The CVs are in and all copied for the Sift Committee, who are calling to collect them tomorrow. For the record (as you might as well hear it from me, rather than wonder whether you should believe the rumours) there were exactly 100 applicants. Nowhere near as many as we were expecting. A few calls to people we were expecting to apply but who did not do so indicated that many were dissuaded as they felt the seat was simple "out of their grasp". This is a shame, but it was their decision and the chance has now passed.
One of the things I often hear from friends on the Candidates' List is how little information they receive, that they are often only called for interview at a few days notice (having to cancel events already in their diary) and that they too often find out that they have not progressed to the next round when they read it on Conservative Home. We are determined to treat all applicants fairly and with respect, and to this end our first task was to data capture their names and addresses and send them each an email, thanking them for their interest, setting out the timetable (so they can hold dates and plan their lives) and explaining the local process. Once again, for the sake of transparency, a copy of that email may be read HERE. One question I will be putting to CCHQ once it is all over and the dust has settled, why is this still being done on paper? Surely if we expect local government candidates to complete an electronic application form, which can be emailed, we can ask our parliamentary candidates to do likewise?
Already over 100 residents have booked to attend! Not bad in four hours!
Then a call from Joyce Gadd, President of Chatham & Aylesford Association, who was in charge of the Envelope Packing Team. They had run out of supplies and work was grinding to a halt. This took priority as 500 additional Christmas Draw reply forms were printed and sent around as a matter of urgency. I learnt very early on - don't upset the envelope packers! (Joyce did kindly send back a tin of home made chocolate cake - which was gratefully received).
I then signed-off the design of the invitations, which will be delivered to 25,000 homes in the weeks leading up to the Open Primary. These are going to print tomorrow and will be with us next week!
Finally, a couple of words of wisdom. if you are a Parliamentary hopeful:
- Do remember to write your name on the application form. It would be a tragedy if you were selected for interview but we didn't know who you were!
- If you are going to lift whole paragraphs from the agent's briefing note and insert it into your CV, try to remember to correct my spelling errors!
- If you are applying for a Kent constituency and wish to reinforce your support for Kent's outstanding education system, try to remember that we have Grammar Schools and not Grammer Schools.
Off for a Chinese meal - over and out!