Friday, 30 March 2007

Politics in Schools

Yesterday I gave a politics session to 20 schoolchildren from a grammar school from Oldham. The A-level students' teacher had written to CCHQ to ask if we could arrange a day for them. They joined me after a trip around the Houses of Parliament, and the chance to see the workings of Parliament.

We discussed how political parties recruit members, how people can join, as well as what the process is to become an MP. They also had a tour of the new CCHQ - as did I - and heard that you can work for a political party without being a politician - including as a graphic designer or press officer. And finished up with a question and answer session. Of course, no talk would be complete without mentioning the Boris Johnson ID cards campaign.

You may not know this but CF sends out mock election packs to schools which are a great way of engaging young people in politics when they are not yet quite old enough to vote. And more often than not the Conservatives do very well in the mock elections!

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Whipping It Up

Last night, and for my mum's birthday, I went to see Whipping it Up at the New Ambassador's Theatre - right by the Mousetrap and opposite the Ivy.

The play is set in the Whip's office post the next general election which the Conservatives have won with a majority of 3, and David Cameron is Prime Minister. Richard Wilson puts in an excellent and hilarious performance as the Chief Whip, and the young addition to the whip's office reminded me more of a barrister's clerk than anything else!

Very enjoyable performance - made even better by the setting of a Conservative Government!

According to the latest prediction from Electoral Calculus, the Conservatives will have the lead, but be one short of an overall majority! Con 325 Lab 272, LibDem 18.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Sustainable Communities Rally - TONIGHT

Don't forget to attend the Sustainable Communities Rally at the Methodist Central Hall, Storey's Gate, Westminster from 7:00pm - 9:00pm.

Sir Menzies Campbell and David Cameron will be going head to head talking on this important issue.

Also if you haven't already - sign up for the ID card campaign on www.joinboris.com - let's show this Government that ID cards should not be introduced, are unpopular, are illiberal, and will be useless at fighting crime and immigration. Oh yes - and they'll cost you and I a packet!

Thursday, 22 March 2007

Out with Manchester CF

This week I have been up in Manchester for an employment tribunal, so I took the opportunity to meet up with our Manchester CFers. On Tuesday I met up with Working Life organiser, Claire McLochlin, and chatted through her CF plans, and achievements, and then last night met up with Area Chairman Adele Douglas and Stuart Penketh. We were joined by about 10 other CFers including local Council candidats, and some university students. There were also 2 new members there.

Manchester stand a real chance of getting some more Conservative Councillors, and I hope that all members based in and near Manchester will offer them their full support.

Many thanks to Adele and Stuart for arranging the event for me while I was up there.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Join Boris ...

CF has today launched its ID card campaign with all the information available on www.joinboris.com. You can also sign the position online.

Thanks particularly to James Cutts and Mark Clarke from CF who have worked had with our Westminster colleagues to ensure this happens.

Further details to follow.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

CF @ Spring Forum

I have not yet actually returned from Spring Forum in Nottingham as I have come straight to Manchester for a 5 day trial - so apologies if you don't hear straight back from me this week.

We had a great time at Spring Forum with Craig Cox having organised an excellent CF reception on Friday night, and a good crowd of CFers watching the rugby (even if the score was unfortunate), with a few people braving the 80s club of Reflex on Saturday night.

The politics was good too. We heard from all of the policy review groups as to what progress they are making and some hints as to direction and general scope of the reveiw. Cameron announced that these reports will be debated at this year's Party Conference, and formulated into more detailed policies next year.

As ever Hague gave an excellent speech, and received a lenghty standing ovation, and there was a focus on campaigning locally and our continuing work for the upcoming local elections.

On Sunday the Conference was closed by a speech from David Cameron who explained that in the same way that economic stability was what Margaret Thatcher realised was the problem of the 1970s and that was what she achieved, that today's problem is social stability. It truly is worrying with the increase in fatal stabbings and shootings particularly amongst the young, and any political party with a desire to do what is right for Great Britain must tackle head on this issue. And that is what Cameron is doing.

The weekend also focussed heavily on the NHS (and the Conservatives' NH Yes campaign). Cameron gave the NHS his full backing and promised to improve and build on. This followed the excellent decision of his to attend the march in London of the 12,000 junior doctors.

Wednesday, 14 March 2007

Eleven CF aged PPCs

Conservative Home have an excellent piece here about eleven CF aged PPCs who have been selected - all of them to fight seats in the top 150 seats we have to win!

Congratulations to all of them. And the very best of luck! They, of course, include CF Chairman Mark Clarke.

Update from Solihull and Loughborough marginal seats events to follow.

Sunday, 11 March 2007

Upcoming Events

This week we are back to having marginal seats events. Please do support them if you live in / near the consituency. More events are to be announced shortly.

Monday 12th March: Solihull CF @ The Townhouse, Warwick Road with PPC Maggie Throup from 8pm.

Tuesday 13th March: Loughborough CF @ The Griffin, Ashby Square with PPC Nicky Morgan from 7.30pm.


ALSO COMING UP ....

CF @ Spring Forum
Friday 16th March 2007 in the Pitcher and Piano, High Pavement, Nottingham. Come and join the CF Executive and fellow CFers to kick off the Spring Forum weekend from 8pm to 11.30pm. Over 18s only, conference pass required for entry. A limited free bar is available, and then a cash bar into the night!

