The Conservative Party has always been a party of our times, but now we have a challenge. Our country has changed, politics has changed and we need the infrastructure and thinking of the Conservative Party to keep up.
The huge divide in British Politics which existed in the 1970s, is no longer there. Margaret Thatcher was so successful in demonising the left that in the end the far left in British Politics became irrelevant. It is far harder for David Cameron to lead a huge Political Movement when the demons both left and right have become neutralised.
Party membership has fallen, branches in many of our Constituencies are but a distant memory. There are huge parts of the United Kingdom where locally there is hardly any Conservative presence at all. That is why I welcome the review set up by Lord Feldman looking into the future of the Conservative Party. Now is the time to have that review after the historic electoral win in 2015 resulting in David Cameron leading the first Conservative Administration since 1992.
The last two decades has seen huge changes in Britain. People have travelled half way around the world to work and live in Britain, so that they and their family can have a better life. They have a huge work ethic and they are not afraid of hard graft. They should all be natural Conservatives and yet many of them vote Labour. As Chairman of the National Conservative Convention I would like to see more of these new Britons join the Conservative Party, to partake in the party both locally and nationally and to run for election in the Party.
There are too many areas across the United Kingdom where there are few or no elected Conservative Councillors. As Chairman of the National Convention I would encourage that all Council Seats are targeted with a long term campaign and then fought to be won. It is worth remembering that people get into a habit of voting for a particular political party. For too long especially in a City such as Newcastle people have voted Liberal to prevent Labour from getting in. As a Party we Conservatives must be out there on the doorstep putting a stop to the myth that the only way to stop Labour is to vote Liberal. The ONLY WAY to stop Labour is to vote Conservative. As Chairman of the National Convention I would want to lead this from the front.
The Conservative Party used to be part of the social fabric of every community in Britain. That position has to be regained. I would encourage the growth of the Party in every Constituency through local membership drives and engagement in the local community. This is the way forward to win locally.
My big priority as Chairman of the National Convention in the next three years would be to help and support all those Constituencies, currently having Labour MPs with huge majorities to have a full slate of candidates so that everyone has the opportunity to vote Conservative in the elections next May. Whether you live in a safe Conservative Seat or a safe Opposition Seat, your Conservative vote matters. Your vote could determine the outcome of the Election
I love this country, I am proud to be a Conservative. As Chairman of the National Convention I will stand up for the Voluntary Party, but most importantly I will work with the Board of the Party, the Strategy Team and the National Convention to ensure that the Conservative Party reflects that huge rich tapestry with its varied diversity that is Britain today. In the next three years I would like to help lay down the foundations so that the Conservative Party is part of the fabric of life in every community in the United Kingdom. By achieving this the Conservative Party will be on course to be the natural party of Government in the 21st century.
Always remember that it is the Party which is at ease with itself and understands and loves the Country it wants to govern, that can tap into the hopes, aspirations and ambitions of millions of Britons the length and breadth of the United Kingdom that wins elections. As Chairman of the National Convention I will be there with all of you on the doorstep, on the phone, delivering the message to ensure that that happens.
Charles Heslop is standing to be the Chairman of the Conservative Party's National Convention.
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