Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Does this new youthful face ring a Bell?

All across the UK, Conservative activists are opening their 2015 Conference Handbooks and staring in amazement at the new and youthful Steve Bell. The above "before and after" photographs show what an amazing transformation there has been in the last 3 years. 

Social media platforms and the comments pages on Breitbart, ConHome and Guido are awash with people inferring that Conference Organisers have used the magic of airbrush to ensure our President doesn't frighten the horses, but I can now exclusively reveal the secret of his truly remarkable transformation:

Special Offer for all Conservative Associations: buy a jar of BELL-O-GENICS anti-aging cream and with one simple application you can turn all your hard and crusty old activists into a new and youthful foot soldiers. 

Exclusively available from Andrew or Jon at the West Kent stall in the Market Place. 

Friday, 25 September 2015

Canterbury Tales

In the train en route to meet Canterbury Council Leader, Simon Cook. 

Shortly before arriving at Canterbury, two charming elderly ladies sitting opposite me started to gather their belongings.

"Do you think Canterbury's historical connection with pilgrimage and Christianity might result in the town displaying outwardly higher moral standards than most?' asked one lady, hopefully. 

Her friend gave the question a few moments careful consideration before replying, "I cannot see how living in close proximity to such values could not have a cleansing effect, though I fear the young will have been corrupted by modern sins, as they have been almost everywhere else."

Knowing many Canterbury Conservatives very well I was tempted to reply, 'I can assure you none of the young people I know in Canterbury have been so afflicted' but I could hardly lie to two nuns, could I? 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

ABC = Always Be Campaigning

Hot on the heels of our two recent by-elections, we are off again tomorrow as we set our sights on five opposition held seats at next May's local elections. 

Thirty packers will be working in shifts up to 9pm to pack 14,000 Residents' Surveys - which will landing on the doormats on Saturday.  The desks are polished, supplies printed and mail-merged, doughnuts ordered and we're ready to go. 

As Cllr John Moss says, 'Always Be Campaigning'.

Fighting Farage - how we won South Thanet

The Chairman and Officers of Leybourne and The Mallings Branch warmly invite you to their popular annual Cottage Pie Supper. This will be held at Kings Hill Community Centre, Discovery Drive, Kings Hill ME19 4LG on Saturday 7 November 2015 commencing at 7pm.  Tickets are just £15.00 per person including a two course meal. 

This year's Guest Speaker will be South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay.

Craig will speak of his epic battle in the glare of the world's media when he took on and beat UKIP leader Nigel Farage; a fascinating tale which will enthrall all lovers of politics and current affairs. 

To book your tickets for what will undoubtedly be a sell-out event please print and return the booking form below along with your cheque. Alternatively, it would save you the effort of finding your cheque book and buying a stamp if you booked and paid for your tickets online using our secure server. 

Leybourne & The Mallings Supper
Book online using a
credit/debit card or PayPal

Friday, 18 September 2015

£30 to enter Ann Widdecombe's draws

It's not often one gets such an opportunity, and at £30 it's quite a bargain. 

Tomorrow around 5,000 local members and donors will receive a letter from Ann Widdecombe inviting them to support our latest venture; a 500 Club Monthly Draw which, if fully subscribed, will raise £15,000 per year. Of this £7,500 will be returned to members in prizes and a further £7,500 retained for the campaign fund. Between now and the 2020 General  Election we aim to raise £37,500 profit - enough to cover the bulk of parliamentary campaign costs across all five West Kent constituencies.

Membership of the 500 Club is £30 per year for entry into a monthly draw with the following prizes:

  • A monthly prize of £100
  • Every other month a bonus prize of £300
  • Each six months a super £1,000
  • A Christmas star prize of £2,500
Making a total annual prize fund of £7,500

Tickets are now on sale with the first draw in January 2016.  Proceeds will be divided pro-rata based on the 500 Club membership, so - for example - if Faversham & Mid Kent Association sell 28% of the numbers they will receive 28% of the profit. Simple and fair. 

