Conservative Diary

International affairs

7 May 2008 15:10:27

Next IYDU Freedom Forum to be in Paris


25th - 28th June.
See our Events page for more details.

These annual gatherings can take place anywhere in the world so you might as well take the opportunity of going whilst it's in Paris.

1 Apr 2008 17:30:49

Day for Darfur

Darfur_cf_flyerConservative Future is to officially support a protest outside the Sudanese embassy on Sunday April 13th. Andrew Mitchell MP, Shadow International Development Secretary, will also be there. New CF Chairman Michael Rock said:

"Becoming an organisation that appeals to a broader range of political activists, and becoming more accessible is the first step towards rebuilding Conservative Future so that we can expand in a whole new direction. To that end, we are pleased to announce that we are official supporters of “Day for Darfur 5”, a protest against the crisis in Darfur with particular focus on the affect that the situation is having on the children of Darfur.

When David Cameron visited the region last year, he did so because the humanitarian crisis is affecting millions of individuals and we should be doing more to alleviate the suffering. It is unacceptable to stand aside whilst government back militia attack innocent civilians."

If you live in London I strongly recommend going to this. That CF is engaging with this serious issue like, for example, the young LibDems (and later the IYDU) did with Belarus, is very welcome indeed.

For more information click on the flyer above, join the Facebook group, or contact Anastasia Beaumont-Bott on 07719797344

22 Jan 2008 16:17:08

IYDU action on Belarus

The following statement was issued by the International Young Democrat Union Chairman, Norweigan MP Peter Gitmark, today following the news that 10 young Belarusian activists were arrested after a Democrat Youth Community of Europe (DEMYC) study visit to Belarus:

Belarus_protest “Following a study visit to Belarus by DEMYC –a member of IYDU – ten Belarusian activists were arrested and imprisoned by the Belarusian regime because of their political beliefs. An international delegation of DEMYC youth activists from across Europe conducted a study visit to Minsk on January 10-13, supported by the European Youth Foundation.

After the departure of the DEMYC delegation, ten members of the hosting organizations Belarusian Popular Front (BPF) Youth and the Young Front (Malady Front) were arrested and imprisoned. These people are Franak Viachorka, Anton Kalinouski, Yuras Stankevich, Uladzimir Syarheew, Kasya Krasnova, Lyudmila Atakulava, Kasya Halitskaya, Maksim Vyarnyanski, Paval Kuryanovich and Volha Kulyakevich.

These ten young people were arrested and have been sentenced for up to 15 days in prison without any justified reason. They have been sentenced to prison for "using bad language". Some of them were beaten by the police in order to confirm their participation in a peaceful demonstration.

IYDU is urging people, institutions and organisations across the globe that stand for freedom and human rights to join together in support for the human rights of the people of Belarus.

When such tyrannical repressions are conducted by the Belarusian government against the actions of the democratic opposition youth the world should not keep its eyes closed. We call upon governments of the world to take immediate action for the immediate release of young people who are imprisoned for political reasons. We urge world governments to defend human rights and freedom of speech in Belarus.”

IYDU has been working with our sister parties in Belarus for a number of years.  Last year they hosted a training conference for young Belarussian activists.  An IYDU Vice Chairman was able to get into Belarus last year on their annual Freedom Day march and witnessed first hand the tactics of the police in how they deal with political marches. 

If anyone would like to get involved in the IYDU Freedom Campaign for Belarus just email Sarah Southern.

5 Sep 2007 12:30:24

IYDU conference in Estonia

5th - 9th December in Tallinn, land of the flat tax.

It's always worth meeting people from sister parties in other countries, you can learn a lot from how they do things. Last year's Council Meeting was in London so we're lucky to have it relatively close by this year as well so best to make the most of it. EasyJet have some good rates from London.

Details here, registration form here.

10 Mar 2007 08:12:00

IYDU Freedom Forum will be in Tawain

I can reveal this year's Freedom Forum will be held in Taipei, Taiwan, from the 5th to the 8th of July. The topic of the meeting will be free trade as a driving force for democracy and prosperity.

The IYDU's annual Council Meeting was in London last December, and last year's Freedom Forum was at Ronald Reagan's ranch in Santa Barbara.

