EXCLUSIVE: CF/YI Defections - Don't Believe the Hype.


By Leon French


"At least once every week I come onto twitter and see there has either been a defection from Conservative Future to UKIP/YI or that someone is suggesting that a defection is about to happen. Quite frankly, I don't care, and I don't think many other principled people do either!

"Before I go on, I will mention that I did leave the Conservatives to go to UKIP, then leave UKIP to go back to Conservative Future a year later. The defecting part isn't my point though, which I will make clearer as I go on.

"We know that as there is more exposure to UKIP, YI and their stances on issues, Conservatives will inquire more and more into the Party. From there they will go one of a few ways. Either they will like what they see and eventually leave the Conservatives for UKIP, they will not like what they see and stay with the Conservatives or they may like what they see but think they're better off within the Conservatives. Whichever way they go about it, we hope that the decision they take is an informed one that it is one made on principle (possibly not the 3rd option mind).

"But when I see that there is a huge fuss around the statement "there's going to be a defection soon" then I assume that this person is not doing it out of principle. Why do I think this? Because if you were doing it out of principle, you wouldn't tell a few people a week earlier, tell a gossip website a week before you defect but also make sure they don't mention who it is. We end up with speculation over who it could be just so that this particular person will get the 15 minutes of fame they so desperately want. It's pathetic really.

"The problem is, the strategy of UKIP and YI now seems to revolve around speculating over who could defect next. We know that Nigel Farage has been using this strategy for a while now with regards to Conservative MPs, saying that UKIP is in discussion with Conservative MPs who want to defect. Maybe I'm just cynical, but I don't believe a word of it. It's a lie designed to pressure those who may have considered it to just go for it. I'm just more disappointed that YI has taken this desperate and rather pathetic route.

"I have a lot of respect for Rob Comley, the Chair of YI, I really do. I think he's a good guy. But I don't think adopting Nigel Farage's strategy is a good one. It looks cheap, mostly because it is cheap. As the leader of one of these organisations, you want to engage young people and persuade them to join on the merits of your organisation, not attract those who aren't getting the attention they want and so defect over an overly long period that's just long enough to keep people hooked and waiting to see who will be next to defect. I don't like that strategy and I probably never will.

"When I left the Conservatives I never made such a huge fuss over it. I never did it because I wanted to be known by others, I never did it because I wanted a huge fuss made over me for it, I did it because I thought it was the best course of action for me. The same applied the other way round. Of course, as someone eloquently pointed out to me on Twitter, no one would have cared anyway. That's true, but it's besides the point. I never wanted anyone to care, which is the fundamental difference between me and some of these other wet dishcloths who have gone off on a vanity parade.

"I hope we in Conservative Future will not lower ourselves to that level. We don't need to humour UKIP and YI in their baiting, just let them get on with it. If we lose some of the more unprincipled members, so what. If we lose some of the members who are only involved in the organisation to make their name known, I'll be glad. We want members who want to get involved to make a real difference. Let's attract those people and keep those people and let's not be lured into this pathetic game UKIP is playing."