There may also be an opportunity for other Kent Associations to participate on the same profit-share basis. If any Association is interested please contact me for information -

If you fancy a flutter you can buy your 500 Club membership online using PayPal/credit or debit card by clicking HERE

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

West Kent Tea at Conservative Party Conference.

All members and friends of West Kent Conservatives are warmly invited to attend our hugely popular Afternoon Tea at Conservative Party Conference, Manchester. 

This will be held from 4pm - 5.30pm on Monday 5th October 2015.

This is the sixth year we have hosted an Afternoon Tea, which is becoming a 'must go' event due to the exclusive and unusual venues we choose and the high quality of the catering provided. This year is no exception, as we have booked private use of the conservatory at the award-winning Richmond Tea Rooms in Richmond Street (just off Canal Street). This venue doubles-up as a burlesque cabaret bar in the evenings - so expect a touch of glamour with your scones!

Tickets are £18 per person for a full Afternoon Tea (finger sandwiches, cream scones, home made cakes and a pot of tea from their extensive tea menu). 

We are delighted that this year Baroness Emma Pidding CBE will be our guests of honour. 

Our preferred booking / payment method is online via our secure server, using a credit or debit card. See below. Alternatively you may send a cheque (payable to West Kent Conservatives) to Campaign HQ, Suite 3, Business Centre, Commercial Road, Paddock Wood, TN12 6EN. If paying by cheque please write 'Conference Tea' on the reverse along with the name(s) of those attending.

West Kent Conference Tea
How many guests?

Please note: booking and payment must be received by Friday 25 September 2015. This is necessary as regrettably in previous years a number of people have said they would attend and then failed to come (and pay) on the day. This has resulted in the event losing money and needing to be subsidised by West Kent Conservatives. This is a social event, not a fund raiser, and we only charge for tickets what we are being charged by the venue. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Shame on you, Jeremy Corbyn

As a Libertarian I understand that an hereditary head of state is a difficult concept for many to people accept, though I should add I am not one of them. 

Holding republican views is not an unreasonable position and should not in itself debar Jeremy Corbyn from public office. However this afternoon he was attending the Battle of Britain Memorial Service as Leader of the Opposition, not as Jeremy Corbyn, and as such he should have respected the protocol.

I am sure Her Majesty felt total revulsion when she was asked to shake hands with Martin McGuinness, but she did what was expected of her, as did Prince Charles when he shook the hand of Gerry Adams. And when doing so they both acted with dignity and decorum, despite the fact that McGuinness and Adams are apologists for those who murdered Lord Mountbatten.

I think some of the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn have been just and fair and some have been a touch hysterical. But his actions today were unbefitting of a man who wishes to be Prime Minister.  

Jeremy Corbyn should not be ashamed of his republic views, but he should be ashamed of being a graceless prig.

Monday, 14 September 2015

I back Zac - and here's why...

Had I lived in London and had a vote I would have found choosing a Conservative mayoral candidate very difficult. All four are qualified. All have the technical, political and administrative skills. All have the education and ability. But being Mayor of our great, vibrant and iconic city is not just about management; it's also about having the vision, style and pizzazz to carry it off. Whether we like it or not Ken had it, even though I loathed what he stood for.  Steve Norris had it.  And Boris has it in spades.

The issue I have with Stephen Greenhalgh is I simply don't think he can win, and I haven't met anyone else who thinks he can either.  Likewise Andrew Boff - but he has the added problem than whenever I hear him speak I get the impression that he doesn't think he can win. And that comes across.  So this leaves me with the two front runners. 

Economically and politically I am probably closer to Syed Kamall, though I support Zac's views on personal liberty, direct democracy and accountability. Both candidates will secure the core Conservative vote and both will appeal to different constituencies outside our traditional base. So far so good.

But therein lies the problem. London is not, and hasn't been for 25 years, a Conservative city. We are not going to win on the Conservative vote alone.  We therefore need a candidate who will reach out beyond the Conservative base and secure sufficient 2nd preference votes to take us over the line. 

