Archive for March 6th, 2010

Few things surprise me these days, so when I woke at 3.30 this morning and started reading the newspapers online I barely registered more than mild astonishment when I read the Guardian story on the new Tory Madrasa!  I’m afraid that I also started humming ‘Springtime for Hitler’ – a truly marvellous bit of parody from The Producers. (Watch Springtime for Hitler on YouTube)   I seem to hum that song quite a bit these days when I read daft stories about the Tories…. or should that be…. stories about daft Tories?  ( Update: I am more than prepared to accept that Eric Pickles is, as my friend Peter Groves has said in the comments section – a decent guy. I agree. He is usually entertaining on TV … and is known to have a sense of humour.  You only need to see his tweets on Twitter to appreciate that. ….  I am just faffing abart with my captions and what follows! It is Saturday!).

‘Tory madrasa’ preaches radical message to would-be MPs

The Guardian: Candidates trained by rightwing group that rubbishes NHS, dismisses global warming and backs waterboarding

Tory parliamentary candidates have undergone training by a rightwing group whose leadership 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.

There is ‘another’ Guardian story on this …

Radicalised Tories ready to take on Labour’s big guns

Guardian: Rightwing group Young Britons’ Foundation has begun to earn reputation as ‘Conservative madrasa’

Given that Donal Blaney is a member of the legal profession – he is a solicitor and senior party of GriffinLaw – perhaps an unfortunate choice of name given another well known right wing Griffin? – I wanted to find out more about the YBF – Young Britons Foundation and Donal Blaney.

Donal Blaney is senior partner of Griffin Law – all perfectly straightforward and they offer a wide range of legal services. Griffin Law also had a ‘Legal first’ …  Griffin Law makes law by serving via Twitter

“Today the High Court showed that while it may be steeped in tradition, it is certainly not behind the times by granting an order which allowed service of an injunction via Twitter. The Order which is called a Blaney’s Blarney Order after the subject matter – a blog called Blaney’s Blarney (donalblaney.com) – requires an unknown Twitter user anonymously posting under the same name, and thus breaching the copyright and intellectual property of the blog’s owner, to stop posting and immediately identify themselves.”

When I tried to read Donal Blaney’s blog – in the spirit of wanting to learn more of the thoughts of this lawyer and Young Briton’s Foundation visionary… I was, sadly, met with this…

I rather suspect that I won’t be getting an invitation…

Thwarted… I then popped over to the Young Britons Foundation website. Donal Blaney is Chief Executive of the YBF.  There was talk of a ‘Rally’ in Parliament… a Rally?… and opportunities for visitors to the blog (unfortunate enough not to have been able to attend the ‘Rally’)  to look at pictures of happy radicalised Britons at the ‘Rally’

And then there was a case study of a Conservative Activist’… an ‘Activist’…?

YBF Activist Profile

“Emma Carr When did you first become an ‘active conservative’? I have been an active Conservative for about three years and I have known I am a Conservative for about five or six years.   It wasn’t until I went to University that I found opportunities to become involved in local campaigns and Conservative Future.”

I rather liked the phrase… “I have known that I am a conservative for about five or six years”.  It was after reading this phrase that I heard the dulcet Scottish tones of comedian Frankie Boyle, late (sadly) of Mock The Week, in my mind…and I am almost positive I could hear him say… “I’ve known I’ve had VD for  five or six years.”

And Dan Hannan… who can be very amusing on television..and is a very good orator, whatever you think of his views, is President of The Young Briton’s Foundation.

Now I happen to think that it is a good thing to keep very young people busy with things like the Scouts, Cubs etc etc… I was a Cub in my youth..where I developed a penchant for awarding myself honours.  (I really should have been a Tory!)  A friend of mine and I found a box of badges and cub rank  stripes in a box in the ‘Scout Hut’.  We were the most heavily decorated cubs in Scotland… I had badges for absolutely everything down both arms of my green cub pullover… it was ridiculous.  I promoted myself to ‘Senior Sixer’ but was rumbled because I got greedy and gave myself three yellow stripes instead of two… c’est la vie, as I explained to the dodgy teacher – or Akela as we had to call him – who was a bit too keen on Scouting for Boys.(It’s a very old joke… but it is Saturday.)

I digress… and I do think it is a great idea for younger people to take an interest in politics by joining political groups at school and university. I’m not sure I swallow the entire Guardian line that 2500 people have been radicalised by attending YBF events and shoot em ups in the States… but it is a bit of a worry when one reads statements like this in the press…

The Guardian reports: “Writing openly on his own website, Blaney, a Kent-based solicitor, has argued that “humiliation or psychological interrogation techniques are, in my view, not a problem … Waterboarding doesn’t do the prisoner any permanent physical harm although he may be reluctant to shower or use a flannel again in the future when/if he is freed.”

This is passed off as humour. Humour?  I don’t think Mr Blaney will be appearing ‘Live at The Apollo’ anytime soon on the strength of that gag… if you forgive the unfortunate metaphor.

And then there is this… also from The Guardian report..

With strong links with the American neo-conservative movement, the YBF regularly sends activists on subsidised trips to conferences in the US. “We go into schools and we proselytise conservatism and we get hold of the best kids and train them up,” Blaney has said. “We have been described as a Conservative madrasa, so we bring the next generation out to the States and bring them back radicalised.”

This story is wonderful nonsense… or is it? Is The Guardian warning us that Donal Blaney is training a regiment of ‘Stepford Tory Activists’ who are going to march all over us if David Cameron manages to avoid snatching defeat from the jaws of Victory and actually wins the election with a working majority?

Iain Dale has the right attitude..! and if you want a pretty clear perspective on the Tory camp… his blog is worth a read.

I shall leave you, as I prepare myself for coffee, Marlboros and coffee with the newspapers on the King’s Road with two lines from the Springtime for Hitler lyrics…and a pic from the movie!

“We’re marching to a faster pace
Look out, here comes the master race!”

Don’t have nightmares…. as they used to say on Crimewatch..

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