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Campaign for a less south-centric exec is launched

Cf4b A smart blog called Conservative Future for Britain has recently been launched, grandly describing itself as "the only campaign established to create a truly representative National Management Executive".

Set up by members in Durham, Warwick and Birmingham, they are basically an internal pressure group that will endorse candidates in this autumn's CF elections that are seen be more representative of the nation than the current executive.

At the time of writing its agenda has been endorsed by 24 parliamentary candidates and some MPs. The associated Facebook group - the hub of the campaign - has over two hundred members.


The northern problem it is trying to address is part of a wider problem with the party in the north. A recent ICM poll confirmed a lot of anecdotal evidence in putting the Conservatives down to 26% in "the north", and most ambitious party activists are in London and the South East. A Northern Board and Shadow Minister for Cities scheme have been created to address this in the main party.

I have a personal interest in this issue. After going to my first party conference as a lonesome "gritty northerner" I admit to almost never going back after the CF event, such was the difference in the background and perspective of most people there. Now I'm closer to being one of the ambitious political anoraks in Westminster that inevitably dominate CF.

In its objectives CF4B doesn't go into detail about how it would achieve long-term balance in the organisation, it's not advocating changing the structure of the NME so that it is more like a Senate composed of one person from each region, for example, as has been suggested in the past.

Looking at the debate on the Facebook group, however, it seems that they would advocate regionalising power in CF once their candidates are elected. That to me would be the strongest aspect of their platform. An argument often made on this site in different ways is that the party should "be the change" in more than its use of Fairtrade Tea, in this case in its advocacy of devolving power, diversity of its representatives etc. By devolving more resources and decision-making from the centre to Area Chairmen as people like Andrew Young and Nick Webb have long urged, the northern problem is diluted.

As with ethnicity and gender, though, few members will cast their vote solely on the regional origin of the candidates. Their policies and ability are more important factors. The natural London CF clique can be hard to get around, but if there are enough members who care about regional representation then they will vote for it.

All in all it's healthy to have this debate and shake things up a bit whilst we're effectively in an inter-regnum, as happened in the party's leadership election. In the age of the internet you can expect to see more and more micro campaigns popping up like this one.

The main tangible thing that I think CF4B's general noise will achieve is boosting the importance of the northern factor in the minds of CF members when voting, and also raising the profile of the CF4B founders if they are planning on running themselves.

A very good effort.


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