Enter your email address here to receive updates from the team.
The sexual appeal of Margaret Thatcher, “the bloody Lib Dems” and the true meaning of “the big society"
Jesus Christ, that sounds more bleak than vomiting in a blocked-up toilet. All my sympathy!
Yet another great read. Thanks.
Eventually most children will grow up. Don't hold your breath waiting for these clowns/yobs to make the grade - not too likely to happen - think "call me Dave" and his sidekick "slasher George"
Margaret Thatcher was not particularly bright nor did she have the ability to see the damage her policies were inflicting on the country. Policies that still inflict damage and hardship. And this little message comes to you from a conservative.
This gives me the fear.
I experienced similar when I was a guest at an IT industry award ceremony two years ago. Few women, heaps of male sleaze the likes of which I hadn't seen since I went to teenage clubs/discos many many years ago. One drunkard groped my bum, I turned and told him off, he just drunkenly laughed at me and wandered off. The whole atmosphere was horrific. At least they're not our future leaders, but it says a lot about the IT industry. I hate that these enclaves of backwardness still exist. I love seeing articles like this that challenge them, thank you.
Helen, it would be strange if you did agree with a NS article, being as you are a Conservative, surely?
The other point would be that London CF chose to hold this event in Mahiki - not your average London Bar by a long chalk. and given dear old Daves' attempts to portray the Conservatives as now cleaner than clean on social issues, I would have thought a piece on the future of the party was in order.
i was there. this article is a completely warped view of the event. if you took away the hate and arrogance of the article, there would be nothing left. the "ethnic minorities" who were present say they find your comment on ethnic minorities offensive. the women who were present say they find your article degrading. the *white men* are offended too, partly because all of them are equality feminists and none are racist and partly because your physical portrayal of them was inaccurate; people who come straight from work have a tendency to wear suits. and pink shirt (we have identified him) has now had his reputation seriously damaged. our version of david dimbleby clearly stated that this was a private event and anybody who wrote about it would be sued personally. you don't make friends easily, do you?
please come to the next conservative event. we are all extremely eager to see you again.
Through a social netwotworking site i was alerted to your article as i know 'posh frock' through university (not ox-bridge by the way). Apart from her political mis-givings shes actualy rather lovely.
A for the article id like to thank you for highlighting the awfullness of the young Conservative movement which holds sway within student bodies despite its clear movement towards a higher rise in tuition fees, and its cutting of public sector jobs, and employment programs. A trend that makes no sense to me; clearly though I may be like Thatcher's children above and not understand what im talking about, as a Labour lad and that i might aso hold bias passed on from the family elders.
Go Davey Mill!
But the very point of your Party is to make the world safe for those who DO have trust funds!
20,000 members is very impressive - possibly a tribute to the fact that the Conservatives have always been able to pose as the "non-political" political party, and a testament to just how unpopular Labour became, particularly after 2001.
As a provincial living in London, I would disagree that Tories are better behaved outside the smoke, from my experience, there seems to be an equal distribution of utter pillocks around the country, and in all parties.
You lot NW, are just wrong, thats all.
The anonymous fondle is brief, bouncy and strangely bloodless, like being groped by a Pete Waterman song.
Penny if i die now i will have lived a fuller life for reading this quote bloody wonderful.
Good article too
Very good. It was worth it. You're too kind to the girls. There as equally as bad as their jowly male counterparts. Plus they carry one half of the genetic code required for making more of them.
Though, this hot date of yours. I'm a little suspicious. Apart from you, who would attend one of these events, who would also read the New Statesman. And I wouldn't recognise you if I saw you, and I've seen your photos. Unless you've stumbled on another secret agent like yourself.
The annual Compass conference could basically be a similar puke-inducing experience for any Conservative, in all honesty. I can't help thinking that any young person whose views aligned with the centre right would also like to deliver a knockout punch to the legions of champagne socialists who now seem to populate left wing conferences. A lot of chat about the tragedy of the decline of the unions and then back to Islington for coffee and cupcakes.
I'm not saying you're wrong, I would've probably topped myself if I had to be in a room with the people you describe for more than an hour, but I can't help thinking it's more a case of "different" viewpoints, as opposed to right or wrong.
