RIGHT-WING extremism in the UK now comes packaged in a pin-striped suit and an immaculate delivery. Just a few minutes after Theresa May had survived her confidence vote the clipped and manicured vowels of Jacob Rees-Mogg were to be heard. The Prime Minister “should meet the queen and resign”; she had suffered “a terrible result”, said the member for North East Somerset.

On social media Mr Rees-Mogg’s bland sense of entitlement oozed out of every word: “The country needs a new leader. It’s time for Mrs May to resign.” Let’s not vex ourselves with trifles like an election. Mr Rees-Mogg had decided that the entire country now needed a new leader because, well ... this just won’t do.

Elsewhere at Westminster another Tory with multiple names and a baronial pile had a warning for his party and the country. Before Mrs May’s confidence vote Michael Heseltine had talked portentously of the prospect of no-deal and a Prime Minister now lacking all authority to govern. But there was no hint of arrogance in his words and none of the thwarted assumption that suffused the words of his fellow aristocrat. A few days earlier Lord Heseltine had called for a second referendum on Brexit and offered a similar warning to the Conservatives: Britain’s youth “would never forgive us” if they were denied the chance to reverse Brexit. He added: “Those of a certain age who voted 70:30 to leave are rapidly being replaced by a younger generation who voted 70:30 to stay.”

Mr Rees-Mogg gives the impression that he has arrived at this juncture in his life never having understood the concept of youth or encountered any of the strange people who belong to this sect. Was there not a slightly jaded fascination to be had from observing the different approaches of these two men, who between them would seem to embody the values, fears and aspirations of the Tories and those who entrust their land and money to them? Jacob Rees-Mogg and Michael Heseltine had been kissed by privilege at birth; their adult lives anointed by wealth and property. They had sprung from families who expected to rule or to maintain the influence of those who actually did. Each of them, having become a Conservative MP, had rebelled against their leaders.

Lord Heseltine’s revolt occurred in 1986 when, as Defence Secretary, he faced down Margaret Thatcher in a cabinet dispute about the future of Westland helicopters, the UK’s last remaining manufacturer of helicopters. Mrs Thatcher favoured a merger with the US company, Sikorsky, while Mr Heseltine sought a deal with a European consortium that included British, Italian and French firms. He resigned because he felt that his boss had treated her cabinet with contempt over the deal and that it had raised questions over the integrity of senior politicians. His protest came from a seat of considerable influence within the UK Government and was driven by principle.

Until three years ago Mr Rees-Mogg was little more than a curiosity within his own party who might once have featured in children’s tours of the House of Commons. His rebellion is at the head of a group of hard-right "extremists" in the words of Philip Hammond, the Chancellor. It was not sparked by any sense of ethics or integrity but by opportunism. It seeks to exploit an unstable moment in British history to bring about the top-down, class-driven society of their childhood storybooks and one free from any interference on frustrating issues like human rights or moral obligations to people fleeing death and torture.

A chasm seems to be apparent in how each man views the world and the responsibilities that come with wealth and privilege. Never being slow to proclaim his Christian faith Mr Rees-Mogg may be familiar with Luke 12:48. "From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Yet while Mr Rees-Mogg may have read this passage it would seem that Lord Heseltine might actually have understood them. It would be easy for those of a younger generation to be suspicious when an ageing Tory speaks with a degree of compassion. Isn’t this what all elderly and affluent men do as they begin to reflect on their mortality and the legendary difficulties encountered by people like these in attempting to access the Kingdom of Heaven?

Some may deride the concept of a high Tory with a sense of social justice and moral obligation but insofar as this can be imagined Lord Heseltine could be considered one example of such. It may seem difficult to comprehend now but once upon a time the concept of One Nation Toryism enjoyed considerable status within the Tories’ philosophy. This was epitomised by Lord Heseltine when he became an authentic and hard-working advocate for the city of Liverpool as it began to be consumed by an economic apocalypse. He helped drive a visionary and sustainable regeneration in Liverpool and was awarded the honour of Freeman of the City for his endeavours. This was at a time when Mrs Thatcher was preaching her gospel of “survival of the richest” and seeking to dismantle society and England’s northern working-class communities.

Her latterday acolytes are maintaining those wretched values by attempting to create their “hostile environment” for the Windrush generation and any communities they consider to be somehow less than authentically British. They can be observed in the imposition of universal credit and the nasty and vindictive little stunt pulled by the Department of Work and Pensions this week in depriving Universal Credit claimants their annual one-off £10 bonus. If Jacob Rees-Mogg and his band of hard-right Thatcherites get their way another hostile environment for those they consider to be not quite British enough will emerge from their quest to thwart anything but the hardest of hard Brexits.

Theresa May will probably fall and she will be replaced by someone like Boris Johnson or Dominic Raab or Michael Gove or Sajid Javid, a man whose incoherent ramblings on the floor of the Commons this week made you tremble that he could ever be thought of as Prime Minister. Once, this list would have included men like William Whitelaw, Sir Geoffrey Howe and later, perhaps Kenneth Clarke. Lord Heseltine would have been there, too, and he must have wept as Mr Javid mumbled and muttered last week while the rest of us shuddered.