Friday, 6 September 2013

Calls For Power To 'Recall' CF Chairman

The tensions within Conservative Future's National Executive show no sign of abating. Almost from day one of Oliver Cooper's tenure in the top job, it was clear that the year ahead would be lined with difficulties.

The latest rumblings surround the idea of 'recall' for the National Chairman, apparently put forward by a member of the Executive. If implemented, this would allow for the membership to vote on whether the Chairman should be 'sacked' from his post. However, it is uncertain how such a reform could be brought in. Indeed, it is possible that Conservative HQ would block such a move.

To an extent these tensions have been sparked by a clash of personalities - to say nothing of a general lack of communication and, some may venture, direction.

While it is also true that Oliver Cooper has not helped matters - he has frequently failed to attend National Executive meetings, preferring instead to discuss matters with friends at KFC joints - the tensions evident in the Executive are indicative of wider divisions within the Tory youth wing.

Conservative Future membership contains what some have called the '3-way split'. This refers to the sub-groupings within CF, namely the Libertarians, the Reformists (moderates) and the Traditionalists (social conservatives).

Oliver Cooper is a Libertarian surrounded by a National Executive almost exclusively comprised of Reformists. There are bound to be disagreements. 

Reformists make up the vast majority of the CF membership. However, the Libertarian element are vocal, active, and, as the National Chairman election showed, they turn out in droves on polling day (Cooper secured 59% of the vote in his landslide victory).

Naturally, these sub-groupings are not definitive and many members borrow ideas from all three strands. But what is clear is that the CF membership is far from homogeneous in its approach to some of the big ideas in British politics today. And the signs are that these divisions are widening. 

Mo Metcalf-Fisher is currently conducting a survey to help better understand the social and policy attitudes of CFers. The results of this will certainly make interesting reading.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Thorpe-Apps calls for 'activism in the East'

Votes are in the process of being cast for Conservative Future's Eastern Regional Chairman. Each member of the Regional College and National Executive will be able to have a say.

This site has seen each application and has followed the tweets of the prospective candidates. We decided that Andrew Thorpe-Apps has put forward a strong case for the position, and we support his candidacy. We particularly agree with the emphasis on activism and combating UKIP through positive campaigning. We also feel his experience working with the highest level of the Party stands him in good stead.

Thorpe-Apps is perhaps best known for his journalism at The Backbencher, an online political magazine. 

We feel that an outsider - someone far removed from the London-centric bubble - is just what CF needs.

The position of Eastern Region Chair became vacant when the former Chair (Samantha Hoy) failed to get her nomination papers in on time. Ms. Hoy has decided not to stand for nomination this time around.

In an article for tbg, Thorpe-Apps set out a number of proposals for the role:
  • "Regular strategy/action meetings – Meetings (either face-to-face or using social media) to discuss election and campaign strategy with Branch Chairmen across the region. This will allow for ideas and knowledge to be shared. 
  • Election target map – Drawing on my previous work at CCHQ, I shall create an interactive online map – specifically tailored for the Eastern Region – showing marginal seats, using data from previous election results. This will be accessible by all Branch Chairmen in the region and shall allow for targeted campaigning in both 2014 and 2015. 
  • Leading on charitable projects – I want to see Conservative Future leading the way when it comes to fundraising for worthy causes in the community. This plays into the Big Society. I will use my experience volunteering at the CAB and FRU (an organisation providing free legal advice) to encourage CF members to take part in similar activities. This will benefit the image of the Party in general.
  • Greater financial independence - More focus on organising fundraising events so that CF Branches have their own funds for future activities, without being wholly reliant on Constituency Associations. 
  • Regular update bulletins – I shall send out regular email updates to members in the region, informing them of upcoming events and policy issues. 
  • Joint ventures – I shall get in contact with other youth organisations in the region, an example being Young Farmers, and put forward the possibility of holding joint events. This would consequently mean that more high-profile guest speakers could be invited to branch meetings, and in turn this would encourage more people to join. 
  • Universities as a key to recruitment – University Branches are crucial in the Party’s bid to attract more young members. Supporting ‘fresher fare’ events across the region will therefore be a priority. 
  • Setting up new branches – I shall look out for opportunities to open new CF Branches. I have already set to work on establishing a branch in Chelmsford, Essex."

Friday, 10 May 2013

Eastern Region To Finally Get New Chairman

Finally, action is being taken to resolve the shambles surrounding the Eastern Regional Chairman vacancy. It has been announced that applications are now being welcomed by those interested in the position. The deadline for lodging an application with the National Executive has been set for Friday 17th May.

