I’ll never forget our first action day in Tower Hamlets. Paul and I were manically stuffing leaflets into bags, running to the pub to make sure all was ready for the evening, planning where to take the photo, answering phone calls from people who were lost, all the while wondering – will anyone come?
And then you came. In your MASSES – easily clearing our target of 100 with nearer 150 people pounding the pavements for Peter Golds and delivering over 28,000 homes. We may have not succeeded for Peter, but Greg Hands MP came to see us in the evening. Fresh out of the whips office, he stood on a table and declared just what the victory in May had meant to him. Amidst cheers and laughter, he likened the Prime Minister to the Godfather cradling the baby – the Conservative only government whilst meanwhile his ‘five main opponents were being gunned down’. It is no different now – we just have different battles to face.
Sadiq Khan has a highly organised, highly funded volunteer force that sprung into action months ago. Zac Goldsmith is trying to win the battle for City Hall and come 8th May – that election is happening no matter what. He needs our help. Your track record speaks for itself. 150 of you came to Tower Hamlets, 75 in Finchley, around the same in Ealing with London Conservative Future, 40 came with us to Bournemouth and 150 turned up to Trafford. Aside from the importance of a Conservative Mayor in City Hall to continue Boris’s legacy of lower taxes, more police officers and reduced crime rates; campaigning is at the very heart of what we do at CWF. I love it. Nothing beats hitting the pavements with Christine. A septuagenarian tour de force who I have witnessed berate a hapless Labour voter with ‘do you LIKE higher taxes?!’ Or meeting someone who claimed to vote for EDF, realising he meant EDL and backing away slowly… Or that feeling when you finally pitch up to the pub with broken knuckles from ramming leaflets through ridiculous letter boxes and sore feet but the feeling that you gave up your precious time for something, just because you believed in it.
We have four action days planned for Zac Goldsmith so far in 2016 – kicking off in Croydon on 9th January. JOIN US HERE. And there’s a dinner too…
I will remember, for a long time, watching Twilla let rip on being mistaken for a cleaner and just exactly why she is a Tory to a packed, agog crowd at our CWF Academy in Romford. Everyone in that room had a story to tell. Our CWF Academies in Margate and Romford were extraordinary. I want to write about every single person who got up to speak but instead watch our website for some new faces springing up in the coming months. Isy, Pierre, Joe, Stephen and plenty more…I’m talking about you.
The first Academy in 2016 is on 28th January here in London – BOOK TODAY.
As I post this article online I can see that it is the 185th article since May 2015. Thank you so much to all of you who have written for us so far – please keep them coming! We want to hear what YOU have to say about the issue of the day. Very few rules: introduce a new fact, no personal attacks on politicians and if you can bear it, a max of 400 words. Please e-mail submissions to our star Commissioning Editor Theodora.
So what do I want CWF to achieve in 2016? More academies and the hunt for future stars of the Party. More articles from YOU on what matters to you. Parties along the way – come and say hello on the 7th January. Or come and join us at our 25th Anniversary Gala Dinner on the 3rd February. Thanks to some gratefully received sponsorship, we have a couple of new ticket options available.
We want to see Zac Goldsmith battle his way to victory and become the next Mayor of London and last but not least – see CWF represented across the country, not just in London. There are plans for academies in Leeds and York later in the year so watch this space.
We’ve got wonderful support in our esteemed Vice Presidents, Parliamentary Council, the Board and our indefatigable Organising Committee as well as the dream team in the office with me. Just as campaigning shouldn’t be defined by the people running it, I don’t define CWF, it is defined by our nine principles and all of you.
See you in 2016!
It would be remiss to write this and leave out Elliott Johnson. I hadn't known him long but we had become friends and I miss him dearly.
Before starting at CWF, I worked at CCHQ for just over two years. I worked across a few departments including Team2015, Conservative Future and disciplinary. I knew Mark through his Roadtrips which were part of Team2015 and for a while he was my friend. The world of people in the professional party who are obsessed with activism is tiny. It was inevitable that our paths would cross.
Other than taking Elliott’s complaint into CCHQ for him and adding a few of my own opinions – I was not one of the complainants. That said, I very much hope that via the Clifford Chance inquiry and Jane Deighton’s inquiry on behalf of the Johnsons, the definitive story will be told and the complainants and Elliott’s family will finally get the justice they deserve. I hope reaching a conclusion is now a priority for Deighton and Clifford Chance – the vacuum between now and then will continue to be filled with old grudges, inaccurate, biased briefing and tit for tat stories that help no one, least of all Ray and his family.