Today we feature James Clark, President of the Conservative Friends of the Armed Forces.
I was delighted to be asked by Conservative Progress to contribute something about Conservative Friends of the Armed Forces to their blog. The mission of Conservative Progress, which is to bridge the gap between the Parliamentary Party and Conservative activists, is one of the central aims of my group. We focus tightly on the Armed Forces though, whereas Conservative Progress encompasses the full spectrum of national issues.
We had an introductory event which kicked off our launch in early February of 2019 and have received a huge amount of support since. My co-founder, Nic Clark and I couldn’t believe a ‘Friends of’ group dedicated to the Forces didn’t exist already (in contrast our Labour equivalent has been running since 2011). With support from our steering committee and Tony Heath, our treasurer we are nearing 100 members and friends and are still working out how to reach out to more interested parties.
The organization aims to provide an environment for armed forces personnel, veterans and supporters, who support the Conservative Party, to meet, discuss and campaign together. We want to try to represent the interests of the Armed Forces within the Conservative Party and aim to facilitate a greater understanding amongst those who support the armed forces, as well as those serving within the military, of the effect of political policies on service personnel and the nation’s military capabilities. All of this is based on the respect for the values and standards of the British military.
We will be organizing events, discussions, fielding views or concerns from interested parties, discussing friends and members views with MPs and Ministers and when elections are called try to mobilise our members and supporters to campaign for candidates who share our values. We want to act as a force multiplier in campaigns and, if fundraising allows, grow into an organization that reflects the importance and stature of our Armed Forces.
We are excited by the prospect of a new leader of the Conservative Party and gratified to hear the rumours that individuals like Penny Mordaunt, James Cleverly, Rory Stewart and Johnny Mercer might consider standing- we wholeheartedly encourage them to do so. In any guise or role those with Forces experience understand the fundamentals of leadership, working in, building and leading teams and basing decisions and strategy on values and planning. These are all key requirements of the next leader of our Party.
If you’re interested in learning more about CF Armed Forces or becoming a member, go to our website www.cfarmedforces.org. We look forward to seeing you at one of our events in the near future.
James co-founded Conservative Friends of the Armed Forces in 2019. He served from 2009 – 2015 as a Regular Infantry Officer in the Mercian Regiment. He conducted two tours of Afghanistan. Since leaving the Regular Army James has been a Reserve Officer with the London Regiment. In 2016 he was elected Lewisham & Deptford Conservative Association Chairman .In 2017 he stood as the Conservative Candidate in Islington North against Jeremy Corbyn.