The National Conservatism Conference was supposed to be about the conservative movement staking out a new direction in British politics, yet it’s been anything but. Instead it’s been marred by controversy and scandal.
The conference had Tory heavyweights in attendance as speakers, including Home Secretary Suella Braverman, Secretary for Levelling up Michael Gove, Jacob Rees-Mogg, and Lee Anderson.
If Conservatives were expecting thought-provoking policy discussions and debates, then they were left disappointed. Instead some truly horrific moments occurred at the conference. Here are five such moments.
1.Douglas Murray accused of downplaying Nazism and the Holocaust
Right-wing author and commentator Douglas Murray was accused of downplaying the holocaust and Nazism. Speaking at the conference Murray said: “There was nothing wrong with nationalism in Britain. It’s just that there was something wrong with nationalism in Germany.”
“I don’t see why no one should be allowed to love their country because the Germans mucked up twice in a century.”
The National Conservatism twitter account tweeted a clip of Murray making the statement, which Lord Watson, former deputy leader of the Labour Party, retweeted the video, commenting: “It’s not possible to be more flippant.”
Hope Not Hate, an NGO dedicated to combatting racism, Tweeted: “Douglas Murray’s comment is serious minimisation of the abhorrent, planned nature of the Holocaust. Saying that Germany “mucked up” trivialises and minimises the fact that the Nazis systematically murdered 6 million Jews during the Holocaust.”
2. David Starkey says ‘white culture is under threat’
David Starkey, who has a history of making bigoted remarks, told the conference that ‘white culture’ was under threat.
Starkey attacked the Black Lives Matter movement and critical race theory.
He told attendees: “They are attempts at destroying the entire legitimacy of thew Western cultural tradition.
“The idea that we are they are there to defend black lives is preposterous.”
“They do not care about black lives. They only care about the symbolic destruction of white culture.”
He also went on to say: “The reason that the Left has such ire for the Jews is jealousy.”
“They want to replace the Holocaust with slavery in order to wield its legacy as a weapon against Western culture.”
3. Jacob Rees-Mogg admits voter ID laws were all about gerrymandering
Jacob Rees-Mogg finally admitted in public what everybody already knew. That the law the Tories bought in for photo ID at elections was all about gerrymandering and boosting Tory support than it was about tackling electoral fraud.
Rees-Mogg told the conference: “Parties that try and gerrymander end up finding their clever scheme comes back to bite them – as dare I say we found by insisting on voter ID for elections.”
“We found the people who didn’t have ID were elderly and they by and large voted Conservative, so we made it hard for our own voters and we upset a system that worked perfectly well.”
4. Suella Braverman’s speech
The Home Secretary delivered a speech that many saw as part of a post-election Conservative leadership bid.
Braverman railed against ‘experts and elites’ and dedicated a part of her speech to ‘culture war issues’. She accused the left of being ashamed of ‘our history’.
She said: “I think the left can only sell its vision for the future by making people feel terrible about our past. White people do not exist in a special state of sin or collective guilt. Nobody should be blamed for things that happened before they were born. The defining feature of this country’s relationship with slavery is not that we practised it, but that we led the way in abolishing it.”
5. Tory MP makes weird remarks about schools and universities
Tory MP Miriam Cates told the conference that “cultural Marxism” is “destroying our children’s souls”.
Cates said that schools and universities were “openly teaching that our country is racist, our heroes are villains, humanity is killing the Earth”, adding: “Is it any wonder that mental health conditions, self-harm and suicide, and epidemic levels of anxiety and confusion characterise the emerging generation?”
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward
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