Young Britons' Foundation
|Purpose||Training conservative and classical liberal activists|
The Young Britons' Foundation, abbreviated to YBF, is 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 intends to promote young conservatives and "classical liberals". Chief executive Donal Blaney has described YBF as "a Conservative madrasa" that radicalises young Tories. YBF has strong links with the American neoconservative movements, and partnerships with American conservative thinktanks and foundations. YBF enjoys close links with the British Conservative Party.
YBF was launched in July 2003 at a conference of the Young America's Foundation in Washington, D.C., and it has said that it aims to "import American political techniques into the UK". YBF has declared an intention to expose "left-wing bias" in Britain's universities. YBF was originally based in Regent Street, London, leading some Conservatives to question its funding. YBF claims its funding comes solely from UK private donations.
YBF's Chief Executive is 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 and two local councillors.
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 United Kingdom general election, 2010 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. Chris Huhne falsely accused YBF of breaking electoral laws by not being registered with the Electoral Commission, despite the fact that YBF were Electoral Commission-registered.
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".
- "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).
- "People: Daniel Hannan". The Conservative Party. Retrieved 3 May 2010.
- The Guardian, 5 May 2010, David Cameron accused of being dishonest over links with 'Conservative madrasa'
- "UK general election 2010: Campaign spending report". Electoral Commission. February 2011. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- Mostrous, Alexi (4 November 2008). "Young Brits flock to US election campaign". The Times (London).