Who is he: Lord William Rees-Mogg attended Charterhouse and Balliol College, Oxford and was president of the Oxford Union in 1951. In 1952, Rees-Mogg decided to become a journalist after participating in an American debate tour. He joined the Financial Times in 1952, and by 1955 Rees-Mogg was principal leader writer for the Financial Times. In 1960, Rees-Mogg moved to the Sunday Times, later assuming the role of deputy editor.
At the Times, Rees-Mogg is said to have written an article critical of Alec Douglas-Home, which caused him to step down as head of the Tory part. Edward Heath then came into power in 1965. Rees-Mogg’s appetite for politics was wetted and he eventually became a Conservative candidate for a “safe” Labour seat and ran against Norman Pentland, but lost. Rees-Mogg made more impact in journalism, writing another famous article in 1967 entitled “Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?”
In this article, an editorial actually, Rees-Mogg asserted that pop singer Mick Jagger had been unfairly sentenced to three months in prison for possessing amphetamine tablets legally purchased abroad. Rees-Mogg’s article was followed a few days later by a full page ad in favor of reforming drug laws regarding marijuana. The editorial and ad were controversial at the time and Rees-Mogg himself became a figure of some controversy – and satire – as a result.
With James Dale Davidson, Rees-Mogg authored such popular, free-market oriented books as The Sovereign Individual, The Great Reckoning, and Blood in the Streets. Rees-Mogg is chairman of the Zurich Club and also of the London publishing firm Pickering & Chatto Publishers. Rees-Mogg contributes regularly to “The Fleet Street Letter,” an investment advice newsletter, and authors a weekly column for UK conservative newspaper The Mail on Sunday.
Background: William Rees-Mogg became interested in economics and history while in university. Later Rees-Mogg became more interested in free-market economics because so much of the world was under the influence of Keynesian economics. The longer the economic problems of the 1960s and 1970s went on, the more dissatisfied Rees-Mogg has said he became with the explanations of economics, which he had previously accepted.
In the public eye, Rees-Mogg remains linked with the reform of drug laws because of stands he has taken in various articles, but this has not seemed to slow his career within the establishment ambit. Rees-Mogg became a member of the BBC’s board of governors, chairman of the Arts Council and was even high sheriff of Somerset from 1978 to 1979.
In 1988, Rees-Mogg became a House of Lords life peer (life peers are members appointed to the British Peerage system of nobility titles, whose titles cannot be inherited), allowing him to sit in the House of Lords where he is a cross-bencher.
Lord William Rees-Mogg defines himself as a free-market thinker and someone sympathetic to Austrian economics.
Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes
Going to work for a large company is like getting on a train. Are you going sixty miles an hour or is the train going sixty miles an hour and you’re just sitting still?