Conservative Diary


2 Aug 2008 21:50:01

"We are not really Daily Mail Tories"

Ftweekendmag The FT magazine has a cover profile of Conservative Future today. Here are some of the mini-profiles sketched by Rob Blackhurst:

Patrick Sullivan: "Patrick Sullivan, known as “Puddles” or “Patch” to his friends. Sullivan is studying for a postgraduate degree in marketing. On first impressions he is the young fogey of the group – rotund and crumpled in a Churchillian way, an aficionado of the Prime Minister brand of snuff who was christened “Tory Boy” at university. Like all good Thatcherites, he was inspired by Friedrich Hayek’s demolition of socialism The Road to Serfdom. But although he seems like a throwback to the young Torydom of the 1980s, Sullivan is a true Cameronite. “The party has ditched a lot of the social conservatism,” he says. “We are not really Daily Mail Tories. If you take on a girl out on a date, you don’t spend the whole time slagging the date off. You are not going to get a second date. We are now trying to be nice to our dates.”"

Anastasia Beaumont-Bott (pictured on the cover): "She is 19, bisexual and wears a sharply tailored hounds-tooth overcoat that looks like it has been stolen from a member of the Human League. Her hair is sculpted into a severe pixie-cut, her Scottish skin is deathly pale and she speaks with a genteel Edinburgh Morningside accent. She has, she tells me, 45 pairs of shoes, but today is wearing kitten heels. Her incessantly bleeping personal organiser has been studded (or “pimped”) with pink plastic crystals. Beaumont-Bott is chiefly known as the founder of LGBTory (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Tory) – a social network which promotes “pro-gay policies” within the Conservative party. So far, with just 200 members, LGBTory seems not much more than a website with the party’s English Oak logo bedecked in the rainbow colours of Gay Pride. But it has been far from idle. LGBTory has held a stall at Gay Pride events throughout Britain."

Liza Chantelle: "it seems like I’ve stumbled across the Conservative party’s Paris Hilton. She has cherry-red false nails, striking extended eyelashes and describes everyone, including David Cameron, as “hot”. The best thing, she says, about Conservatives is the canapes. On her Facebook home page she says that Jesus is her “home-boy”. Everything she says seems layered in irony: “I’ve got a very sardonic humour,” Chantelle concedes. “I’m very intelligent. Sometimes you find yourself disguising that because it is just easier.” The 23-year-old Miss Jamaica runner-up from Harrow is now the face of the Conservatives’ latest leaflet. It features her in a tight T-shirt under the slogan “Your Country Needs You”. The photo wouldn’t look out of place in FHM magazine. She gives me a copy and admits: “They did ask if I had anything less tight.”"

Michael Rock: "“I’m exactly the kind of person who votes for us but isn’t a member of the party. I worked for a few years and didn’t go to university until I was 25. I don’t fit the stereotype at all.” I ask him to describe the average member of Conservative Future: “The average member is probably a graduate professional, aged 25, anti-EU, pretty much libertarian. But there has been a reversion back to a community feel where they do believe in social action.” But, though he’s anti-tribal, Rock’s views are far more libertarian than the next Conservative manifesto is likely to be. He believes that income tax should be replaced by a local sales tax, dislikes the fact that the government takes 40p in every pound of income, hates ID cards and distrusts what he sees as fear-mongering by the state: “I don’t believe in rule by fear – and that is what Labour have done. It’s just like Bush – this sense that we are under attack every single day.”"

Blackhurst's conclusion:

"On the evidence of my travels, the “decontamination of the Tory brand” is working. It’s hard to imagine fashionable young women and openly gay teenagers knocking on doors for the party a decade ago. And, having seen their party in opposition for 10 years, there is not yet a hint of hubris about them – or of the harsh slogans that the Young Conservatives seemed to relish in the 1980s. Most of the new members I met were concerned with a Cameronite agenda of ending family breakdown and generational poverty and safeguarding civil liberties. It’s impossible to imagine them using the word “sound”, as their 1980s equivalents did, to describe eye-watering views on everything from the repatriation of immigrants to the return of the gallows."

Read the full feature here.

4 Jan 2008 09:06:00

Take part in a CF survey of political views

John Moorcraft is opening up this research survey to any readers of CF Diary who are CF members:

"As most of you will perhaps be aware, I have spent the past three years undertaking research into young conservatism in the UK. My research project, which should be completed shortly and published before August 2008, has so far seen in excess of 1,500 CF members, or Conservative Party voters under the age of 30, participate.  It should (providing no academic has been secretly undertaking similar research without my knowledge!) constitute the biggest examination of the political views and composition of UK based young conservatives ever published.

