I would like to take this opportunity, now that I have officially taken office, to thank everyone who supported me and who voted for me in the recent national elections. I was overwhelmed by the astounding support that members gave me, which was then reflected by my 64% majority win, receiving more votes than any other candidate standing in the election. I am really looking forward to the year ahead of me. The national executive this year is a fantastic team, and without a doubt you will all see even more of a transformation of the organisation.
This next year will see many things. We must get Boris Johnson re-elected as Mayor of London. It’s important to see more policy forums organised across all levels and areas. Lively discussions and debates amongst peers are quite often the best way to form policy. Policy forums are the best way to show that no matter where you live, no matter how old you are, no matter how much experience you have, your voice matters to the party and to the world of politics. We need to look ahead to the challenges we face, together. We have a fantastic mix of ideas, ages, experiences and backgrounds of members and we need to use this for a positive outlet, to show the rest of the party our capability, to let them know that as each generation progresses, there will always be a bigger and better base to pick up where they left off.
We also need to ensure that social action projects are held up and down the country in all branches. Social action projects are probably one of the best ways for members to get involved in their communities to do something positive. Politics has had a negative stigma attached to it and that needs to change. From experience I have seen that social action projects change the way the public view those involved in political parties. In July, my branch held a social action day in Spalding, South Lincolnshire. We targeted one of the most run down areas in the town, which is also an area passed by the high traffic of visitors to the town and the Springfield’s Shopping Outlet Village. The playing field and skate park had recently been completely redone by the district council, aimed at attracting youngsters from all over the constituency. However despite the best of intentions of the council, with many refuse and recycling bins installed, some visitors to the park still failed to dispose of their rubbish in the appropriate fashion. From the skate park, my branch then ventured into the estate bordering the area. Finally finishing in the late afternoon, with an estate car filled with refuse and recycling bags containing the litter from the area, we retired for a well-deserved drink. On reflection of the day, many of us noted how residents had approached us asking us why we were doing this for them, unpaid! We did it because we wanted to do it; we wanted to do our bit for the community – the residents said thank you to us, they really were truly grateful. In the strong Labour area of the town, they were very surprised that we were all conservatives. If people could take pride in the areas that they live, pick up their litter and dispose of it correctly, what a nicer place we would all live in. We decided the reason why people were littering was down to laziness. There was no excuse, there were many large bins – and no surprises they were empty!
All of this will help improve the reputation of politics amongst the “generation of no voters”. I feel that Conservative Future can be work and play. Making politics enjoyable will encourage more people to join us. There are thousands of young people out there in Great Britain, who have a conservative way of thinking, yet won’t join the party on principle due to a lack of trust in politicians. We need to change their mindset, and show them, that only participation will make a change. The train will never take you where you want to go unless you step on it in the first place. The only failure to exist is the failure having never tried.