HOW many times in your life have you inaccurately called someone a “fascist”? I might be wrong, but I’d wager more than once: for many folk, more than once this week. The term has an emotional resonance that means it gets bandied around a lot, usually inaccurately, to describe, say, an overly officious traffic warden or a middle manager who takes seemingly extra delight in order and discipline. A micro-manager? Fascist. A time-keeping obsessed boss? Fascist. An over-zealous parent: fascist, fascist, fascist.

Even when the term is used to describe contemporary politics, it is scarcely theoretically accurate. Despite all the hot-takes on social media, most populist right movements have little in common with fascism, for a host of reasons. They target the old, rather than the young. They keep the population passive, not mobilised. And they are too strongly tied to elite globalised business to seriously want to keep borders closed. I’ll go on record and say that a Donald Trump is not a fascist, in the truest ideological sense.

Nor is Jacob Rees-Mogg. I’m open about that. He is, without doubt, a right-wing ideologue. He is sexist and I’d wager he holds just about every backwards prejudice going, but for JRM, it’s all a means to an end. His goal isn’t a new totalitarian racial order, but a return to the pinstriped market freedom ideals of the 1980s. Everything else underpinning this goal is about gaining the popular appeal to impose his actually-very-unpopular economic agenda. So no, JRM isn’t a fascist. He’s just a rich bastard who remembers the good old days when the Tories were absolutely open in their contempt for women and the working class.

However, when some students called him a “fascist” in somewhat small but now overblown fracas last week, I definitely didn’t join the chorus of mostly liberal-left commentators righteously condemning them for displaying the left’s tendency to “violence”, for showing “disrespect” or being theoretically confused. Instead I was pretty amused by the incident. Maybe even pleased. My failure to condemn “heckle-gate” drew the usual flak, but having reviewed my position, I’m more convinced of my view than I had been.

The reality is that politics continues to drift further away from the sentiments of “ordinary” people. For ordinary people, read “the majority” and “not political anoraks” Everyone knows this, and routinely condemns it, but there’s an underlying hypocrisy here.

If we want politicians to reflect the ordinary public, whilst condemning the slick-talking robo-politician, then we need to recognise that robotic, clean and polished politics is a bit weird and boring. Robo-politicians are made, not born. Starting young, they’re encouraged to join in the political establishment, debating in a suit at 14. They quickly become the slick-talking bore of tomorrow.

For young politicians who rebel against this rule, our media outlets relentlessly pore over the past comments and behaviour of people, nitpicking on offhand Tweets they made as teenagers, expecting full political consistency from primary school to public office.

Personally, I distrust anyone who has a fully worked-out political perspective before they’ve really experienced the world. Polished, professional politicians can be good politicians – but often they pay the price of pursuing a political career, sacrificing instinct, raw emotion and boldness of character for a safe seat.

Still considering myself relatively young, I still prefer to engage in politics with all the raw emotional anger, energy and inarticulate joy that comes with so-called political “immaturity”, an insult often slung my way. But I see it like this: a young person getting involved in politics who isn’t violently worried and angry about the racism of mainstream politics is heartless. A young person who worries about racism and responds with a very carefully worded, balanced, two-sides-to-every-story article is a trainspotter, and while they have their role, democracy is in a poor state when only the trainspotters are allowed to care.

If you’re not shouting “fascist!” in Jacob Rees-Mogg’s face when you’re 20, you’re probably a bit of an oddball. But maybe this isn’t just about being young because I reckon there’s a fair slice of good, normal people aged 40 plus who scream “fascist!” every time JRM makes a smarmy television experience.

And, honestly? I’m not worried about it. Respect is a finite thing. And it needs to be earned.

If you’re handing out respect to every cynical rich, suited-and-booted Tory who exploits the fears of the working class he obviously loathes, then you understand respect very differently from me. I know enough about the complexities of politics now that I would debate a racist in a formal fashion, because it’s to our advantage to do this. But I don’t expect every member of the public to play this game. Anger has a function, to remind us that real people are affected by political decisions when all the gamesmanship, “sporting debates” and hand-shaking is over. Good on the hecklers. Good on the students of x university. Politics needs more of them, not less. Rees-Mogg isn’t a fascist, but of all the people who are inaccurately described that way, he’s a more than deserving candidate. Give him the respect he deserves.