And thus spake Lord Rees-Mogg

Click to follow
The Independent Online
'I AM defending the sovereignty of Parliament.' With this characteristic declaration, Lord Rees-Mogg launched his application for judicial review of the Government's right to ratify the Maastricht Treaty. It will be heard in the High Court this week.

Lord Rees-Mogg ranges widely - his last great campaign tried to prevent Somerset County Cricket Club sacking their West Indian players, Viv Richards and Joel Garner. Aids, the Church of England, Darwinism, and the future of the world are among the subjects on which he gives confident opinions. Sometimes he is wrong; often he is right; more often still he is inconsistent. But always he is magisterial. Here is a brief guide:

On money: 'Anybody with a reasonable gift who wants to be a millionaire can be.' (1967)

'What would be the benefit to Britain of a return to the gold standard? . . .Some of our problems would simply disappear. Mortgage rates payable in gold, or gold backed paper, on a gold loan, would fall quite rapidly.' (1974)

On humanity: 'Man who has not learnt to think as though he were a Jew can hardly be said to have learnt to think at all.' (1974.)

'Botham and Richards have a Jungian archetypal force about them . . . People project onto such figures psychic material from the subconscious mind, often material they cannot face in themselves.' (1986)

On the future: 'We are living through infinitely the greatest economic expansion in the history of the world, an expansion which has the momentum to ride out future slumps or oil crises.' (1986)

'A recession as severe as 1981- 2 . . . seems more likely than not.' (1988)

'We expect a great reckoning. A settling of accounts. We expect the long economic boom and credit expansion that began with World War II to come to an end.' (With James Dale Davidson, 1991)

'At some point there will have to be a realignment inside the ERM, at which time the pound will have to be reduced to DM2.50 or thereabouts. By the time that happens, permanent damage may have been done to British industry.' (Oct 1990)

On Politicians: 'Eden (in 1956) did show a rather boyish spirit. . .That seemed natural. It is not every day of the week you invade Egypt.' (1986)

'Reagan is a great president.' (1986)

'President Reagan has brought to an end the American century of financial predominance.' (1987)

'His (John Major's) ideal level of competence would be Deputy Chief Whip or something of that standing.' (1993)

'Michael Heseltine is a very attractive political leader. . .because he reminds one of Byron at Missolonghi, battling for Greek freedom. But Byron ended up dead.' (1990)

On power and privilege: 'I am a member of the establishment. . .This group does form a very useful network of opinions, and does act as a very useful system of communication.' (1990)

'The plausible reason people have for disliking Eton and Oxbridge is that they think they provide an easy route to the top. The truth is almost the exact opposite. ' (1990)

On religion and morality: 'In Darwinist terms, Christian morality is a strategy for survival. We have had 25 years in which the security of faithful marriage seemed to be unnecessary. That period has come to an end.' (1991)

On himself: 'I have been thinking about the French Revolution for as long as I can remember.' (July 1989)