Samantha Hoy, the previous holder of the post, initially intended to re-stand as Chairman. Unfortunately, she was unable to get her nomination papers in on time. Ms Hoy has sought to put the blame for this squarely on CCHQ - yet no other candidate suffered such problems. After having the blunder splashed across tbg, Hoy has confirmed that she will not apply for her old job back.

UKIP did particularly well in the Eastern Region in the recent local elections. The Party now has 15 Councillors in Norfolk, 12 in Cambridgeshire, 9 in Suffolk, and a further 9 in Essex.

The next Regional Chairman will have to take an active approach in combating the UKIP threat and ensure that all Branches are fighting hard in the run-up to 2015.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

No More Youth PCCs

Paris Brown, 17, quit her £15,000 a year post as Kent Youth Police and Crime Commissioner on 9 April. This was due to inappropriate comments Ms Brown had posted on social media sites, particularly Twitter.

Kent Police received more than 50 complaints from members of the public about the online posts, many of which could be construed as racist or homophobic.

Paris Brown has clearly made mistakes. But attacking her will not achieve anything. She was only 14 or 15 when many of the 'tweets' were posted, and has undoubtedly matured a great deal since then. If anyone is to be criticised, it should be Ann Barnes, Kent's PCC. Barnes, who earns over £70,000 per year, failed to carry out basic checks on Paris Brown's suitability for the youth position. 

But the real issue is about whether such a position should exist at all. It is right to get young people involved in policing matters, and to bridge the gap between the police and youth. But there is no need for this to be a paid role. The position should be a voluntary one, and the holder of the post should be genuinely interested in policing matters - not simply looking for notoriety. It would be far more effective to spend the £15,000 on equipment, or for paying the wages of another officer.

At a time when public finances are tight, and front-line services are in danger of being cut, is this really an acceptable use of money?

Monday, 8 April 2013

Farewell to the Iron Lady

Lady Thatcher, Britain's only female Prime Minister, died peacefully on Monday morning. She was 87. Flags at Downing Street and Buckingham Palace were lowered to half mast, and it was announced that Thatcher would be given a full ceremonial funeral, with military honours, at St. Paul's Cathedral. 

Margaret Thatcher, the Grantham-born grocer's daughter, transformed Britain. She was a conviction politician who never accepted that national decline was inevitable.

Thatcher fought the trade unions - who for years had held successive British governments to ransom - and won. The hugely inefficient state-owned industries were privatised (an important aspect of an ideology that would later be known at 'Thatcherism'). She led Britain to victory over the oppressive Argentine junta in the Falklands. Internationally, she was renowned as the 'Iron Lady' who, together with her great friend President Ronald Reagan, finally brought an end to the Soviet Union.

Though still regarded as a divisive figure, Thatcher is surely one of Britain's greatest peacetime leaders. We may not see her like again.  

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Post-election ad targets Cooper

A new ad has surfaced, entitled 'Farage responds to Oliver Cooper's win'. It was posted anonymously via an upload site. Cooper was continually labelled a UKIP 'sympathiser' throughout his campaign, though nonetheless ended up winning with 59% of the vote (read into that what you will). With UKIP likely to give the Conservatives a headache during the upcoming local elections, it will be interesting to see how Oliver Cooper responds.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Oliver Cooper gets the top job

Today saw the official declaration that Oliver Cooper has won the National Chairman election. This site would like to congratulate Mr. Cooper and wish him success in the role. We also look forward to seeing what changes Oliver Cooper has in mind for CF and how effectively these are implemented. Elections naturally create divisions, but ultimately it is the duty of all young Conservatives to work together for the good of the Party.

Oliver Cooper secured 443 votes (59%), with Paul Holmes finishing on 222 (30%) and James Deighton achieving a respectable 81 (11%).

Mr. Cooper said he was "honoured to be elected as Conservative Future's new National Chairman," and would "spend the next year" trying to repay the trust shown in him.

Paul Holmes - who had received endorsements from much of the Tory youth 'blogosphere' - congratulated Oliver Cooper on his achievement. Holmes also thanked his supporters for their help over the course of the long campaign.

Robert Manning was elected Deputy Chairman (Political), and Sarah-Jane Sewell retained her position as Deputy Chairman (Membership). Ben Corbridge was elected Best Practice Officer.

Attention will now focus on the severe lack of ballot papers (only 746 votes were cast in the National Chairman election). Last year's election was hampered by similar problems, and questions will be asked as to why satisfactory changes and safeguards were not made. One source, who did not receive his ballot until the day polling closed, said: "The first job of the new leader should be to sort this damn mess out."