So while you have fake conservatives making sure nobody to the right of Tony Blair or George W. Bush can gain traction anywhere without being branded a racist and blocked from social media, the right also has another problem and that is an inability to pick its battles. Julia Hartley-Brewer is one of the leading advocates for Brexit, she rails against political correctness and argues in favour of free speech, and believes Britain’s immigration system needs a radical overhaul. All good, right?
Actually, no. Yesterday some hack in America posted on Twitter a short clip of a Trump speech in which he called asylum-seekers “animals”. Only Trump was specifically referring to MS-13 when he used that word, and the video had been edited to obscure that fact and the “asylum seekers” bit added by the hack. It was also not new; it dated back to May 2018 when the left pulled the same trick. In other words it was straight-up fake news. Here’s how Julia Hartley-Brewer responded:
This is terrifying stuff. And it’s just become normalised now. No one in the room even bats an eyelid when he says this stuff. Horrific. https://t.co/hDTYAse0xw
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) April 6, 2019
When people called her out on it, she doubled down:
People pointing out that he’s talking about gang members. That’s not the point. He uses this sort of language all the time about people who aren’t violent criminals.
— Julia Hartley-Brewer (@JuliaHB1) April 6, 2019
Actually, Trump doesn’t go around calling people animals. This is yet more fake news, but it’s also a sign of something more worrying, especially if you’re conservative. If you are pro-Brexit, anti-PC, and want stronger immigration policies I’d have thought Trump’s your man – especially if he’s specifically talking about keeping unspeakably violent criminals out of the country. If Britain does exit the EU, who do they think their biggest ally’s going to be? Who is their main target for a trade deal? Brexiteers should be doing everything they can to get Trump interested in their cause, and they should be thanking their lucky stars someone naturally sympathetic to them is in the White House instead of a wet globalist like Obama who detests Britain and loves the EU.
I’m going to be charitable and assume Hartley-Brewer is genuinely conservative and isn’t just saying this stuff to ensure the London liberal set keep inviting her to dinner parties, but what I’m going to say isn’t much better: she’s simply not very bright when it comes to politics. If conservatives and right wingers want any chance of clawing back lost ground in the culture war, they’re going to have to be an awful lot smarter than this. Firstly, that means being fully focussed on what you want. If Brexit is your priority, concentrate on that, and don’t concern yourself with matters unrelated to the task at hand. Otherwise there’s a good chance you’ll inadvertently strengthen your enemies and undermine your own cause. What did Hartley-Brewer expect to achieve by joining the left in bashing Trump? There’s simply no upside here, only downsides. And it’s not like Trump doesn’t use Twitter and has no idea who’s saying what. She’s blundered straight into a bear trap set by her enemies. If this were a real war, she’d be written off as a liability. Now I’m not saying Brexiteers and conservatives should agree with Trump or even like the man. But there is an option to, you know, just shut the f*** up. You don’t actually have to comment on everything; sometimes silence works wonders. If you don’t learn to pick your battles, don’t expect to win any.
Secondly, conservatives need to recognise who their true allies are. Churchill didn’t like Stalin very much, but realised he needed him to defeat Nazi Germany. There’s plenty of time for drawing up principles once the war is won, but while it’s ongoing you do whatever’s necessary to win. If British conservatives can’t stomach Trump as an ally, they’ve already lost (again). As I’ve said before, there are things to dislike about Tommy Robinson but if British conservatives find themselves unable to throw their weight behind him when he’s being hounded by the government for speaking his mind about immigration, they ought to get ready for another few decades of cultural Marxist domination. They also need to jettison the fake conservatives and those who lack the stomach for the fight. The sort of wet conservatives who appear in the mainstream media or in Parliament can be likened to America’s supposed allies in their mission to Afghanistan: the German military wouldn’t go out at night, the French complained the country was unsafe, and the Norwegians said they’d provide a medical tent. Only the English-speaking countries – the UK, Canada, and Australia – were prepared to get stuck in, kill some folk, and take casualties of their own. The rest are free-riders waiting to step in and take charge once the enemy is defeated, or simply carp from the sidelines.
If the culture wars were a boxing match, the referee would have stopped the fight years ago. Conservative fortunes won’t improve until they acknowledge this and change their approach entirely. They need to fight smarter. This means focusing on the handful of things they really want, seeking allies who want the same things, and getting rid of the grifters and hangers-on. Above all, it means shutting the f*** up for most of the time.