Following on from the success of last year, NCVO is once again inviting smaller charities (with incomes of less than £500,000) to submit applications to attend one of the three main Political Party Conferences in 2008 as part of the Party Conference Bursary Scheme.
Party Conferences can be tremendously useful forums for bringing together charities with relevant peer groups and politicians, however, the cost can often prohibit smaller charities from attending. Last year, for the first time, NCVO offered fifteen charities the chance to attend the Conferences. This opportunity ensured that the views and interests of smaller organisations with limited income were represented at the Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat conferences, despite not having access to sizeable budgets.
Jim Vaughan from the British Federation of Youth Marching Band Organisations was one of the organisations that attended the Liberal Democrat conference in 2007
Organisations from within community and voluntary sector interested in applying for a week’s pass to the Labour, Conservative or Liberal Democrat party conferences plus two nights accommodation and travel, should contact NCVO’s Parliamentary Campaigns Officer.
This raises some interesting issues. Is it the taxpayer that funds the National Council of Voluntary Organisations? Are we moving to Party funding by stealth? Of the 8,000 people expected at the Tory Conference only about 2,000 will be Party members. The others are media, exhibition stand organisers, large donors and now we find uncle Tom Cobley and all coming in. This used to be a Conference for the members of the Conservative Party. No longer - no debates, no discussion, no participation. Why should a Party member go at all? Why is it that the Party hierarchy fails to understand that a Party without members will eventually collapse. You can get a large number of helpers at a by-election but it is a different matter when we have to fight a General Election. There is a huge prize just waiting for the Party which is genuinely democratic. That prize is government of the country.
|Saturday 24 MayDesmond Swayne MP addressing a meeting of the COPOV forum at Colbury, Hampshire. He made an excellent speech and answered questions openly and honestly in a vigorous manner. He is a great credit to the Tory Party and very impressive. I hope David Cameron listens to him.||Sunday 25 MayAnne Main MP thanks members of the Beaconsfield Conservative Association for their help during the local elections in St. Albans. This was a very enjoyable occasion.|
|Tuesday 20th MayPete Picton, the Editor of Sun Online chairs a Hansard Society meeting on e-Petitions. He was joined by Bethan Jenkins of the National Assembly for Wales and Andy Williamson of the Hansard Society. The House of Commons is trying to improve its handling of e-Petitions. It could learn from the National Assembly for Wales which ensures that action is taken on the petitions it receives. There is still an element of arrogance in the proposals before the House of Commons which unfortunately the Hansard Society seemed to support.||Thursday 22 MayAn enjoyable meeting of the COPOV Management Committee. From left to right: Myself, Stephen Parker, Anne Egleton, Cllr Julia Long, Cllr Derek Tipp, Cllr Trevor Egleton and Jo Sommer.|
|Friday 16th MayMaria Miller MP at the Buckinghamshire Supper Club with the Chairman Sheela Mackintosh. Former Chairman of Beaconsfield Association Brian Rigby shares the Joke.|
I was very impressed with Maria Miller. She was straight forward in answering questions and a credit to the Conservative front bench.
|Tuesday May 13thBruce Anderson spoke to the City Conservative Forum. The meeting was chaired by Keith Laurence. Bruce was on good form.||Tuesday 13th May|
Baroness Gillian Shephard speaks to the "Off the Loggers". John Mason, Chairman of "Off the Loggers looks up with interest. In reply to a question from myself she responded that the Conservative policy of a mainly elected House of Lords had not been policy very long and she hoped wouldn't be policy much longer. I hope for the sake of democracy she is wrong.
|Monday 12th MayKen Clarke MP addressing the Conservative Group for Europe watched on by Ian Taylor MP - Chairman of CGE.|
Ken Clarke asked an interesting question- When was the last time a European regulation imposed on the British people against the wishes of the British Government? Let COPOV know the answer.
John is an old friend of ours. 21 years ago, without any Irish family connections, John first became interested in the affairs of Northern Ireland as a result of receiving several circular letters. At the time John was Chairman of the Beaconfield Conservative Association, with 6,100 members, one of the wealthiest and most powerful Conservative Associations in the country. Before that, John had been on the Conservative Group on Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council.
John's voice will be a familiar one to those who follow politics closely. Over the years he has given over 500 interviews on radio and television. The media always call on John as the Conservative Party Conference approaches.
In 1988 we formed the North Down Conservative Association (followed by constituency associations in other Northern Ireland constituencies) and applied for affiliation to the National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations i.e. for recognition as an official Conservative Association. We expected resistance from the hierarchy of the Conservative Party and the National Union, so we assembled in numbers to press our case at the 1988 Tory Party Conference in Brighton (which was, more correctly, the Conference of the National Union).
