Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy 80th Birthday to the CRD

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Conservative Research Department (CRD) by Neville Chamberlain in 1929. This curious old institution has existed within the Party in various forms, despite the changing whims of successive Leaders, and the changing demands of political life. The Department tends to inspire huge loyalty and affection from its members, who themselves have always had a reputation as an eclectic and somewhat idiosyncratic collection of individuals.

As a proud CRD alumnus, having served there from 2004 until 2008, I was delighted to be invited to a star-studded gathering of current and past members -and some other friendly VIPs- at the Carlton Club last night. It was a particular pleasure to have as our guest of honour one David Cameron, who having served from 1988-92 has the distinction of being the first former CRD desk officer to become Leader of the Party (Ted Heath was turned down for a job!).

I loved my time in the CRD, and am pleased to feel I will always be a small part of its illustrious history. Alistair Cooke, a legendary former Deputy Director who is now the Party's official historian, has written a short article on the CRD over on the Blue Blog, and has edited a book celebrating the Department's 80 years (buy it here) which I highly recommend, and not only because I appear in one of the group photos featured from 2006! Here's to another 80 years....

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