Louis Williams, I think you're confused. If you have a problem with private sector wages being lower than in the public sector and the jobs being more precarious, you're really in the wrong ideological tent. Go somewhere quite and have a good long think about it all.
Byrnsweord, I would have thought the sentiment was explicit.
Emily, these young conservative groups are always comedy gold. They're beyond parody. If your best defence is you've seen much worse outside of them, it's not much of a defence.
And Emily, you are solid gold too; "I'm not condoning sexism, or saying it sounds like a pleasant atmosphere, but really, I'm sure it's not as harmful as you seem to make it out to be."
You don't condone sexism but you don't think it's that harmful either. Solid gold, Emily. Take that act to the stage.
Those hipster glasses you mention, they look just like the glasses 1980s cabinet ministers used to wear. Actually, when I started noticing them a couple of years ago, I thought to myself: this is a sure sign of the rehabilitation of the Tories.
As Josie Long says, "Et tu, hipsters!"
In my times living in the SE part of England, always got chatted up by torys in skirts, because they thought I had the look to be a regional blue. A type of honey-trap, you could say, in a polite way, helping feed and muck the horse at dawn and all that.
TX, grow up. I did not say that sexism is not harmful; I was referring to the atmosphere, which I also mentioned in the sentence. Sexism is potentially dangerous, and in many cases highly offensive, but what I referred to as "not as harmful as you make it out to be" was the atmosphere of this event, which when written here sounds horrendous, but obviously wasn't to many other females in the room, and if written from a different point of view might sound entirely different.
Yes, young Conservative groups are comedy gold. All young political groups are, as are MPs, Prime Ministers and everyone involved in politics, hence why satirical comedy shows are so popular. I'm not saying we shouldn't see the comic aspect; what I'm saying is that farcical, cocky flirtatious drunken behaviour happens everywhere among 20-somethings, so claiming it's disgraceful when it takes place at an event which involved politics seems a little odd.
I think this is a well written and very funny article. I have met the sort of people being described, to some extent. But this article is ultimately written for comic effect therefore is going to, to some extent at least, select the worst bits and phrase them in the most amusing way possible to make them look absurd.
Get off your high horse, telling me I'm "solid gold". I'm making a very simple and truthful point.
Excellent article Laurie. I took a look at the YBF website. It says in one breath that it is "non-partisan", but that it combats "left wing bias in education and the mainstream media".
Hmm..Fair and balanced then. I also noticed that right wing nutjob Daniel Hannan is the President.
Where do I sign...
If Pink Shirt isn't Harry Cole I'll eat my Labour Party membership card.
Now we know. Clem the Germ is butt ugly.
The press warp things if it'll make them look good and young political types, in particular Tories, look bad. I've seen it first hand; an recent news article about the association of which I'm a member claimed that after an incident, females in the room were left visibly distressed, when as one of about 7 females in the room I can safely say that none of us even realised what had happened. But if your writing slant is "make them look bad", it's easy to phrase things in a comic and negative way, to the glee of the readers but the irritation and offence of those about whom you're writing.
It's a very entertaining article and I have no doubt that the anecdotes in it are grounded in truth; but people could do with bearing in mind the level of bias and comic slant required in writing an article of this nature. It's how the story's told that counts, and the writer here has written brilliantly in terms of her target audience and tone; but evidently NOT brilliantly in the eyes of others at the event who weren't there to be "undercover" seeking to dish the dirt on the goings-on at a CF event.
If you weren't there, don't judge purely by what you read and assume you have all the facts at your command. Bear in mind the writer's motivation, and the fact that the tone of the article is deliberately drawing out negative and comic aspects of incidents. Simple as that really.
The Press tll the truth as they and any ordinary member of the public would see it.
"To those of you discussing Laurie's physical appearance - not only does it make you look superficial, sexist (yes, even if you're female) and boorish, you're basing your opinion on an overexposed passport photo"
There he is, her knight in shining armor. Like Laurie needs any help from you or any other brown nosers.