The final debate in the conference was on Party Organisation and John was called to speak last in that debate. Margaret Thatcher's conference address followed immediately so that Mrs T and the entire hierarchy of the Conservative Party was sitting behind John as he made his speech. Of course, John's speech was entirely loyal but the sting was in the tail. He called for the Conservative associations of Northern Ireland to become fully recognised.
Immediately John became a hero to us activists from Northern Ireland. Exiting the conference he crossed a group who had been watching the speech on a television screen in a retailer's. They mobbed John at once with their congratulations and invited him at once to visit Northern Ireland to speak. He accepted and the following Friday addressed a packed meeting.
Our popular democracy today is and must remain party politics. The health of our democracy, therefore, can be measured by the health of our political parties. 21 years ago, the Beaconsfield Conservative Association had 6,100 members. Today it has lost the large majority of its membership and membership stands at 1,600 members. And the Labour Party, John pointed out, stands even worse. Labour has lost even more members than the Conservatives.
21 years ago, the Conservative Party raised a large proportion of its funds, the bulk in fact, through local associstions. Today that has fallen away and the Party raises more money from huge individual donations from wealthy individuals. The same goes for Labour.
The result has been the loss of influence on the Party Leaderships by the rank-and-file members, breeding further disillusion in the branches.
John pointed to financial scandals in Britain and (even worse) in Europe, and the lack of financial accountability. He believes that both the Chairman and the Treasurer of the Conservative Party should be elected by popular vote, rather than appointed by the Leader. He believes that there should be an Annual General Meeting where the office-holders would report to members on their stewardship.
John believes that the annual Party Conferences have today become a waste of time. They are so controlled by the Leadership and the spin-doctors that genuine open disagreement and debate has become impossible.
The response of many in authority to John's campaign ever seems to resemble that of Saint Augustine - "Chastity, but not yet." John, may your courageous efforts bear fruit.
|John Strafford addressing the North Down Conservative Supper Club. On my right is Myrtle Boal, the Chairman of the Supper Club.You will not meet any more enthusiastic, loyal, Conservatives than the Conservatives in Northern Ireland. For too long they have not been given the support they deserve from the Conservative Party. I hope this will change. They should have a full time professional helping them. If anyone would like to sponsor their invaluable work I would be happy to put them in touch.|
My wife and I were superbly well looked after whilst we were in Northern Ireland. It was so nice to meet up with old friends. We were particularly grateful to Terry Dick - former Chairman of the Northern Ireland Conservatives - for showing us around on Friday.
|< John Strafford|
Caroline Strafford >
About to start a 3 hour telling session
|Roger Gough chairs a meeting of Policy Exchange with guest speakers Michael Pinto-Duschinsky and Peter Riddell||Two doyens of the political world - Peter Riddell and David Butler|
|Peter Lilley MP, Enoch's widow Pam Powell, Simon Heffer and Gerald Horwath MP.||Keith Simpson MP chairs the Conservative History Group, Simon Heffer was the guest speaker and the meeting organiser was Iain Dale|
|Canvassing in Slough for the local elections on May 1st with Cllr. Julia Long. Julia is one of the unsung heroines of the Tory Party. She was Mayor of Slough in 2004/5. In two hours of canvassing I only came across two Labour voters. Looking good for Julia|
|Dominic Grieve QC MP with the new Chairman of the Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association - Heather Harper||Retiring Chairman Bryan Rigby with the President of BCCA Earl Howe||National Convention Vice President Emma Pidding with Earl Howe,|
and James Elles MEP
|Excellent Annual General Meeting of the Beaconsfield Constituency Conservative Association With a contested election for Chairman the members turned out in force with 150 attending. Thats what democracy does. Adrian Hilton and Heather Harper fought it out. Adrian made a brilliant speech setting out his vision of the future but Heather being a former Womens Committee Chairman had stronger support. Good contest. Excellent speech from Dominic Grieve, although contrary to press reports I thought he ruled out support for the government when they try to increase the powers of the Attorney General.|
|Angela Knight, former Conservative MP for Erewash addressing the City Conservative Forum . She is now the Chief Executive of the British Banking Association - probably the worst job in the City of London at the moment. She put forward a forceful defence of British Banking, but to an ordinary person banking is now seen as fat cat executives getting big bonuses for gambling with public money and when it all goes wrong they walk away with a nice fat pay off. When the Chief Executive of Citibank, which has lost billions, is paid 200 times more than a cleaner in the bank something is wrong. When we see bank executives getting paid sensible salaries and cutting out the incentives to gamble then the public perception will begin to change.|
Mark Field MP addresses the Annual General Meeting of the City Conservative Forum with Chairman Clare Coffey seated.
