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Why I am standing for NME: Ranil Jayawardena

Ranil_jayawardena_1 My first political experience of the Conservative Party was a pretty standard one.

When I attempted to set up a branch at my sixth-form college I was told by the local association that "we don't work with CF”. I set a branch up anyway and within a month we’d attracted more than twenty-five new people to the Party. Following that, I stood to become the Area Chairman of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and I’m proud of what the area team and I have achieved by working together with branches. At the last General Election, the Area Team in Hampshire did the most important thing I think a CF Area can do: we got people out on the ground and making a difference in the key marginal seats of Romsey, Eastleigh, Winchester and Portsmouth North & South where the next election will be won and lost. Additionally, if there’s a Council by-election – safe or marginal – we send a team.

It’s a terrible indictment on the state of CF that 40% of Area Chairmanships for 2006/7 remain unfilled. As an Exec member, I will make the recruitment of enthusiastic people to fill these positions my top priority. As I said in my Manifesto, you can't get away from the fact that London will always be the centre of the UK's political scene, but this doesn't mean that the CF Exec can't work with Area and Branch Chairman to hold a decent range of good range of events across the whole country – just like we’ve done in Hampshire. Whether that means meeting up in a club in Cardiff, an evening in a pub in Peterborough or a night out in London, what matters is members show up and enjoy themselves.

I've been involved with Conservative Party for three years now and every year, the manifestos of the candidates running for Exec have – give or take a few platitudes – been identical.

"More events outside London"…“More involvement of ordinary members in the way the organisation is run”... “A well-run NUS campaign”...“Better communication with Local Associations”.

Everyone agrees with these objectives but we’re not going to achieve them by constantly chasing a rainbow. We need to put the groundwork in first so that others don’t have the same experience I had when I first tried to set up a branch.

I'm not going to promise CF members the world. CF can be improved but we can’t work miracles overnight. I’m running to be a team player and promise I’ll do my best to improve the organisation this year so that next year's Exec can build on this year's successes – rather than start again from scratch. Please do take a minute to have a look at my campaign website at where you can re-read my manifesto and have a look at my experience, principles and thoughts.
I’d really appreciate your vote.

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