Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas

to all of you wherever you are. I am celebrating Christmas with my family in Switzerland.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Holidays

I am off to Switzerland for Christmas to have some good quality time together ... and make the most of it by visiting another friend out there in Zurich.

Fingers crossed no broken bones while I'm skiing!

I wish everyone a lovely festive period.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Vote for Your Favourite London Park

London Mayor, Boris Johnson, has launched a scheme to transfer ten London parks, and has promised each of those parks £400,000. The parks will be chosen following a consultation with members of the public, and there is an opportunity to vote for your favourite park. There are two Tower Hamlets parks in the running: Victoria Park, Bow, and Bethnal Green Gardens.

Following a shortlist of 100 parks from the London Boroughs, there is a shortlist of 47 parks, which are split into 5 different areas. Tower Hamlets falls within the North East Region.

The winning parks will be improved in a variety of ways, ranging from better footpaths and more lighting for safety, to providing new playgrounds and facilities for children. Others will open new cafes, refurbish derelict public toilets and improve cycle routes. Many will see traditional flower gardens restored, new wildlife habitats created, and plots provided for communities to grow fruit and vegetables.

There are three ways in which votes can be registered:

Online – go to www.london.gov.uk/parksvote
Post – You can request a postal vote form by calling City Hall’s Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.
Text – Text ’parks’ and your postcode to short code 62967. This will automatically vote for the closest park to where the voter lives in their borough. Texts will cost 10p plus your standard network rate.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Conservative Conference - London

I joined Conservatives from across London for the first Conservative conference I have known to be held in East London. As a resident of Tower Hamlets, I was delighted that the London Conservatives chose to hold the conference in our borough. As many of you know, the Conservatives have made considerable progress here under the excellent leadership of Peter Golds.

The Conference was an excellent success, and we had the opportunity to grill the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

I asked Boris about the Mayor's Fund that was part of his election campaign and whether it was impacted with the economic crisis. In particular with the recent collapse of Lehman, there is a real worry for a number of local charities, who received significant financial contributions.

Boris explained that there will be further announcments on this in due course but reassured the attendees that the Mayor's Fund is in progress, and announcements will follow in due course.

Straight after the conference, I went to join Motiur Rahman, our candidate in the Mile End East by-election on his campaign.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Conference in Birmingham

I am recently back from Conference in Birmingham, and have to say I thought it was a fantastic venue. The whole Conference had a young professional feel about it, and it is a long way from the blue rinse connatations of a week in Blackpool.

We also had our first Bethnal Green & Bow Conservatives dinner at Conference with our special guest, GLA member, James Cleverley.

A good time was had by all, and some great policy announcements from Cameron and the team (but you read about those in the papers I'm sure!)

Sunday, 28 September 2008

China Success

Well I am back and am delighted to say that I hit the £5,000 target I set myself for fundraising. I also managed to complete the trek, and in one piece.

The trek varied from the wall you see in photos (lots and lots of steps and restored wall) but also unrestored wall with narrow ledges, and a lot of foliage. Trekking up to the wall was often the most difficult, with a steep start, and we were ever so pleased we had a guide as the routes were barely recognisable to the naked eye. What really stunned me was how green it was, and of course very beautiful.

As well as raising money for chariity, it was a great opportunity to share experiences with other politicians from PPCs to MPs to the Lithuanian Ambassador.

Thank you to everyone that made this possible, from the Westminster Challenge charity, to all of you who kindly sponsored me.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

COUNTDOWN TO CHINA

Well just 6 days to go until the trek of a lifetime (well for me anyway). I have done nowhere near enough preparation, but at least have a comfy pair of walking boots, and have hit my £4,000 pre leaving target. I am still trying to raise the final £1,000 to hit my ultimate target of £5,000 for the very good causes.

With such an amazing Olympic Games I am looking forward to the buzz in Beijing before we head out to the Great Wall.

I will update my blog if I have a chance while I am out there.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Fundraising for China Trek

I have made the somewhat foolish decision to undertake a trek along the Great Wall of China from 1st to 10th September, for charity, and specifically for the Westminster Challenge. This comprises of 3 charities: Crimestoppers, the Children's Society and Cancer Research, which are 3 excellent causes. I am aiming to raise £5,000 to support these charities.

