By Tim Montgomerie
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Above and below are clippings from the ConHome Party Conference newspaper.
Last year ConservativeHome's Party Conference newspaper highlighted the high cost of attending Tory Conference. Based on a survey of ConHome readers we calculated that the average attendee was spending £722 on conference. We and the many journalists who followed up on the story noted that these autumn conferences were no longer dominated by rank-and-file members but by journalists, NGOs and lobbyists. We revealed that barely a third of people registered for last year's gathering in Manchester were grassroots Tories. The end result was many empty seats during David Cameron's closing speech. That had never happened before.
It seems that the co-Chairman of our party, Baroness Warsi and Lord Feldman, were listening. In a Valentine's Day email they announce a cut-price conference deal for early birds who book their conference arrangements now.
Here's the text of their message:
"Postbags are full. Inboxes are over-flowing. All across the country, people’s letterboxes are snapping open and closed today. You will, we hope, have received lots of expressions of love today. And to add to the pile, here is another from someone else who loves you – the Conservative Party!
As Co-Chairmen, we agree that we should go the extra mile to show much we care for our Members. And like all good relationships: we have listened to you.
Last year, we heard a lot of concerns about the high cost of Party Conference. People said – rightly – that it was costing ordinary Members too much to come spend quality time with the Party.
So this year, we’re doing everything we can to bring the cost down for Birmingham 2012. Special deals with hotels. Early bird discounts on Conference passes. Cheap local travel around Birmingham. A new Final Day pass for Members. And special discounts for delegates in association with Chiltern Rail.
All this means that if you book right now, you can get to Conference for under £300 – less than half what many people spent last year. These offers are both time and quantity limited. So don’t delay – contact us today!
The dates of Conference will be 7 – 10 October 2012. As the saying goes, it doesn’t cost the earth to say that you love someone. So let’s fall in love all over again at Conference this year!
Happy Valentine’s Day
Andrew and Sayeeda"
As soon as I get a weblink to this opportunity I'll post it (here's the weblink) and hopefully despite being "quantity limited" it will turn Conference into a more affordable thing for grassroots members. A great initiative by Sayeeda and Andrew. Thank you.