Arrived ten minutes late due to traffic in the City. It is getting worse. Lunch time meetings in the City are difficult. Future meetings may be in the evening. Clare in good form as sister Therese has just won top of the list for Southern Region for the European Parliament. If the selection had not been rigged by Central Office she might have replaced an MEP. The selection process shows blatant discrimination against women. Mark Field spoke about the inherent dangers of the PFI initiatives with our children and grandchildren paying for these for many years to come.
This was a friendly reception with lots of young people, although females were scarce.. Michael Howard suggested that The Bow Group should do more research into the delivery of public services. Had a discussion with Terry Bowers as to whether Michael Howard was Chairman before or after Peter Lilley. Confusion when he told me Peter Lilley was Chairman twice. I joined the Bow Group when Peter Lilley was Chairman, but was it the first or second time? Speculation starting as to who the next Chairman of the Bow Group will be.
Reception of The Bow Group in the Jubilee Room at the House of Commons. The Chairman Chris Skidmore introduces Michael Howard MP (former Chairman) with Irene, the hard working secretary of The Bow Group in the background
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|THEY shall not return to us, the resolute, the young|
The eager and whole-hearted whom we gave:
But the men who left them thriftily to die in their own dung,
Shall they come with years and honour to the grave?They shall not return to us, the strong men coldly slain
In sight of help denied from day to day:
But the men who edged their agonies and chid them in their pain,
Are they too strong and wise to put away?
Our dead shall not return to us while Day and Night divide—
Never while the bars of sunset hold.
But the idle-minded overlings who quibbled while they died,
Shall they thrust for high employments as of old?
Shall we only threaten and be angry for an hour?
When the storm is ended shall we find
How softly but how swiftly they have sidled back to power
By the favour and contrivance of their kind?
Even while they soothe us, while they promise large amends,
Even while they make a show of fear,
Do they call upon their debtors, and take council with their friends,
To confirm and re-establish each career?
Their lives cannot repay us—their death could not undo—
The shame that they have laid upon our race.
But the slothfulness that wasted and the arrogance that slew,
Shall we leave it unabated in its place?
- Austria - any treaty deemed to amend the Austrian constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote in the National Council.
- Denmark - any treaty involving a transfer of powers to a supranational organisation requires a five-sixths majority in the Folketing. If this is not achieved then a referendum must be held.
- Finland - any treaty deemed to amend the Finnish constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote in Parliament.
- France - requires three-fifths majority support in Congress or a referendum must be held.
- Germany - requires a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament.
- Greece - any transfer of sovereignty requires three-fifths majority support in parliament.
- Hungary - any treaty deemed to amend the Austrian constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote in Parliament.
- Ireland - any transfer of sovereignty requires a referendum.
- Luxembourg - all treaties must be approved by two thirds of the Chamber of Deputies.
- Poland - treaties require either two-thirds majority support in both houses of parliament or a national referendum to be ratified.
- Slovakia - three-fifths majority support of parliament is required to ratify any treaty that involves a transfer of sovereignty and/or requires a change to the constitution.
- Slovenia - two-thirds majority support of parliament is required to ratify any treaty that involves a transfer of sovereignty and/or requires a change to the constitution.
- Spain - three-fifths majority support in the Chamber of Deputies is required to ratify any treaty that involves a transfer of sovereignty and/or requires a change to the constitution.
- Sweden - three-fifths majority support in the Riksdag is required to ratify any treaty that involves a transfer of sovereignty and/or requires a change to the constitution. If this cannot be achieved then a decision can be made by two consecutive, simple majority decisions with a general election in between.
The Spring Forum was an unmitigated disaster. Dull, boring, no debates, scripted questions. The media are no longer interested. Now, they only send their second rank journalists. Soon they will not send any. One session was closed early because there were only 50 people left in the hall! But it doesn't have to be like this. The Conservative Women's conference was a superb example as to how to organise an interesting political forum with plenty of opportunity for audience participation unscripted, interesting speakers and brilliant organisation. They should be given the Party Conference to run. There was another example this week. The Bow Group organised a meeting chaired by Oliver Letwin at which he had all the Directors of the Party Policy Groups on the platform. The session consisted of questions, unscripted, from the floor. The meeting was packed, as incidentally was the Womens Conference. I have to say the Directors of the Policy Groups were very impressive, clearly on top of their subjects and a credit to the Tory Party. The same exercise should be repeated at the Party Conference. It is possible to have an exciting conference. You just have to trust the members. Go for it.
