Conservative Future, an organisation which I have been a member of for just over a year now, is the Conservative Party’s youth branch for members that are under the age of 30. It was formed in 1998 as part of party reforms, which saw the various youth groups within the party such as Young Conservatives and those within universities merged in to a single organisation. This reform was brought to fruition by William Hague, who was party leader at the time.
What did the reform do for us? It saw the creation of a more professional organisation which aimed to mirror the senior party in a way that results in members getting much more involvement in party business. It also helps us to do as the organisation’s name would suggest, preparing us to be the party’s future. In short, it has given members an excellent mixture of political activism and society, which has allowed members to choose to involve themselves in the things that are of interest to them.
My personal experience of Conservative Future has been a mostly positive experience since I joined. The organisation has presented me with plenty of opportunities for personal development and chances to meet with interesting individuals from a variety of backgrounds. I consider it to be an organisation that when managed well by its officers, can provide every member with the opportunities that I have just mentioned.
But alas, it can be frustrating if there isn’t a local branch (or a poorly run one) for young members to join. Indeed, I feel some of the constituency associations haven’t quite grasped how to engage with their young members; after all, we youngsters can only take so many coffee mornings. I would suggest that this is one area in particular that any good Conservative Future branch should actively engage in, and really work on involving themselves with their local association. This gives branches a massive local support network and provides the association with fresh minds to engage with, who can really help to change and improve the inner-workings of that association.
What does an organisation such as Conservative Future offer to the party? With well over 15,000 members across the country, we provide a political force that is to be reckoned with, particularly as activists go. I have been part of campaign action days that have comprised, overwhelmingly, of young members. We provide a large network of people that provide their own time to deliver literature to voters’ doorsteps, to take part in canvassing, and even to develop themselves to the point of being a parliamentary candidate or even an MP. My own area has a Conservative Future member that has just been selected to be our Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the City of Bath.
The work of Conservative Future far exceeds the capabilities of other political youth organisations within the Conservative Party, both in numbers and activities. It provides a positive environment for political engagement which can’t be found elsewhere. This is why I believe that the Conservative Party has a bright blue future ahead of it, with many of the exceptional young members I have met during my short time as a member no doubt going on to be the next leaders of the party.
By Daniel Harding