Conservative Diary

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Craig Cox's latest progress report

The last few weeks since my last report have been rather busy, and I will now attempt to tell you what I have achieved, and what I aim to do in the sunset of my first term.

Marginal Seats

  • In my marginal seats of Wirral West, Portsmouth N+S, Pendle, and Solihull, we have had events pulling in an average of about 15 members, mostly new. We have had follow up events planned by myself in all of the constituencies, with successful events taking place in Solihull and Portsmouth. The event for Wirral West happens on the 21st March, and the event in Solihull has been postponed so that the new committee can organise something autonomously.
  • Following on from the last point, we now have an active committee in each of these marginal seats, comprising of new and existing members. The speed with which this has happened, and the success which they will undoubtedly achieve is to the testament of their hard work, and the guidance they have recieved from not only myself, but all members of the NME this year. For instance, Solihull CF plan to do a racing day at some point in the future, and Wirral West CF have provisional plans to have a regional dinner.
  • These new branches also have a respect from the Association themsleves, with each Chairman feeling they are recieving more than adequate support from the Association. This has been made possible by PPC's and Association Chairmen coordinating and supporting our decisions throughout.
  • These new branches have enjoyed early successes, but they will only survive with the hard work of the new committee, and the support from the parent Association. It has been hard work, but great fun, in getting these branches fully functional, and some support is still necessary. I plan to have all of the branches well-oiled enough to go it alone by mid-April.
  • I have recieved much support and advice from my NME counterparts, especially Mark Clarke and Claire Palmer, who have offered assistance and advice where ever possible. But support and aid has also come from elsewhere; Conservative party members, CWF supporters, and other fringe group involvement has made this process much smoother and fibrous. I wish to thank them all.
  • In the last months of my term, I aim to help consolidate a branch at Nottingham Trent University, and have a fully functional CF operation in the Nottingham City Federation. I will be working closely with Edward Keene in this process, who deserves much credit for what has happened already. I believe with the experience I have gained so far, and with the relevant national support, these dreams can become reality. I also plan to meet with other associations around the country to try and get the ball rolling for next years committments to branch creation.

Spring Forum

  • Spring Forum was held in my University City of Nottingham, and I am pleased that a good time was seem to have been had by all that attended.
  • I attended the National Convention which voted in Charles Barwell, Emma Pidding, and Jeremy Middleton to the Vice-Presidency positions, and listened to all of the internal debates within the party at the moment. I heard discussions about the role of the 'A List' from John Maples, MP, who is a passionate advocate of the system. I will put it on the record that I found most of his comments about pressing ahead with arbitrary female selection absolutely abhorrent, and that, for the NME at least, I will not support the process as it stands.
  • It was here that, in the presence of my good friend and colleague Matt Richardson, that I met Christian Walker for the first time. On seeing Mr Richardson almost burst with joy at this sight, and dispelling the exciting rumours that Christian and I were the same person, we supplemented the many telephone conversations we have had previously.
  • I also attended the Away Day that occured on the Friday before convention. This was an interesting event which discussed how we should be 'love-bombing' the Lib Dems (a prototype humourously concocted by one of my favourite MP, Eric Pickles), and a strategy with which I agree. We also recieved a witty presentation from the Party Agent George Bridges, and it made a great advance in explaining to us the 'seven point plan' in how the Party wants us to move forward. An example of these points can be found on ConHome.
  • I attended an event by Essex CF, where we were afforded the opportunity to speak to Grant Shapps, MP, who explained to us the necessity for local campaigning. Thanks to Nick Vaughan and George Askew for organising this.
  • Perhaps my most nervous part of Spring Forum was the event I organised that took place for CF members in the Pitcher and Piano. Aside from the initial problems with some people getting in, for which I apologise wholeheartedly, I think the event was roundly seen as a success. We provided free wine and canapes for all who attended, and I met many people whom I had not met before, which was a great privilege to have; such people were CF exemplary figures such as Andy Peterkin, Melissa Bean, and Dominic Graham, amongst many other top-notch CF personalities. There were in excess of 100 members present, and they were treated to a speech by the PPC for Tooting, and CF Chairman, Mark Clarke. Thank you to all that attended, and I hope that you had a fun couple of hours.
  • I must also pay tribute to a chat before the rugby on Saturday to Andy Peterkin, Matt Richardson, and Jonathan Cordell, which lit up my was a very humourous experience!
  • Overall, the Spring Forum was successful for the Party, and it was so good to meet so many of you that I had not before. Thank you all for coming to Nottingham.

Other news

  • In addition to this, I am standing as a candidate in the Nottingham City ward of Bilborough at the next local elections. I am campaigning regularly here in Nottingham, and am going to be canvassing in Horsham and Crawley over the period of my Easter break.
  • I will be attending the next NME meeting in April to discuss some issues arising from Spring Forum.

Can I just conclude this report by saying that I am happy with the progress made by this NME, and the tutoring I have received from those people before me, whether involved in CF or not. I now understand the importance of experience, and throughout my term this understanding has developed exponentially. Thank you all, and I look forward to meeting you all at some point soon, if I haven't already.


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