In the new membership campaign it says that if you become a member of the Conservative Party you will receive:
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- Access to our new Affinity Programme, which will give you discounts on a great range of products.
|Sally Ainger – part time £19,800pa||Nick AINGER||LAB|
|Lionel Beckett - £25,000 app||Margaret BECKETT||LAB|
|Sally Clark - wife||Hilary BENN||LAB|
|Richard Burt||Lorely BURT||LIB/DEM|
|Tennyson Butler||Dawn BUTLER||LAB|
|Elspeth Campbell||Sir Menzies CAMPBELL||LIB/DEM|
|Daniel Chaytor Sarah Chaytor||David CHAYTOR||LAB|
|Jonathan Clapham - unpaid Yvonne Clapham||Michael CLAPHAM||LAB|
|Brenda Clelland||David CLELLAND||LAB|
|Edward Clifton-Brown – unpaid||Geoffrey CLIFTON-BROWN||CON|
|Catherine Coffey||Ann COFFEY||LAB|
|Charlotte Cox||Geoffrey COX||CON|
|John Cryer - unpaid||Ann CRYER||LAB|
|Colin Davidson||Ian DAVIDSON||LAB|
|Neil Ennis||Jeffrey ENNIS||LAB|
|Suzy Gale||Roger GALE||CON|
|Morvah George - unpaid||Andrew GEORGE||LIB/DEM|
|Adelaine Hain - £5,400pa part time||Peter HAIN `||LAB|
|Carolyn Harris||Tom HARRIS||LAB|
|David Haselhurst - unpaid Angela Haselhurst||Sir Alan HASELHURST||CON|
|Christine Heald||Oliver HEALD||CON|
|Dawn Illsley - wife||Eric ILLSLEY||LAB|
|Lucy Kilfoyle||Peter KILFOYLE||LAB|
|Karen Leadley - sister||Julie KIRKBRIDE||CON|
|Jill Liddell-GraingerPeter Liddell-Grainger - unpaid|
Sophie Liddell-Grainger - unpaid
|Oliver Luff - unpaid Julia Luff||Peter LUFF||CON|
|Harry Malins - unpaid Katherine Malins – unpaid||Humfrey MALINS||CON|
|Christina Marshall||David MARSHALL||LAB|
|Elsie Martlew||Eric MARTLEW||LAB|
|Anne McGuinness||Martin MCGUINNESS||SINN FEIN|
|Tony McKenna||Rosemary MCKENNA||LAB|
|James McLoughlin - unpaid||Patrick MCLOUGHLIN||CON|
|Jonathan Mitchell||Austin MITCHELL||LAB|
|Sonya Moss||Malcolm MOSS||CON|
|Oliver Mundell||David MUNDELL||CON|
|Fiona Owen||Albert OWEN||LAB|
|Ian Paisley||Rev Ian PAISLEY||DEM UN|
|Rose Paterson - £29,636.64pa||Owen PATERSON||CON|
|Samuel Pope - unpaid||Greg POPE||LAB|
|Joanne Sheridan||Jim SHERIDAN||LAB|
|Xanthe Steen - £5,000pa part time||Anthony STEEN||CON|
|Deborah Stoate||Dr Howard STOATE||LAB|
|Sally Tami||Mark TAMI||LAB|
|Philippa Taylor||Dari TAYLOR||LAB|
|Jacqueline Vis||Rudi VIS||LAB|
|Robin Williams - son||Alan WILLIAMS||LAB|
|Raymond Williams - son||Betty WILLIAMS||LAB|
|Camilla Young - daughter||Sir George YOUNG||CON|
|The following members are believed to employ a member of their family:|
|Staff||Member of Parliament||Party|
|Cathy Austin - part time £8,000pa||Ian AUSTIN||LAB|
|Caron Barron - wifeSheena Woolley - sister-in-law||Kevin BARRON||LAB|
|Margaret Bell - £35,000pa||Sir Stuart BELL||LAB|
|Lady Beresford||Sir Paul BERESFORD||CON|
|Katherine - wife||Julian BRAZIER||CON|
|Janet Breed||Colin BREED||LIB/DEM|
|Rosemary Bruce - £28,500pa||Malcolm BRUCE||LIB/DEM|
|David Browning||Angela BROWNING||CON|
|Eve Burt||Alistair BURT||CON|
|Sister in Law Alice Sheffield||David CAMERON||CON|
|Elspeth Campbell||Sir Menzies CAMPBELL||LIB/DEM|
|Christine Chope||Christopher CHOPE||CON|
|Julie Clark||Paul CLARK||LAB|
|Colette Conway - £39,257.84pa||Derek CONWAY||CON|
|Enid Crausby||David CRAUSBY||LAB|
|Debbie Davies||Philip DAVIES||CON|
