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Tuesday, August 10, 2010 

Grim Conservative and political futures.

The inestimable Laurie Penny took upon herself the grim task of "infiltrating" a Conservative Future bash hosted by the Young Britons' Foundation and found, shockingly, that those in attendance tended to be of a right-wing bent, approving of Margaret Thatcher and perhaps a trifle strange. As unpleasant as I'm sure it was, I do sometimes wonder what the overall point of such articles is: deliberate head-on collisions of such strongly held political views are never likely to result in a meeting of minds, or an exploration of values shared by both rather than the heightening of the differences. Without wanting to question Laurie's journalistic integrity, you also can't help but wonder whether when you go into something with an already pre-determined level of contempt for those you're about to meet, you're looking from the outset for confirmation of your view. That said, having your leg stroked and your bottom pinched by your social betters is hardly likely to make you reassess your initial verdict.

Perhaps though we're holding the young Tories to too high a standard. After all, such behaviour would hardly be out of place at say, a dismal chain club such as Oceana; far worse would be considered almost de rigeur. Should they really know better, or do they in the first place? It's not just young Tories that are slightly weird; youth political organisations across the board are nerdish, the participants not wholly certain of themselves, almost embarrassed at how they're spending their time. This, it has to be remembered, is when politics itself is almost inherently leftfield, attracting the Milibands, the Heaths, the Browns, the Majors. Only rarely do the Blairs, the Obamas, the Reagans, the Clintons come along, and they often also bring a neurosis which only shows itself after a period of time. Hell, I'm happy to admit that having written this blog for the past five years is quite spectacularly weird; I
am weird. Politics and youth only occasionally connect in a good way, and that's almost always uniquely been at protests and within protest movements, whether against Vietnam, during '68 or back in 2003. Far too often it instead comes across as trying too hard, of over active earnestness, precociousness. No one in their right mind wants to be William Hague at the Conservative conference all those years ago.

It's often said that youth is wasted on the young, and it's certainly being exceptionally wasted by these members of Conservative Future. What's the point of being young and politically motivated if you're not radical with it? The Federation of Conservative Students of the 80s wanted to hang Nelson Mandela; the closest the current class has is calling for the left to be vilified in the same way as they vilified Thatcher. They even bemoaned how "progressive" when used in a political context is meaningless, which it is, while casting aspersions on the "Big Society", which is meant to be our job. Even this though is a reflection of where politics currently is and has been heading for some time: to a safety zone stretching from the centre to the centre-right, where anything outside of those parameters is derided, ridiculed and belittled. It therefore seems especially churlish to really lay into the young Cameroons; after all, their time has come, hasn't it? It's what we're going to do about it that really matters, in our undoubtedly insecure and uncertain way.

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No one in their right mind wants to be William Hague at the Conservative conference all those years ago

And, as has become increasingly obvious, no one in their right mind was.

Word Verification: dueskies, the mortgage repayment for blue skies.

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