In order to top and tail my research project (a sort of “stop press” chapter if you will), I have devised a short survey designed to reveal the political views of young conservatives on a number of politically salient issues as of January 2008.  It should take no longer then 20 minutes to complete and is undertaken online.  As with all my previous research, your participation will be anonymous and no information provided by yourself in the survey will be divulged to any third party. I am therefore posting this to invite all CF members interested in taking part (and who have not yet completed the supplementary survey) to email me and let me know. Once this has been done, I will reply with a link to the survey for you to peruse and complete at your own leisure (but preferably before next Friday!)

Have a very happy and prosperous 2008"

John will report back here with some of his findings before his research is publish.

14 Jul 2007 01:09:31

Youth General Manager wanted...

Good news!

Applications have just opened for a CF managerial position based in CCHQ, supplementing the southern/northern organising positions already advertised.

This is an encouraging development because the salary is a serious 45k, so we can expect a decent professional running the shop full-time - something long overdue for an organisation that is said to have 18000 members!

Click here for more details.

27 Feb 2007 06:07:00

Matthew Sinclair: Does Conservative Future produce unthinking young Conservatives?

Matthew (blog) responds to yesterday's article on bringing back the FCS

It is now about a year and a half since I finished my undergraduate education and, with it, my active involvement in student politics, although I did maintain something of a role in my Master’s year.  John Moorcraft set out the case yesterday for a new FCS-style organisation to cater for the particular interests of students but appears to have only a fairly vague idea of what those interests are; “well organised, good quality conferences and training days” is the closest he comes to an answer on this, rather important, question.

It would seem to me that the question of purpose is far more important than that of institutional arrangements.  After all, the Conservative Party itself is an organisation which caters to the entire country and yet is clearly able to provide, through administrative subdivision, for the interests of diverse groups such as Conservative Future.  Why exactly are there such diseconomies of scale in the planning of conferences and training days?

If there is a definite resolution on what it is students need then it can more easily be deduced whether or not new institutions are required for it to be provided to them.

Continue reading "Matthew Sinclair: Does Conservative Future produce unthinking young Conservatives? " »

5 Nov 2006 08:00:00

If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development

Harry Phibbs, now a journalist, reflects on his time in the Federation of Conservative Students:

"An invitation to a 20th anniversary party marking the end of the Federation of Conservative Students prompted much nostalgic reflection. Of course there will always be some sort of body to coordinate and promote the efforts of University Conservative Associations around the country. It used to be called the Federation of University Conservative and Unionist Associations - until it was decided that FUCUA was an embarrasing acronym. It is now called Conservative Future.

But there was something special about the FCS phase, there was more to it than a change of name. It was an attitude of mind."

Go to the Social Affairs Unit blog to continue reading about the battle for ideas both within the FCS and against other student bodies.

The title is a quote from Aristotle.

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.

4 Sep 2006 11:46:15

Katy Taylor-Richards: CF needs some depoliticising

Katytr Katy is a journalist for a national newspaper and plays as a political devil's advocate. However she is and will always be, a true blue Tory.

Believe me I do not want to sound critical, down-beat or at any cost venomous - but I fear that Conservative Future is fast turning into a ‘clique’ - mirroring the internal cliques that already exist within the void that is the Tory party. As “young people” (you must understand I despise this term and thus use it in an ironic sense) with invested interests in both politics and specifically the Conservative Party - any such organisation is bound to be of minority interest but it should not be selective nor dismissive in this.

As a 22-year-old “Tory girl”, I am in the slap-bang in the middle of Conservative Future in that I am not student and am only just coming into working life. As such one would think that such a specimen as I (and those like me) would be harnessed and embraced by CF and the party, but in fact the opposite is true but I am unsure as to why this is. Thus this has made me disillusioned against the CF and the Conservative party as a whole. I do not harbor political ambitions - I do not want to be an MP, nor do I want to be a councillor or chairman but I fear it is these admissions that have in turn now fragmented and separated me from CF and those I have met within the division. I am seen as not a valid member or of importance? (note the question mark)

Continue reading "Katy Taylor-Richards: CF needs some depoliticising" »

26 Aug 2006 03:04:00

Nick Webb: Driving forward policy for young people

Nick_webb Nick is a founder member of South Gloucestershire CF and tried to apply for the Chairmanship of Bristol and Gloucestershire.

I have contacted all the national candidates highlighting concerns and suggesting solutions. I’ve had some interesting replies. Indeed one candidate is even travelling to South Gloucestershire to meet my local branch. Perhaps the most interesting issue to come out from the emails has been the political stance CF should take.

I look at interest groups within the main party such as Cornerstone who maintain loyalty to the party while at the same time pushing their traditional Tory agenda and I can see a similar role for CF. At the moment CF seems to have very little policy role and I think the time is long over due for that to change. CF should be the youth/young persons lobby group within the party. We should be tackling policy for issues such as self-harm among teenagers, university costs and the ability of those in their 20s to get on the housing ladder. Why, when there is a group of intelligent 16-30 year olds, do we leave all the policy making in the things that directly affect us to the 40 and 50 year olds?

Continue reading "Nick Webb: Driving forward policy for young people" »