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all three candidates agree that
"Party Conference has now become a stage-managed US-style political rally organised by the centre rather than a forum for proper debate among party members"

Might as well pack up and go home then.

There are some nuggets of good ideas with Simon ahead on the aspiration of supporting Volunteers.

Jeremy however has a more viable and achievable idea on using surveys.

Overall I am disappointed at how little they all seem to have thought about what exactly they would do if elected. "Vote for me and on that issue I will do XYZ".

The CPF as it now is - and I speak as a chairman thereof - needs to have it's regional structure re-established. Few people actually realise that Powell's controversial 1968 speech was made at a West Midlands CPC meeting.
This is why the last President of "Eastern Area CPC" is in a good position to do just that, as well as restoring free speech at Party Conference. This is why the future is Bright.

Thank you, Jeremy, for your very full answer to what I know was my question about re-vamping the CPF roughly along the lines of the old CPC. I know that doing this would help activists feel that they are being listened to more and that their concerns are being fed back to the leadership in a meaningful way. I don't have a vote myself in this ballot but wish you well in the contest.

Interesting answers. On balance I'm still favouring Jeremy Middleton - largely because he seems to have thought his ideas on these issues through and to have come up with proposals that have a realistic chance of getting adopted.

Just to chuck in a comment about Party Conference. It is not only the lack of opportunity for party members to get involved that has been a problem in recent years. Some of the platform sessions have been astonishingly boring when they need not have been.

And in Birmingham there was a real lack of reasonably priced venues for fringe meetings within walking distance of the conference centre. Pretty much all the venues were expensive and were booked by well-funded pressure groups and lobbying organisations. At least in Blackpool you could get the back room of a pub for fifty quid so that an ordinary member could hold a meeting on a subject of local or limited interest. Or you could book a low-profile event and hope that it did not clash with a hugely popular one somewhere else. At Brum you dare not take the chance as you had to lay out so much cash up front. Sigh!

Was it in 2005 that delegates were given handsets, not just for voting on (among other things) whether we preferred cricket,football or croquet (most chose the latter!) but for texting questions and comments, some of which appeared on screen during the discussions? I used mine quite a few times. Could this not be revived?

A refreshing set of ideas from Graham Bright which make the lifeblood of the party (the volunteer) more valued.

1. More involvement from grass roots in the form of discussion and debates at different levels in the voluntary party.
2. More opportunity for debate and questioning during party conference. Why should this be consigned to the fringe only?
3. Greater accountability to the grass roots.

Rupert, I have to say I far preferred Birmingham as a venue! Yes, some of the restaurants and bars were expensive but I managed to get reasonably-priced and comfortable hotel accommodation at the nearby Premier Inn. In Blackpool at previous Conferences I remember various horrors including nylon sheets, dirty bathrooms (one particularly horrible occasion when there was hair in the shower!) and truly revolting food. I remember some years ago being in the Imperial Restaurant and at a nearby table a very senior member of the Party having a whole gravy-boat tipped in his lap by the waiter!

If you have a spare minute please vote in this on-line poll, and spread the word!

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