By Jonathon Van Maren
The National Conservatism Conference (NatCon) finished up earlier this month in London, and amongst the scribblers and historians and pundits, a few Tory parliamentarians showed up. That was always bound to cause trouble – although there are certainly some excellent Tory MPs, the party as a whole has adopted social liberalism with a vengeance. It was Tory Prime Minister David Cameron, after all, who championed the redefinition of marriage in the United Kingdom. It is quite possibly easier to list Boris Johnson’s children than the Tory party’s principles.
One of the Tories speaking at NatCon was MP Danny Kruger, who told the audience that “that the normative family – held together by marriage, by mother and father sticking together for the sake of the children and the sake of their own parents and for the sake of themselves – this is the only possible basis for a safe and successful society.” He went on: “Marriage is not all about you. It’s not just a private arrangement. It’s a public act, by which you undertake to live for someone else, and for wider society; and wider society should recognize and reward this undertaking.”
These have been boilerplate political talking points for decades, if not centuries. Who could argue that children are better off with a mother and a father who remain married and care for their biological children? Well, one of them is Andrew Boff, an LGBT activist and (ironically) the Conservative chair of the London assembly, who told the BBC that the parliamentarian’s praise of the natural family was “reminiscent of some of the diatribes that Putin comes out with” and insisted that Kruger “does not speak for the average Conservative,” which may well be correct now that the term is functionally meaningless.
Boff was joined in his outrage by Liberal Democrat “equalities spokesperson” Christine Jardine, who presumably holds that title for moments of crisis just like this one. Kruger’s praise of families with mothers and fathers, she huffed, “show just how utterly out of touch the Conservative Party is with modern-day Britain.” Labour Party deputy leader Angela Rayner, not to be outdone, described the gathering of “a carnival of conspiracy theory and self-pity” and that this also reflected on the Tory Party somehow, despite the fact that there is virtually no daylight between the parties on social issues.