Monday, October 27, 2008

Speaking at the Conservative 'Madrassa'

On Saturday morning I spent a very enjoyable two hours doing some TV training with the 75 twenty somethings who attended the Conservative Madrassa Young Britons' Foundation conference in Berkshire. Several things struck me. There were a considerable number of female participants (unlike the previous year) and the level of enthusiasm was fantastic. Many of the participants were not only new to the YBF but new to Conservative activism.

In many ways, this two day course is something the party ought to be doing, but perhaps it is best for it to be run by an independent body. There was a fantastic line-up of speakers including the likes of DD, IDS, Ed Vaizey, Douglas Murray, Eric Pickles, Matthew Elliott, John Whittingdale, Jonathan Isaby and Nigel Evans. There was a real showcase of a range of conservative viewpoints - from Ed Vaizey's uber-modernising views to Douglas Murray's hawkishness, from IDS' social conservatism to the freedom agenda of David Davis.

Since 2003 more than 900 youngsters have graduated YBF training courses, with many of the now standing for local councils, parliament and active in the media. Donal Blaney and Christian May deserve congratulations for these type of courses, which really do seek to engage young people with the political process and create a hub of the next generation of Conservatives. If anyone wishes to attend future courses they can contact the YBF through their WEBSITE.

When I speak at events like this I usually drive away thinking I could have done a lot better. I really don't consider myself God's gift to public speaking, but I was truly gratified when Donal told me the 75 delegates attending had rated me in the top three speakers of the weekend. I guess it also guarantees I will do it again next year!

9 comments:

molesworth 1 said...

Commendable though it is, to hear of the health & vigour of at least one of our political parties, I would urge you to consider the opportunity that may be ceded to your opponents to ask "But have they ever had a real job..?"

Ironic that all those 'rising stars' might need to energise their base to plough their furrow in the 'real economy' for a few years, should they seek some sort of credibility come the u?turn.

And, I don't often do this, but...

Johnny Norfolk said...

Practice makes perfect Iain.

Obnoxio The Clown said...

I was truly gratified when Donal told me the 75 delegates attending had rated me in the top three speakers of the weekend

Ah, but he said that to everyone, Iain. :o)

Mike Rouse said...

"There were a considerable number of female participants (unlike the previous year)"

Damn it. Damn it. Damn it.

Hannibal said...

Molesworth 1,
Funnily enough YBF deals with the "real job" scenario too. It has courses on graduate careers and reinforces the point that experience of life is as important as politics.

Christian May said...

Well said, Hannibal. Furthermore, most people there were students or recent graduates - and YBF's training is not to produce 22 year old candidates but to produce effective and trained activists. We also offer career development courses for graduates interested in working in the City, law, public affairs and the media.

Anonymous said...

Nigel [Corner shop] Evans?

beaubodor said...

How many activists have now been taken to America for the YBF's firearms training program ?

Anonymous said...

Beaubodor: well that would be telling :)