With Mark Clarke’s Road Trip 2015 — the initiative at the centre of the Tory ‘bullying and blackmail’ scandal — beginning its journey as an external organisation which was later folded into the Conservative election operation, David Cameron is now facing calls for a wider inquiry encompassing third parties:
Cameron needs to establish an external inquiry into his own youth wing and how it relates to external centre right orgs. No further delay.
— Tim Montgomerie ن (@montie) November 28, 2015
Hmmmm. Which groups could he possibly have in mind?
Keen to reel in activists, Tory HQ embraced the image of Road Trip as boozy and permissive: Clarke told the press that the initiative had become “a dating agency” for young Tories — while Grant Shapps boasted “We are looking forward to the first wedding out of 2015”.
But attempts to harness this political sexuality have now turned sour in the wake of harassment claims linked to Road Trip. Montgomerie again:
“Heavy drinking was an explicit ingredient of the Road Trip 2015 recipe … Ambitious youngsters had been lured into bed by politicians who could offer them the advancement they craved.”
Mark Clarke, who strongly denies any wrongdoing, learnt his trade at hard-right ‘Tory madrasa’ The Young Britons Foundation (YBF), where he eventually became “outreach director”.
The group is explicit in its ambition to indoctrinate school-age children:
“The Young Britons’ Foundation is anxious to ensure that students of all ages – but particularly secondary school children … get the chance to hear both sides of the argument.
“[YBF provides] campaign materials and posters to activists and teachers alike”
So do these include the posters on the YBF website which feature the image of a young woman with the caption “Life’s better under a Conservative” … and a picture of a copulating couple alongside an exhortation to cut public services “Harder, faster, deeper”?