Sustainable Communities Rally with Sir Menzies Campbell MP and David Cameron MP - what a great opportunity to see these two together on the stage - and see who gets your vote in the next election on an issue that the Tories have driven to the forefront of the political agenda.
Date: Monday, March 26, 2007
Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Location: Methodist Central Hall, Storey’s Gate, Westminster

Spring Drinks: London West Area Event @ B1B Bar, Covent Garden
Join London West AC, Greg Stafford, on Wednesday March 28th from 6pm to 11pm, at this stylish Central London bar in Wellington Street.

Havering / London North East CF London Mayoral Hustings
Friday 20th April - join East London CFers at the first confirmed London Mayoral Conservative Candidates Husting at St Michael's Hall, Main Road, Romford from 7.30pm.
E-mail chairman@haveringconservativefuture.com for further details.

PARTY TIME!!

Happy Birthday to loyal CF supporters Kelly Ostler and Laura Clark, who had a fabulous party last night in Ruby Lo, just behind Selfridges. A number of CF members attended to help them celebrate and a great night was had by all.


Notable CF attendees included Mark Clarke, Karen Allen, Paul Bristow, Melissa Bean, Dan Large, Gemma Townsend, Lucy Bostick, Graeme Brown, Anthony Downie and many other lovely lovely people.

Many happy returns to these fabulous two girls. And we are sorry that Laura is now no longer CF age. ;-)


Saturday, 10 March 2007

Rainham Campaigning

Last night I attended a public meeting with James Brokenshire MP to enable the local community to have their say on the proposed Rainham Jail. There were over 150 attendees to the event, including James and the Leader of the Council, Michael White, and the mood of the evening was definitely AGAINST the proposals.

Residents left the meeting buoyed and confident that their local representatives were doing everything they can to prevent this from being built, in an area that is earmarked for highly skilled workers to create jobs, and encourage aspirations for Rainham residents, including investment in new businesses, and creating the opportunity for people to live and work in Rainham.

A number of good ideas came out of the event, and it was clear that representatives from the Council from all parties are working closely with James on this, and helping the residents with their campaign. Cllr John Clark who represents the constituents of South Hornchurch also attended (pictured).

This morning I was out with John Moss (who would love to still be CF age!) in Dagenham helping Havering CF with some of the delivery there.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Sutton & Cheam CF

Last night I joined members of Sutton & Cheam CF branch alongwith the PPC Philippa Stroud in the Harrow pub in the lovely Cheam Village, in Cheam. There were a good number of members there with a couple of people who are researchers in Parliament, with their finger on the pulse, as well as others keen to get involved.

They are looking to expand their branch and we talked about some of the ways they could do that. The Association seems very supportive, and in fact a couple of Executive members of the Assocation supported the event. Two local Councillors joined us later in the evening (1 CF aged).

I wish them the best of luck in growing their branch.

Philippa seems to have made strong progress in the early stages of her campaign, and had some exciting ideas of how to run the campaign. With her Centre for Social Justice background, she was able to offer exciting opportunities to those who attended in terms of work experience and volunteering.

It was however a slightly frustrating journey home - having missed the last direct train by a matter of seconds (at 10.43pm so not late) I had to change twice - including a taxi between West and East Croydon - and it took me 2 1/2 hours to get home! Thank you to National Rail Information for giving me incorrect information that there was a later train, or rather failing to tell me it was not a direct train!

If you have a CF event you want a member of the Executive to attend, please e-mail us and just ask.

Monday, 5 March 2007

Working Life Conference: Save the Date

This year's working life conference has been booked in the SAS Raddisson in Birmingham on the weekend of 21st / 22nd July.

* * * SAVE THE DATE* * *

There will be a variety of sessions, including media training, getting selected and campaigning tips. There will also be an opportunity to get stuck in campaigning and putting new and brushed up skills into practice with campaigning in the city.

The cost is likely to be approx £115. Further details will follow in due course.

Sunday, 4 March 2007

Ribble South Success

Yesterday Matt Richardson pulled off the most successful CF campaign day ever when he grouped together 52 CF attendees from all over the country including Lancaster, Preston, Wirral, Chorley, Sheffield, London, Oxford and Manchester and bussed them in to South Ribble. A total of 72 people were out campaigning.

The team delivered over 20,000 leaflets, and canvassed 750 households. Mark Clarke and Paul Hayes from the CF executive also attended. I had never been able to attend (and sent my apologies) as I had a pre-existing Charity dinner that had been in my diary for 14 months when the date was announced at our last Executive meeting.

I understand that Lorraine Fulbrook PPC is over the moon!

This campaign day has shown a number of things - that we have strong CF branches in the north, and that they are keen to attend our campaign days. Next year perhaps we should have a campaign day in the north (or some distance from London) three times during the year, with minibuses organised to bus in our members, as well as campaign days every two months within an hour of London in our target seats.

That would be 9 National CF campaign days country wide within a 12 month period, and commensurate with what Matt Richardson has delivered this year in 9 months.

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Friday with Boris

I attended the classy Palms Hotel for Angela Watkinson MP's Westminster Dining Club event with the fabulous Boris Johnson MP as the guest speaker on Friday night. There were over 150 attendees with a mix of local businessmen, association and Party members, and a large number of CFers including a number of us that travelled out from the City, with the interest generated by the guest speaker.

Boris gave an excellent speech with a mix of humour and messy hair (as expected) but also some real focus on why he thinks the Conservatives will win the next election, and why we should! When he lef straight after his speech we weren't sure if he had headed back to London, or gone off to join Essex's finest disco, on which he seemed quite keen!

Councillor Gary Adams was on great form, delivering grace, and a number of HCF members attended - they have written up the event here.