Meet the new Vice Chair for Youth that Theresa May has appointed in her reshuffle. Was he a good choice? Well, he’s already being ripped to shreds for his offensive comments attacking benefits claimants, public sector workers, and condoning police brutality.
28-year-old Ben Bradley is currently under fire after Buzzfeed revealed a (now deleted) 2012 blogpost he had written in support of the benefits cap. The post lashed out against what he called ‘a vast sea of unemployed wasters’.
"Sorry but how many children you have is a choice; if you can't afford them, stop having them! Vasectomies are free," his post read. ‘Families who have never worked a day in their lives having four or five kids and the rest of us having one or two means it's not long before we're drowning in a vast sea of unemployed wasters that we pay to keep!"
Cat Smith, Labour’s shadow minister for youth affairs was quick to respond, "These repulsive comments expose the Tories' disgraceful attitude to unemployed people. […] That they come from a man Theresa May chose as a vice chair of her party speaks volumes. The nasty party is alive and well." And Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran said it "beggars belief that someone who has shown such contempt for young people who are out of work has been tasked by the prime minister to improve her party's appeal with young voters".
This controversy comes after Bradley told The Guardian that he was given the job of ‘attracting young people to our cause’ and that he wanted to make sure ‘the public didn’t think the Tories hated poor people’.
I think we can all agree that Mr. Bradley isn’t exactly succeeding with those tasks thus far…
Meanwhile, an earlier 2011 blogpost attacked workers protesting public sector cuts, accusing them of being ‘lost in their own fantasy land’ and suggesting that they quit if they feel unhappy with their pay.
“If you think your job or your pay isn’t good enough for you, quit! There are millions and millions of other people who will quite happily take your burden off your hands! If you think you deserve better pay, then get a job with better pay. If you don’t feel capable of getting a job with better pay then be grateful for the one you’ve got!”
“The same can be said for many of the unemployed,” Bradley continued. “‘Oh, I’ve got a masters degree, I’m not working in a shop’ – Well if a shop’s the only place that will have you then you’d better get yourself writing out some retail based CVs!”
“Yes, okay, many teachers and teaching assistants and nurses work hard for their money and deserve to get excellent pay and pensions, but headmasters on seventy-odd grand a year?” Bradley continued.
As Buzzfeed quite pertinently pointed out, Bradley now earns a basic salary of £74,962 as the MP for Mansfield…
And just when you think it couldn’t possibly get any worse, it was also revealed that Bradley wrote a post in support of police brutality during the London riots in 2011.
Bradley reportedly wrote: “We need to come down hard on these morons before somebody gets killed! […] If we have any sense as a nation we’ll stay home tonight and make it easy for the police to find the ones hanging around town centres with their faces covered. For once I think police brutality should be encouraged!”
According to The Times, the posts were written on August 9, 2011 - three days after Mark Duggan was shot by police which sparked the violence in London's streets.
Bradley has since deleted the blog posts and apologised for his comments and ‘inappropriate’ language.
“I wrote a number of blog posts when I was in my early 20s and I accept some of the language I used was inappropriate and I apologise for that," he said. He also said that he attitude has changed with age and maturity.
A No.10 spokesperson confirmed that Bradley will be keeping his job despite criticism, adding: “Mr Bradley has apologised for those comments. The PM thinks it is right that he did so.
“I think he was 22 at the time he made them and has, himself, said he believes his work and the start of his career in politics has demonstrated to him why those views are wrong.”
Bradley may have apologised and managed to keep his position, but the Conservatives are going to have to do a lot more to convince young voters that they can and will represent their needs. With support for the party at just 27% among those aged 18-34, the Tories’ new drive to appeal to young voters needs to work miracles. As Bradley presents a study of exactly how not to win over the 20-something voters, let’s hope that Conservative politicians can learn from his mistakes.
Follow Annie Simon on Twitter: @annieasimon
This article originally appeared on The Debrief.