A series of posters released by the Young Britons’ Foundation (YBF), a conservative training group for young people, are being seen differently in the light of the investigation into allegations of bullying and harassment in the youth wing of the Tory party. Mark Clarke, the man at the center of the allegations, was trained by the YBF and was active in the organisation for many years.
YBF, which has been described by its founder Donal Blaney as a “Tory Madrassa,” even gave Clarke a “special award” last year for his “courage and leadership.” Blaney has since distanced himself from Clarke, telling LBC radio earlier this week that he is “deeply sorry to have been friends” with Clarke.
YBF has a mission to introduce conservative ideas to young people and provides campaign material and posters to gets its message across. Here is how they describe themselves on their website:
The Young Britons’ Foundation is anxious to ensure that students of all ages — but particularly secondary school children and those in further education — get the chance to hear both sides of the argument … As well as providing speakers to schools through the YBF Speakers Panel, or to provide campaign materials and posters to activists and teachers alike
Some of these posters that are now resurfacing, including this one calling for harder, faster and deeper cuts to spending, debt and taxes.
The poster was made to address the legitimate concern that young people will have to carry the burden of debt caused by the spending of older generations, but the tone of the poster is likely to be causing questions given the nature of the allegations being made about Mark Clarke and the culture inside the youth wings of the Conservative Party.
Not only has Clarke been accused threatening to blackmail a member of RoadTrip2015 who rejected his sexual advances, the whole culture of the movement has been called into question. Respected conservative journalist Tim Montgomerie, described RoadTrip2015 as a place where ambitious youngsters were lured into bed by politicians who could offer them the advancement they craved.
Clarke denies all allegations that he bullied, harassed and blackmailed people.
Other posters released by YBF include these two clearly sexually suggestive ones.
While YBF is not officially linked to the Conservatives, there is a clear overlap between the two. Blaney used to be the National Chairman of Conservative Future, the official youth wing of the party. Many of the young activists who took part in Mark Clarke’s RoadTrip2015 campaign, were members of Conservative Future who had received training from YBF.
YBF has cancelled their activist training conference that was due to be held this weekend after after leading Tory MPs including business secretary Sajid Javid and justice secretary Michael Gove cancelled their scheduled appearances.
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