If anyone reading this is feeling generous, sponsorship is gratefully received, which you can do online through www.bmycharity.com/clairepalmerchina. This also allows you to claim gift aid to ensure that the maximum amount goes to the charity.

I am aiming to raise at least £4,000 before I go away
. However, any donation, of whatever size is gratefully received.

The charity also has the aim of encouraging politicians and charity to work more closely together, and there will be representatives from each of the charities on the trek. You will have heard of the good work that the Charity does, and will have read about the MP trek in the Arctic!

The trek will be pretty difficult and we have a steep climb each day back up to the wall with the steps varying in height, with up to 8 hours walking a day. The only positive side so far is that we do not have to carry all of our things with us enabling us to focus on the walking itself. I understand that we walk for up to 7 hours a day, and the weather can vary up to about 30 degrees in China in September.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Boris is Mayor

Thank goodness for that - we now have a Conservative Mayor of London. Sadly Phil Briscoe wasn't returned as the GLA candidate, but what a sterling effort he put in.

I look forward to seeing Boris sort out Ken's mess over the next few months.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Strikes ...

As I write this I can hear the chants and music from Lincoln's Inn Fields behind me of the numerous teachers on strike today, as it seems to be the place that those London teachers on strike are gathering for their rally.

I do sympathise with the teachers as their pay has not increased in line with the crippling energy payments, increases in food costs, and having taken account of Labour's numerous stealth taxes. There are just one example of those that do a fantastic and incredibly necessary job that are struggling financially under this Labour Government.

But I worry that once again with a period of Labour in power, the country is held to ransom by those striking, and the Unions, whether it is teachers, civil servants, or tube workers.

Ken Livingstone has failed to limit the power of the unions to disrupt Londoners journeys to work in the capital. Gordon Brown has failed to make life fair for those on public sector wages, who need the Government to assist them financially in these difficult times. Instead he has squandered money in the good times, and cannot help now that the bad times are on their way.

Saturday, 12 April 2008

Letter in the Tower Hamlets Recorder

The following letter has been published in the Newham Recorder, incorporating the Tower Hamlets Recorder:

Let's Catch the Bus to Change

Dear Sir,

Under this Labour Government, and this Labour Mayor, crime and antisocial behaviour by a small minority is out of control, having a huge effect on the majority of law abiding Londoners. In particular graffiti blights our localities, and in Tower Hamlets crime on buses is one of the worst in London. With music being increasingly played out loud on buses, fare evasion increasing on bendy buses and under 16s riding around with their free passes and making the upper decks out of bounds for law abiding Londoners, it is time for a change.

Boris Johnson made a positive start in this direction, by launching his ‘Payback London ’ scheme. Designed to tackle anti-social behaviour on buses, it would make misbehaving youngsters earn back their free passes by cleaning up graffiti and undertaking community projects. Hopefully it will not only make life better for everyone travelling on the buses, but it will also encourage offenders to respect the community to which they belong. Once they have cleaned up graffiti or contributed to the local community, they may have more pride in the local area.

The proposals will cut advertising budgets, and instead, spend Londoners' hard-earned money on over 400 police officers for buses, and fund up to 26,000 weapon scanners to help Police fight knife crime in the capital.

That's why I will be voting for positive change with Boris on May 1st. Not settling for another 4 years of shoulder-shrugging and blaming it on television and video games.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Recent Campaigning

On Easter Monday, we headed out for a delivery session in Bow, having fortified with bacon sandwiches. Phil Briscoe, myself and local activists delivered the latest Boris leaflet to nearly 2000 homes.

Then tonight, we followed up with some canvassing, and were delighted at the positive results that we got on the doorstep. Boris' nickname for Ken is looking more and more apt by the day - Mayor LeavingSoon!

Saturday, 15 March 2008

CF Success at Spring Forum

I have just got back from a successful Spring Forum up in Newcastle, having braved the journey back with a number of Chelsea Football fans and some Conservatives. We were told that the police on the train were for the football fans, and not us!