19 Feb 2007 09:40:47

Mark Clarke: Opportunities to study America's conservative movement

Clarke_mark Mark Clarke is Chairman of Conservative Future.  He was recently selected for Tooting.

Conservative Future and the Young Britons Foundation are today announcing an exciting collaboration to give CF members access to the political opportunities available in the US. Whilst the US conservative movement has its own issues which differ from those in the UK, the level of political sophistication, whether in campaigning techniques, training, internet understanding or communications ability is far more advanced than here in the UK. We want to give CF members an opportunity to learn these techniques and experience American political life. We also hope that this will strengthen the links between our two Conservative movements and between our two great nations.

We have together developed relationships with a wide range of organisations who are willing to take UK CF members for internships for varying lengths of time. Some of these may be paid, some will pay flights, some will offer accommodation. All will offer an exceptional and life changing experience.

The Young Briton's Foundation have kindly offered to manage this process.  Together, CF and YBF will make the initial selection and recommendations to our friends across the Atlantic. Detailed application details can be found on the YBF site. In order for us to place people with organisations with which they will be a strong cultural fit we also include a questionnaire to understand people's current politics. This is not pie in the sky. We already have sent over informally CF members to the US as we have pulled together the details of this plan for general consumption.

CF is grateful to YBF for its help here. YBF has for many years trained Conservative activists in advanced political techniques. I myself hugely benefited from this training, as have 100s of other CF members. More recently, YBF has provided personal coaching to me in my current role and organised a trip for me to the US at which we jointly created this programme.

This is also a sign that CF is embracing the full conservative movement - as partners not rivals.

12 Dec 2006 10:21:37

Fabien de Sans-Nicolas answers your questions

Fabien_1_2How do the Jeunes Populaires work? How are you organised? Any examples of recent campaigns or conferences? Do you have full-time staff?

The Jeunes Populaires (JP) are structured in departmental branches. Each one of them is ran by a local leader we call RDJ (Responsable Départemental des Jeunes) who shapes it regarding the local needs, the number of members and the pro-activeness he has. None of them is full time employed. The National Board, elected together with president, is in charge of national campaigns, events and overall organisation. We recently involved our local branches in making proposals for the presidential debate, and a national commission gathered and synthesised it all to promote a global contribution of the JP to the programme debate of the party.

What is the nature of your links with the UMP? Are your members automatically members of the UMP? Are there any other youth organisations inside or around the UMP?

JP is a fully integrated part of UMP. We are linked to the mother party. Since any of our members are first of all members of the mother party, the extra membership to JP is offered to them by UMP that refunds us. Therefore, we also are very active in UMP campaigns and try and provide it with propositions. We also try and source it with youngsters of great potential (to get involved in city council in particular), but also at any level. The JP are the only so called "youth league of UMP", but still we are working together with the youth leagues of fellow partner parties of UMP.

Continue reading "Fabien de Sans-Nicolas answers your questions" »

6 Dec 2006 07:54:42

Ross Cowling: Conservative student publications in the US

Ross_cowling_copy Ross (blog) is a member of the Conservative Party and a recent graduate of the University of Kent. He has just returned from carrying out an internship at The Leadership Institute in Arlington, Virginia.

I have recently returned from the across the pond where I was interning at the Leadership Institute in Arlington, Virginia. A large part of my time at LI was spent in their Student Publication Department. This experience opened my eyes to many things that I had not previously thought about, and made me ask myself  “why do we let the left dominate student media in the UK?”

The wave of conservative student publications in the US has emanated out of The Dartmouth Review, which was founded by the likes of Dinesh D’Souza and Ann Coulter. Now, with the help of LI, almost every major college campus in the US has a conservative publication that counters the leftist bias encountered in the mainstream student dailies.

The LI has several full-time Student Publication Coordinators who travel across the country assisting conservative groups in setting up and maintaining a publication. The services they offer range from in depth workshops where students learn the skills they need to manage a publication, to guidance in using design software so they can produce a professional product. Crucially the LI also offers new publications financial assistance to help them get off the ground and get their first issue published.

