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The United Kingdom had a general election in June 2017 in which Prime Minister Theresa May, leader of the Conservative Party, called an order for her party to get a larger majority and have more of a say in Brexit negotiations. Britain was not meant to have another election until 2020, but with all her prime ministerial power and naive confidence, Mrs. May decided to call one early because she thought she could get one up on the opposition, (the labour Party, led by stoic Jeremy Corbyn) who were not doing very well in the polls. Hilariously, it all backfired on her. She led a pitiful campaign and lost 13 seats. Labour gained 30 seats, their best result in years, and Jeremy Corbyn ended up looking like the winner of the whole thing (even though he lost).
Flash forward to today and despite Theresa May's insistence that she's not going anywhere, there has been discussion on who will be the next leader of the Conservative Party. Enter Jacob Rees-Mogg, a traditionalist conservative MP who for some reason has had a spurt of... I guess... popularity recently and no one really knows why. Is it just the Conservative party's lack of talent that means a man who has admitted to never having changed a nappy (despite having six children) can be a serious contender for leader of the party? And therefore the potential future prime minister?
He recently made an appearance on Good Morning Britain, a show that keeps giving airtime to people with extreme views in the name of fairness and balance. It's okay though because Piers Morgan will hog the airtime by talking over them and taking the moral high ground. Rees-Mogg's views on gay marriage and abortion were questioned, he stated that he was against gay marriage because he believes, as a Catholic, that marriage is a sacrament and admitted he voted against legalizing same-sex marriage. His views on abortion were even more troubling, as he believes that life begins at conception so all abortion, to him, is wrong even in the case of rape or incest.
Women should be able to have an abortion in any circumstance. To think otherwise shows a real lack of understanding the difficult choice women face when they decide to end a pregnancy. It's essentially saying that women should not have the right to their own body. Taking that choice away forces a women to go through a pregnancy they do not want which is utterly abhorrent. Abortions are, thankfully, legal in this country and whilst Rees-Mogg stated the law wouldn't ever change, a man who holds such little importance on a woman's right to her own body should not be Prime Minister. He would not have the interest of women when making decisions related to women's health and I hope he isn't a genuine contender for leader. (He has so far denied it.)
When rape is talked about in the press, there is often still stigma attached to it despite it being widely accepted. It's still a controversial issue, and it really shouldn't be. The language used is often framed around this idea that you're killing a child when in reality its an embryo. Not a child. Ending a pregnancy is a valid choice that many women make for a number of reasons. It annoys me that the question "what about in cases of rape and incest?" often gets asked because the question is suggesting that abortions in instances of abuse are more valid than those that aren't. It's like saying that women need to go through something horrible in order for their abortion to be seen as acceptable. And that it somehow makes the abortion okay. The language used around abortion is so misogynistic sometimes it really bothers me. Pro-life is fundamentally anti-women. It puts the life of an unborn embryo before a grown woman.
Furthermore, despite facing criticism and negative press for his views, I feel that for the most part, Rees-Mogg has got away with it. His Catholicism has barely been mentioned either. Just imagine if Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the same thing. The tabloids would have undoubtedly attacked Khan's faith and used his views as an example of Muslims failing to assimilate. Rees-Mogg even said that he thinks the way he does due to his beliefs, and his Catholicism barely gets mentioned in the press. Anything a Muslim does gets connected to their faith even if its completely unrelated. Ironically, Khan is pro-choice and a proud feminist. Sadiq Khan represents the future, he is the best of Britain today. Jacob Rees-Mogg represents the past and hopefully he won't be on our television screens for too much longer.