Conservative Diary

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Is the CF Website good enough?

John Moorcraft writes a weekly article putting current young Conservative issues into a historical context.

The political establishment are constantly being told by those who consider themselves experts on the subculture of contemporary British youth that they must learn the rules of engagement specific to this particular hoodie wearing section of society if they want to persuade increasing numbers of them to take an interest in all things political.  The aspiring politician is forever being reminded that the next General Election (assuming it is not held this year of course) will see youngsters born in 1990 (after the fall of the Berlin Wall and during the fag end of Thatcher’s premiership) entitled to vote for the political party of their choosing. This, we are informed by the experts, should scare politicians to death on the premise the traditional method of choice for making themselves popular with the public (promising to make us all wealthier whilst improving public services) simply will not cut the mustard with the new kids on the block.  Instead, we are led to believe this cheap flight loving, iPod owning, broadband internet using generation wants to hear about “post material” issues such as environmentalism and ending world poverty, not to mention whether any wannabe MP loves the Arctic Monkey’s and can drink 14 pints of beer on an average night down the pub. 

Now, as the tone of the above introduction has hopefully conveyed, I personally believe the majority of what so called experts have previously said on this subject to be complete twaddle and would wager the way to engage more "young people" in politics is by treating them as the adults they actually are.  However, whilst I believe the importance of tailoring your political message to suit "the young" is considerably overstated, I do accept that the internet has for many of the youngest enfranchised generation in our society (and not just the youngest I hasten to add) become the first and often only port of call when they wish to find out more information about a person, place or organisation.  It is therefore imperative that the Conservative Party maintains a first class web presence, something in the main I believe it successfully manages to do as any visitor to the official website will no doubt agree. 

When it comes to the web presence of Conservative Future however, I simply refuse to accept the same can be said. 

Now, it is important to unambiguously state at this juncture that I am not criticising the efforts of those activists in Conservative Future, myself included, who dedicate a considerable amount of time to ensuring the young conservative viewpoint is available on the internet for all interested parties to observe.  For example, it is incontestable young conservative bloggers easily outnumber their counterparts in the LDYS, Labour Students, The Young Greens, Young Scots for Independence/Federation of Student Nationalists and Cymru X and the quality and diversity of what is being written by CF members in the bloggersphere is generally of a superior standard as well.  In addition, the imminent launch of Blue Shark TV should once again firmly re-establish the favourable reputation the young conservative movement had acquired for itself with CFTV as leaders in the field of political internet television and radio broadcasting.  Furthermore, this website (CF Diary) has also established itself as an indispensable resource for those in Conservative Future who wish to either ascertain more information about the activities of the organisation or discuss issues of importance to the young conservative movement (the publication of progress reports and the excellent debate on national convention places held on here back in October respectively illustrates this). 

However, whilst all of the above is helping to maintain a first class internet presence for the young conservative coalition, it has to be said the official CF internet presence, if considered on its own, could only at best be generously described as adequate.  For example, consider the fact the front page of the official CF Website displays a message encouraging readers to attend the forthcoming CF Campaign Day in Battersea on the 16th December 2006, whilst the top story in the news section, entitled “Every End is a New Beginning” is dated the 7th December 2006.  If this wasn’t bad enough, a recent email I sent to all but 2 Area Chairmen of Conservative Future using contact details taken from the official CF Website was “returned to sender” on a staggering 15 occasions…

The CF Exec has this year achieved far more then I thought it would and I have in the past been more then happy to wax lyrical about some of its accomplishments, such as the marginal seats initiative, on my blog.  I also have no doubt future articles I write for CF Diary will be deservedly praiseworthy of various things the CF Exec has accomplished this year and on certain matters I believe it is not an understatement to say the young conservative movement have rarely had it so good.  However, whilst resources are understandably directed elsewhere, I do think the time has come to seriously review the quality of the official Conservative Future website and take steps to ensure the organisation is given the first class internet presence it both requires and deserves.   


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