Showing posts with label reforms. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reforms. Show all posts

Friday, 21 November 2008

Exclusive: Regional Coordinators

The CF press release after the last meeting confirmed that Regional Coordinators would be in place by 1st December. No reference to how they were being selected or how to apply for the position was included, or subsequently explained. Except to a certain chosen few it seems.

Tory Bear got wind yesterday or rumours that James Morton had already been asked by Michael Rock to take up the appointed position. There will be no contest for the coordinators other than a check with CCHQ. Other candidates have been approached for positions around the country but at this time the South West region is the only one that can be confirmed. TB has ears everywhere so perhaps discussing his promotion in the pub wasn't the wisest idea...
TB's sources in the executive of Conservative Future adamantly state that they have not been consulted on the appointments, and as the next NME meeting is in January it seems they will not be able to veto any appointments put to them. As far as TB can tell the Chairman and Deputy Chairman and communications officer have drawn up the list and it will be put to the rest of the NME after the candidates have been selected and approached, making sure any opposition to the appointments from the NME would come too late.

The CF constitution clearly states it is an NME wide decision:

8.1 The NME shall in each Region appoint a CF Regional Coordinator responsible for:-
coordinating CF campaigning and political activities which cross Area boundaries;
assisting CF Area Chairmen in the organisation of activities which cross Area
Stretching that pretty thin if it is indeed just a final nod the NME members will have.

As for the appointment of James Morton to the position, well TB was at school with him so knows him to no doubt be a good egg. Currently the Area Chairman of Devon and Cornwall it is a sensible decision for him to take over as RC in the interim. He caught up with James a couple of minutes ago but as he was on a tractor he couldn't really talk.

As for the rest of the country it seems Area Chairman have specifically not be consulted about who they would like to see appointed to their area and the decisions are coming very specifically from the top.

The RC's are due to be in place in 10 days... If you know anything about who it will be in your area do email in.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Exec meeting minutes released...

You can now read the "full" minutes of Saturday's meeting of the Conservative Future national executive


Keeping with today's theme of debate around the NUS, this watered down line of what was actually discussed caught TB's eye:

"NME discuss possible NUS President candidates but rejected the idea of supporting those candidates. NME agreed to field official Conservative candidates at NUS national elections, and begin a process of application and approval of candidates immediately."

So do you think you have the NUS-Factor?

Monday, 17 November 2008

In simple English...

OK then... so it seems that the NME have voted to keep themselves in the job until 2010 potentially. While this may seem like an extreme step, it must be considered that the last NME ran for over 18 months and if there is an election in May, this regime would still serve for less time.

However there is a very real possibility that the next General Election will not be in 2009, but in May 2010, making the current NME have control for over 2 years. As far as Tory Bear can tell the executive voted on this course of action 5 to 1.

To be fair to the NME they weren't exactly presented with many options, it was either this or subscribe to a ridiculous electoral college system of branch chairman and their mates electing the national chair. The NME have saved CF democracy for the time being but TB understands that they were told the party wasn't going to fund another CF election before the General. In order to keep one-member-one-vote, the reforms would have to be kicked into the long grass. As far as TB can tell some members of the NME were not aware that the current statement put out by the CF press machine would be quite so extreme. It now seems to TB that the reforms have been snuck in through the back door.

While TB wouldn't question for a second the idea that CF should be ready for the General Election at any moment, Conservative Future has to be an organisation with everyone on board, and this sentiment is particularly vital with it's elected leaders. The current NME have had their fair share of problems, seen resignations, bitching and briefing against each other. Are we ready for anthor two years of this? Apparently these moves are in the best interest of the organisation, but will the membership really buy this stance?

To TB this doesn't look like a press release that has been drawn up over night but something that has been prepared and ready to go for some time...

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Something's going on...

The Conservative Future executive met yesterday and from what TB can understand so far, a lot was covered. Expecting a statement tomorrow.

Seems the reform issue has been settled, in a way. It also seems a decision on a course of action with the NUS has been established. TB reckons that the full and frank debate about CF and the NUS he has been calling for might just happen now.

Come back tomorrow for more information, it's been like trying to get blood out of stone tonight and seems all the NME members have been sworn to secrecy over what was discussed yesterday. Must be something big or fishy going on...

Come back tomorrow for more details...

Incidentally TB had his most hits ever today... not a particularly big news day and a Sunday. Very odd.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

What has TB unleashed?

TB thought there would be a response to that last letter, but not this quickly... Luckily still up waiting for darling Sarah to begin her speech so caught this one early and can get this next letter up straight away:

Once again this has been reproduced at the request of the author:

Dear Christian/Tory Bear,

I felt it was about time to give my views on the proposed plans to change CF. I am emailing Tory Bear, as I believe we need to have an open debate and am happy to have my views made public.

I feel at best, the suggestions you have made would be counter-productive.

Firstly, however, I must echo the sentiments of Alex Agius. The manner in
which I first became aware of this plans was simply unacceptable. For such
drastic reforms to have been announced through a  series of blog posts on
third party sites, rather than direct attempts to communicate with the
Branch and Area chairs, is disgraceful. Although everyone accepts that CF
needs to change, the lack of communication in establishing change merely
reflects a continuation of the culture which created the present dire
state CF is in.

