Greig Baker is the Chairman of the Canterbury Conservatives Association.
At a Special General Meeting on Wednesday night, the Canterbury Conservatives passed a series of important motions regarding our aspirations for our party.
We have decided to act now for three reasons.
First, we have brilliant candidates standing in our local elections next week who offer experience from charities, local businesses, the public sector, special forces, the local student body, and more besides. They do not deserve to suffer because of public anger with national politics. While Westminster chases its own tail, our local candidates are working to balance the Council’s books, clean our beaches, and build a new hospital in Canterbury.
Second, we believe that true Conservative values are more important – and more popular – than ever before. People just want to hear about them. We are determined to keep setting out our stall and find the Conservative supporters in every part of our community (knocking one myth on the head, we have four Canterbury undergraduate students standing for us next week). We don’t just want to be members of the Conservative Party – we want to be proud of it.
And third, we want to help restore trust in politics. It is taking a right bashing at the moment so we will make a stand. If people are to keep faith in our political system, politicians need to honour democratic decisions and the promises they make.
So, three reasons to act and three goals: support great Conservative candidates; promote Conservative values; and restore trust. At our Special General Meeting we agreed a motion to help achieve each of these.
The first motion states:
“The Association will publish our statement of principles. The Canterbury Conservative Party declares that:
- We will help those who need help most, first;
- We will promote opportunity;
- We will encourage responsibility;
- We will protect freedom;
- We will defend democracy.”
What do these principles mean in practise? We know that true Conservative values are the best way to help the people who need help most. The rich and the powerful can look after themselves, so we want to focus on everyone else.
We will always try to reduce the burden of the state so people can spend their time and effort on helping their families, communities, and country. We support laws that hold people responsible for anti-social behaviour and crimes that damage community life. As long as no-one is being hurt, we will also challenge the state’s right to tell people what to do, what to say, and what to think. And we will demand that politicians always honour democratic decisions – and that includes delivering Brexit.
The second motion states:
“The Association will open our parliamentary candidate selection immediately to choose a candidate who is, or will be, on the Conservatives’ Approved Candidates List.”
We need a parliamentary candidate. If we are going to work our socks off to get them elected – and we will – local members must have a say over who it is.
We appreciate that, in recent years, this process has been announced by CCHQ. We also understand that, in the unlikely event that proposed boundary reforms go through, the constituency would be affected. We want to work with the national party to get the best person for the job and we want to start the process now.
The third motion states:
“The Association endorses the Chair’s position regarding a no-confidence motion in Theresa May at a meeting of the National Convention.”
This position is taken somberly and as a necessary measure to restore trust in our national politics.
All three of these motions were carried by an overwhelming majority. Being a member of the party is about more than delivering leaflets – our local Conservative party is taking the initiative, standing up for true Conservative values and looking to the future.