Monday, March 31, 2014

Lord Tebbit gets it right on Party membership

In an article for Brietbart Ben Harris-Quinney wrote on March 25th:

The Bow Group, the UK's oldest conservative think-tank, hosted a “State of the Party” lecture last week, delivered by Lord Tebbit. The Thatcher-era cabinet minister expressed a desire to see a change of leadership so we can feel like conservatives again and feel like the Prime Minister is “a son of Thatcher and not a son of Tony Blair”. But he felt there was a more important consideration; the extent to which a future leader is willing to enfranchise the party membership:
“We need a leadership with an attachment to the grassroots, and one that spends less time on focus groups and opinion polls and much more establishing a network of constituency associations and agents to rebuild the membership.
"When eventually it comes to choosing the next leader, it’s not about whether we go left or right, but whether we will be a top down, narrowly focused party run by an elite, or a bottom up party run by like-minded, anti-statist minded people.”
After a disastrous decade of party membership, another 10 years of the same would ensure that the Conservative Party ceases to exist. An ideological conservative won’t be enough. Tories also need a leader who is willing to drive freedom and democracy within the Conservative Party for the long term, pushing power down and out through local Tory branches, and empowering and attracting members.

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