Thursday, 16 May 2013

Never standing still

We might be at a low point of the political cycle, but I have never believed this should be used as an excuse for standing still. At the County Council elections, our three strongest performances each saw the Conservative vote share decline by just 3% - 4% compared with 2009, and in each of these wards our local teams delivered between 5 - 7 leaflets.   Whereas our three weakest performances (where the vote fell by 15%+) saw just two leaflets. I have never seen clearer evidence actions leading to outcome.

Similarly with membership recruitment. Yes, it's tough, but we need to see the opportunities and not be discouraged by the apparent gloom (or perhaps I should say, not use the gloom as a reason for doing nothing!)  We are presently polling around 31% compared with 37% at the General Election.  What this actually means is for every 100 people who voted for us at the General Election, 83 of them are still with us. But more importantly, given where we are politically, clearly those 83 are loyal, and supportive of what we have achieved.

So rather than using the missing 17% as a reason for doing nothing, shouldn't we be identifying the 83% and asking them to join us? Our County Council canvassing demonstrated that those who are still with us are determinedly so; had they been tempted by UKIP they would have gone by now, and the one thing which absolutely unites them is a determination to prevent Ed Miliband and Ed Balls from running the country.

So that's just what we are doing in Tonbridge & Malling. In June we will be running our largest recruitment campaign for a decade. All that has to be decided is the scale - either 5,000, 10,000 or 20,000 targets. I suspect we will settle on 10,000, but that's one of the decisions next week's Management Committee must take. The recruitment will be linked to Sir John Stanley's retirement and the prospect of participating in the selection of the new Parliamentary candidate, something the Association has not done for 40 years.

Here is the new recruitment leaflet and form which we will send with the letter. I have spent quite some time today trying to find the right words to overcome the main objection to joining; fear of the expectation that if they join they will have to 'get involved'.

As always, I am happy to share my work and if you think what I have produced would be helpful to you locally, please feel free to copy my ideas.

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