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One student whose support we won't be getting is this chap:


A 12 year old local Lib Dem president. Hm.

"Despite being Europe's largest youth political organisation".

I wish people would stop saying this. French Conservative students have 25,000 members and Germany's Junge Union (Christian Democrats) has 40,000 in Bavaria alone. Nobody really knows how many CF has but the largest estimate is 15,000.

All nitpicking aside it is good news that we are picking up among students. I think we could all have predicted this would happen. We need to keep gaining though.

And the truth is that CF's membership is inflated by inclusion of all members in the age range. In actuality outside of some cities - particularly London - CF has no real existance.

The CF needs an overhaul badly. I have little faith in the organisation as it is and communication is weak throughout the country. Maude should have been able to do something about this in cooperation with the CF Executive some time ago. Wheres the political courage in order to do this?

As for the 12 year old boy, theres a word for this....tokenism.

The largest european political youth organisation thing is spurious, but it is still said officially.

Promising results indeed. It reminds my of something my father told me when I was a student voting Lib-dem

"When you're earning money you may have to think a little harder about who you vote for"

"Promising results indeed. It reminds my of something my father told me when I was a student voting Lib-dem

"When you're earning money you may have to think a little harder about who you vote for" - RobC


And yet strangely the Lib Dems do really well with attracting students to their cause. Ive always been bemused by that.

It's because they oppose nasty things, and propose other people paying for stuff.

"And yet strangely the Lib Dems do really well with attracting students to their cause. Ive always been bemused by that."

It's because Lib Dems don't live in the real world and neither do students. A perfect match, until the student becomes a worker.

Respect has a huge presence on campuses

CF should not engage with NUS. That gives it spurious legitimacy. The Tory Reform Group Wets did precisely that in the 1980s when NUS was fighting our Government.

CF must fight to abolish the NUS and student union closed shops. That means mounting NUS disaffiliation campaigns!

When FCS did that in the 1980s, it had a massive membership of 000s compared to the paltry one of CF. Remember that CF includes the old YCs too.

I remember at York that the uni Conservative group was almost the biggest party group and recruited large numbers of new members during freshers fair. I know that in other universities this was similarly so.

The problem with CF is if you take out these strong uni branches, which can survive and prosper quite happily outside of a formal CF structure than you have very little left of the organisation.

"A 12 year old local Lib Dem president. Hm."

I wondered who was formulating their policies.

"Tory support rises amongst students."

Yet more evidence that educational standards are slipping ....

I seem to remember that Conservative Future was bigger than the student Labour and Liberal Demoprat groups combined in Aberystwyth. In practical terms this meant little as one-seventh of the student population were Welsh-speakers and therefore largely voted Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats had a large support base outside their formal student grouping, unlike the other two parties. Based on that, I wouldn't read too much into student party membership relating to party support.

Well CF does have its problems but I should point out that my point of order above was just that and was not intended to slag the organisation off.

It is true (and great), and I remember it from recent personal experience, that CF is by far the biggest and best political movement on most campuses.

The fact that this is so and that yet the Lib Dems pick up most votes among students reinforces the fact that voting Lib Dem is an act of protest. The students who vote for them wouldn't dream of doing anything like getting involved in any political party, but vote for them for everything they're against and for the fact that they are not the Tories or Labour, all the time safe in the knowledge they won't form a government and so their policies don't need to be examined too closely.

Which reinforces the point that any strategy for knocking off some Lib Dem votes should focus on improving our own image rather than destroying theirs. Cameron seems to have grasped this well, and it seems to be working.

Considering Blair wants 50% of kids to go to Uni then damn right we need to start recruiting a few of them!!

I live in a town where the former Poly had 3,500 students and here we are now with 18,000 and a plan to expand that to 22,000 in the next five years. 20% of students remain in the town after leaving Uni. It is therefore unsurprising that the Lib Dems do well in University towns.

There's a really key difference between the party gaining support and an increase in NUS representation.

The way NUS elections work is that 'delegates' are elected in universities who then vote at NUS conference. Because there are far more left-wing factions than the 1 right-wing one (CF), CF hardly gets any delegates elected, so it is very hard to get anywhere.

A couple of members of the current CF National Executive have argued quite strongly that we shouldn't be wasting time on such a lost cause and concentrate instead on capturing the real student vote, much of which doesn't identify with NUS at all. I think this is the best way to proceed.

Matt is correct. Anti-NUS campaigns have proved to be excellent recruitment vehicles.

MattSimpson, quite right on the NUS. Which exec members are those?

Why does the fact that CF is the only right-of-centre faction hinder its chances in NUS conference elections? I'd have thought it could only help to prevent a split vote.

Ex-NUS Presidents - Jack Straw, Charles Clarke, Trevor Phillips, David Aaronovitch....

Destroy it!!!!

It may have reached Kennedy as well. He's making a "personal statement" at 5:45pm...


Will he be admitting to the rumours about his liking of alcohol...another rumour has it half the frontbench has written a statement of no confidence! Im saying gone in 72 hours.

Charles Kennedy has just called a leadership election.

Students obviously haven't heard about this:


Yeah. A gutsy move and his admitting he has a drink problem is worthy of some credit too. So which unknown are they going to replace him with? Ming Campbell is too old and the others the average person wont have heard of...

The ITV News report that prompted the announcement is just about to be shown.

Who are the CF executive?! I am Chairman of a CF branch and I have heard nothing from them. I fear that the CF exec is marginally more useless than the NUS.

Besides, agreed that the NUS is a left wing irrelevance, but that does not mean that Cf members should not try to get our voice heard there surely? Every little helps.

Al G. The Executive can be seen on conservativefuture.co.uk. I sympathise with you about your feelings about the CF executive. I am not quite a Chairman of my CF branch because they is no official branch but I am the unofficial equivalent. During the last campaign (earlier this year), whichever candidates emailed me their own bulletins got a response from me with my views on the Party and some distinct points of improvement. I got not one response. I didnt like a single candidate because either they were too vague or their ideas ignored the current situation.

I agree, the NUS can be used well. The NUS in itself needs political connections whilst the Party requires the names and activists. I think the Conservatives should see the NUS as an opportunity not an enemy of sorts.

The URL is wrong. This one takes you straight to the list of the people in charge of the CF.


Al G & James Maskell - agree with you that CF needs some real improvement. I would really suggest that you get in touch with some of the CF Exec with your thoughts. Some of the Exec are not brilliant, but I know Jonathan, Claire and Andrew are doing an excellent job.

The Young Conservatives was a fabulous, vibrant organisation. Many guys joined just because the most fantastic women were in it.

Can anybody seriously suggest that this CF thing is a patch on the YCs?

I didn't realise you were something to do with it, James. I thought you were an armchair Tory.

CF does a good job - providing you live in London. Anywhere else, forget it.

Spot on.

Im not a CF Chairman because there is no CF branch here but I am the most prominent CF member in the Association.

The problem with the CF as Frank points out is the fact its too stuck in London. A flexible organisation is required that doesnt need a University to be there.

Sorry...Frank was right too, but Cllr Lindley got there first...

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