On 15 May, the annual National Conservatism Conference at the Emmanuel Centre in Westminster got underway with an array of well known speakers. Most notably, Home Secretary Suella Braverman addressed an audience of conservatives, press and two Extinction Rebellion. The conference also saw prominent EU Remainer Steve Bray and his followers take a day off from Parliament Square to protest outside the event.
The European Conservative, the Free Speech Union, Epoch Times, The Critic and the Danube Institute all had tables in the hall.
The first Conservative MP to address the conference was Miriam Cates, Penistone and Stocksbridge MP. A staunch supporter of the nuclear family, she attacked the great hypothesis of the liberal elite, that women have babies to outsource their care so that they can find more fulfilment by their jobs. She stated that if you want strong, enduring families, you need economic policies that make family formation financially attractive.
This conference, a year out from a general election appeared to be an opportunity for politicians like Jacob Rees-Mogg to change the direction of the party by criticising Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, claiming the PM “made a specific promise to scrap thousands of EU laws. But he's broken that promise. This is very unfortunate, as one of his virtues is his trustworthiness and the surrender to the blob risks exposing the government to ridicule”. Not everyone was supportive of Rees-Mogg, as an environmental campaigner entered the stage to interrupt his speech.
Popular conservative political commentator and author, Douglas Murray, spoke in the morning. Murray spoke about nationalism, how it is not the slur it has been made out to be: “I see no reason why every other country in the world should be prevented from feeling pride in itself because the Germans mucked up twice in a century”.
Nationalism is often likened to that of Nazi Germany which were national socialists, whereas nationalism in a true sense is about taking pride in your country and wanting to protect its values. He went on to discuss how to combat the leftist ideologies, “What can we answer the Left with? Love, perhaps the only antidote to envy. Of three things in particular: love of family, love of the things around you, love of tradition”.
With immigration currently being the biggest talking point in the political landscape at the moment, Home Secretary Suella Braverman was the speaker attendees were most looking forward to hearing from.
Jokes were made by MP for Devizes, Danny Kruger, about the security at the event being as lax as the Border Force as two Extinction Rebellion protesters managed to interrupt Braverman’s speech. Braverman did not hold back, attacking the idea that controlling borders is racist.
“It's not xenophobic to say that mass and rapid migration is unsustainable. Nor is it bigoted to say that there are too many asylum seekers in this country. It's not racist for anyone to want to control our borders”, she said. She also played to her crowd ridiculing woke gender ideology, “Those of us advancing unfashionable facts are beaten over the head with fashionable fictions. Much like the fact that 100% of women do not have a penis”.
The National Conservatism Conference over 15-17 May is hosting an array of notable speakers and can be found at NationalConservatism.org.