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”.
Owen Jones tweeted:
The Tories are blaming the almighty app cock up on the private company they outsourced it to. So have they finally learned that outsourcing to the private sector is a very bad idea?
— Owen Jones? (@OwenJones84) September 30, 2018
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And Momentum kindly offered to help the Conservatives avoid any future embarrassment:
— Michael Segalov (@MikeSegalov) September 29, 2018
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:
This is the picture as Jeremy Hunt completes his speech. A half empty hall. Utterly embarrassing.
Where would the Tories be without their powerful friends in the print media, constantly spinning for them and pumping out propaganda daily?
— EL4C (@EL4JC) October 1, 2018
And Jeremy Wright, secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, wasn’t even close:
— Harry Leslie Smith (@Harryslaststand) October 1, 2018
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:
I was born in Soviet gulag and been imprisoned by KGB a few times in my life.
Happy to brief you on the main differences between #EU and Soviet Union. And also why we escaped the #USSR
Anytime. Whatever helps. https://t.co/c2h7gbnj59
— Vytenis Andriukaitis (@V_Andriukaitis) October 1, 2018
And Nigel Farage showed that the Tories are now on the same page as UKIP:
Jeremy Hunt is using my language, the EU is the new Soviet Union.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) October 1, 2018
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:
Can’t decide if the most disgusting thing about Britain is Coronation Chicken, or our ruling class’ habit of pretending they don’t know the names of countries we’ve bombed the shit out of. https://t.co/b6pUn99NB5
— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) October 1, 2018
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:
A perfect metaphor has been installed at Tory Party Conference: A doorway to opportunity that is accessible for the few and inaccessible for the many because of a blue hard border.#CPC18 pic.twitter.com/03edQapMIb
— James Melville (@JamesMelville) October 1, 2018
6. The party of ‘technology’
They also failed to master the technological labyrinth of pinning letters to a wall:
— rajeev syal (@syalrajeev) October 1, 2018
The Conservatives, moreover, have clearly not learnt about using a background that can be used as a ‘blue screen’:
Only an idiot would decide to have a conference in front of a #BlueScreen.. eh @BrandonLewis?#CPC18 #CPC2018 #StopTheCull #KeepTheBan #JC4PMNow @UKLabour @HuntSabs @BadgerTrust pic.twitter.com/f1t0kXwbGh
— Paul Ivanovich?? (@Paparaw) October 1, 2018
The Conservative Party’s divisions over Brexit unravelled after one party activist gave ‘Chuck Chequers’ badges to other conference-goers:
This is gonna be a cracking few days pic.twitter.com/8BTuMgLLRT
— Matt Zarb-Cousin (@mattzarb) September 30, 2018
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:
At the “How can the Conservatives win back the under-45s?” Fringe. Average age of audience: 55. Number of bow ties: 2. #cpc18
— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) September 30, 2018
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:
How the next general election would look if only 18-24s were allowed to vote (Data from @YouGov, 28-29th August). I'm expecting some great GIFs, everyone…
LAB: 66%, 600 Seats
LDM: 13%, 21 Seats
CON: 12%, 0 Seats
GRN: 4%, 1 Seat
SNP: 3%, 9 Seats
PLC: 0.4%, 1 Seat pic.twitter.com/CxaL1oBJ9u
— Election Maps UK (@ElectionMapsUK) September 4, 2018
9. More protesters outside the Conservative Party conference than inside?
— SpaceAngel #StopBrexit & #GTTO (@spaceangel1964) September 30, 2018
And Nadine Dorries, Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire, managed to embarrass her party further. On Twitter, she claimed:
You will never see Conservatives protesting outside a Labour conference. We believe in free speech and democracy. https://t.co/57dz0fm9t3
— Nadine Dorries (@NadineDorries) September 30, 2018
Dorries had seemingly forgotten that the right to protest, free speech, and democracy are not mutually exclusive.
10. Hosting a tax haven
They said in the General Election I had a magic money tree. Well I found it, it’s in the Cayman Islands.
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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