David Cameron made a number of announcements, but the real focus of the weekend was the importance of the family, and our proposals for supporting, encouraging and rewarding those that stay together, no matter what type of family arrangement.

On Friday night, CF took over Newcastle Revolution as members of the old and new NME, Newcastle CFers and those who had come to Spring Forum got together and enjoyed a night out, before heading onto Malmaison to join CWF.

Then on Saturday Mark Clarke and I presented our seminar on how to get 40 young activists under 40, with a focus on the target seat branches. We had a great mix of PPCs, agents, association chairman and officers, and some existing CFers. After a short speech from Mark and I, we opened up for questions, and a lively discussion. From the comments afterwards, it appeared that Associations and PPCs found it useful, and hopefully will be putting it into practice when they get back to their constituencies.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Spring Forum

The Conservative Party Spring Forum is taking place on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th March in Newcastle. CF have two events over the course of the weekend.

Firstly, for all CF members, and friends of CF who might not quite be under 30! we have a drinks event organised by Karen Allen.

CF are holding their Spring Forum reception at Revolution Bar, details of the event are as follows:

Friday 14th March from 7pm @ Revolution

Address: Collingwood Street, Newcastle, NE1 1JF

Cash Bar in operation. We have the Blue Corner reserved exclusively for CF. Look forward to seeing you there.


Secondly, I am running with Mark Clarke, an event for Association Chairman and PPCs on CF branches in our marginal seats. If your Association Chairman or PPC might be interested, please pass on the details, and ask for them to get in touch with me at clairepalmer22@yahoo.co.uk. The event will be on Saturday 15th March from 12.30-1.30pm in the MEC Katherine Shears Studio, at the Sage Gateshead.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

CF Election Results

The news has just come in with the results of the CF elections. I wasn't at the count but the news from current Chairman, Mark Clarke is that the new team is as follows:

Chairman: Michael Rock
(Daryl Williams came second, and Matt Richardson third)

Executive (in alphabetical order as I do not know how the polling went):
  • Anastastia Beaumont-Bott
  • Adele Douglas
  • Christian May
  • Owen Meredith
  • Steven Ricketts
  • Patrick Sullivan
From what I know this is a fairly geographically diverse Executive - for example Christian coming from Exeter Uni, Steven Ricketts from Plymouth, Adele Douglas from Manchester, Owen from Staffordshire. It is also a completely fresh Executive with none of the existing team making it back in for another term.

Firstly to the seven of them, congratulations. I wish them all the very best of success in the year to come and as I have said in relation to whoever was elected I will be offering my full support to them.

I hope also that those who haven't made it onto the Executive or as Chairman will remain fully involved in Conservative Future, and will consider putting their hat in the ring again in the future.

These elections haven't always been nice, but I hope that all of that will be put all of that behind them, accept the result and that everyone will work towards making CF bigger, and better, and most importantly towards a Conservative victoy in May 2008 and even more importantly helping David Cameron to No.10.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Campaigning in Bow

I was out today in Bow campaigning for Phil Briscoe who is standing for the City & East GLA seat. If anyone would like to get involved, please do drop me a line, and I will get you involved in the campaign team. The more the merrier!

This coming Thursday (6th March) there is a Boris Johnson fundraising breakfast in Canary Wharf, for £25. Let me know if you would like tickets.

Election Count

I understand the election count will be held on Tuesday 4th March with results being posted online as soon as they are available.

I wish all the candidates the best of luck with the results. I will be continuing to offer my support to the new Executive and Chairman should they wish to utilise my experience. Additionally, any CF branch requesting assistance in setting up a branch are more than welcome to speak to me. As ever, drop me a line at clairepalmer@consevativefuture.com.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

You Can Get It If You Really Want


The Conservatives have launched a fantastic new countrywide membership campaign (with a video launch exclusively on Facebook). Set to the tune of "You Can Get it if You Really Want" it is an upbeat and catchy campaign.

I think this is a brilliant idea and not before time. With the news that Michael Vaughn was putting the video together, I was excited about what to expect. It delivered a message of aspiration, which Labour seem to have completely forgotten about and is at the heart of conservatism.

