ConservativeHome held its first movement awards last night and a full list of winners are pasted at the bottom of this post. Pictured is George Osborne MP receiving the award for ‘Best Campaign’ from Stephan Shakespeare of YouGov and yesterday’s ‘master of ceremonies’. If you weren’t there last night you can watch the whole awards ceremony at 7pm tonight on 18 Doughty Street Talk TV.
More than 2,000 members of the ConservativeHome Members’ Panel voted for last night’s award winners. The fact that David Cameron won the Environmental Champion Award – rather than climate change sceptics Ruth Lea and Bjorn Lomborg – only goes to prove that I didn’t manipulate the voting! Even I have to admit, however, that David Cameron’s success at putting green causes at the top of the national agenda is an enormous tribute to the Tory leader’s political skills. David Cameron’s video message to last night’s event will be posted here later today and you can hear him describe ConservativeHome as "infuriating" but "good value"!
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne gave the main speech of the evening after collecting the ‘Best Campaign’ award for his chairmanship of the Cameron leadership bid. George used his remarks to announce that the Conservative Party is launching a major initiative to increase transparency of government spending. See the Follow Your Money website here and, later today, there’ll be more about this initiative on ToryDiary. George paid tribute to ConservativeHome as a powerful voice in the Conservative Party and a sign of healthy internal democracy.
George faced calls for lower taxes from a number of presenters and award winners. Fraser Nelson of The Spectator (who presented The Taxpayers’ Alliance with its highly deserved ‘One To Watch’ award) and Jonathan Isaby (who presented Wandsworth’s Russell King with the ‘TaxCutter’ award – read his acceptance speech here) both looked pointedly at the Shadow Chancellor when they spoke about the importance of lower taxation for economic prosperity. The Shadow Chancellor faced a different kind of pressure at the end of the evening when Iain Duncan Smith called for the Tories to put Britain’s overstretched military at the front of the spending queue.
After last night’s success the aim is to make the ConservativeHome Awards an annual affair and make next year’s event a much bigger deal. That will mean more notice than three weeks (!), proper sponsorship and an attendance of hundreds. The aim is to make it an annual showcase for the best thinking and activity within the broad conservative family. Next year we’ll probably aim to see a few more grassroots Tories and organisations win some deserved recognition.
FULL LIST OF AWARD WINNERS
NEW TECHNOLOGY: GRANT SHAPPS MP
"For innovative use of email and internet campaigning to build broad and deep links with constituents."
ONE TO WATCH: THE TAXPAYERS’ ALLIANCE
"For championing the beleagured taxpayer at a time when all mainstream
political parties are failing to offer significant relief from
Britain’s record tax burden."
OUTSTANDING PARLIAMENTARIAN: RICHARD BACON MP
leading the exposure of Charles Clarke’s prisoner release scandal and
fashioning the news event that has come to define Labour incompetence."
BEST CAMPAIGN: GEORGE OSBORNE MP
victorious campaign to elect David Cameron as Tory leader, chaired by
George Osborne, succeeded because of its contagious optimism, its
clarity and consistency of message, and its dramatic employment of
broadcast and new media."
ENVIRONMENTAL CHAMPION: RT HON DAVID CAMERON MP
using his leadership of the Conservative Party to put the health of the
natural environment at the top of Britain’s political agenda."
Matthew receives his award (right) from Karen Bradley, PPC for Staffordshire Moorlands. The Times’ columnist took off his jacket and showed a shirt with holes in it. He reported that it was an old shirt of Alan Duncan’s that some rats had nibbled! He went on to compare ConservativeHome to a wasp but said: "At least it’s our wasp".
TAXCUTTER: WANDSWORTH’S CONSERVATIVES
"For delivering a consistently low tax burden at the same time as innovative and high quality local services."
SOCIAL JUSTICE: RT HON IAIN DUNCAN SMITH MP
using his leadership of the Conservative Party to champion Britain’s
hardest-pressed communities and to have become the thought leader of
Britain’s compassionate conservatives."
Awards were also given to Frank Field MP for ‘Independent Spirit’ and the ‘Patriot’ Award was given to British troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.