Conservative Diary

« Chris Wales | Main | Why I am standing for NME: Tim Aker »

Why I am standing for Worcestershire & Warwickshire: Matt Hartley

Me_3 The question of whether or not to stand for Area Chairman, Worcestershire and Warwickshire was a tough decision.  I’ve been a member of the Party for a long time, and I’m the Chairman of my University CF branch, but I’ve always chosen to be more involved with the senior Party than with CF at a wider level.

CF elections, as far as I could tell, could often be characterised by rancour, ill-feeling and division, and to be honest I didn’t have the appetite for such a contest.  Which is why I’m delighted that in the election I now face, Anne-Marie Bray and I are both determined that this will be a good-natured, well-fought campaign.  I want this year’s election in Worcestershire and Warwickshire to be a model of how a CF election should be run – with the acknowledgement that we are all on the same side and that win or lose, our objectives are roughly the same. 

We both want to see Worcestershire and Warwickshire CF in a stronger position, and we would both serve the two counties’ members to the best of our ability.  Whatever the result, I look forward to the progress that I know Worcestershire and Warwickshire CF will make in the coming year.

I decided to stand because, as any West Wing fan will tell you, "decisions are made by those who show up", and I want Conservative Future to improve as an organisation.  In an ideal world, CF should be treated as equal partners in the Party – we have a wealth of talent that the Party could put to so much better use.  We can all deliver "In Touch"s and canvass at election time – but between us we can offer a great deal more.  I’ve been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to serve on the officer’s team of my association, to build campaign websites, to design election literature and to help devise strategy.  We can all contribute in ways like these, and we should all be given the opportunity.  But to be taken more seriously, and to become the asset that the Party needs us to be, CF needs reform.  I want Worcestershire and Warwickshire to be at the forefront of this change.

I believe I have the enthusiasm, experience and commitment to make Worcestershire and Warwickshire CF the success that we all want it to be.  As Deputy Chairman (Political) of Warwick & Leamington Association, I understand how associations work and how to forge closer links with the senior Party.  As Chairman of University of Warwick CF, I understand the challenges of running a large branch and how all branch chairmen’s jobs could be made easier with a little assistance, but not interference, from the centre.  As Area Chairman, I will always be available to help out in any way that I can, and will build a consensus about the direction we should take as an area.

I want to build an area organisation that will outlast my time in the job.  I will organise area-wide socials and events, establish a Branch Chairmen’s forum to share ideas and best practise, and set up an email newsletter so that branches can cross-advertise events to each others’ members.  I will faciliate the creation of new branches in places where we don’t have a presence, such as Mid Worcestershire, Redditch and the new seat of Kenilworth and Southam.  And in the meantime, I will make sure that CF members living in these constituencies are invited to the nearest branches’ events, and not left isolated as they are at present.

Win or lose, I’m glad I stood and am looking forward to the contest.  As I argued on ConservativeHome earlier this week, CF desperately needs more contested elections and I’m proud that Worcestershire and Warwickshire is leading by example.  I wish the best of luck to everyone who is standing, and hope that in 9 months time the efforts of those who are elected will have paid off, and that CF will be closer to the kind of organisation we would all like it to be – organised, resourceful, influential and fun.


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