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« Advice for Mr Davis | Main | Davis challenges Cameron over tuition fees policy »

Comments

James Hellyer

"The Party rules are very simple. Membership is a minimum of £15 per person per year."

Unless you joined before 1998 or took advantage of the married couple's membership rate. So it's not that simple.

"it doesn't matter if your husband, wife, flatmate, or pet dog pays £15 - if you don't you don't get a vote."

Except the party offered people membership at different rates. If it intends to vary the terms and conditions of those memberships, then it has to inform the mebers that it intends do so. If it does not, then that is tantamount to misselling.

Daniel Vince-Archer

That's not strictly true Louise. I'm 22 and when I tried to renew my membership recently (unsuccessfully - website problems I think, unless I've been blacklisted for admitting to voting for UKIP at the 2004 Euros and tactically voting in the 2005 GE!) the fee for me was only £3.

James Maskell

Tactical voting...for shame! It is 3 pounds until you turn 23. If you are 22 when you join the party its 3 pounds. If you join aged 23 its 15. Hope this clarifies it.

Ill admit about the Bulletin. I did post part of it. But might I also add that this is out of a duty of allowing the members the right to know the truth as far as CCO sees it. This isnt the sort of information that will cripple the party. Many members probably dont receive the Bulletins (I had to ask my MP for it specifically) and therefore posting part of it will inform those members.

Henry Mackintosh

I saw this story on the www.politics.co.uk site where, amusingly, CCO were bleating on about how *of course* they knew precisely how many people should qualify for membership, but, um, couldn't, for the moment, say - even to the nearest 10 thousand.

I'm sorry, and I suppose for his few fans this may well be a controversial statement, but I just don't trust Francis Maude to administer any more of this contest. He is, as everyone knows, a partisan of Cameron; he messed up badly over trying to disenfrancise EVERYONE earlier in the year; and he couldn't even work out who was in the National Convention for pity's sake.

Just a few points of information, though, for you who care about these things. The Constitution says nothing about where and why people qualify as 'enfranchised party members' - this is utterly in the hands of CCO ie Maude (and Monbiot). The BOard has NOT settled how many people will be sent a vote. They will invent, er, settle that matter on Monday afternoon. Unless, of course, there is legal action. And, worst of all, in Scotland everyone gets a vote, without any of this fancy franchise nonsense south of the border. As James Hellyer points out, neither are people in England, Wales and NI told whether or not they've got a vote, nor, if they are deprived of a vote, is it at all clear on what basis CCO is entitled to do this.

A wod on last time: so scared were CCO of a legal challenge in 2001 that everyone who made enough of a fuss was simply given a vote in order to shut them up.

But to repeat: I don't trust Francis Maude to administer one solitary further aspect of this election that he has tried to prevent (not least by spreading the rumours of a 'coronation' this week), and why should I?

Kate Castle

The falling number of members can be attributed to the poor organisation of the party. Until we have a Chair & board who can start running "Tory Party PLC" we will continue to see a big fall away when the party is failing, as opposed to an involved membership looking to kick start our fortunes.

Michael Smith

A word on last time: so scared were CCO of a legal challenge in 2001 that everyone who made enough of a fuss was simply given a vote in order to shut them up.

This is true, as people who worked on any of the leadership campaigns may well remember. And it does give the impression that, rather than some well-thought-out and well-advertised set of criteria for membership, in practice the Party just makes the rules up as it goes along, although whether this is just disorganisation and incompetence, or something worse, is anyone's guess.


Cllr Iain Lindley

I know Francis Maude probably isn't this site's most popular MP, but the proposals in the 21st Century Party document included changes to the membership system to avoid exactly this sort of nonsense.

To be honest, though, I can't believe this is even an issue. If you've paid your membership fee, you will get a vote. If you haven't, you won't. Simple as.

James Maskell

That was one problem with the reforms. I liked the bits about independence of associations so that they could become their own little parties, but I disliked the element of control wanted by the Board and the Executive. Its a tough choice to make.

James Hellyer

If you've paid your membership fee, you will get a vote. If you haven't, you won't. Simple as.

Except it isn't as simple as that, as well you know.

Henry Mackintosh

Iain, if it's 'simple', amuse us do by setting out, in all its crystaline simplicity, all the different ways someone who *is* a member of the Tory party does, and alternatively, does not qualify for a vote. But here's the thing, no fancy franchsie is employed in Scotland, the better part of a dozen qualifications exists elsewhere in the country: why not use the Scottish model? Why not give a vote to as many people as possible? Can I suggest that the reason Maude wants as few people voting as possible is because he thinks that a smaller party membership will suit him and his fellow Mods better every which way? Shades of the late, unlamented mark MacGregor who infamously wanted the voluntary party to be "nothing more than a mailing list".

Oh, and Iain, your point about "a 21st Century Party" is manifestly absurd, in that it would have solved the enfranchisement muddle by stripping everyone of a vote. Which would have been neat, but might well have struck our political rivals as being slightly untrusting of Tory party members.