Continue reading "Ross Cowling: Conservative student publications in the US" »

3 Dec 2006 07:36:00

Høyre (Norway)

Hyre_1 Brief by Morten Fjeldberg

In Norway, we have a Conservative Party (Høyre) established in 1884, Norway's second oldest political party (the oldest being the Liberal Party, established in 1883, the Labour Party was established in 1887). 

Currently (since the General Election 2005) we have only 28 MPs in the Storting.  In the previous Parliament (2001-2005), we were part of a coalition Government with the Christian Peoples Party and the Liberal Party. The Christian Peoples Party had the PM, but we held most other important offices, like Finance, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Local Government. 

The Conservative Party (Høyre) has long tradition for working together with like-minded conservative parties. We have cooperation with Nordic parties (party leaders meeting, party secretary meetings, spokesmen meetings), and we are part of the Conservative Group in the Nordic Council.

We were members of the now defunct European Democrat Union, and are now observers in the EPP.

We are also members of the International Democrat Union. IDU now has its headquarters in Oslo, the new Secretary General is Eirik Moen, former Secretary General of Høyre and former state secretary in the Office of the PM.

Continue reading "Høyre (Norway)" »

29 Nov 2006 10:33:00

Mladí Konzervatívci (Slovakian version)

Peter_martinovic Peter Martinovic (excellent blog), leader of Slovak Young Conservatives, has kindly produced this summary of centre-right youth activity in Slovakia. Thanks also to PragueTory for facilitating this.

Slovakia is a country of 5.4 million people and became independent in 1993. Slovakia joined the EU in May 2004. To put it mildly, the landscape of centre-right youth organisations in Slovakia is complicated. This is explained by the significant amount of party reorganization and realignment within mainstream politics. Today there are four identifiable and autonomous youth organisations. The overwhelming majority of the members are male and high school or university students. As a background, it should be noted that excluding the nationalist parties, there are two Slovak parties that can be considered centre-right, namely; 

  • SDKU-DS itself formed in January 2006 as a result of a merger between Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKU) & Democratic Party (DS)
  • Christan Democratic Movement (KDH)

Continue reading "Mladí Konzervatívci (Slovakian version)" »

27 Nov 2006 16:41:00

The Young Liberal Movement of Australia

Liberal_logo Background provided by Alexander Drake, who has served as secretary of the Queensland Young Liberals, as a ministerial adviser to the Howard government in Canberra, and as a member of the UK Conservative Research Department.

This is a short note on the Young Liberal Movement, the youth wing of the Liberal Party of Australia.  The Young Liberals were present in 1981 at the first meeting of the International Young Democrat Union in Washington DC, which attracted representatives of 14 youth political organisations from the UK, Europe, the US, Canada and Australia.

Historically, centre and centre-right political parties in Australia have defined themselves not as Conservatives in their own right, but as being in opposition to Labor.  This meant that during the first half of the twentieth century, the anti-Labor centre-right frequently regrouped under different names.

The modern Australian party system we know today didn't take shape until the great Sir Robert  Menzies - Australia's longest serving Prime Minister - began to form the Liberal Party of Australia from the ashes of the old United Australia Party, in 1944.  Menzies had previously been an active and highly successful youth conservative activist in his home state of Victoria during the 1930s, and was anxious for the Liberal Party to replicate this success nationally.

Continue reading "The Young Liberal Movement of Australia " »

24 Nov 2006 10:48:05

Mladi Konzervativci

With the IYDU conference starting in London on Wednesday, CF Diary is featuring articles that raise awareness of the nature of some of CF's sister organisations around the world.


A Prague resident and Conservative Abroad member today offers an insight into the main Czech centre-right youth organisation.

The dominant party on the right of Czech politics is the ODS. In July 2006 the ODS leader Mirek Topolanek agreed to tie up with the Conservative Party to form a new reform grouping in the European Parliament in 2009. The ODS is by reputation the party of the cities and the educated middle classes, but is also the largest party in terms of overall support. Margaret Thatcher is a great heroine to most ODS activists and politicians who are in the round fairly Euro-sceptic. Only last week, ODS member President Klaus described himself as “deeply frustrated with the EU”.

The young conservative wing of ODS is called Mladi Konzervativci and was established in 1991. Its members number 500 across 35 branches. In a country of nine million these are hardly stratospheric numbers, but I am told they are growing. It is estimated the membership is 80% male. Interestingly, the overwhelming majority of members are either at high school or university.

