A Tory MP who complained about a National Trust report into slavery and colonialism has had his argument picked to pieces live on air.
Journalist and commentator Dalia Gebrial tore apart Ben Bradley’s claim that the National Trust was attempting to “sanitise” history by highlights links between its properties and slavery.
The National Trust came under heavy fire earlier this year when it released a report showcasing links between 93 of their properties and colonialism and the slave trade – including Chartwell, the former home of Winston Churchill.
In response, Bradley and another 27 Tory MPs signed an open letter complaining that “British values” in institutions like the National Trust were being overrun by “cultural Marxist dogma”.
The signatories claimed that history was being “rewritten” to suit “snowflake preoccupations”.
Confronting the MP for Mansfield on Politics Live, Gebrial said: “It feels like this is being blown up into a kind of manufactured culture war.”
Picking up on the open letter, she said: “I think it’s interesting that MPs said in their statement that history must not be sanitised or rewritten to suit snowflake preoccupations, but it seems to me that the only snowflakes here are the people wishing to sanitise and rewrite our histories [and who are] harassing the National Trust for simply doing historical research and revealing some things about their sites that are interesting even though so people might find that uncomfortable. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth knowing about.”
Bradley countered: “We do know these things and I don’t think it can be described as harassing the National Trust to write them a letter.”
Reminding viewers that the Trust’s own member had spoken out about the report, he added: “This has cropped up all of a sudden over the Spring and Summer, this kind of revisionism which comes from this concept of an almost anti-British rhetoric… and I don’t think that’s right.”
Twitter users praised Gebrial ‘s comments. Nursing professor Ian Jones wrote: “Surely it’s in all our interests to understand our history in its totality. The UK benefited from the slave trade – fact. Some of the historic houses were linked to that trade. Why is it an issue to make this known?”
Ian Temple tweeted: “Agree with Dalia. It’s not rewriting history or revisionism to research a subject & tell the story of what you discover. It is adding to our knowledge of a property or place through discovery – &, as a
@nationaltrust member for many years, it’s what I want.”
Agree with Dalia. It’s not rewriting history or revisionism to research a subject & tell the story of what you discover. It is adding to our knowledge of a property or place through discovery – &, as a @nationaltrust member for many years, it’s what I want. https://t.co/AY9nR7bTAi
— Ian Temple (@iantyorks) November 12, 2020
Carl Eve posted: “There’s nothing ‘anti-British’ about knowing the truth of our past. Some of it’s great, some of it’s appalling. Knowing this is purely educational. Not knowing or worse, denying it, is willful ignorance.”
There's nothing "anti-British" about knowing the truth of our past. Some of it's great, some of it's appalling. Knowing this is purely educational. Not knowing or worse, denying it, is wilful ignorance. See: Ben Bradley https://t.co/RqOtIum3Fx
— Carl Eve (@CarlEveCrime) November 11, 2020
“The literal opposite is happening. Bradley accusing Gebrial of revisionism for wanting to tell the truth. The only revisionists are people denying the truth,” added @SparxyUK.
“How is presenting historical facts, revisionist? Ben Bradley is such a melt,” added one user.
How is presenting historical facts, revisionist? Ben Bradley is such a melt 🤦🏻♀️ https://t.co/AOTZPoEIrz
— @flipettydish🍦🌍😁🔥🦝🎲🥂 (@flipettydish) November 11, 2020
This is not the first time Bradley has found himself in hot water. Earlier this year, the Tory backbencher agreed with a tweet that described free school meal vouchers as “£20 cash direct to a crack den and brothel” and has called the Black Lives Matter movement “divisive”.