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Carswell Douglas Central LobbyDouglas Carswell is Conservative MP for Clacton. Follow him on Twitter or read his blog.

It’s not all doom and gloom.  Here in my part of Essex, our brand of Conservatism actually seems to be doing rather well.

“Wind turbine Toryism” might be struggling a little elsewhere.  But in my experience the appetite for small-state, direct democracy Conservatism has never been stronger.

Take our local Association membership, for example.  Nationally, fewer folk each year seem to join political parties.  Not here.  Over the past year alone, over a hundred new members have joined, including young people and families.

Far from struggling to find local candidates to field in local council elections, as was once the case, our local Association has been inundated with applications from local residents wanting to serve their community – even in seats we’ve not held for decades.

Elsewhere, Tory modernisers might agonise over whether to wear black tie to black and white parties.  Here we hold regular supper evenings in the local town hall, open to every local resident.

Local folk come as they are – and in droves.  Whether to listen to culture minister, Jeremy Hunt, talking about the Olympics over fish and chips, or Chris Grayling, discussing welfare reform over curry, we could have filled the town hall twice over.

Britain is, it seems to me, crying out for a popular Conservative alternative.  Offer it, and the punters will come.

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