Just a few of the worst (best) absolute meltdowns from this year’s Conservative Party conference

The Conservative Party Conference, 2018
John McEvoy

For all the wrong reasons, the 2018 Conservative Party Conference has been one of the most memorable yet. Here are some of this year’s worst (best) absolute meltdowns.

1. An application meltdown

The Conservative Party conference got off to a horrible start. A massive flaw in the conference’s official mobile phone application meant that “the data of hundreds of attendees […] could be viewed by second guessing attendees’ email addresses”.

The personal information and phone numbers of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Gavin Williamson, and others were made accessible, causing outrage.

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Owen Jones tweeted:

And Momentum kindly offered to help the Conservatives avoid any future embarrassment:

2. Empty seats

The Canary recently reported that the Conservative Party “now earns more from dead supporters than it does from the living.” The party is officially a ‘zombie party’ – and its conference has often looked like a ghost town.

Foreign secretary and possible leadership contender Jeremy Hunt couldn’t fill the room:

And Jeremy Wright, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, wasn’t even close:

The Tory party is dying, and it’s all on live television.

3. Jeremy Hunt reaches peak Hunt

During his conference speech, Hunt compared the European Union (EU) to the Soviet Union:

It was the Soviet Union that stopped people leaving. And the lesson from history is clear: if you turn the EU club into a prison, the desire to get out of it won’t diminish – it will grow.

The European Commission’s chief spokesperson, Margaritis Schinas, responded:

I would say respectfully that we would all benefit – and in particular foreign affairs ministers – from opening a history book from time to time.

Vytenis Andriukaitis, a member of the EU commission, wrote:

And Nigel Farage showed that the Tories are now on the same page as UKIP:

4. Racism, featuring Jacob Rees-Mogg

Jacob Rees-Mogg referred to the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, now Libya, as “the people’s republic of jam jar or something”. His comments are reminiscent of Boris Johnson’s description of Black people as “piccaninnies” with “watermelon smiles” – and reflective of a deep racism within the Conservative Party.

Rees-Mogg voted for military intervention in Libya in 2011. Seven years later, the country “is extremely fractured and a source of regional instability.” Ash Sarkar, senior editor at Novara Media, responded:

Rees-Mogg’s comments seem a blatant attempt to both appeal to the far right and trigger anti-racism campaigners into giving him greater exposure.

5. The party of ‘opportunity’

During the conference, the Conservatives focused on being the party of “opportunity“. At the conference’s venue, however, a doorway to opportunity was literally restricted. With a metaphor like this, the satire writes itself:

6. The party of ‘technology’

The Conservatives emphasised the importance of technology in a post-Brexit world, while demonstrating complete technological incompetence.

They also failed to master the technological labyrinth of pinning letters to a wall:

The Conservatives, moreover, have clearly not learnt about using a background that can be used as a ‘blue screen’:

7. Infighting

The Conservative Party’s divisions over Brexit unravelled after one party activist gave ‘Chuck Chequers’ badges to other conference-goers:

8. Winning back the under-45s

The Tory party’s fringe meeting on how to win back the under-45s was… largely absent of people under 45.

The political editor of Business Insider, Adam Bienkov, wrote:

The Tories are abjectly failing young people, and they’re paying the price for it. According to data collected from YouGov, if only 18 to 24-year-olds could vote, the Tories wouldn’t win a single seat in a general election:

9. More protesters outside the Conservative Party conference than inside?

While seats within the conference were left empty, thousands of anti-austerity and anti-Brexit protesters rallied in Manchester and Birmingham:

And Nadine Dorries, Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire, managed to embarrass her party further. On Twitter, she claimed:

Dorries had seemingly forgotten that the right to protest, free speech, and democracy are not mutually exclusive.

10. Hosting a tax haven

The Cayman Islands are well-known to be a tax haven for the super-rich. In the words of John McDonnell:

They said in the General Election I had a magic money tree. Well I found it, it’s in the Cayman Islands.

Is it any surprise that the Cayman Islands, as in past years, have a stall at the Conservative Party conference?

After this conference meltdown, the Conservatives have exposed themselves as unpopular, incompetent, and out of ideas. And it isn’t even over yet.

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– Read more of The Canary‘s coverage of the Labour and Conservative 2018 party conferences.

Featured image via Channel 4 News.

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John McEvoy