|Guest of Honour: Mark Reckless MP|
Yesterday's Chatham & Aylesford Strawberry Tea was a super event by every definition.
Over 70 people booked tickets - including many non-members who had seen it advertised and asked to come along. Many of those had attended their first Conservative event a few months ago, when Dan Hannan MEP spoke at a pub lunch, and were no doubt attracted to the chance of hearing Mark Reckless MP, who shares Dan's political outlook.
Such a large turnout is a sign of an active and vibrant organisation. Most of those present will also be politically active come the election. Chatham & Aylesford have always been focused on winning elections; usually able to turn out canvassing teams of 20+ and get the entire constituency delivered with leaflets within 4 days. In the two years leading up to the 2010 General Election we delivered one million pieces of paper, and during the four weeks of the "short campaign" we put out on average a leaflet per week, in addition to what was distributed via the Election Freepost! It's no wonder that when deciding their target seats, the strength of our local organisation ensured Labour pushed C&A down their list of targets, so it is now below 100 in order of priority. This must have come as a bitter blow to Labour's local organisers following their failure to make inroads at the 2011 and 2013 local elections.
The big lesson for the Party from yesterday however is even with a difficult national political climate, with popular elected representatives and a strong and focused local team it is still possible to grow your organisation, bring new people in and make a lot of money. Despite tickets being just £5.00, with the raffle and a few donations from members who could not attend, the event raised almost £1,000 for Tracey's re-election campaign. And this is just the first of three General Election events planned for this year. And unlike Labour; every single penny of it raised from small voluntary contributions of local supporters, not a penny-piece from Unite or any other Trades Union.
|Flowers for the Scone Maker in Chief.|
Joyce Hall, celebrating her 89th Birthday
Formidable Conservative Women plate-up
|Magnificent views from Bluebell Hill across Medway Valley|