Conservative Future: What we contribute to student politics
Conservative Future is the largest political youth organisation in the UK with over 15,000 members, though you could fail to be convinced about this at universities such as Sheffield, where we appear a tiny minority of students.
As the University of Sheffield branch, Conservative Future has a number of roles, including supporting Conservative candidates in all elections, both local and national, and representing the younger side of the Conservative Party. We leaflet, we canvas and we offer a forum for political debate to all interested parties in our local area. Aside from our political activities, this academic year Conservative Future has taken part in a Union volunteering project, with plans to volunteer again, and we will also be holding a charity fund-raising event.
In Sheffield, one of our most important roles is creating a balance to the political opinion offered to our fellow students. Right now it is crucial that Conservative Future are on hand for students, to offer debate on, and the reasons behind, the Coalition’s policies, even in the face of the often overwhelming anti-Tory bias on campus. As long as there are Conservative-minded students, there will be a Conservative Future to involve young people in politics and address the issues that matter to them.
There is a certain Tory stereotype that students can have, thanks in part perhaps to Harry Enfield’s Tory Boy sketch, of all white male middle-class snobs and politicos. This image is hugely extorted by left-wing student groups, but amongst our other roles, CF tries to break down this comic image. Our activities are not purely political, but also involve a number of different socials to allow our members to bond, and we are certainly not all of the slapstick Henry Enfield mould; it wasn’t a chauvinistic political party that gave the UK its first female Member of Parliament, its first Muslim female Cabinet minister and its first female Prime Minister.
Conservative Future has a number of diverse roles; students come to CF to meet politically like-minded people, but through our events and activities, they end up contributing so much more to the student body and to the local community.
Article by Laura Knightly, President of Conservative Future Sheffield, 2010-11.
Edited by Vicky Shreeve.