You can link through to the main Conservatives page here for more details, and for the remaining poster campaigns.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Working Life Breakfast

Karen Allen is hosting a Working life breakfast with Jeremy Hunt MP on 26th February. For further details and tickets, please e-mail Karen on karenallen2@yahoo.co.uk.

Friday, 22 February 2008

London Universities Ball

I attended the London Universities Ball last night at the Russell Hotel, near Russell Square in London. The event was fabulously organised to Arleen and her team and I even managed to win a raffle prize.

The event brought together students from across London, as well as attendees from Kent, Oxford and no doubt other further afield places. Boris Johnson was the main speaker before dinner, Nadine Dorries gave an after dinner speech, and Dr David Bull, the PPC for Brighton & Pavilion did a sterling job on the auction. Unfortuately I had an early start and had to leave to catch the last tube, leaving the students to dance the night away!

I was delighted to attend and support such a brilliant event. Well done to Arleen and her team and I look forward to the invite for next years!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

CF Hustings

There are two official hustings event this year ie those run by CCHQ.

The first of these is on Friday evening. I understand there are a few spaces left (although not many).

London Event – Friday 8th February 2008 starting at 7.30pm CCHQ, 30 Millbank, London, SW1P 4DP

Manchester Event – Friday 15th February 2008 starting at 7.30pm Kro Bar, 325 Oxford Road, Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, M13 9PG. www.kro.co.uk Cash bar available.

All speakers and guests must register with CCHQ, and be a valid Conservative Future Member. CCHQ reserves the right to refuse entry. To register please contact Amanda Cowan Amanda.Cowan@Conservatives.com stating which event you wish to attend and whether you are attending as a candidate or as guest. Places are limited at both venues.

Both events will be chaired by Boni Sones, Executive Producer and Author, Women's Parliamentary Radio.

General Rules of Hustings

There will be a complete ban on the use of cameras / camera phones / and recording equipment. Anyone seen using recording equipment will be asked to leave the premises by the organisers.

Order of speakers

Lots will be drawn by the Chair for the running order of both the NME candidates and the Chairmen candidates.

Attendees will be reminded that we are looking for short questions on the issues of the elections, not speeches about what may or may not have gone on in the past or any other statement.

Chairman Candidates

All Chairman candidates will be given 5 minutes to speak and then answer 5 questions from the floor. The candidate’s answers should be to the point and not last more than 1 minute per question.

Usual rules of taste and decency apply to questions.

NME Candidates and Area Chairman Candidates

All NME and Area candidates should be given 2 minutes to speak and be allowed only two questions from the audience. The candidate’s answers should be to the point and not last more than 1 minute per question.

Spokesmen for candidates who cannot make the hustings are only allowed to speak for 1.30 minutes. They will not be allowed to answer questions on behalf of their candidate.

PLEASE REMEMBER NUMBERS ARE LIMITED AND YOU MUST BE ON THE GUESTLIST AND AN EXISTING CF MEMBER TO ATTEND

CF Elections

Nominations have now closed for the CF elections. A full list of those who are standing can be found at www.conservativefuture.com.

I wish all the candidates the very best of luck with their campaign.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

CF Dudley Campaign Day

So far this year, I have reported on all the campaign days run by the CF Executive including the number of attendees, and they have generally been a success.

Unfortunately this was not the case in Dudley South. The only attendee was CF Chairman candidate Michael Rock, but no one else attended, and this included the organiser of the campaign day, Matt Richardson. I had previously indicated that I was unable to attend, but at no point was I informed that the event had been cancelled. I entirely understand that campaign days depend on people being willing victims / volunteers, but this calls into the question the way the event is advertised, and whether lessons need to be learned. I have asked for an explanation of this.


Update 30/1/2008: I have received the following response back from Matt Richardson "It will all be in my report you will just have to wait until then, if you can manage the excitement. Matt"
Needless to say, I do not consider this to be an adequate response.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

CF Campaign Day @ Dudley South

Don't forget there is a CF campaign day at Dudley South, this SATURDAY 26th January. Please contact Matt Richardson to sign up to attend. Dudley@matthewrichardson.com. Alternatively further details on my previous posting, and there is a facebook group for those of you with access to that at work.

I unfortunately can't make it as I am starting the delightful task of packing up my current flat as I am moving!