Continue reading "Mladi Konzervativci" »

20 Oct 2006 09:29:39

FCS is back!

Fcs_1Don't get too excited/alarmed, it's just for a day.

The seven 1980's Chairmen of the Federation of Conservative Students (inc. Brian Monteith MSP, Paul Goodman MP and John Bercow MP) have got together to organise a reunion for former members of the infamous organisation. It will be in a few weeks, sounds fun!

The unflattering picture is from an interesting BBC article on the Young Unionists. I'm looking to have a few articles about comrades sister youth-wings around the world in advance of the IYDU conference - do get in touch if you think you can write about one.

28 Sep 2006 11:54:00

IYDU comes to London

This year's Council Meeting of the excellent International Young Democrat Union will take place in the Houses of Parliament and other London venues from November 29th to December 3rd.

IyduFor the uninitiated the IYDU is the youth-wing of the IDU - an alliance of 80 political organisations who share a common belief in freedom and "less government". We have a great deal to learn from like-minded people from different cultures, co-operation and communication is absolutely essential for the global revival of centre and centre-right parties.

The main theme of the CF-hosted conference is “Renewing Conservative Parties”, and David Cameron is scheduled to speak at it, as well as other "
leading parliamentarians and high level campaign strategists from the Conservative Party".

The New Media (satellite/internet tv, blogs etc) is also a focus of the conference, with think-tankers and journalists discussing how the New Media is developing.

Click here
to download a registration form, and email it to
[email protected] by the end of October.

IYDU meetings take place all over the world, so take this opportunity to go while it is easy to get to!

7 Sep 2006 07:01:00

Mark Clarke: What can we learn from other centre-right parties?

Mark_clarke2 Mark is standing for CF Chairman

It’s not often that a Conservative says we can learn from the French. But CF can and should look at what is happening in France now and see the sort of organisation that we should become…

So firstly the facts. The youth wing of the centre-right UMP party have just had their youth conference. At this conference they elected their new leadership on a 60% election turnout. Nicolas Sarkozy, the leading light leader of the right went and addressed them and used the opportunity to launch his election bid for President. His addressed was received by over 6,000 young UMP delegates. The French Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin also attended.

Now let us compare with the CF here in the UK:

Conference Attendance: CF had two National youth conferences this year. Each was attended by around 60 people so a total of 120 delegates. The French UMP was attended by over 6,000 delegates.

CF Election turnout: Last year’s CF election had a turnout of around 3% (based on around 500 leadership ballots from a declared membership of 15,000). I hope that this year will be higher but will we match the French UMP youth wing with a turn-out of over 62%?

Senior Party Interest:
No contender for the Conservative Party leadership integrated CF into their leadership bid. By contrast, Nicolas Sarkozy launched his at the UMP youth conference. In addition, Dominic de Villepin, the French Prime Minister, also attended their conference.

Continue reading "Mark Clarke: What can we learn from other centre-right parties?" »

6 Sep 2006 06:17:00

Clare Hilley: Sri Lanka - The New Rwandan Crisis?

Clarehilley Clare, training to be a pilot, is Chair of Croydon Conservative Future and has previously held branch, area and national positions within CF. Having stood in local council elections in both Lancashire and Croydon, she believes that CF should engage in and explore international issues.

The genocides and ethnic cleansing of the Sudan and Rwanda are all too well known. But the murders of innocent Sri Lankans have been occurring for nearly twenty five years, and yet few know of the devastating effects the government there is having on its minority peoples.

The Sri Lankan population is made up of two main groups: the Sinhalese (mainly Buddhist) who comprise seventy four per cent; and the Tamils (mainly Christian and Hindu, and of Indian descent), who make up 18.1 per cent. In 1948, after gaining independence, the Sinhalese dominated parliament passed the Ceylon Citizenship Act. This stripped the majority of Tamil plantation workers of their citizenship, and hence their vote. The law stated that only those born before November 1949, to a father who was also born in Ceylon, were eligible for citizenship.

Continue reading "Clare Hilley: Sri Lanka - The New Rwandan Crisis?" »