Given neither candidate will court the 2nd preferences of UKIP, BNP or Respect, the only 2nd preferences available to us will be the 9% who last time supported LibDems and the Greens.  And it doesn't take a genius to work out which Conservative will most likely appeal to LibDems and Greens.

As I said at the top of this article, I don't live in London, I don't have a vote and my endorsement has no value.  But I love London and I don't want to see it back in the hands of a Socialist. That is why in this election I am going to put my political tribal loyalties aside and take a pragmatic view in favour of the only candidate I believe can build a coalition strong enough to beat Labour.  That candidate is Zac Goldsmith.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Labour moderates beware - they'll be coming for you next

I've read a few tweets today from senior members of Medway Labour Party saying how much they are looking forward to Jeremy's £3.00 entryists Registered Supporters turning up to help at the next Labour Campaign Day. I wouldn't hold your breath. guys. I suspect when there is work to be done, you won't see them for dust. 

In fact, I imagine the next time you see them will be around 2018 when they all turn up to deselect you. 

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the song of angry men?
It is the music of the people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Why activism matters, and the difference it can make

One of the things which most irritates me is when a candidate pompously declares, 

'Campaigning is a waste of time, it never changes anyone's mind'. 

There are several variations of this theme, including...
  • Canvassing does more harm than good
  • People will get angry if we knock on their door
  • One leaflet is sufficient, any more simply don't get read
  • Working on election day is pointless as people have made up their minds
There are two reasons such statements make me angry;

Firstly, stating 'campaigning is pointless' devalues and belittles my life's work and all I have tried to achieve over the last 25 years as an agent / campaigner. 

Secondly, by all means make such statements, but if you are going to do so at least have some evidence to substantiate your claim. (Interestingly, when challenged no-one has ever been able to do so.)

Worse still, when shown evidence to the contrary it is arrogantly dismissed with 'that might be the case in some areas, but  I can assure you that residents of my ward don't like it...'  Cutting to the chase, what they really mean but don't have the balls to say is, 'I am too idle to tramp the streets, so rather than admit I am lazy I will dismiss the evidence and hide behind faux intellectual arguments.'  

For the sake of all those activists who work tirelessly on our behalf and must sometimes wonder if it's all worthwhile, let's look at the stats behind the recent Fant by-election. 

Despite the best efforts of five political parties (plus a random independent) the overall turnout was a disappointing 26%.  However. if we drill down on those numbers a bit more an interesting picture emerges. Having spent five weeks knocking on doors and going back on the outs four times, we now have a pretty comprehensive database of VIs covering almost 65% of electors. From this we know 

The turnout of non-Conservative pledges was 21.5%
The turnout of known/identified Conservative pledges was 44%
Making an overall ward turnout of 26%

In other words, over twice as many known Conservatives turned out to vote as did voters overall. 

No doubt those who seek reasons not to campaign claim this all happened by accident. I beg to differ. It happened because a small army of volunteers gave freely of their time to identify those who might support us, then helped again to ensure those pledges knew how important their vote was and how much we needed them.

So here is a massive thank you to the 60+ volunteers who came to support our Fant campaign and whose hard work and commitment helped deliver victory for Matt Boughton. We really couldn't have won without you.

And to all those who 'don't believe' campaigning matters or makes a difference, please show a little more respect to all those volunteers who are willing to fight for what they believe in rather than taking success (and our supporters) for granted. 

Friday, 11 September 2015

Always Be Campaigning

Our feet ache, we are exhausted - but the show goes on!

Landing on the doormats of Fant today!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Hand written pledge letters

And here are Matt Boughton's pledge letters, which are landing on the doormats of Conservative pledges in Fant as I type. Each one personally addressed by Matt in his own hand (Dear Mr and Mrs XXXX) and delivered in a hand written envelope. 

For those interested, we actually have two by elections in West Kent tomorrow, so everything you see us doing in one is also being replicated in the other!  We are fortunate to have two excellent and hard working candidates who have risen to every challenge. Joe Simmons in Southborough (Tunbridge Wells constituency) and Matt Boughton in Fant (Maidstone constituency). Good luck gentlemen!

