Changes to the Conservative Party Constitution or How to give more power to the hierarchy
At a meeting of the National Convention held on 25th November in Birmingham the following changes to the Conservative Party Constitution were discussed and passed to be formally proposed at the next National Convention meeting on 16th March 2018. About 100 members turned up on 25th November for this meeting out of the 1,000 members of the Convention. For only the second time in the last fifteen years ordinary Party members were excluded from the Convention even as observers.
If these rule changes go through you may as well bring down the final curtain on the Conservative Party and on it will the written:
The Tory Party. The End
1) “Constituency Associations” are abolished.
In future we will just have “Associations” which will consist of one or more Constituency Associations.
This is a sad day. For 150 years the Constituency Association has been the building block of the Conservative Party. No longer. This is the management of decline.
2) The Annual Meeting of the National Convention to be abolished.
Voting for Officers of the Convention will now be done “online”. Officers will give reports “online”
This means that there will be no hustings meeting at which the candidates will speak. It also means that there cannot be questions to the candidates. In the early days of the Convention a motion was passed calling for hustings at which the candidates were questioned. The motion was passed overwhelmingly. The Officers ignored it. Now there is no chance. Also no opportunity to question the Officers on their reports. This is North Korean style democracy.
Why don’t they just abolish the National Convention and have an Annual General Meeting to which every member is invited and at which the Party Chairman is elected by the members?
3) Selection of Candidates to be centrally controlled.
15 SELECTION OF CANDIDATES
15.1 The selection of all candidates, including Parliamentary, Police Commissioners, Elected Mayors and local government candidates shall follow a process in accordance with rules and guidance published from time to time by the Committee on Candidates of the Board of the Party (as established under Schedule 6 of the Party Constitution)
All further articles up to and including 15.2.5 to be removed
The entire section of the Constitution which spells out the way in which candidates are to be selected has been deleted. All selection will now be determined by the Committee on Candidates which will also determine the procedures for selecting candidates. So a small group of appointed people unaccountable to the membership will now determine all candidates. This small group of unaccountable people will effectively decide who shall become a Conservative Member of Parliament and from them who will be in Government. What happened to democracy? This is disgraceful. It shows complete contempt for the people. What have we come to?
By adopting this proposal the last vestiges of any rights for Party members has been eliminated. Now they have no rights at all!
4) Conservative Policy Forum
Under the existing Constitution:
65 The Board shall appoint a Director of the Conservative Policy Forum whose responsibilities shall include the formation of a structure to co-ordinate the activities of the Political Deputy Chairmen of the Area Management Executives and Constituency Associations.
This is to be replaced by:
65 The Board shall appoint a Director of the Conservative Policy Forum on the recommendation of the Chairman of the National Convention, whose responsibilities shall include co-ordinating the policy-related activities of the Associations and Area Management Executives.
Why should the Chairman of the National Convention recommend the Director of the Conservative Policy Forum – to increase his power or a nice bit of cronyism?
66.3 Three representatives elected by the Political Deputy Chairmen of the Area Management Executives in accordance with the provisions of Schedule 5 .
This provision of the Constitution was never adhered to so instead of enforcing it what did they do? Delete it! So now, every member of the Council of the Conservative Policy Forum is appointed. Jobs for the boys!
5) Area Councils
The Constitution states:
4 Any member of an Association within an Area may stand for election within that Area to the Area Management Executive provided they are proposed and seconded by members of an Area Council in the Area in which they are standing for election.
5 The election shall take place at the meeting of the Area Council. The election shall be by secret ballot. The Returning Officer shall be a member of the professional staff of the Party, nominated for the purpose by the Board.
The only problem is that there is no requirement for members to be told when the date of the meeting of the Area Council is or indeed who are members of it, so they have become self perpetuating oligarchies.
6) National Convention
The existing Constitution states that:
5 Any nominee for any such office or post referred to in Paragraph 2.2 herein shall have been a Member of the National Convention for not less than two years.
This is now replaced by:
5 Any nominee for any such office or post referred to in Paragraph 2.2 herein shall have been a Member of the National Convention for not less than the two years preceding the date of close of nominations.
So you cannot stand for office until you are in the third year as a member and are currently a member The effect of this is that none of the officers will have any long term historical knowledge of the workings of the Convention
6 Any nominee for the office of President shall have been an elected member of the Board for one year.
This is changed to:
6 Any nominee for the office of President shall have been an elected member of the Board for one year preceding the date of close of nominations.
Same comment as above
It is time for the Conservative Members of Parliament to stop being so supine and get off sitting on their hands and oppose these changes. If they don’t, then at the next General Election the only activists left in their constituencies will be themselves!