Monday, 8 March 2010

"Tory Madrasa" Belies Tory Change

Has David Cameron really changed his party? There is a lot of evidence to the contrary, the latest being the revelation by the Guardian that Conservative Chairman Eric Pickles has addressed the "Young Britons' Foundation", described by its own founder as a Tory "Madrasa"

The Guardian reports that;
One leaders of the foundation has described the NHS as "the biggest waste of money in the UK", claimed global warming is "a scam" and suggested that the waterboarding of prisoners can be justified.

At least 11 prospective Tory candidates, an estimated seven of whom have a reasonable chance of winning their seats, have been delegates or speakers at training conferences run by the Young Britons' Foundation, which claims to have trained 2,500 Conservative party activists.

The YBF chief executive, Donal Blaney, who runs the courses on media training and policy, has called for environmental protesters who trespass to be "shot down" by the police and that Britain should have a US-style liberal firearms policy. In an article on his own website, entitled Scrap the NHS, not just targets, he wrote: "Would it not now be better to say that the NHS – in its current incarnation – is finished?"
Blaney has described the YBF as "a Conservative madrasa" that radicalises young Tories. Programmes have included trips to meet neo-conservative groups in the US and to a shooting range in Virginia to fire submachine guns and assault rifles.As well as Conservative party chairman, Eric Pickles the shadow defence secretary, Liam Fox,also  spoke at the annual YBF parliamentary rally at the House of Commons.
David Cameron makes much of his party's new found enthusiasm for the NHS, but the attitudes of this organisation, which is used to train and motivate his Parliamentary candidates, gives a lie to that conversion.

Cameron also says that his party has changed, that it has become more "progressive", but the actions of his supporters and senior MPs such as Fox and Pickles raise serious questions against that claim. The Guardian says that calls to Pickles to get some explanation of his reason for attending the "Madrasa", were not returned, but surely some explanation is required from a party chairman attending such a controversial event.

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