'Go too woke, risk going broke' Oliver Dowden warns government-funded organisations

6 October 2021, 01:08

Oliver Dowden was challenged on being 'woke' at a fringe event.
Oliver Dowden was challenged on being 'woke' at a fringe event. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Oliver Dowden has stepped up his attack on "woke" culture with a warning to Government-funded organisations that they could lose cash.

The Tory chairman was challenged by an activist at the Conservative party conference about his "anti-woke rhetoric" but he insisted his interventions were not "reactionary".

Mr Dowden warned that some cultural organisations were "responding too much to this noisy and aggressive brigade of activists" who criticised aspects of British history.

"Organisations need robust leadership to stand up to that aggressive campaigning because ultimately they need to be careful," he said.

"If they go too woke, they risk going broke and they just need to tread that line very carefully.

"They have to demonstrate why they justify the funding."

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At the Telegraph's Chopper's Politics event, Mr Dowden was challenged by Albie Amankona, co-founder of Conservatives Against Racism For Equality.

She asked: "Was women's suffrage woke? Was universal suffrage woke? Were gay rights woke?

"We couldn't even suggest that people didn't boo our national football team on the global stage.

"My question is, have we learnt anything from the progress of the last 100 years?"

In response, Mr Dowden said: "When I make interventions in this area, I genuinely ask myself exactly that question - am I just standing in the way of change in a reactionary way?

"I genuinely do not believe that is the case."