Discover the real Dominic Raab with this FAQ guide to the British Foreign Secretary in the Boris Johnson government.
Raab C who?
Good question. Until July 2019, he was not exactly a ‘big beast’. Raab became an MP for Esher & Walton in 2010, but didn’t join Twitter until 2016.
Many believe he was adopting the ‘quiet man’ of British politics model made famous by former Tory leader and fellow Brexiter IDS.
Indeed, DR (an initialisation that literally nobody uses) is completely unknown compared with big beast BoJo or Gove.
However, the fact that Raab is drab may be to his advantage. He doesn’t come with the negative baggage of some of his rivals. BoJo is considered Marmite among voters.
Raab has always been viewed as an ultra Brexiter. Sensibly, the far more moderate, pro-EU, Cameron never allowed Raab to become Minister for anything important.
Is Raab the new ‘hard man’ of British politics?
Well, what does this picture suggest…
He is a black belt in karate and his hands are lethal weapons. Hiiiii-yaaa!! So don’t mess with him Rory!
What is Britannia Unchained: Global Lessons for Growth and Prosperity?
Britannia Unchained (2012) is the Raab equivalent of The Audacity of Hope, if Obama was crazy enough to offend hardworking Americans. It gives an early idea of Raab’s Thatcherite views.
It is written by Raab along with a few other “class of 2010” new right Tories including Priti Patel. They belong to the Tory party’s Thatcherite Free Enterprise Group.
“The British are among the worst idlers in the world. We work among the lowest hours, we retire early and our productivity is poor…the British are more interested in football and pop music.”
Then Shadow Secretary of State for Business Chuka Umunna said in response:
“First they blame British businesses for their economic failures and now they blame the people who work within them, showing how out of touch the Tory party has become.”
At RaabWatch we haven’t had time to bother to read this text ourselves. However, we note a single copy is stocked in Waterstones Walton on Thames, as is Audacity of Hope.
Why did Theresa May appoint Raab as Brexit Secretary?
Oh God. You just had to go there! Why, oh why, oh why?!!! We’ll surely never know.
The former PM made a lot of mistakes in her, less than three years, in Number 10.
- In April 2017 she decided it would be a good idea to hold a General Election. So that turned out well.
- But then in July 2018, she only goes and appoints Brextremist Raab as Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union???!!!
However, during this time he made one of our favourite Raab gaffs, where he admitted he didn’t realise the importance of Calais in UK trade.
How we laughed, until we realised that this was the man who was meant to be representing the UK in EU negations…So then we started crying!
Raab was so good, he lasted just four months as Brexit Secretary before ‘sensationally’ quitting.
He blasted the Draft Withdrawal Agreement, which, let’s not forget, he had negotiated, as being ‘worse than remaining in the EU.’
Surely, Raab should win an award for humiliating his boss..well he did…
It was smiles all round when The Spectator awarded him a gong for “Cabinet Resignation of the Year 2018” for failing to negotiate an exit from the EU.
Unfortunately no one else was grinning. Least of all his boss…
CONSTITUENTS IN WALTON & ESHER ARE SO PROUD OF THEIR MP FOR WINNING THIS AWARD:
[Update: as we write this he has just voted in favour of it at the occasion of the third meaningful vote on 29 March 2019. Surely a strategic move?]
What are Raab’s views on gender equality?
In 2011, he branded feminists “obnoxious bigots”, claiming men were getting such a “raw deal” that it was time they “started burning their briefs”.
Well, we all know that middle aged white men and former Brexit ministers are oppressed minorities…
“It is almost taboo for a man to question the assertion that the rapidly dwindling pay gap is the result of discrimination, rather than genuine choice. The debate has been consumed by the prejudice it seeks to purge….
….According to research for the Institute for Economic Affairs, women in their twenties earn 1% less than men, single women a shade more. Gay men earn more than straight men, lesbian women more than heterosexual women. Does that sound like a society riddled with discrimination?..”