Laurie knows I have a crush on her....*blush*
A Texas rose for sweet Laurie.
Laurie darlin, I'l come for you with two white horses, and a yellow rose for your hair.
He's not Harry Cole! Harry Cole was in fetching blue. Although my dance card is open...
Good grief, I hope you're not serious. How on earth can you remark on what "any ordinary member of the public" woudl think? Surely this page alone shows the difference of opinion between a small group of people, let alone the public as a whole.
The Press simply tell the unbiased truth? Oh my. If the Daily Mail are included in that, frankly we're all doomed.
@Nick Oh, no, heaven forbid that young Conservatives don't like being told what to do. If young Labour or Lib Dem members *do* like being told what to do, I think that makes them the weird young 'uns, not the Tories.
@Clem_the_Gem Invective or incisive? I think @me evidently has better standards in women than either you or Pink Shirt. If Tories wanted to go out with a girl that looked like that, they'd have screwed Anastasia Beaumont-Bott.
Good grief, you really do suffer for us! It sounds *dreadful*.
And disturbing. I'm not usually inclined to have much sympathy for any Tory MP, but I suddenly feel very, very sorry for all of the women Tory MPs - not to mention Adam Afriye. And then I remember that it's some men only a little older and no more sensible who are formulating current policy. It's all rather depressing.
But that can only mean that there are other men like him. What a terrifying thought... Glad you got out of there alive, if not injury free!
Well done for not punching the ass-grabber. You must be a brilliant actress!
You and your party not agree with a free press then? What did you have to hide which made you make it a private event?
@myself Oh dear little man, you just do not seem to be able act like a gentleman do you? It seems that with both you and @me, it is the women who would have low standards, certainly in morality and behaviour.
Maybe you will mature with age, maybe not.
Laurie can defend herself, but you really cant get away with this sort of thing. It is just vile, aqnd for future reference, arrogance is only sexy to other arrogant people.
I agree with the general attitude of the conservative men and it is something I have experienced. But go to any Young Fabian event and you will find the same types of politically ambitious boys in suits just ready and waiting to undermine their women at any given chance. Its not the tories as such, sadly its politics
Love this piece, and recognise the types, but to be honest, the last time I got heinously groped was by an anti-globalisation protestor who was off his face on coke. Tories don't have the monopoly on this shit.
@ des demona
i'm just saying what i know to be true.
Ben Collier!?! For the torries!?!
Which planet on the brit and hiberian isles do you come from, mate! Song for you, just for you,fromyour girlfriend, no doubt (sorry Ms. Hewitt, had to be done),
Since when was any of this article ladylike? If Laurie can defend herself, let her. The fake feminism (degrading Conservative girls?) is somewhat irksome, so let's see what there is. Hopefully arrogance, because I'm only attracted to arrogant women. Or, to put it in feminist terminology, successful women.
I'm not disagreeing with the assessment of men in centre-left politics, but at least it's not quite so shameless. Still maybe I should do a second piece in the interests of fairness...
As a Conservative activist at university I found this was all too common at CF events. In fact, quite often the behaviour would get worse. Anti-Semitism, misogyny, xenophobia & general hatred of anyone slightly different to them was commonplace and anyone who challenged it would be turned on.
The worst thing is that since the election of Cameron, the 'old guard' Thatcherite right has been riding on the reformers' coat-tails in order to get power. Now they have got there they are trying to exert all their pressure to take the party back to the evil Thatcherite empire no matter what the cost. It makes those of us who are actually centre-right believe that there is no way we can reform the party to help the British people rather than our friends.
Remarkably accurate representation of youth politics at all levels and ideologies. Young Conservatives make me more angry than pretty much any other group. How can people be so young yet have such a pessimistic view of the world? The Tories at my University (Birmingham) get repeatedly banned by our SU for contravening the rules that they expect themselves not to have to follow.
As my (quite reasonable) friend put it 'most of BUCF would rather be sipping cocktails than campaigning'.
However, they are not alone. My experience of Liberal Youth events is similar but without the misogyny and paternalism. I'm told Labour Students are the same. People should not be penalised for being young and politically active, but it breeds cliques and misguided opinions that are never challenged by their cronies. Hence why you end up with bunches of Thatcher-worshippers.