James Maskell

When did Mark McGregor infamously say that? I dont remember ever coming across that line.

If someone is self important enough to sign in as "Cllr" Name then I feel that their comments should be taken to be nigh on worthless. I don't know Iain Lindley but he has some rather perverse ideas about the Tory Party. Can we have a debate about what we will tell the electorate at the next election rather than how we will next choose our leader?

Sally Rideout Baker

There is hardly any point in joining. Iain had a majority of 55,000 votes. He was then overthrown by just 8 votes!

The overthrow was an obvious opportunist move by Davis and Howard.

The fact that Howard did no better than Iain may have done in the General Election. In fact I believe Iain would have done far better as he did actually get ahead of Labour with over 2 years in hand.

This is proof that whole the exercise was unnecessarily and destructive.

Howard was an embarrassment, calling Blair a liar and then getting caught lying himself!

If Davis wins I will be joining the LibDems.

So therefore I am not wasting money on renewing my membership.

Tim Roll-Pickering

Erm Iain lost by 15 votes. And frankly it was mainly forced by a combination of the Davis and Portillo camps, but then the former's ambitions were thwarted when Howard and Fox outmanoeuvered them.

Whoever wins, I think there is agreement that the rules need changing in some form, but not as the option presented earlier in the year and not in a form designed to stop any one candidate from becoming leader (although that candidate is doing a pretty good job of that themselves).

CJ

I really can't see why such a big deal is being made out of this - the rules are exactly the same as for the last leadership contest, so if people had a problem then about only the husband or wife getting a ballot paper they have had plenty of time to sort it out. Other parts of the country might differ, but certainly in my part of the world absolutely everything that is sent out about membership states that the minimum subscription is £15 per person or £3 if you are under 22. The Associations have also made the effort to contact those people in the county who hadn't paid enough to warn them they will not get a vote and give them a chance to do something about it if they want.

If other Associations have been telling their members that there is a 'joint rate' for married couples then that is a fault of the Associations. Maybe the relevant Associations should be required to pay the difference in membership to correct their error and prevent their members being penalised.

malcolm

Re comments made about mass membership organisations.I am an active member of the RSPB,National Trust&English Heritage all of whom I believe have bigger memberships than the Conservative party.When you join you getv a welcome pack,regular communications, special offers etc etc etc.When I joined the Conservative party I eventually got ...a membership card ....and then nothing.
If we want a mass membership party let's please give people a reason for actually joining.At the moment there isn't one.

Cllr Iain Lindley

Oh, and Iain, your point about "a 21st Century Party" is manifestly absurd, in that it would have solved the enfranchisement muddle by stripping everyone of a vote. Which would have been neat, but might well have struck our political rivals as being slightly untrusting of Tory party members.

I wasn't defending stripping members of the vote. What I was saying is that there was a lot more to the document than the proposals on how to select the leader, and that included a considerable simplification of the membership structure (a change for the better, IMHO).

Cllr Iain Lindley

Except it isn't as simple as that, as well you know.

If you've paid the minimum membership fee, have a valid membership for this year, and joined before 5th September 2005, you will get a vote. Period.

James Hellyer

"If you've paid the minimum membership fee, have a valid membership for this year, and joined before 5th September 2005, you will get a vote. Period."

Again, it's not that simple. Pretending that it is is simply disingeneous. Not only are there different membership fees, but associations have continued sell and renew married couple's memberships. Nothing has been said to suggest that those people do not qualify as members (as they have in the past). To clarify the rules now reeks of bad faith.

wasp

Its difficult of course people that have paid 1/2 the subscription should not get a vote, but because of the myriad ways in which you can be a member lots of people do not know that they are not entitled to have a vote.

These couples must not get 2 papers as that would be unfair but some better communication would have helped. My association wrote to everyone that had lapsed but could not write to all the couples as it was not data that could easily be extracted.

Cllr Iain Lindley

Not only are there different membership fees, but associations have continued sell and renew married couple's memberships. Nothing has been said to suggest that those people do not qualify as members (as they have in the past). To clarify the rules now reeks of bad faith.

There are only 2 different types of membership, plus an exception for some long-serving members. As for "married couples memberships" well if individual Associations are making up types of memberships then perhaps your ire should be directed at them?

James Hellyer

Or perhaps, Iain, you should consider that these memberships were offered by the party as well as by local associations. Both parties are recorded as members. Both parties have membership cards. They were never led to believe that they were not full members. As CCO is changing the groundrules when it's too late for those concerned to do anything, then it's fair to direct "ire" at them and their apologists for acting in bad faith.

Cllr Iain Lindley

The rules are exactly the same as they were in 2001.

James Hellyer

No they aren't Iain, as Francis Maude's press release confirms, changes were made after the 2001 election.

Tim Roll-Pickering

Yes but I recall that this point was raised in 2001 as well.

And who was the party chairman after the 2001 leadership election?

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