I write this e-mail at 01.25am having just got back from the CWF dinner. It was a fabulous night with great company, great speeches, great food, and great wine! Oh yes, and I got to meet Maggie (as did many others!). In her true style when I had the chance to mention about my Dad's former job she said "well do thank him for everything that he did" - fabulous!
I have to say that normally at this time of the night I would be heading on somewhere and disregarding tomorrow's hangover. Many thanks to Gemma and James for getting me to leave at a sensible hour. I know that I (and my client) will much appreciate it early tomorrow.
Amongst other fantastic attendees, some of the highlights for me were Lord Ashcroft (and his very individual form of saying hello! ;-)), Mark Clarke (who kindly hosted the CF reception for about 80 members), Angela Watkinson (my former MP until I moved! Not connected), as well as the 28 guests that joined Karen Allen, and myself on the 3 tables that we had organised (well done Karen!). Liam Fox (the speaker at the first CF event I attended) did an excellent speech, followed by a vote of thanks from Howard Flight. Conor Burns did a great job on the auction with the portrait of Baroness Thatcher exceeding seven thousand pounds.
CWF has done a fantastic job at keeping the Conservative party real, and reminding us of our core values and principles. While many of us do not forget, it is vital for the new blood coming through our ranks to have something so principled to turn to. And what is even more fabulous is that this is 'the Right' doing something, and doing it with a friendly atmosphere and vibe. It is amazing what a difference it makes compared to what I (personally) experienced a few years ago. Maybe it's just me, but it doesn't matter what side politics someone is, I would far rather spend a few minutes / hours / years with someone who is pleasant and friendly than someone who is hostile and unwelcoming but agrees with my views. CWF is no longer part of the nasty party!
Many congratulations to the CWF executive but particularly to Laura Clark and Dan Hinton for their fabulous organisation, and to Kelly Ostler, James Cutts, Alex Williams, Joolz as well as the many others (Dan Hamilton, Andre Walker... sure I've missed someone / many helpers so sorry!) . I am looking forward to returning next year with at least 5 tables between us!