The Week That Was

Conservative Way Forward is supporting the campaign
to Vote Leave and Take Control on June 23rd.


This Week on the Forward! Blog

Neil Wilson:

What went wrong in Northern Ireland?

We lack a clear overarching message. We attacked Stormont from too many angles and too often on the issue of competence rather than as a way of presenting a clear alternative. We failed to explain why what we believed would make Northern Ireland more secure and better off.

What’s next for the Conservatives in Northern Ireland? 

On the ground, we’ve also blooded a whole new generation of activists and taught some old dogs new tricks as well. When putting together my list of people to thank I ended up with 52 canvassers on the list. Last year I had about ten. Groups like Conservatives for Liberty and Conservative Way Forward rallied to the call and sent activists to help, but also to learn. Our operation on the ground was practically flawless but our problem was the perceived lack of relevance in the debate. And that’s where we’ve fallen down. So what are we that is actually any different and what principles should we build our party around? 


Five Must Reads

1. CONSERVATIVE HOME: Mark Wallace - It’s good news that the British shale gas industry is another step closer to reality

It is the height of irony to see the usual celebrity faces and permanent campaigners who have spent the last 30 years lamenting the passing of the miners now rallying to prevent a new generation of workers getting the chance of entering well-paid engineering jobs in the energy industry. It seems that dirty coal is close to their hearts, while far cleaner shale gas is somehow unacceptable.

2. THE SPECTATOR: Ross Clark - Why the BMA are no better than Arthur Scargill’s rabble

The JDC openly and deliberately plotted a drawn-out dispute, and it was only ever about pay, not safety. 

3. INSTITUTE OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: Richard Teather - Oxfam on tax avoidance: do as I say, not as I do?

All of this is perfectly legal and there is absolutely nothing wrong with legal tax avoidance – or at least so I believe. Just as business done through tax havens is perfectly legal (except perhaps for occasional errors, which those involved carefully seek to eliminate) and there is nothing wrong with it. But that is not Oxfam’s view; it is a strange philosophy that condemns actions in others whilst busily engaging in them oneself.

4. THE TIMES: Daniel Finkelstein - We must open up the Supreme Court club

I cannot think it right that the press is able to publish the fact that someone has made a vow but is forbidden to publish that they have broken it. I also think that it is a serious restriction on freedom of expression to tell two people in a threesome that they cannot talk freely about the experience because the third objects.

5. WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Dan Hannan - American campus craziness comes to Oxford

Would you hire a lawyer who couldn't handle references to violence? If not, then be wary of anyone who graduated from Oxford with a law degree in 2016.


Five Must Reads: EU Referendum 

1. STANDPOINT: Michael Gove - Brexit Would Save Us And Set Europe An Example

I’m a reformer. I’m in politics to change things for the better rather than accept a status quo which suits the establishment. 

This Government is a reforming administration. The Prime Minister is personally leading work to integrate excluded minorities into our national life and promoting important reforms to social work, prisons and mental health. The Chancellor’s reforms have helped incentivise growth and supported job creation, and are helping the poorest through the introduction of a national living wage. 

But, despite the Prime Minister’s best efforts, there’s one area where we have failed to bring reform. The European Union. 

2. THE GUARDIAN: Jonathan Freedland - The Greek bailout shows the EU is on its best behaviour – until 24 June

Observing Britain’s 27 EU partners these last few months has been like watching a usually clumsy man hiding in a cupboard and holding his breath, determined not to make even the slightest disturbance. Just imagine the racket he’s going to make when the referendum is over and he can at last exhale.

3. THE TELEGRAPH: Major-General Tim Cross - Stiffen your sinews and Vote Leave – Brexit will make Britain great again

We need a long-term vision to inspire – not frighten. Great visions challenge, they don’t offer the status quo and retrenchment.  Our nation did not stand firm in the 20th century against undemocratic regimes because it was economically or politically the sensible and prudent thing to do.

4. CONSERVATIVE HOME: Anna Firth - Five reasons why women should vote Leave

Women, although risk averse where their families’ futures are concerned, are suspicious of huge, unaccountable bureaucracies so are naturally Eurosceptic, but they need something positive to vote for.  Here are five positive reasons why women should vote to leave the EU.

5. CITY AM: Andrea Leadsom - Why Brexit won’t be a disaster (and as former City minister, I should know)

This failed elite, still intent on keeping its privileges despite its monumental policy blunders over both the euro and refugee crises, is increasingly and actively hated by large segments of European society, as youth unemployment numbers stay at depression-era levels and healthy sustained economic growth (use 2 per cent of GDP as a basic yardstick) simply has not returned. The future an entire generation was implicitly promised has disappeared, due to elite incompetence. If I were in this lost European generation, I suspect I would not be nearly so patient; I would be throwing bricks and I would know at who; the self-satisfied utterly useless elite, ‘la casta’ as Podemos rightly puts it, that had visited such devastation upon me.

Action Today

Have something to say? We are always looking for contributions to our 'Forward!' blog. Please e-mail our Commissioning Editor, Theodora Dickinson, with any ideas for articles!

Upcoming Events


TOMORROW: Campaign Day in Huntingdon!

As the EU referendum campaign hots up and the postal votes begin to be delivered, Conservative Way Forward will be taking the fight to John Major’s former constituency – Huntingdon – for an action-packed campaign day.

We will be meeting at Huntingdon train station (just an hour from King’s Cross, and 15 minutes from Peterborough) at 12pm on Sunday 29th May, and will have a quick sandwich lunch before heading out campaigning.

Accommodation is available for free on the Saturday and Sunday evening courtesy of a local activist.

Sign up here.

7th June: Brexit Breakfast!

Come and join CWF as we throw a 'Brexit Breakfast' hosted by leading Brexit campaigner, the Rt. Hon Dr Liam Fox MP. 

Tickets are just £15 so don't miss out on this one-off event taking place just a couple of weeks before Referendum Day. Places are limited and due to security restrictions, we will not be able to admit anyone who hasn't booked in advance.

Click here for more information and to book your ticket! 


11th June: Campaign Morning for Vote Leave in Manchester!

Join the Conservative Way Forward team in Manchester on Saturday June 11th for a big morning of campaigning for Vote Leave!

We will be joined by Nigel Evans, the Member of Parliament for Ribble Valley, and is the director of Vote Leave North West.

We will be meeting at Caffè Nero on Market Street for a quick continental breakfast, and Nigel Evans will make a short speech explaining why the UK should Vote Leave and Take Control, before we head out across to campaign across Manchester. 

Sign up here.


24th June: 'Outcome Party’!

Come and join CWF together with the Alderley Edge Conservatives as we celebrate (or commiserate!) the end of the EU Referendum Campaign!  We will be throwing an 'Outcome Party' with special guest speaker, James Cleverly MP.  Tickets are just £45 and include dinner, drinks and live music.

Book your ticket here!


Hero of the Week

Conservative Way Forward's 'Hero of the Week' is Steve Hilton, for coming out in support of Brexit this week. He may not be the kind of politician CWF is usually aligned with, but we admire politicians who stick to their principles.

"In this debate on the EU referendum, it’s easy to throw around terms like ‘sovereignty’ and ‘democracy’; ‘freedom’ and ‘bureaucracy’. But in the end, we’re debating not some abstract concept, but a very specific question about how our country should be run."

Read more here.