Just in case there was any doubt...MORE leaflets = MORE votes

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Latest literature landing on the doormats of Fant today

Latest piece of literature being delivered in Fant today for Matt Boughton - a colour A6 postcard, delivered to pledges. 

Reverse, personalised for each pledge.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Iain 'one direction' Dale

'Why on earth are you following them?' asked Steve, staring at my laptop.

'Who do you mean?' I asked, trying to see what he was referring to. 

'There, One Direction', he said, pointing an accusatory finger at an innocent column on Tweetdeck.
'That's not One Direction's icon, it's Iain Dale.'

Which got me thinking, given Zayn has now left, there is a vacancy.....

Friday, 4 September 2015

Be sure your sins will find you out

Great tale from canvassing in Fant ward earlier this week. 

Matt Boughton walked up a pathway. At the adjoining door was a canvasser from another party, engaged in conversation and not aware who was standing on the neighbouring step. Just as Matt reached for doorbell he heard the other canvasser tell the resident...
'Are you aware the Tory candidate doesn't
even live in Maidstone...?'

At this point Matt leaned over dividing wall, tapped the culprit on the shoulder, and said...

'Hello, I'm Matt Boughton, the Conservative candidate.
Just to let you know I was born in Maidstone, educated in Maidstone and I have lived in Maidstone all my life.
Why are you telling lies about me?'

At this point the canvasser started blustering and back-peddling. Apparently 'someone' told him Matt wasn't local and he was 'just repeating what he had been told'. 

By now the somewhat irritated resident announced, 'I think I've heard enough' then turning to Matt he gave the thumb's-up and said, 'you've got my vote, son.'   



The power of words and the value of 'thank you'

I have always had a soft spot for small Conservative Associations who punch above their weight and focus their energy on beating the opposition rather than beating-up each other. Such Associations (of which Chatham and Aylesford is a prime example) don't have the numbers or the time to wallow in self indulgent bickering or introspection.

Another example is Hastings & Rye who, despite their own hard-fought battles with Labour at local and national elections, found the time to send a team of seven to Maidstone two weeks ago to help with Matt Boughton's by-election campaign. 

Naturally I thanked them both personally and on my daily blog in which I used the words, 'they fight like lions to keep their constituency Conservative'. 

This morning, out of the blue, this photograph arrived in my inbox. It is of the main Hastings & Rye Conservative Association noticeboard as you enter their office, and there is my quote, suitably adorned with a photograph of a roaring lion. The photo was sent by the Association *Chair, Liam Atkins, with a note of thanks for being so inspirational. 

I am pleased my words hit the spot as they were heartfelt. Acknowledging peoples' hard work and remembering to say 'thank you' is not something we always do well in the Conservative Party.  

* Apparently Liam is the Deputy Chair and also Group Leader, not the Association Chair. 'Mea Culpa' and apologies for any confusion caused! 

Thursday, 3 September 2015

"Something must be done"

I have just taken a call from an MP friend (not from West Kent), somewhat in despair. 

Since May he has received four emails from the same constituent on the following lines: 

1. It's a disgrace that we are not bombing the Islamic State.
2. Foreign aid to third world countries is a waste on money and should be spent on the NHS
3. What are you doing about the immigration crisis at Calais?

Then this morning (following the publication of that harrowing photograph of the drowned child in Italy)

4. What are you proposing to do to help these poor refugees?

So in a nutshell...

"Britain should bomb IS, despite the pain caused to innocent civilians." 
"Britain  should not send any money or aid to assist those displaced by the military intervention I have demanded." 
"Britain should close our borders and turn our backs on those in need." 
"It's a disgrace we you not doing more to help those in need."

Oh what a luxury it must be to inhabit a world of black and white certainties where every issue can be taken in isolation and without any thought to the wider consequences..

and is this not a prime example of how difficult it must now be to govern a country where large numbers of people have lost their moral compass and whose world view is defined by an emotional and too often hypocritical reaction to the latest headline.