|Chantal Davies||Quentin DAVIES||LAB|
|Doreen Davis||David DAVIS||CON|
|Pat Dobbin||Jim DOBBIN||LAB|
|Sister in law||Stephen DORRELL||CON|
|Phillippa Dorries||Nadine DORRIES||CON|
|Philip Cole – husband||Caroline FLINT||LAB|
|Mair Francis||Hywel FRANCIS||LAB|
|Liz Gibson - £10,000pa||Ian GIBSON||LAB|
|Benny Gilroy||Linda GILROY||LAB|
|Sue - wife||Chris GRAYLING||CON|
|Lesley Hall||Mike HALL||LAB|
|Jean Hamilton||David HAMILTON||LAB|
|Sally Hammond - £27,500pa||Stephen HAMMOND||CON|
|Caroline Netherton – wife||David HEATH||LIB/DEM|
|Pat Hopkins - £12,500pa||Kelvin HOPKINS||LAB|
|David Keen||Alan KEEN||LAB|
|Janet Ladyman||Stephen LADYMAN||LAB|
|Gail Laxton||Bob LAXTON||LAB|
|Mary Leigh||Edward LEIGH||CON|
|Teresa Levitt||Tom LEVITT||LAB|
|Ruth Mackinlay||Andrew MACKINLAY||LAB|
|Vicky McCarthy-Fry – daughter||Sarah MCCARTHY-FRY||LAB|
|Eleanor McAvoy||Tommy MCAVOY||LAB|
|Fran Miller||Andrew MILLER||LAB|
|Graham Henderson - husband||Anne MILTON||CON|
|Tony McKenna - unpaid||Rosemary MCKENNA||LAB|
|Alison Moore||Michael MOORE||LIB/DEM|
|Angela Penning||Mike PENNING||CON|
|Sondra Pritchard||Mark PRITCHARD||CON|
|Nicola Page – partner||John REDWOOD||CON|
|Heidi Rogerson||Dan ROGERSON||LIB/DEM|
|Alison Sanders||Adrian SANDERS||LIB/DEM|
|Val Smith||Andrew SMITH||LAB|
|Steve Wilson - husband||Angela SMITH||LAB|
|Alison Soulsby - £20,000pa||Sir Peter SOULSBY||LAB|
|Janet StreeterTamsin Streeter - daughter||Gary STREETER||CON|
|Liza Wallace||Ben WALLACE||CON|
|Tiffiny Wright||Iain WRIGHT||LAB|
NOTE:Of the above LAB 60
- I do not think the sitting MPs would accept the proposal.
- I believe that in most cases "grass roots" members would be reluctant to campaign against their MP and;
- Experienced MPs are a great asset to the Party.
Nine finalists for Maidstone and The WealdMaidstone and The Weald (projected Tory majority of nearly 12,000) have published the finalists for the race to succeed Ann Wddecombe:
- Stephen Barclay
- James Brokenshire
- Conor Burns
- Jamie Devlin
- Vicky Ford
- Helen Grant
- Jon Lord
- Julia Manning
- Kulveer Ranger
- David Godfrey
- Lynne Hack
Thanks for the above information to www.conservativehome.com
The saga of the donations to Peter Hain's Deputy Leadership campaign continues. Apparently he has been asked to repay a £25,000 loan. In addition, under Labour Party rules he has to give 15% of all donations to the Labour Party. That is about another £30,000. Will he have to raise more donations or loans to repay these amounts? If so, will he have to declare them? Or will he forget these as well? If he resigned, which he should have done, he would have more time to get it right this time.
Dictatorship uses guillotine
In the period from 1946 to 1997 Governments guillotined sixty-seven Bills. In the six years after 1997 this dictatorial Government guillotined no less than ninety-four Bills. No wonder our legislation is so bad. Whatever happened to Parliamentary scrutiny?
House of Cronies
By the time of Tony Bliar's resignation he had appointed 359 peers out of a total of 735 members of the House of Lords. Of the 211 Labour Peers 153 were appointed by Tony Bliar. Who says we live in a democracy? It is time we had a wholly elected House of Lords and got rid of all these cronies.