask all my fellow potted plants to unite with me and make sure people like Rees Mogg are not welcome in politics or in a modern society.