“..While we have some of the toughest anti-discrimination laws in the world, we are blind to some of the most flagrant discrimination – against men…
“…From the cradle to the grave, men are getting a raw deal. Men work longer hours, die earlier, but retire later than women.”
“…Feminists are now amongst the most obnoxious bigots.”
“….You can’t have it both ways. Either you believe in equality or you don’t. If you buy into the whole Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus theory of gender difference – with all its pseudo science – you can’t then complain about inequalities of outcome that flow both ways from those essentially sexist distinctions” .
“…Maybe it’s time men started burning their briefs.” (https://www.politicshome.com/news/uk/political-parties/conservative-party/opinion/house-commons/96662/dominic-raab-we-must-end)
“Labelling feminists as obnoxious bigots is not the way forward.”
Who is Rebecca Tott?
On 29th July The Sun reported claims of his former secretary, Rebecca Tott:
‘Dominic Raab’s axed assistant blasts the Brexit Secretary and says ‘he screamed at staff… I felt bullied’’
On 29th July 2018 the Daily Mail ran a story
‘BREXIT MR NASTY: Dominic Raab’s former secretary brands Brexit minister ‘a bully who is prone to sudden rages, screams at staff and is more concerned about the gym than the government’
Raab has denied these allegations of bullying.
What are Raab’s links to the IEA?
Dominic Raab has ties to the the IEA – that is the Institute of Economic Affairs. This is a lobby group that has promoted the privatisation of the NHS, abolishing workers’ rights and creation of more fee-paying schools.
When Dominic Raab, the new foreign secretary, was appointed Brexit minister, we at openDemocracy asked if he was “the IEA’s man in government”. The Institute for Economic Affairs, perhaps Britain’s most influential think tank, refuses to reveal its funding, but is known to have taken cash from British American Tobacco and BP, and to have been funded by a conservative foundation in the US to promote the privatisation of the NHS. [https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/welcome-to-boris-johnsons-government-of-all-the-lobbyists/]
Indeed, as the Open Democracy site states, many in the Johnson Cabinet are being supported by lobby groups keen to influence the course of Brexit to their corporate clients’ advantages. It states:
David Cameron once said that lobbyists would produce the next big scandal. He was wrong: they have provided the new cabinet.
Should I call him “Dominic”, “Dim Dom” or “Raab C Brexit”?
His political mentor David Davies calls him Dom Raab. But here at RaabWatch we prefer the much more obvious nickname – Raab C Brexit. To be frank, it rolls off the tongue more easily than his real name.
We regard this as not only a tribute to a comedy legend, but it also adds a reminder of Raab’s fondness of Brexit. Views that puts the MP at odds with the 45,000 people (59.5%) who voted Remain in the borough of Elmbridge (the home of Raab’s constituency).
Frustratingly, we don’t know precisely how many people voted Remain in Esher & Walton constituency. However, 17,000 of constituents signed the Revoke Article 15 petition in March 2019. That is an incredible 15 per cent of the total electorate in Esher & Walton. https://petitionmap.unboxedconsulting.com/?petition=241584
Raab does not represent the views of Esher & Walton when it comes to Brexit.
But Raab C Brexit has now become #DimDom due to our Foreign Sec’s numerous errors when it comes to geography.
Raab doesn’t support the Human Rights Act, obviously.
But what else do we know about Raab’s ideology?
Well, he notoriously doesn’t support “economic and social rights”.
He follows a Thatcherite, small government, low tax, low regulation and anti-trade union, right wing Tory approach.
He claims to be pro-business, yet seems immune to discussion of the many negatives of Brexit for the business community as described by the CBI.
Early in his career Raab worked in Parliament as Chief of Staff to then Shadow Home Secretary David Davis, with whom he shares some libertarian conservative philosophical values.
He supports economic liberty and the least possible government regulation. He is likely to oppose environmental protections, the European Court of Human Rights and workers rights. This is a key motivator for his love of Brexit.
