How wise were Cabinet members to speak at an event for a body whose leadership wants to kill off the NHS? Described as a “Conservative madrassa”, Young Britons’ Foundation chief Donal Blaney (pictured above with notorious Republican operative Karl Rove) has made calls to “scrap the NHS” while its president Daniel Hannan described the health service as a “60-year mistake”.
Hilary Benn: Will the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government come to the House to explain why he decided to attend the recent meeting of the Young Britons’ Foundation, an organisation whose president has described the NHS as a 60-year mistake and whose chief executive has called for it to be scrapped? Was the Secretary of State there to pick up tips on how to destroy local government from people who want to destroy the NHS?
This is not the first time the Conservative Party has been embarassed by YBF, whose voter-repelling right wing views and links to US neoconservatives weren’t exactly flavour of the month during last year’s general election campaign.
We guess Donal Blaney’s blog won’t be returning any time soon.
The past twelve months (and prior) have seen several very popular blogs either shut down or change editorial hands. As the year draws to a close, what better opportunity to reflect on those bloggers “no longer with us”. Starring Iain Dale, Tom Harris, Derek Draper and others, we’ve finally completed our end-of-year video.
This is our tribute to those who have bought their site a one-way ticket to Zurich.
The document below underscores the central role of the TaxPayers’ Alliance within the Conservative/libertarian right in the UK. The pressure group not only provides tediously repetitive quotes to lazy journalists (“this is a slap in the face for taxpayers blah blah” ) but organises regular off-the-record round table discussions for its right-wing friends.
Much of the guest list for the central-London symposiums reads like a Who’s Who of British Tea Party movement types drawn from politics, business, the blogosphere and think tanks. Daniel Hannan MEP, Douglas Carswell MP, Donal Blaney, Paul Staines (aka Guido Fawkes) all feature alongside less colourful characters such as YouGov founder Stephan Shakespeare, who chairs proceedings. The apparent presence of CCHQ’s Sam Coates and the Liberal Democrats’ former head of comms Mark Littlewood may cause some small embarrassment in the blue and yellow corners while a smattering of business types (including BP’s director of government affairs) provide a Bilderberg flavour to the meetings.
At the very least, it’s an interesting snapshot of the conservative right-wing hinterland in 2010 and yet another reason why the media should qualify statements from the “Rent-a-Quote Alliance”.
Ladies and gentlemen, Donal Blaney has left the building! The credentials of the UK’s #11 Conservative blogger as a freedom-to-offend commentator in the Rush Limbaugh mould were left in tatters yesterday after he pulled his blog at the behest of CCHQ. Visitors craving for the stylings of this p*** poor Richard Littlejohn are now greeted with the following:
So, why will those looking for bile about gays, muslims and immigrants now need to look elsewhere? The Young Briton’s Foundation (chief executive D. Blaney) has provided ideological and campaign training to 2,500 Conservative Party activists, including 11 Westminster candidates. Today’s Grauniad has done a number on the YBF, exposing the group – which aims to indoctrinate young Tories with a virulently right-wing agenda – as electoral kryptonite. Policies espoused by the YBF leadership include scrapping the NHS, the use of waterboarding by security services and a US-style liberal firearms regime. Anyone familiar with Blaney’s writing will be unsurprised to discover that many of the most damaging elements of the article were sourced from his blog.
This could be dismissed as a non-story were it not for the fact that “there is an informal understanding that the YBF is the main provider of training for young Conservative activists”. To compound the embarrassment, the latest gathering of the YBF was addressed this week by none other than Eric Pickles and Liam Fox, who number among six Tory frontbenchers to have spoken at group conferences since 2003. Blaney’s personal blog, resplendent in it’s ’Nasty Party’ worldview, also features endoresments from Daniel Hannan, Michael Gove and Douglas Carswell.
Sunder Katwala has done a brilliant job of setting YBF in the context of a ”long tradition of ‘so right-wing you probably think we’re joking’ wing-nuttery” in Conservative youth circles:
“Contrast Norman Tebbit closing down the Federation of Conservative Students for being too right-wing in 1982 with the extent to which the ProgCons engage and champion this Maggie’s Militants rump today … I doubt anybody could believe they are so ill-informed or lazy enough not to know about YBF’s right-wing “radicalisation” mission – which was causing CCHQ disquiet when IDS was leader – and exactly where they are coming from”.
The removal of his blog is some climbdown for Blaney, who has revelled in his image as a champion of (right wing) free speech and a bête noire to the left. Those wishing to crow express their feelings on the matter through the medium of song may find the following appropriate (video below so you can sing along):
Brave Sir Donal ran away.
Bravely ran away away.
When danger reared it’s ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
Yes, brave Sir Donal turned about
And gallantly he chickened out.
Bravely taking to his feet,
He beat a very brave retreat.
Bravest of the braaaave, Sir Donal!