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24 May 2023

National Conservatism Conference

-an attack on migrant, racialised and queer communities

The controversial National Conservatism Conference took place last week and was essentially a showcase of everything we’re fighting at the Migrants’ Rights Network: scapegoating and a demonisation of minorities, including People of Colour and migrants. 

There was no shortage of inflammatory racist statements being made, including Suella showcasing her ongoing obsession with the ethnicity of grooming gangs. She had previously claimed in an interview with Sky News that grooming gang members are “almost all British-Pakistani”. She has already been called out for her offensive words, yet she continues to spin this dangerously false narrative, despite Home Office statistics showing that group-based Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) offenders are most commonly White.

In stating that “nobody should be blamed for things that happened before they were born”, her words also showed a deep denial of Britain’s role in the enslavement of people from the African continent. Britain’s involvement always occurred in the colonised outposts as opposed to at home. This means it was rarely witnessed, and the UK could always pretend it wasn’t happening, distance itself from this atrocity, and shirk any responsibility for practising it. Our Government panders to White guilt by absolving White people from interrogating and reflecting on their own privilege, and sordid history.  

Suella stated that “those on the left are ashamed of our history”. We wonder how someone could remain so delusionally unashamed, especially when history continues to benefit those in power at the expense of racialised communities. 

The Conference also played into moral panic surrounding the “decline” of “Western civilisation” and “demographic change”. Not only does this reference the transphobic, homophobic and misogynist obsession with “normative families” that demonises single-parent families, but it also reveals a deeply racist anti-migrant sentiment which alludes to the Great Replacement Theory. We can clearly see how migrant, racialised and queer communities are all painted as an inherent “unassimilable” “threat” to the so-called Western way of life, and how these attacks against multiple marginalised groups have come to be a defining feature of the far-right. This can perhaps embolden us to continue to build bonds between different marginalised groups, since our struggles are all intertwined. 

At MRN, we look at migration and migration policies through an intersectional lens. Without this approach, we cannot truly understand the systems of oppression that shape the way the State treats people seeking safety or a new life. We have to acknowledge the role that racism and colonialism play in defining who is welcome. 

The Government believes that those fighting for progressive change view “the purpose of politics as to eradicate the existence of inequality, even if that comes at the expense of individual liberty and human flourishing.” We wonder why the Government is so content to fixate on “individual liberty” for the powerful few, at the expense of everyone else’s flourishing.