My attention has just been drawn to the latest Conservative Future bulletin which disheartens its readers with the “disappointing news that the Working Life Conference has had to be cancelled due to lack of interest”. Intrigued, I decided to find out what this Conference was all about. Apparently:
“CF Working Life is geared toward the young professionals in the Party, those activists who are starting out and building their careers. The Working Life Conference is a part of the key CF objective to improve the appeal of the Party to this demographic.” “The conference is designed to offer training, debate, and networking for the Working Life part of CF.”
Maybe it was the £135 cost of the weekend (due for the 21-22 July) which put those young Tory workers off – well it certainly would have been a steep price for the vast majority of workers in the UK. But then it obviously wasn’t aimed at ordinary people with average pay packets - the list of speakers included a private banker in wealth management, a PR guru to Mercedes Benz, a number of senior management consultants and someone in investment management.
I guess when it says that the Tories want to appeal to ‘this demographic’ it means they want to get the lucre-hungry young’uns who are undoubtedly going to want to keep their hard earned cash from the nasty tax man as they grow older. This agenda appears to be confirmed by the inclusion of Matthew Elliott, co-Founder of the Taxpayer’s Alliance, as one of the speakers for the conference. This was the organisation who produced that rather distasteful film on YouTube with the strapline “who knows what they’ll tax next”. The closing frames suggest that men might be taxed for the pleasure of sleazing over busty blondes. (If only!)
Another internet search takes me to Mark Clarke’s blog on 26th June which is titled ‘Working Life Conference – Some spaces left’. All events organisers have stretched the truth at one time or another to big-up attendance figures, but this appears to be taking the biscuit. Clarke has obviously been worrying about this conference for a while. He wrote in April: “A few people I have a lot of time and affection for have put a hell of a lot of work in organising the Conservative Future Working Conference. Therefore, I recommend and urge you all to go.”
Do Conservative Future members have no heart to rally to such a clarion call? Did not even the promise of a conference dinner get them signing up in their droves? Maybe the truth is that the people the conference was aimed at were too busy working for their summer city bonuses…