"assurances that "positive discrimination" will never be a part of Conservative Future's way of doing politics." Unless you're a rich, upper class, white Tory male stereotype. They usually seem to do quite well under the Tories.
This was clearly not a truly representative event of Conservative Future. If it was, most of the young men would have been gay.
So let me get this straight. I write a piece talking about how many of the young conservatives seemed to be behaving like misogynists, sexual predators and sexists.
You guys then respond by calling me ugly and unfuckable on the internet.
And *I'm* meant to defend *myself*?
Laurie, it was a well written article which gives a good insight into the kind of atmosphere which prevails at such events, I can just imagine. It is quite amazing how these posts get progressively more and more off track, but that's a whole new conclusion which I hope you know not to take personally! People seem to get a right kick out of getting personal on here, it gets quite vile at times; I generally try and keep it clean and leave it to the Tories to lower the tone!
Simon says, 'The loathing and disrespect that the Conservatives have for their opponents is unmatched on the political spectrum'
Oh, I wouldn't say that. I detest Tories even more than I detest New Labour, if that's possible.
Shorter "me": "Of course we're not sexists you revolting woman..."
"when a person is horrible on the inside they become ugly to me on the outside too."
Good to see that The Twits by Roald Dahl is still the informing standard for theories of beauty these days.
Next week, Laurie Penny writes a witty and insightful piece on the defecatory habits of bears.
What a pile of tripe. As a woman in the Conservative party I find this article insulting; the men only treat women like a bimbo if the women allow themselves to be. And this is not specific to the Conservative party; its most men out there.
This article is vacuous and makes no point other than Thatcher is still popular with some (shocker) and that men can be perverts. Also, a shocker.
Painting a picture like this and dirrectly attributing this to the Conservative Party rather than most bars in London is ludicrous. The only difference is that the jokes about Thatcher being hot arn't in all clubs. And yes, they are jokes.
I'm a 25 year old Conservative female and yes, used to attend such events. However, I will admit the majority of young Conservatives - in Conservative Future that is - are quite frankly, an embarrassment. I cringe every time I read articles like this as it seems nothing changes.
There are young Conservatives who exist who aren't drowning in their own egos and pretending they're something they're not. They just tend to assimilate into other social circles and not CF - and more importantly, they mix with people of all political backgrounds.
''This article is vacuous and makes no point other than Thatcher is still popular with some (shocker)''
Actually, I think that IS the point. The point being that the latest bunch of Hooray Henrys and Henriettas seem to be a throwback to those dismal years despite dodgy dave's 'conversion' to the Big Society rather than Thatcher's 'no society'
its just better when you dont have to be distracted by various people twittering and blogging away on their phones when you want to concentrate on the hustings and what the candidates have to say during the event. and it's a lot more comfortable for the candidates who already must be intimidated by all the people there heckling and interrupting them, without having to worry about the media as well. because the media can twist things round, just like in this article, hence why people get paid to do press releases i guess. the whole what have you got to hide thing doesn't really apply. it's more a case of...like if you're having a conversation in front of someone who hates you, you wont really talk much because you would know that they would go and spread nasty rumours about you whatever you say. i hope that kind of explains it because sometimes i'm not so good at putting my thoughts into words.
Only just became aware of this article after a friend of mine pointed it out, assuming I was being mentioned. What a shame.
I make no apology for London CF. I work in a "centre-right" (whatever that means) think-tank in Westminster and have friends working inside the Houses and let me assure you the Party won't touch London CF with a barge-pole.
During the hustings the one question I wanted to ask - but couldn't, because of all the YBF EU and taxes tedium - was whether CF's reputation was so bad because we are too rich, or too vulgar. Countrywide the latter might be the problem; in London the former is thrown in for balance.
I can only speak for the non-affiliated Student Conservative Associations, like the one I joined at University, which are mainly made up of socially conservative, pragmatist grammar school tykes. But they aren't likely to host flashy hustings that journalists would hear about to go to.
Laurie Penny is a contributing editor to the New Statesman.