Last Saturday the Conservative Party held its Spring Forum and National Convention. The venue was not disclosed to Party members until the day before, presumably on security grounds although there was a large demonstration outside the venue so security was not that great!
The Agenda for the Spring Forum was:
10.00 Start of AM Conference Sessions.
13.00 to 14.00 Lunch
That's it - no proper agenda at all. So what did we get?
A speech from Boris Johnson
A speech from David Cameron
A speech from Theresa May
A Campaigning talk with questions.
So no political discussion, no debate, no standing orders for debate, no question and answer sessions with the politicians, and Cameron in his speech specifically agreed with Boris Johnson not to talk about Europe. I do not recall any Spring Forum where there was no opportunity to discuss or even have a question and answer session on political issues. This was the platform talking down to the members. It used to be the members Forum held so that the Party hierarchy could hear the members views!
Then we come to the National Convention Agenda:
14.00 Meeting of the National Conservative Convention -
The Party Review (Party members are welcome to attend). but not speak!
This consisted of three presentations at length by Lord Feldman followed by questions and answers.
This is the classic way to push things through without any votes. The final result will be presented at the meeting of the National Convention in October so Party members are to be denied any say in the matter. Items such as democracy, accountability, transparency are not covered in the review so will be absent from the proposals.
Some of the proposals are sensible, but others will be a disaster. Nothing in them will increase membership, indeed some of them will undoubtedly hit membership.
Under the Party Constitution there has to be an Annual Meeting of the Convention. Last year it was postponed due it is said because of the General Election, although members of the Convention had no say in the matter. You might have thought that with this Convention we would revert back to the original practise. No! Not a word was said about the Annual Meeting, there were no elections, in spite of the Party's Constitution saying that no officer of the Convention can be on it for longer than three years. All ignored. Did any member of the Convention protest? No! They have been beaten into submission by the oligarchy running the Party. So no opportunity to ask about bullying in the Party or transparency in the way the Party spends money at by-elections.
Where oh where are the Lord Wooltons who listened to "the little people" or Eric Chalkers who kept the Party organisation on its toes. All gone!. The National Convention is no longer fit for purpose and should be abolished.
Never in the field of Party organisation has so much contempt been shown for Party members. Those running the Party should hang their heads in shame.