Young Britons' Foundation
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|Purpose||Training conservative and classical liberal activists|
The Young Britons' Foundation, abbreviated to YBF, was a British conservative not-for-profit training, education and research think-tank, established in July 2003 to "help train tomorrow's centre-right leaders and activists today".
It promoted young conservatives and "classical liberals". The chief executive officer of the organization, Donal Blaney has described YBF as "a Conservative madrasa". YBF has strong links with the American neoconservative movements, and partnerships with American conservative thinktanks and foundations.
YBF was launched in July 2003 at a conference of the Young America's Foundation in Washington, D.C.. It aimed to "import American political techniques into the UK". YBF wanted to expose what it perceived to be left-wing bias in Britain's universities. YBF was originally based in Regent Street, London, leading some Conservatives to question its funding. YBF's funding came from private donations.
On 21 December 2015 The Times reported that Donal Blaney had resigned as Chief Executive, following on from the allegations of impropriety towards former YBF director of outreach Mark Clarke. The Times also reported that YBF was likely to close, and as of November 2016 the YBF website was not operating.
YBF's Chief Executive was Donal Blaney, a former National Chairman of Conservative Future, and its Chairman is Patrick Nicholls, former Conservative MP for Teignbridge and Government Minister. The current president of YBF is Daniel Hannan, Conservative Member of the European Parliament for South East England. The renowned author and avowed Eurosceptic Frederick Forsyth is a patron of YBF.
As of September 2010, YBF's "advisory board" includes Matthew Elliott, founder of the UK TaxPayers' Alliance, and representatives of the Heritage Foundation (a US conservative thinktank), US Competitive Enterprise Institute and American Conservative Union (a US conservative lobbying organisation). It also includes the founder of the US Leadership Institute, the President of the US Jesse Helms Center, the President of the Young America's Foundation, the co-founder of the US Henry Jackson Society and a former Executive Director of the Collegiate Network. British representatives include Professor Patrick Minford, blogger Iain Dale (who resigned in the same year) and two local councillors. Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, was a member of the YBF's parliamentary council. Conor Burns was until shortly before becoming an MP in 2010 the vice-president of YBF.
Donal Blaney stated that the Young Britons' Foundation was largely funded by himself, at a cost of about £50,000 per year.
In 2010, The Guardian reported that there was "an informal understanding that YBF is the main provider of training for young Conservative activists." in 2010, Conservative Party Chairman Eric Pickles, Shadow Home Minister Andrew Rosindell and Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox spoke at the annual YBF Parliamentary Rally at the House of Commons. In 2010, it was reported that YBF claims to have trained 2,500 Conservative party activists. At least 11 Conservative parliamentary candidates in the 2010 general election have been delegates or speakers at YBF courses.
In the last days of the 2010 United Kingdom general election over 500,000 leaflets were delivered by YBF to over 20 LibDem/Conservative marginals across the country warning of the dangers of a hung parliament.
During the 2008 presidential election, YBF sent a delegation of activists to campaign in the United States for John McCain. In 2010, YBF's executive director addressed the US Conservative Political Action Conference "warning of the dangers of socialism".
The 2015 YBF conference was cancelled after allegations of impropriety towards former YBF director of outreach Mark Clarke. Six Cabinet ministers due to speak at the conference had previously withdrawn, citing diary clashes.
- "YBF Staff". Young Britons' Foundation. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- "Right-wing students 'suffer 'bias'". BBC News. 13 November 2003.
- Curtis, Polly (11 November 2003). "Rightwing group targets 'campus bias'". The Guardian. London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- Booth, Robert (6 March 2010). "'Tory madrasa' preaches radical message to would-be MPs". The Guardian. London.
- Booth, Robert (6 March 2010). "Radicalised Tories ready to take on Labour's big guns". The Guardian. London.
- Happold, Tom (8 October 2003). "Tory youth group accused of take-over plot". The Guardian. London.
- Billy Kenber (21 December 2015). ".Madrassa. for Tory activists may close after leader quits". The Times. London. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
- Hannah Barnes (12 December 2015). "What is the Young Britons' Foundation?". BBC. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
- "Site report for ybf.org.uk". Netcraft. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
- "People: Daniel Hannan". The Conservative Party. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- Robert Booth (5 May 2010). "David Cameron accused of being dishonest over links with 'Conservative madrasa'". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 November 2016.
- Iain Dale [@IainDale] (7 December 2015). "@martinradio @jpublik I resigned all political roles in 2010 when I joined LBC. Wikipedia is apparently out of date" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Mostrous, Alexi (4 November 2008). "Young Brits flock to US election campaign". The Times. London.
- "The two groups challenging City of London status quo". Evening Standard. 21 March 2013.
- "Tory Bullying: Donal Blaney Slams Party Response". LBC. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
- Christopher Hope (7 December 2015). "Right-wing activists' conference called off in wake of 'Tatler Tory' bullying scandal". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- The Young Britons' Foundation website (as archived 22 February 2015)