In the 1980s Margaret Thatcher's most committed supporters led the party's Federation of Conservative Students. They were even more committed than she was to some of her own ideological positions. They sent their leaders to fight with the Nicaraguan Contras against the left-wing Sandinista regime; they advocated the decriminalisation of drugs; they weren't the best behaved conference goers, often running riot at their own conferences, bashing down the doors of the nonbelievers with fire extinguishers. They were positively Maoist in their attitude to Tory 'olds', and it was a stinging attack on former Tory premier Harold MacMillan (he was denounced as a 'war crimina;' for his role in the despatch of Cossacks back to Russia after the Yalta Agreement) that ultimately brought them to their doom. Their libertarian chairman, an ambitious young right-winger called John Bercow, did a deal with that most Thatcherite of Party Chairmen, Norman Tebbit, and the FCS was closed down. No longer would it be allowed to embarrass the mother party.
Well, it looks as if their may be a proto-FCS on the rise once again. The Guardian carries a report on the activities of the Young Britons' Foundation, whose leadership appear to revel in extreme views. They seek to train young Tory activists, even taking them on a trip to a firing range in Virginia, which had leader Donal Blaney squealing with pleasure at the mix of hot brass and gunpowder. The Tory Party's high command are now visiting their conferences and their meetings, and some eleven parliamentary candidates have come from their ranks. Interestingly, Mr. Blaney, whose right wing views seem almost to be a caricature, and have been publicly available on his blog 'Blaney's Blarney' for ages, has decided that discretion has some value, and recently made his blog an invitation only one. For the Tory Party, history might be repeating itself. For David Cameron, a man against whom the rightists reserve their most vigorous ire, it might be wise to steer clear of the YBF.