What is the ‘national conservatism’ ideology backed by Jacob Rees-Mogg, and why is it controversial?

What is the ‘national conservatism’ ideology backed by Jacob Rees-Mogg, and why is it controversial?

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Jacob Rees-Mogg, the former Brexit opportunities minister turned GB News host, and David Frost, the ex-chief negotiator for exiting the European Union, have raised eyebrows with a joint Telegraph article in which they argue Britain should return to its “traditional roots” in the form of “national conservatism”.

Written ahead of the first ever NatCon UK event next month (yes, that’s what organisers have actually decided to call it), the pair describe the ideology as a “belief in the nation state and the principle of national independence”.

The official website for national conservatism goes one further and sets out a “statement of principles” which underpin the movement, including a focus on “national independence”, the “rejection of imperialism and globalism”, and a stance on immigration centred around “much more restrictive policies” which may include “a moratorium on immigration”.

The statement is signed by journalists from the Spectator and New York Post amongst others, as well as the controversial Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk.

Oh, and Mr Rees-Mogg and Mr Frost are keynote and featured speakers at NatCon UK respectively, appearing at the event alongside cabinet ministers Suella Braverman and Michael Gove.

Other speakers include controversial American commentator Andy Ngo, GB News presenter Darren Grimes, and the Free Speech Union founder Toby Young.

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Mr Rees-Mogg and Mr Frost’s Telegraph piece continues: “There is a conviction that the West is not doomed to decline, but instead can grow and prosper again in the right conditions: a restoration of economic freedom, freedom of speech and anti-woke policies rooted in common sense and in the historic public culture of this country.

“Underlying this is a belief that the state cannot do everything, but must do properly what it does do: end mass migration so that all may integrate into our nation; maintain law, order and justice; support those who need help, not those who don’t; protect our institutions; and build effective armed forces in a dangerous world.

“Some see these ideas as implying statism, industrial policy and protectionism. That is not how we see it.”

Bit awkward, as scrolling down to the bottom of the article shows a ‘related topics’ section in which ‘protectionism’ is listed.

Twitter users have also voiced their concern over the article, with some comparing ‘national conservatism’ to the ‘national socialism’ promoted by the Nazi Party – defined by anti-hate organisation the Anti-Defamation League as an ideology “centred around the primacy of a mythic Aryan people whose destiny would be secured by a unified authoritarian ethnostate”:

The NatCon UK conference is set to take place from 15-17 May in Westminster.

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