When Turning Point came to Nottingham
Before you begin reading this you should know that this is the first of a four-piece series. This article is about the event itself, how it was conducted and some of the highlights the next three pieces will be more in-depth analysis and critique of their talking points.
The premise of the event was that people mainly students were invited to challenge the groups stance on anything. They were very proud that they only wanted questions form opponents and that the left would never do this because they are scared of having their views challenged. In theory this is great but in reality, you have young untrained students asking professional speakers questions without being able to follow up on the answers which leaves them free to answer with nonsense without being challenged. This allows their supporters to believe they are right whilst leaving those who disagree utterly confused.
The event took place in a small room in the Nottingham Conference centre, I arrived half an hour early to the event and spent some time with the 20 or so protesters outside some of whom had tickets and joined the discussion. The protesters were peacefully stood away from the steps and all seemed in fairly good spirits. While I was stood there a riot van turned up and the police went inside the conference centre. A little while later the police left without talking to the protesters, but it was fairly clear that the free speech warriors of Turning Point had called the police about the group of people expressing their free speech outside.
I went into the event at around 6:50pm the event was scheduled to begin at 7:00 in reality it began at 7:30. This was apparently because Candace Owens had been outside speaking to the protesters whose presence minutes earlier had threatened her so much the police were necessary. She told us as part of the opening speech that she had implored them to come inside to discuss things rather than protest but according to her none had. This was proved false at the end of the event but more on that later.
The event started with the stars of the organisation Candace Owens and Charlie Kirk giving a bit of background on themselves and berating ‘The Left’ for using identity politics that generalise minorities and for using inflammatory language all while saying all feminists hate men and the left are authoritarian among many other inflammatory statements. The hypocrisy seemed lost on their supporters, but my eyes couldn’t stop rolling into the back of my head. After berating liberals for 20 minutes they introduced the UK members of the group. They both spoke about how and why they got involved with Turning Point UK before opening the event up to questions. Those who wanted to ask questions were asked to que in the middle of the room and wait to ask their question a few didn’t get a chance mainly due to Owens and Kirk offering photos for the last half an hour.
The first question was about the NHS the answers from Kirk and Owens focused on the USA which was a problem the entire event which was sold as a UK debate but realistically the two head speakers have no idea about this country. Quite why they decided to start an organisation in a country they don’t understand is beyond me except of course monetary gain. Everyone’s answer was unsatisfactory, and this discussion will be the focus of the second article of the series.
Most of the questions and answers were fairly standard Charlie Kirk even used the common line of ‘We all have a smartphone in our right pocket’ which I had an inner chuckle about. It took about an hour and a half of discussion before I agreed with something the four of them were saying.
One question was very strange and seemed to be alluding to the idea of tying suffrage with taxes, but I can’t be sure as it was terribly worded. Out of that though Kirk claimed that not only should that never happen, but the vote should be extended to ex-felons which I wholeheartedly agree with, but I know the Republican party who Turning Point work with despite claiming to not support them do not. An interesting discussion about the need for participation arose with the end result being everyone agreeing that it is better for democracy the more people take part. Although as an aside and with no evidence Owens claimed the Left were authoritarian and did not believe this. The drive for voters by the Labour party dispel this notion. I wish the Republicans in the US and the Conservatives in the UK would push for participation half as much as those on the left.
A fiery debate arose when someone asked about the interventionist wars America take part in and the current threats to Venezuela and Iran. . I will expand upon this part of the discussion in the third part of the series.
While discussing Antifa Owens claimed that the right do not protest perhaps she missed the Charleston march which resulted in Heather Heyers death and included Neo-Nazis circling a synagogue with automatic weapons only stopped by Antifa. Or perhaps her lack of UK knowledge is so bad that we need to introduce her to Tommy Robinson. As Kirk spoke of the generosity of Americans, he ludicrously claimed that when Americans get successful, they give 90% of their earnings to charity. This while arguing against raising taxes as giving 70% over 10 million will apparently disenfranchise people to earn more despite leaving them 20% better off in Kirks insane world. Also let’s imagine that is true can you get more socialist than giving away 90% of your earnings to those in need, perhaps he’s on the wrong side. The fourth and final part of the series will focus on the hypocrisy of their free speech stance numerous times they criticised people like Beyoncé and Jay-Z for being involved in politics then seconds later praising Kanye West for wearing a MAGA hat.
The event was largely calm until the final question which came from one of the protesters who you will remember Owens claimed did not enter the event. He asked a fairly benign question to begin with about how the ruling class believe in conservative ideals and that should tell us everything we know. It escalated into a shouting match about how the group had made it from nothing and therefore they believed everyone could and so no-one should get help. The protester interrupted arguing for the necessity to raise his class not himself then made the mistake of using language that can easily be interpreted as threatening to the individuals. He turned to the audience saying, ‘These are the hands that make the things you enjoy, these are the hands that will take from right-wingers what you took from us as a class, and these are the hands that will close round the throats of the likes of you’. I understood his meaning, but this was a huge mistake as it invalidated everything else he said and allowed Turning Point to continue to portray the left as violent with a new example.
That was the last question of the night half an hour before the event was supposed to end. We may have had 30minutes less debate than promised but hey Kirk and Owens were able to massage their ego with photos. While I was able to tell them both I disagreed with 98% of what they stood for and I believe they have ulterior motives before this friendly photo was taken. To give Owens credit she was very gracious, accepting, and happy I had attended and was open to hearing the other side I wish they were willing to do the same.
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