Conservative Diary

« Do you have a blog? | Main | Why I am standing for Chairman: Andrew Young »

Why I am standing for NME: Claire Palmer

Claire_palmer_1 I am re-standing for the NME because I have worked hard this year for CF and seen the benefits when enthusiastic, professional people get involved, and I want to continue to deliver for CF. 

If I am re-elected for the National Executive I will work for an organisation:

  • with even more variety of events that give a better balance of politics and social events;
  • that focuses on our target seats and our cities;
  • with effective and enjoyable training;
  • that supports its branches, both locally and on university campus by offering the opportunity for   regular contact and support;
  • that retains its members and looks after you!

Many people have talked about CF being a failing organisation that needs radical change for it to succeed. I agree that CF has its problems, but do not think that it is entirely broken. What CF doesn’t do well enough at the moment is engage its members – i.e. members of the party who are under the age of 30. If we can’t keep our members happy, how are we going to convince new people to join us.

That’s why small steps such as making our events friendly and approachable, ensuring that communications are responded to, and helping individuals to become more involved locally or nationally, is something that is easy to do, but pays dividends. I have ensured that every event I have organised has done this – such as our incredibly successful Policy Discussions, and "New Members, New MPs".

Take as another example the Working Life conference in Loughborough. This was organised by a committee of 6 young professionals, attracted a variety of new members, a number of whom are much more actively involved, and some of whom are now going to Conference for the first time. Furthermore the event attracted a key part of our target market: working life, and there were over 50% women in attendance. 

The best thing about this event was that we have gained the support of the PPC for Loughborough, Nicky Morgan, as well as Darren Mott, the Regional Campaign Director, who are now even more pro-CF. The reason for this: we delivered over 5,000 leaflets, and raised the money to pay for them, in a key target seat. Added to which the local press ran a positive story on their front page last week about it. This is what professional people can do for CF.

Now obviously we can’t organise conferences in every target seat, as much as it would be great to do so, but what we can do is:

  • Ensure that CF has an effective strategy this year from the start;
  • Focus on setting up branches in our target seats – including identifying and supporting individuals to run the branches, helping liaise with the senior party in the area;
  • Aim for a decent working life presence in our major cities;
  • Support our students with their Fresher’s Fayre, with NUS, but most importantly ensuring we   don’t lose our members on graduation;
  • Work with our Area Chairman to put on events and grow their branches around the country;
  • Continue to raise the profile of CF with the senior Party.

However, communication is a two-way process. We need to make sure that our Area Chairmen work effectively and support their local area, but also help them by giving them the resources and more importantly the support to deal with issues that arise. Every CF member this year that has contacted me and asked for support has received a personalised and (I hope) helpful response. I would like to see our Area Chairmen, our Chairman and our Exec members, doing the same, and will encourage this best practice. 

So finally the most important thing is getting the basics right – sending thank you e-mails, being friendly to new people at events, communicating with our members, answering communications in a timely manner. If you look at the endorsements on the website, and look at my record for the last year, I hope you’ll see that I bring all of this to CF, and I can do more than just the basics.

Any questions for Claire? Post a comment!


You must be logged in using Intense Debate, Wordpress, Twitter or Facebook to comment.