In the Hot Seat - Philip Hammond
Our previous 'In the Hot Seat' session with The Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles MP (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) was a tremendous success. 'In the Hot Seat' is becoming increasingly popular, attracting large and varied audiences. Our next confirmed speaker is The Rt. Hon. Philip Hammond MP (Secretary of State for Defence).
Philip Hammond will be speaking at our sixth bimonthly 'In the Hot Seat' session on Wednesday 18 June 2014. More details to follow soon.
Other speakers to have attended Conservative Voice’s 'In the Hot Seat' sessions:
- The Rt. Hon. Eric Pickles MP (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)
- The Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling MP (Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice)
- The Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP (Secretary of State for Health)
- The Rt. Hon. Michael Gove MP (Secretary of State for Education)
- The Rt. Hon. Patrick McLoughlin MP (Secretary of State for Transport)
Kanto - The Future of Canvassing
On Saturday 5 April the Conservative Voice team went canvassing in support of Alex Chalk, Cheltenham’s Conservative Parliamentary Candidate.
We were very lucky to be testing a newly developed state-of-the-art canvassing software called Kanto. Kanto allows users to directly enter data digitally whilst on the doorstep. The data is entered using a portable tablet device.
The Kanto app worked very smoothly and proved to be popular with everyone who used it. Canvassing with Kanto was an insight into the technological future of Conservative campaigning. We are very excited to see the impact of this technology.
Young People and Politics – Can we breach the divide?
There have always been difficulties in engaging young people in politics. It is a problem that leaders in all parties have long tried to address, but without significant success. While overall voter participation has fallen at general elections in the UK, the decline has been most noticeable in the 18-24 age bracket. According to the British Election Study, in 1970 65% of 18-24 year-olds turned out to vote, by 2005 the figure was under 40%. However, this is just a small part of the overall picture. Young people are more engaged in politics than is commonly thought. Their manner of involvement is unconventional, be it through online petitions, protests or online debates. They increasingly see issue-based politics as a more acceptable form of involvement than voting in general elections, often feeling unable to commit to a party.
It is understandable why young people are sometimes put off by Westminster-style politics. There are procedural peculiarities, jargonistic politics-speak and an obsession with party politics. Politicians must take some of the blame for failing to inspire young people. Nobody could accuse young people of being uninterested in tuition fees or youth unemployment, yet we continue to focus on their supposed apathy. Politicians therefore need to find a way of connecting with young people so that they want to get involved. The most obvious way is to embrace the hyper-accountability and proximity of politicians online through Twitter, Facebook, Buzzfeed and other platforms.
Offering young people the chance to do internships or work experience in Parliament, as I do, is also an excellent way of giving young people valuable experience as well as introducing them to the world of Westminster politics. Anything that brings politicians closer to voters can only be a good thing.
However, what needs to change more fundamentally is the style of Conservatism and targeted policies. It is too often put forward as a negative message: as a party sceptical of change. At its best, though, Conservatism is also the message of aspiration and social mobility. I believe that everyone should be given the opportunity to a good education, a fair job market and success based on hard-work, ambition and ability.
Politicians need to talk in a way that young people understand,
without condescension. They also need to talk about issues that affect new voters and capture their imagination, and allow them to contribute constructively. A focus on issues, which only affect families and the elderly, creates a vicious circle of non-engagement amongst younger demographics. Young people are involved in politics, but we must harness their views in a way that informs policy discussion and encourages frank expression of views. As Conservatives, we have a duty to ensure long-term sustainability and it is essential that we encourage young people into the process of making decisions for our future.
Dr. Phillip Lee MP
Conservative Voice Event at Stanway House
Conservative Voice’s South West Regional Coordinator Tony Hilder has organised an event for Friday 4th April 2014, 7pm. The event is taking place at Stanway House Gloucestershire home of the Earl of Wemyss. The speakers will be The Rt. Hon. Dominic Grieve QC MP - Attorney-General and Alex Chalk - Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Cheltenham and the chairman will be Ashley Fox MEP – South West & Gibraltar. Drinks will be served in the Great Hall prior to the debate and supper will be served afterwards. There will be an opportunity to see the famous Stanway Fountain.
The next day on the 5th April a team of Conservative Voice members will go canvassing in support of local PPC Alex Chalk.After canvassing in the morning we will be sure to find a nice spot for lunch. If you would like to join us or you want further information email email@example.com.
In the Hot Seat
The highly successful bi monthly meetings with a Cabinet Minister continues to attract a large audience. The most recent Cabinet Member in the hot seat was the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP (Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice). A large audience in the Thatcher Room at Portcullis House heard Chris deliver an enlightening speech on the significant changes he is pioneering within the Justice brief. A wide range of questions were asked with the audience unanimous in their view that Chris had delivered real substance in language that communicated with great effect.
The formula for these sessions is proving very popular. One hour starting at 6.00 p.m. and including a speech by the Minister and forty five minutes of questions. The next session is on the 25th March with the Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP as speaker. If you would like to attend, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Given the popularity of the events and limited places, I urge an early application.
We are currently in discussion with the Home Secretary’s office regarding a date in the summer for the Rt Hon Theresa May MP to be Cabinet speaker number six.