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Why I am standing for Chairman: Andrew Young

Andrew_young Every year, every CF election, every candidate has one thing in common – they all say they want CF to change.

And every time, they're right. But this time the stakes have been upped. Finally, the Conservative Party is ahead in the polls. Finally, we have a leader the public identify with. Finally, the party's structure, methods and organisation are being fast-forwarded into the 21st century. And CF needs to change this time – this is the golden opportunity to transform CF into an organised, effective political youth organisation.

But unfortunately, we are not presently fit for purpose.

I won't mince words; a year serving on the NME had left me disillusioned about CF. We go through the motions every year- we send out Freshers' packs; we labour over appointments of chairmen; we struggle to organise a national ball; we decry the various problems we have and lack the power to fix them. Then to cap it all off, we throw on elections in which a huge number of active CF members never get votes, and we start all over again. The cycle continues; whilst out on the ground branches struggle and fall, entire areas remain untouched by CF and recruitment continues to be an uphill battle.

It ends here.

I've thrown time, passion, energy, money and everything I have into CF over the past few years – I believe it can make a difference and I give everything I can every day to be part of that. I'm not alone- I organise fantastic, dedicated and talented people around the country every week who throw that same determination in behind the cause. And I ask myself: with this much energy, talent and belief – how is it we're not light-years further ahead?

If I stand for something, it's harnessing that people power and channelling it properly. Look at my record on NME and you'll see what I mean. Working with others I've transformed our website team so that instead of writing twice a month, they put out exciting and interesting articles twice a day.

I created CF Net, (launching next week- see ConHome for details) a huge framework of websites, covering every region, area and branch. It provides them all with an opportunity to communicate their message online without IT expertise. It allows visitors to see events, news, and local contacts for every area of the UK. It ensures that nobody need ever fall out of touch with CF in their region.

I brainstormed the CF TV project that is seeing volunteers, professionals, and talented people putting together video and radio broadcasts for Conservative Future to be broadcast over the Internet – using modern technology to put us in touch with our audience, and take our campaigning methods into the 21st century.

And the cost of these projects? £0.00. Nothing – yet they are a permanent addition to CF’s capability to contribute to the senior party’s success.

The talent, the energy, the support is out there – what CF is crying out for is leadership and the organisation to turn the means into the end.

So I pledge to make real change. Mark, Caroline and I all agree on what needs to be done, we differ on how it should be achieved. I’m not promising to run the same broken down system better, I’m promising to change the system altogether.

The very minute I'm elected, I will begin regionalising – putting in regional coordinators to help, assist and support the regions, and transform our communications between members and branches. The NME will act as service provider, bringing training, resources and support services to you our members to give you the tools you need to build up CF at ground level.

Our future success in targeted campaigning, diversifying the membership, better events, recruitment and raising the profile of CF cannot be delivered from the centre, we must empower the grassroots and work to shift the emphasis permanently in their favour.

A reformed NME’s role will not be to act as a London based ‘Super Branch’ but rather to offer top-class support and leadership, putting the power of change into the hands of the individuals who power this organisation. It's unglamorous, hard work – but it will bring change, lasting change for us and ultimately change for the better at the next election.

I have posted the details of policy on my campaign website.

To join the campaign or find out more, email me. 


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