Rumour has it, Ben Bradley goes to bed wearing his homemade silk Ben Bradley MP pyjamas. Nobody has a higher opinion of the “first blue brick” than the Mansfield MP himself. Today, the Tory Party’s answer to Zippy from Rainbow appeared on the BBC to attack the National Trust for a report that simply told the truth. The report was entitled “Interim Report on the Connections between Colonialism and Properties now in the Care of the National Trust, Including Links with Historic Slavery” and was edited by distinguished people in the know, including Dr Sally-Anne Huxtable and Dr Christo Kefalas. The report was by all accounts accurate, revealing and based off fact. The biggest problem for Ben Bradley was that he did not want to hear those facts.
The self-proclaimed future of the Conservatives rambled on about how “you can’t just lump people into groups” when discussing the report with his superior intellectual, Dalia Gabriel. When Gabriel simply pointed out that just because the report reveals some interesting but uncomfortable truths, Bradley’s response was to wail the broken record dog-whistle of “b-b-b-b-but this is taxpayer’s money”. Perhaps Mr Bradley believes that any taxpayer funded institution should be used to make all the lovely little Britons feel great about one another in their green and pleasant land. The fly in the ointment being that Britain’s history is anything but pleasant.
And yet, the Boris brigade carries on guffawing teary-eyed at their wonderful past with the lifeless Bradley at the forefront. Roll up, Roll up, time for our daily dose of romanticised imperialism. There are few people like the Tories who are so good at selectively cherry-picking the parts of their history that best suit them. “Commemorating our fallen heroes? Good. Very good. Point out that we were majorly involved in slave trade at some of our prettiest landmarks? F**k off, I’m revoking my membership”. That is British history in a nutshell. Those educated in occupied territories of Britain learn about the good, a little of the bad and none of the ugly, so that when they all age, ears will turn to cloth. The willingness to embrace with open arms the brave wars they fought in but blatantly reject any evidence pointing towards the damage British colonialism caused throughout the entire world is quite an extraordinary phenomenon. It is a wonder that when Bradley was being schooled by Gabriel that he didn’t stick his fingers in his ears and shout “LA LA LA NOT LISTENING YOU BIG MEANIE”.
And it is this attitude that has precipitated Brexit. The ignorance mixed with unsubstantiated pride. Poor old John Major was another in the firing line of facts this week. He merely pointed out the uncomfortable truth in that the UK is doomed to fall into a second-rate country at the expense of a “brutal Brexit”. He was denounced by the gung-ho Brexiteers, who long for the days of their lost empire. But Tories have never dealt with uncomfortable truths. In fact, it is unlikely that they have ever told one.