Conservative Diary


4 Sep 2008 18:41:11

Radical reforms to be proposed for the structure of Tory youth movement

Michael Rock, National Chairman of Conservative Future, has sent out an email to the organisation's area chairmen aimed at clarifying the status of "radical" proposed reforms to the Conservative Party's organisation for under 30s. No official details of the reforms have been released. But the expectation is that their focus will be the abolition of the National Management Executive, made up of chiefly elected (and some co-opted) Conservative Future members, which has existed since Conservative Future was created in 1998. Powers current exercised at this level would be devolved to the level of regional chairmen. Alternatives to the current postal ballot elections are also being considered, including an internet ballot for election of the national chairman and the regional chairmen being elected at annual general meetings.

In his email, Rock urged patience while full details emerged, arguing that moves towards regionalisation would combat the pitfalls of existing bureaucratic structures:

"These reforms are still being looked at and are not finished yet. I can't release the full details because there is not a fully developed plan. Furthermore, the reason we have not administered a broader consultation is that we cannot change anything without the Party Board's approval.

"... I ask members for patience; the NME and I will be continuing to work through the reforms before releasing them to the membership. These reforms are radical but they do follow my manifesto pledge of giving CF back to the membership at the lowest level, through regionalisation and turning our bureaucratic structure on it's head. In essence, the plans we are discussing do not affect the majority of members directly but should see a much more effective management structure at a national level."

7 Feb 2008 05:27:49

Area Chairmen 08

Check out the Area Chairman candidates list in the sidebar for the final list of those who have applied to be ACs this year...

At least, er, over 50% of the Areas will have (uncontested) Chairmen this year- few less than even at the last election (Sept 06) although the list was topped up in October 07 after further applications were sought by the Exec.

Only Devon & Cornwall is contested.

It's quite worrying that there are twenty-odd counties in which not a single young Conservative can even be bothered getting this for their CV (which unfortunately is all these roles are amounting to, with a few notable exceptions).

7 Oct 2006 14:39:19

Scottish CF website

Scottish_cfFor those of you studying/living in Scotland, the Scottish Conservatives have been building this website for Scottish CFers over the last few months. It looks quite professional and includes an events page and descriptions of the local and university branches.

One of the great things about the internet is that it doesn't matter where you are geographically - you can still be in the know and have a say about things without being in the Westminster village!

5 Oct 2006 14:16:20

Fancy being a CF Area Chairman?

Message from Mark Clarke, CF Chairman

On Monday 9th October the new National Management Executive will be having its first meeting to decide on the appointment of Area Chairman roles. Many of these were already decided through the election process. Those that were received late for whatever reason are decided upon by the National Management Executive in line with the CF Constitution. This will complete the process which began on the 24th July.

We have many outstanding candidates who have applied for the places. And this request for applications in no way implied that any existing candidate is unsuitable. However, at this late stage I wanted to publicise as broadly as possible the fact that this decision will be taken on the 9th to give everyone the opportunity to apply if they wanted to get more involved. I hope you will see this as a sign of how we want to make CF's operations and decision making both more transparent and more professional.

The Area Chairman role is critical within CF and provides the link between branches and the national team. Close co-ordination with the senior party is vital as is a commitment to building branches up and organising campaigining. More information is available here.

Areas available:

Black Country
Bristol and Gloucestershire
Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire
Greater Manchester East
Greater Manchester West
Hampshire and Isle of White
Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire
Herefordshire and Shropshire
Leicester, Northampton and Rutland
Northern Ireland
Tyne and Wear
Wales South Central
Wales South East
Wales South West
Wiltshire and Dorset
Yorkshire North & East
Yorkshire West

If you are interested then please complete this form this form and return directly to me by 5pm on October 9th. We are using this form in an attempt to have a more professional approach to Area Chairman selection. If you have any questions then please do contact me directly. If you are unsure of which area you are in then this constituency guide should help.

Finally, I am particularly interested in seeing more women candidates apply for these roles. CF has a 47% female membership but last year had only 10% of its Area Chairman slots were filled by women. We will naturally be appointing based on merit - but I am keen to get the broadest set of applications.

12 Sep 2006 12:26:03

Andrew Young: The grassroots challenge

Andrew_young_3 The good thing about being a candidate for Chairman is that for a month and a half I get a captive audience and – for the price of a free blog - that’s not bad. Here’s the most important message of the campaign.

We must fundamentally change the balance between the regions and the centre, and in these vital nine months, the next chairman must regionalise this organisation.

The NME must stop acting as a super branch and become a service provider to the regions, and regional coordinators (a select group of senior CFers), must be appointed to bring area chairmen and the senior Party together to plan the revival of CF in their region.

Each region already has its own identity, its own informal networks of support and contacts (hence the senior party is building up its own regional coordinators) - CF must match that effort.

Why? Well the argument that CF can be a force for good is proven. Where CF works the senior party benefits, however, for large tracts of the country, getting elected area or branch chairman is a terrible job.

Continue reading "Andrew Young: The grassroots challenge" »

17 Aug 2006 12:48:00

Graham Wild: Developing a political movement

Graham_wild_1 Graham Wild is Former Lincoln CF Chair & Deputy Area Chairman (Lincolnshire)

There are certain parts of the country where CF branches have popped up and been rather successful, much without the help of those in London. In fact, sometimes the people "in charge" don't know of their existence. Can this carry on? If it does those of us who want to modernise and spread a central prevailing Tory message will fail in our quest to do so.

Craig Cox is the only person to touch upon such an important issue within the Conservative Future right now, "why can we not understand the importance of creating bonds between strong and weak branches?". Though Horsham and Crawley are not too far from London themselves. Such places as Gainsborough in Lincolnshire and Lincoln itself have (small in numbers yet...) vibrant, enthusiastic members whom I feel get left in the cold over much of what CF actually is and does. This can and does lead to much disillusionment with the party itself sometimes.

Why can't the members of (for example) Hull, Lincoln and London have social events together at conveniently neutral venues such as Peterborough? Surely this would lead to greater unity and an ethic of togetherness in our quest to become a real force in British Politics? After all, if we're not supposed to be a force in British Politics, what exactly are we for? Caroline Hunt says we are the "largest youth political organisation in the country". This of course is true, but I think we should be describing ourselves as the largest Political Movement amongst the under 30's, and then assign our behaviour to that title role and really put pressure on whatever we all feel are grand important issues of our time. 

15 Aug 2006 01:55:48

Matt Hartley: CF needs more contested elections

Matt_hartley_2 Matt Hartley is Chairman of University of Warwick CF and Deputy Chairman (Political) of Warwick & Leamington Conservatives

Conservative Future election time is upon us again, and after a lot of thought I decided to bite the bullet and stand for Area Chairman, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. So it was with some apprehension that I clicked refresh for the 20th time yesterday afternoon, to find out if my nomination form had gone through OK, who I would be standing against, how many candidates there would be….

The website was duly updated by the good people of Victoria Street, when I was disappointed to learn that out of the 44 CF Area positions in England and Wales, only 2 (including mine) are being contested. I shouldn’t have been surprised, as looking back there only seem to have ever been a handful of such elections. Last year the Area post in Staffordshire was one of two contested, and the victor won by 4 votes to 3. Hardly a sweeping mandate.

On the face of it the problem doesn’t seem that complex. More people need to stand, and more people need to vote. Many recent leading lights of Conservative Future have talked about making efforts to increase participation (especially outside London), but there seem to have been few results delivered – although I am pleased to see there will be a hustings outside London this year. A good start in increasing turnout in the elections would be to actually advertise them.

Continue reading "Matt Hartley: CF needs more contested elections" »