He also worked with then Shadow Secretary of State for Justice Dominic Grieve, although Grieve and Raab share little in common regarding Brexit.
Any other Raabist policy ideas?
He was described d by The Guardian as being more right wing on education, that even Thatcher.
- Let state schools be run by profit-making companies
- Encouraging more private companies into the NHS
- Proposed scrapping all “levies subsidising green technologies” on energy bills,
- Ending the minimum wage for the under-21s working for small businesses
- Making it easier for companies to sack underperforming employees.
Now the above is fairly standard Thatcherite thinking, but would have been considered extreme by recent Tory leaders.
Were Alan B’Stard and Dominic Raab separated at birth?
For those not around in the 1980s, Alan B’Stard was the MP for the fictional constituency of Haltemprice. B’Stard was right wing, hated poor people and famously worshipped Margaret Thatcher – spot the difference?
B’Stard was brilliantly portrayed by the late, great, Rik Mayall in the 1980s ITV comedy – The New Statesman https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Statesman
Could Raab be Tory leader?
Could Trump be President?
Raab could slip in, mainly due to the ‘ABB’ – Anyone But Boris’ – Tory vote. Much like BoJo, Raab has no fear about driving the UK off the cliff edge. However, that is where the similarities end.
Raab is new blue blood. Young-ish (born 1974), he doesn’t come with the baggage of either Boris or Gove and he could appeal to the ‘blue rinse brigade’ (older Tory members in the shires, who tend to determine these things).
While Cameron sought to detoxify the Tory ‘brand’. Make no mistake, Raab as Tory party leader and PM, would swing the party back to the Thatcherite roots. Back to what May famously described as its ‘nasty party’ image.
Anna Soubry (SKY NEWS, SOPHY RIDGE ON SUNDAY):
I have to say I have never felt so sure about anything and almost every day, especially when I sit in Parliament and I look at the benches opposite – and of course it is an entirely different view – and frankly I listen to people like Mark Francoise who is now seen as being the voice of Conservatism, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson and the rest of them and I’m afraid the Tory party is the Brexit party…
..One nation Tories like me can’t stay and it’s leaning to the right and if someone like Boris Johnson or Dominic Raab becomes the next leader, the next Prime Minister, it will absolutely be that real understanding that it’s gone towards the more extremes of the right.
What are the chances that residents of Esher and Walton will vote him out?
We give it from a 0 to 1 per cent chance of Raab going.
Esher & Walton is an ultra-safe Tory seat. It has never had a non-Tory MP in living memory. Indeed, Raab could be forgiven for taking his seat for granted!
He’s got a 58 per cent share of the vote in GE 2017, which is coincidentally not far off from the number of people who voted Remain in Elmbridge in June 2016.
Labour (19.7 per cent) and Lib Dems (17.3 per cent). Even if the Lib Dems and Labour made a pact and combined forces, they would be unlikely depose him. Maybe there is potential for a REMAIN party?
Most interesting Raab fact?
- The Raab name is derived from the personal name Robert, which is composed of the elements hrod, meaning ‘famous’, and berht, meaning ‘bright’ – Raab C Brexit has yet to prove he is either famous or particularly ‘bright’.
Least likely to say?
“I want a second referendum / customs union.”
Most likely to say?
“I’m Dominic Raab and I’m a Tory. I don’t support the human rights act and I don’t believe in economic and social rights”
Can I contact Dominic Raab?
Good luck. He only joined Twitter in 2016, but has learned very quickly how to block people he doesn’t agree with.
He has famously blocked LBC presenter James O’Brien, an important local charity, and, yes, even us at RaabWatch towers.
If you are a resident of Esher & Walton and have been BBR-ed – ‘Blocked by Raab’ – then get in touch. We’d love to know what you said to offend the great man.
You can also find him walking down a street in Thames Ditton pretending to listen to Spotify, while not answering questions from an out of breath Mail reporter. Enjoy!