COULD there be anything simpler than showing compassion in the wake of a national tragedy?

When Grenfell Tower blazed uncontrollably, killing 72 people and leaving countless others devastated in its aftermath, of all the responses, the most straightforward was to feel sympathy and a sense of grief.

Not for Jacob Rees-Mogg, however. Not for the Wodehouse-lite character who has conned his party and parts of the electorate by the pure strength of his ability to Method act an 18th century lord.

Speaking to LBC’s Nick Ferrari about the Grenfell disaster, far from condemning the flaws to the building that allowed the fire to spread with alacrity, far from condemning the authorities who ignored residents’ concerns, he instead mulled over how his innate “common sense” would have prevented his death.

“I think, if either of us were in a fire,” he told the radio host, “Whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building. It just seems the common sense thing to do and it is such a tragedy that didn’t happen.”

It’s such a tragedy all those dead people didn’t just use a bit of common sense. They would have been alive if they had just been rich because nothing bad ever happens to the upper class and rich, they just common sense their way out of any perilous situation.

Or, their wealth ensures they’re not living in a tinderbox flat in the first place.

Common sense to Rees-Mogg doesn’t mean the same as it might to you or I, common sense does not simply mean sound judgement. It means doing what the upper class might do in any given situation because their very status means they are automatically correct.

But what the wealthy and upper class might do in any given situation is not necessarily right, it is merely right for their own individualistic needs.

It wouldn’t occur to Rees-Mogg to listen to a firefighter, no matter the experience of that firefighter, no matter that the firefighter is an expert in their field.

In response to Rees-Mogg’s comments, the prospective Tory MP Andrew Bridgen tottered all over an attempt at an excuse for his superior. The Leader of the Commons was not trying to suggest the residents of Grenfell Tower brought their deaths upon themselves.

No, it is merely that the Right Honourable Member is cleverer than the chiefs of the London Fire Brigade. And quite right too, Mr Bridgen added to Evan Davis, the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s PM programme. “We want very clever people running the country, don’t we, Evan?” he said. “That is a by-product of what Jacob is and that is why he is in a position of authority.”

What now? Rees-Mogg has a 2:1 in history. We have no evidence for him being “very clever”. We have no evidence of him having a superior education, merely an expensive education - Eton and Oxford.

Why are people sucked in by this notion that elite means better or pricey means clever? It’s an unsubstantiated folly that allows people like Rees-Mogg to insult the nation’s dead live on the radio.

In response to this, the relatives of the Grenfell victims felt compelled to speak out. When you are weighted with grief, the last thing you should have to do is to come out defending your dead loved one’s final, terrified choices. Make excuses for them. This is not what the political elite should be for, compounding the electorate’s tragedies.

In a final act of indignity, Tory minister Nadhim Zahawi whined to the BBC’s Andrew Neil that Labour, on criticising Rees-Mogg, is “demonising the Conservative Party”. It’s hardly difficult.

Rees-Mogg’s comments are unforgivable not because they are offensive, but because they give a clear view into how the man thinks.

It is a peculiarly Conservative difficulty in understanding ordinary people, of being so distanced from working class lives that a complete lack of empathy and imagination becomes normal.

In 2017 the SNP MP Alison Thewliss campaigned against the Conservatives' two-child cap for tax credits. As a kindness, the Tories wrote in an exemption. Any woman who has a third or subsequent child as a result of rape would still be able to claim tax credits but would have to demonstrate exceptional circumstances to qualify – that is, if they disclosed they had conceived any extra children through rape, they could still have their benefits.

This was derided as proof of the Tories' heartlessness. The “rape clause”, Ms Thewliss and others declared, showed just how horrifying the government’s plans were.

At the time I felt it was misinterpreted. Critics believed the rape clause had been written as a heartless or even purposefully vindictive measure.

Rather, it was appalling because it was a genuine attempt at compassion. Someone, somewhere, in Tory HQ pointed out that not all women are reproductively greedy or feckless through choice and thought that having this clause would be the decent thing.

It would be too great a stretch of the imagination to think about the impact on a woman of disclosing a traumatic event to strangers so, instead, it is viewed as an act of generosity in allowing a female fecund beyond her control to have some free cash.

It’s baffling that voters can still be affectionate towards a man who presents himself as an eccentric purely for the sake of that faux eccentricity. One might have thought the scales would have dropped before now.

This jolly toff is the poster master for a particular type of Conservatism that despises the working classes and, at very best, can only manage a type of kindness manifested in a form of paternalism, a patronising reluctance to do good by the masses out of pity at their lack of natural born privilege.

Common sense would ask questions about flammable cladding being cheaper and fire sprinklers being too expensive. But no, for Rees-Mogg it is not structural inequalities that must change but that the individual must step up to protect and provide for himself.

Common sense would tell Rees-Mogg to resign but, of course, he won’t. His sense is of nothing but self-preservation.