You, as a guest author on Tory Bear, described the replacement of area
chairs with regional coordinators, as being intended to make CF “more
effective at a local level and to increase its accountability.” This
simply will not work. A Regional Chairman would inevitably become
detached, due to simple geographical reasons, from much of their region;
focusing their attention on their locality or on a few big CF groups which
are easy to visit. How much attention would a regional chair for the East
of England, who combines a job with his CF duties, have to spend helping
out the Great Yarmouth CF? This already occurs within the current area
system. It is in practice impossible to be a good area chair for both
Norfolk and Suffolk. What is needed is a breaking up of the area; not
further centralisation. In the context of Student life regions make sense
simply due to the fact that we are dealing with a small number of
institutions, it does not make sense when one considers that in Norfolk
alone there are around 25 CF groups.

With this in mind regional elections would rapidly become polarising
events, with each county having their own candidate and the results having
everything to do with location not ability. In the East of England region,
a UEA/Norfolk candidate would fight an Essex, and possibly a Cambridge
one. Each election would become a messy and bloody affair with the
effective regional support being the prize. Communication and cooperation
would become increasingly difficult, with tribalism becoming even more
prevalent. As we are nearing a general election, the idea that we should
unleash the hounds of war upon ourselves rather than labour is pure
madness. CF is already too focused on internal politicking rather than
winning elections, (real ones that is, a lot of work goes into internal

I will concede that a regional organiser supporting the efforts of a
larger team of area chairs could possibly work. As would the creation of
them as a professional paid position. Having only a regional chairman
however, would leave the majority of branches on their own. If you wanted
to destroy CF as nation wide institution, leaving only localised fiefdoms
around the CF groups big enough to survive without regional support, then
this policy would achieve your aim.

CF needs reform, but rather than grand structural reforms what we need
first is genuine effectiveness in communication, a centralised resource
website, regular events held across the nation and crucially the injection
of funding required allowing us to professionalise. I am not in favour of
the status quo, but I fail to see how this would improve the situation.

Paul Wells
University of East Anglia CF Chairman
CF Student Life Elections Officer

And so it begins...

TB has been looking at the survey results that are coming in and it is  no surprise that the much talked about reforms play a big role in shaping members' opinions of those in charge of Conservative Future. TB will do the number crunching tomorrow and release the results over the next few days, but in the mean time this letter could well be the beginning of an onslaught of opposition to not necessarily the reforms, but they way in which they are being put through...

This was received late last night and is reproduced in full with the authors permission:

Dear Christian/Tory Bear,

I am writing to you about the blog post you wrote/published on the tory bear blog on the 22nd of August 2008.

You started your article by saying that the NME have been watching lots of comments and conjecture from Conservative Future members flying around recently about big changes to the structure of our organisation. Changes you acknowledge are in your plans later in your article i.e. the introduction of Regional Coordinators and the abolition of the NME and Area Chairmen. You go on to ask members to provide feedback on these ideas to the NME (a request fellow NME member Patrick Sullivan repeats in the same blog post in the comments section).

I am interested to hear your full proposals and would like to ask when you intend to publish them so that the members you represent and are requesting feedback from can see all the plans in full and gain a true understanding of what you are proposing? You appear to criticise those who are speculating about the full details of your plans but you do not seem to appreciate that you have greatly added to this speculation by your blog post and failing to publish your proposals in full. Publishing your proposals in full would very quickly kill off this speculation you seem to find unwelcome. Not only would this end the speculation you talk about but it is necessary if you are to carry the majority of the membership. It has been a little while (13 days) since you began this speculation and brought your proposed changes  to a wider audience by your blog post but yet the members are still waiting to see your full plans. When do you intend to publish them? My understanding is that you do not have long (a few days) to do this if you are to do so and allow time for the members to digest and provide the feedback you requested before the next NME meeting.

After reading your blog post and despite the fact that it is the NME who are making these proposals I felt it unfair to expect the NME to do all the work to communicate these changes and reach out to every member to explain your plans. So to do my bit and make it as easy as possible to allow this flow of information I contacted another NME member who I will not name (the NME member who I felt most comfortable with discussing these plans). She refused point blank to discuss the matter with me when I raised the topic and told me that this was due to the NME making a group decision not to discuss the matter or talk to the members they profess to represent about these changes. As I am sure you will agree this is unacceptable, the NME are there to represent the organisations members who elected them, in fact many of the current NME members promised to do just that while seeking election to the NME not that long ago. However now it would appear (if my friend on the NME is correct) they are now involved in actively withholding information and are not interested in representing the members who elected them while trying to bring about large organisational changes. It also seems a crazy position that my friend on the NME cannot talk to me about this matter but you can publicly write blog posts contributing to the speculation.

As for the substance to your proposals I have not yet come to form an opinion (How can I? You have yet to publish your proposals) but the way this matter has been handled has already put me off before I have even seen the details. I will be interested to see your thought on my criticisms of how this matter has been handled, the behaviour of the NME in actively and deliberately withholding information from its members & refusing to discuss this matter with them and look forward to seeing your proposals in full.

Many thanks,

Alex Agius.

Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Conservative Future Area Chairman.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Pre-Conference Ratings

It's that time again already... Please click the link below and take a moment to fill out the ten questions here. Just did it and it takes less than a minute!

TB will re run this survey the week after Birmingham and see how the results change.