Thursday, December 29, 2005

A belated Christmas present

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Being famous

There is a peculiar sort of sinking feeling that can only come with disaster. CF has been no stranger to scandal and controversy in its past. Blazing rows, backstabbing, cliques, factions and civil war were all par for the course in its early days. It has only been the last few years that have seen most of the poison drawn out.

However, the capacity of some to attract controversy leaves us all with that sinking feeling.

Chat on the private CF forums is one thing, but 'briefing' the Lib Dems and a Labour researcher seems a bit below the belt, even by the bitter standards of the old CF.

Still, the sign that most of the exec have moved on will be in the way they deal with the current mini crisis. Tempting though it might be, jumping in with rebuttals and trying in vain for some sort of revenge would be a huge mistake. This year's exec are putting in a lot of hard work and the calmer heads amongst them won't easily be put off. Still, it might be a kick in the teeth if all this hard work is overshadowed by a pseudo-scandal.

Hopefully the New Year will be more promising.

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Bill Gates Creamed

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

CF Christmas Party 2005

Fun night and a successful one.

Roll on 2006!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

CF Exec Meeting & Christmas Party

David Cameron is better than you can possibly imagine. Or maybe the others were worse than I thought.

IDS was chatty, Howard pleasant and Hague, well I still can't understand why no-one liked Hague. After all he both looks and sounds like the talkative half of Wallace and Gromit AND nowadays he has ditched baseball caps in favour of sharp italian suits which I guess all millionaires are entitled to do.

Back to DC.

You know the vacant, slightly scared looked most politicians give you when you say hello at one of these functions. None of that with DC, not only did he (plausibly) seem pleased to meet people. He also managed to be chatty, upbeat and (shock horror) funny. When was the last time you saw a politician who could crack a joke that hadn't been scripted for him?

But it's early days and tough times are sure to catch up with the Tories after the honeymoon period is over, but I think we might have a chance of making some headway with Cameron. Fingers crossed...

The Exec meeting was a qualified success. The amount of work that is being undertaken by the NME is huge and the strain is starting to show. As a mere civil servant the 60-hour weeks came as a shock to me, but I'm gradually coming to terms with the workload and restrictions on my social life.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Saying Hello

Congratulations Ranil. Not many people would have the brass balls to approach every member of the exec and ask to be put in charge of a region. Even fewer would ask for two. Less than that would ask for the two busiest Conservative regions in the country - but ask he did.

Sadly, it wasn't happening, but in reading through our constitution Ranil discovered a never-used provision relating to Regional Coordinators that no-one even knew existed.

From this came the germ of an idea that perhaps the exec (always terminally London focussed) should take on the role, and in doing so finally start thinking of the direction we should be taking nationally.

Poor me. I wasn't at the last meeting, and as a result the rest of the Exec 'dumped' Wales and Northern Ireland on me. Fortunately, I think I've struck gold. Both areas have been neglected for a while but there is the chance for a well motivated team to start turning things around.

Most of it relies on the Regional and Area Chairmen (of which we are two short, but not for much longer). There is a lot that can be done to turn CF Wales around, and CF NI will benefit from a bit of attention.

Watch this space....

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

New Leader

David Cameron did it against the odds. Coming from behind to beat the previous leader in the title race is some feat, but to crush the opposition under a 2-to-1 landslide of modernisation is one of the great feats of modern British politics.

Not that David Davis did badly. His conference speech - contrary to popular opinion - was at least solid if not sparkly, and anyone doubting his ability to deliver great speeches should recall the fantastic job he did in the Commons after the 7/7 terrorist attacks.

Instead, it was Cameron's campaign team that shone, running a slick exercise in media based campaigning. He wooed the press with strawberry smoothies and caught the imagination of activists with a message of change.

Davis, by contrast, attracted the hard right old guard of the party. This was unfortunate as he is actually a very personable, down-to-earth sort of guy with a compelling back story. Given a choice of who to share a pint with, Davis would win hands down.

For me the tipping point came when Davis declared that 'there is no such thing as Blairism'. Sadly, it has been apparent for some time that Blairism is alive and kicking and it extends further than spin and Alistair Campbell. To win an election the Conservatives must totally change their outlook. Though sparing with the details, Cameron presented an ideas driven approach to solve the decade-long Tory slump.

Cameron's first appearance on the Parliamentary stage seems to have been a qualified success and certainly proved painful for the Labour Chief Whip. But I'm more interested in how the new leadership will affect CF. Modernisation seems to be the key and it is hard to see how the current amateurish system dominated by students will ever attract the key 24-35 age group.

Watch this space.......