When Hammond joined the Tories, they were just as right-wing.
The former Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond recently had the Tory party whip taken from him after he voted against a no-deal Brexit.
In response, he said that Johnson and his allies were trying to turn the party into an “extreme right-wing faction”.
“It is not the party, I joined,” he said. Contrasting today’s right-wing Tory party with a mythical tolerant one of the past may make good headlines but it’s highly ahistorical.
According to the Scotsman, Hammond has been campaigning for the Conservative Party since Margaret Thatcher’s election in 1979.
Some of the party’s policies back then were extremely right-wing. This is perhaps unsurprisng as Thatcher used to attend regular dinner and discussion clubs with Enoch Powell, Roger Scruton and a group of hard right MPs.
While Hammond was a Tory activist, rising to become the chair of his local Lewisham East branch and then an MP, Conservative policies included:
- Section 28 – which banned the promotion of homosexuality.
- Support for Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet
- Calling Nelson Mandela’s ANC a “terrorist organistaion” and opposing the boycott of and sanctions on South Africa.
- The closing down of mines, with no plan to replace the jobs lost.
- Regarding immigration as something “swamping” Britain.
Other Conservatives now being painted as moderate, “One Nation” Conservatives include Oliver Letwin, who once said that encouraging black entrepeneurs would only result in them investing in “discos and drugs”.
Another ex-Tory, now a Liberal Democrat is Philip Lee. He voted against gay marriage and tried to force asylum seekers to disclose their HIV status and demonstrate they do not have Hepatitis B.
To paint these people as ‘moderates’ or ‘liberals’ as a group is a huge over-simplification and, in some individual cases, an outright distortion.
In denouncing the modern Tory party, we shouldn’t whitewash the extremism in the Tory party’s past.
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