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Why I am standing for NME: Patrick Sullivan

Patrick_sullivanIn the coming months and years, British politics is about to become far more interesting. It is vital that we, as a party, are ready for the opportunities and challenges that the post-Blair era will bring. We cannot respond by mimicking Labour electioneering strategy. We must respond to this challenge by being many steps ahead of them in communicating our message to the electorate.

The next CF NME will have an important role to play in both articulating and communicating this message. David Cameron is right when he says that "there is such a thing as society, it just not the same thing as the state". We must show that we are Conservatives because we believe in society and because we believe state action can often cause damage to that society. For too long we have allowed ourselves to be caricatured as uncaring Tory Boys, whose role models are Alan B’Stard and Francis Urquart. This characterisation is both untrue and unfair but it is very powerful simply because elements of the media have been promoting it for years. This has made many people reluctant to join our party and reluctant to vote for us. We must rid our party of this image, by challenging it with our actions.

David Cameron has said that we must be the change. There are three ways in which we can do this...

1.  We must become a much more social organization

One of the main problems that we face in recruiting new members to the Party is that people think that CF’s primary role is in campaigning. That is not going to be appealing to everyone. I do not think that we should cease being a campaigning organisation. I do think however, that we have to reach out to those who would not traditionally think about becoming involved in politics. We can do this by offering more non-political activities to our members.

In the past the Conservative Party has been associated with many enjoyable social experiences in people’s lives. I want the NME to help CF branches reach out to people by putting on a number of fun events and activities. When people think of CF I want them to think not only of a group of campaigners but a community. We can build this community by putting on a number of events that will appeal to most sections of the party and society. I want CF to put events such as regular pub quizzes and karaoke nights for its members. I want CF to be a hub of social activity.

I also want CF branches to put on and participate in sports tournaments and various other varied activities, so we can broaden our membership by appealing to those who would not traditionally consider joining CF.

2.  We must remain true to our convictions

There are those on the left who have claimed that Conservatives are unprincipled. While I do not think that we should be forever dogmatic, it is important that people see us as a body that is consistent about its key principles. Currently CF is a part of the federalist organisation the European Democratic Students (EDS). Our commitment to a Europe of nation states is incompatible with membership of the EDS. Therefore, we must leave the EDS!

3.  We must make many positive contributions to the wider community

We must illustrate our compassion by putting it into practice. CF should do more to help make people’s lives better in the communities in which we live. If CF helped organise events like neighbourhood clean-ups, raised money for local charities and had greater involvement with the voluntary sector, we would find that a little help goes a long way.

We should also become more involved in our community activities - alongside those we work with and study with, we can show them that Conservatives do stand up for their interests. By representing the interests of those who live directly alongside us we will be able to illustrate that Conservative policy represents common sense.

Got a question for Patrick? Post a comment.


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