Conservative Party Conference 2022: key take-aways

Kwasi Kwarteng 


‘We need to get on and deliver’ the Chancellor insisted, although the collective pronoun sounded considerably weaker following the recent Tory revolt, led by Michael Gove, which led to the Kwarteng’s U-turn on the 45p tax cut, a mere ten days after it’s announcement. 


Although Kwarteng acknowledged the market turmoil which the mini-budget caused, he didn’t take enough responsibility according to Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves. She slammed her opposition, insisting that ‘this is an economic crisis made in Downing Street, paid for by working people’. 


External opposition 


Activists outside of the conference reportedly attempted to intimidate and threaten those in attendance. “Get out of Brum, Tory scum” was a favourite chant amongst the protestors, although Jacob Rees-Mogg (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) confidently told his audience he didn’t mind being called ‘Tory scum’. 


Truss took aim at this kind of opposition in her speech as she targeted an ‘anti-growth coalition’, het up on ethics and not the booming business the PM has promised she will promote. 


The interruption of GreenPeace activists was living, breathing proof of this enemy coalition, Truss suggested. Identifying climate activists as ‘anti-growth’ makes clear Truss’ priority of a booming economy (ironically) at any cost. 




The conference was dramatically locked down due to potential security threats, although this was lifted around an hour later. 


Internal opposition 


The revolving cabinet door means the current Conservative party is filled with ex-ministers, like Michael Gove, who feel confident publicly dissenting. Having already tasted seniority, the promise of a promotion isn’t enticing enough to buy their support. 


At the conference Keri Badenoch (Secretary of State for International Trade) reminded Tory MPs of the recently absent notion of collective responsibility as she urged them not to rush to the ‘first TV studio to let everybody know how angry you are’ if they disagree with policy. 


As with Truss and her ‘anti-growth coalition’, Badenoch defined the Conservative party in oppositional terms. ‘We also need to remember who our real opponents are and that’s the Labour Party’. This is a government perhaps a little too keen to make enemies. 




A packed Pro-European ‘euromove’ fringe event unfortunately coincided with a lull in the main hall. Tweets abounded to highlight the contrast, and infer an appetite for ‘Remain’ amongst attendees. 


The Party Conference was incidentally held in the ICC, built in 1989 with a £49.7 million grant from the European Regional Development Fund, as part of efforts to regenerate the city. 


Silver Linings 


Amidst the chaos, there were some successes which transcend political poles. For instance, Jacob Rees-Mogg announced that the first prototype nuclear fusion power station was to be built by 2040 in Nottinghamshire to replace current coal-fired power station. 


This kind of commitment to cleaner, greener energy is reassuring to witness in the government, even whilst they brand climate activists as the enemy. 

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