conservatism,  Nationalism

Nationalism: Malign or Benign?

By Miles Meagre


‘I don’t see why no one should be allowed to love their country because the Germans mucked up twice in a century.’
Douglas Murray



Douglas Murray made a speech at the National Conservative conference in London on 15th May. Mr Murray’s lecture style is slow and languid. He does not cover ground at speed. He illuminates without ever seeming to want to do more than point his listeners in a direction and let them do the looking for themselves. As part of the conference’s theme Murray encouraged people not be cowardly, not to be silenced by being accused of craving for nationalism in advancing the cause of certain useful and constructive ideas about society and governance. Was there something about nationalism worth saving from accusations that, in his view, were pasted on to it principally by two great eruptions in the 20th century: Germany’s fourth and fifth wars of aggression? Was it time to look again at what nationalism stood for rather than became after these events?

Critics not known for their enthusiasm for free speech locked on to the tenuous link between his words (despite his not mentioning the crucial word at all) and made this the subject for faux outrage: How dare he diminish the deaths of six million many of their readers dispute every other day of the week!? See link to the recording below and judge this piece of antisemitic rhetoric for yourselves. The claim is too neurotic to take seriously. Many of Mr Murray’s attackers do not have a reputation to defend when it comes to the Holocaust and respecting the dead at the hands of fascists.

Is nationalism really the worst thing that can happen to a country? In an age tritely labelled globalist (how many across the actual globe feel this endowment means anything to them and theirs?), the alternative has been dismissed as populism, which is held by the fashionable intelligence to be very bad. In my understanding, globalism means one’s individual choice does not exist: you are in it, no signature required. On the other hand populism depends for its whole existence on the readiness of millions to identify with a defining set of characteristics, yet by so doing expressing, often forcibly, what they are not, hence the misgivings. White hat, black hat.

Murray was being arch perhaps? It suits his lopsided smiles that puncture his aristocratic performance. For the Nationalism he was fixing his audience’s gaze upon was that shared identity of Britishness. In various ways and flavours, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States all still carry the fingerprint of national unity provided by their British heritage: laws, cultures and traditions formed over centuries by Scots, Welsh, Irish peoples as much as English (and not a smattering of other ethnicities) who joined in this promiscuous Nationalism and found something in it that brought meaning into their lives.

Douglas Murray’s fears, fears shared by this audience at this conference, were that the contemporary progressive chiselling away at the foundations of a widely shared and adopted culture, enabled with enthusiasm by entrenched rentier elites, that has been carried on gleefully across the Anglo-sphere, was producing an unstoppable decline in an ancient system; that anything of inherited value, historical, structural, thoughtful or spiritual, was being replaced by a unlettered consortium comprised of vapid neurotic feelings, rushing onwards to give their passions an impermeable solidity, a cohort of Demonic Sprites with a compelling rule book and a cement mixer. Argument based on respected principles do not work any longer when those principles are erased in a first step to creating the New Heaven and a New Earth of Woke.

Orwell likened this impasse to the arithmetic concept that 2 plus 2 must equal 4. What if your antagonist doesn’t believe in the bases of arithmetic? Orwell in his usual common sense way showed this denial would be impossible to carry through into real life where such details as 2 plus 2 equals 4 carry consequences with immediate effect even deniers would suffer. Yet, he also saw how easy it would be to have people hold two contradictory ideas in their heads given the right kind of system to rule them by. The example was before him and the entire world as he wrote: It was totalitarianism. What the Party thought the answer was would always be sufficient to overrule a keystone concept of number because it could remove those who differed to agree. Whilst I do not wish to stretch this analogy beyond illustration, what then is contemporary cancel culture if not totalitarian?



All the speeches made at the National Conservative conference 2023 are available on YouTube. Speakers vary from the well known to obscure types but the range of opinion is not as uniform as detractors might wish for. Harry’s Place types will be familiar with the arguments of most; Triggernometry fans will find a few faces they recognise.

The Reception:

The Guardian muddies the water.


Novara Media has a wobble.

We Should Be Very, Very Worried About National Conservatism

The Independent sees far out rather than far right.


Muslim Council of Britain thinks it (the conference) is “persistent drive towards division and discrimination”. I kid you not.

Muslim Council condemns National Conservatism conference extremism

Open Democracy. Not that open