CF Working Life Drinks

Last night I attended the CF working life drinks at the Pitcher and Piano, Trafalgar Square, organised by Karen Allen. There was a fairly low turnout (about ten in total - but see below), although it is January! However, the real positive is that we had three new members, who had never been to a CF event before. One of those was not yet a member of the Party but has been impressed with David Cameron and is going to sign up today. One other new face has been involved in CF outside of London, but has been out of the loop and needed an event like this to get involved down here.

These events really work for getting new members, and should be a regular feature of the CF diary - in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol. Last year we got along four new MPs to such events, which was a great opportunity to meet an MP, but also network and chat with fellow CFers. Maybe I'm biased as it was the area I looked after in my first year on the Exec. There are a number of MPs who have indicated that they would support these events if they were asked.

Karen had to head off so I held the fort until a large flock (about 40) of attendees arrived at about 9pm, led by Michael Rock. We kept the bar staff busy until closing time, when I understand a few hardcore went on for more drinks. Feeling my age, I headed home!

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Campaigning in Dudley South

Come and join CF for the first Campaign Day of the new year and help former National Deputy Chairman Chris D Kelly romp to victory in this marginal West Midlands seat.

As usual there will be a good lunch and drinks provided by the local association.

A mini bus and a case of beer (for the journey home) will be provided to any branch pledging 12 or more attendees at this event.

This is also the last campaign day before nominations close for the CF elections.

Minibusses (so far) will be going from:
CCHQ
Birmingham University

Date:
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Time:
10:30am - 5:00pm
Location:
Kingswinford Conservative Club
Street:
Oak Street, Kingswinford, Dudley, West Midlands DY6 9LS
City/Town:
Dudley
Contact Info
Phone:
07838150180
Email:

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Working Life Events and Committee

Calling all those interested in getting more involved....

The interest in Working Life groups has been markedly increased, there are more young professionals who are interested in becoming involved with the Conservative Party than there has been for some time. To address the increased interest and to get more people involved we are looking to focus activity across the country, as well as in key cities and to this objective we are holding a meeting on Wednesday 16th January 2008 at Conservative Central Headquarters, 30 Millbank.

We are interested in people who already run Working Life groups, who are interested in running Working Life Groups or who simply would like to become involved in any way at all. The diversity of Working Life is such that members have hugely varying
amounts of time available and as such there are a range of activities we can offer
to our members.

It is our aim to form a Working Life Committee, comprising of a range of individuals, forming a “best practise” executive who will act as a point of contact for national activity. Executive members will also be encouraged to set up further sub committees across the country.

Drop me a line for further details or to confirm your attendance: karenallen@yahoo.co.uk

Working Life Drinks Reception - Wednesday 23rd January

Working Life are hosting an informal reception, with cash bar in operation, especially aimed at those interested in becoming involved with CFWL - but of course old faces very welcome! Come down to the Pitcher and Piano and enjoy a few drinks and meet some new people and find out what Working Life is going to be up to in 2008.

Working Life Drinks Reception - New Members
Wednesday 23rd January
Pitcher & Piano
William IV Street, WC2
6.30pm - 9.30pm

Further details please contact Karen Allen karenallen2@yahoo.co.uk



Breakfast with Jeremy Hunt, Wednesday 27th February

The first of a series of Working Life Policy Discussion breakfasts will commence with Jeremy Hunt on Wednesday 27th February. Some of you may be familiar with the format from last year's breakfasts. We aim to keep things quite relaxed and informal. Our speaker opens by talking about some of the areas he is working in and then we open the table to questions - aiming to finish up by 9.00am so people can get off to work in time!

Jeremy was elected as Member of Parliament for South West Surrey in May 2005 and since June 2007 he has served as Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Hope you can join us at the Sterling from 7.30am for a 7.45am start, tickets are £12 and include a full English breakfast.

The Sterling (at the base of the Gherkin)
30 St Mary Axe
LONDON, EC3

Closest tubes: Liverpool Street and Bank

Please email Karen for a ticket karenallen2@yahoo.co.uk

Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Happy New Year

... to all CFers and fellow Conservatives.

Wishing you all every success and happiness in 2008!