By Harry Phibbs
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Baroness Warsi had one of the first speeches to deliver to the Party Conference in Manchester and also one of the most difficult. There has been plenty of criticism that she been too low profile, too deferential towards the coalition to champion the Conservative Party's interest.
On the other hand under her Chairmanship the Party has had a good year. Gravity was defied to increase the number of councils and councillors controlled by the Conservatives. There was also the decisive victory for the No campaign in the AV referendum despite the leaders of Labour and the Lib Dems backing the Yes campaign.
In her speech she said:
Let me let you in on something.
As proud as I am of the Coalition, as charming as Chris Huhne is to me I have a single driving ambition as Chairman of this Party: to win an outright Conservative Majority in 2015.
For the Party Chairman to voice such sentiments should hardly be required in normal times. But these are not normal times.
She went on to stress that the modernising, inclusive effort should go beyond the passive matter of not discriminating against people. It should involve an active effort to reach out to those who might be suspicious of the Conservative Party.
He said it’s not enough simply to say: the door is open.
We must walk out and welcome new people in.
Britain is changing and we must keep changing. Adapting and reaching out.
Not in the way that the Left do.
Not by Labour’s cynical pandering.
But by saying loudly and proudly that our values are the values of Britain’s communities.
So today I make this appeal: To every person in this land.
To every Christian, Hindu, Jew, Sikh and Muslim… To people of all faiths and of none.
To every person, Black, White or Brown.
Of every culture, every community, every sexuality, able or disabled.
Every class and every creed: Join the Party that attracted me.
This is the modern, Compassionate Conservative Party.
A Party that’s open, that’s inclusive, that’s welcoming.
While the priority for the next year was identified as Boris Johnson re-election as Mayor of London next year she stressed that the broader priority was the next General Election which she seemed quite clear would be in 2015:
Growing our grassroots across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
All these things are vital for 2015.
And that starts now.
Every pound we raise.
Every pound we spend.
Every leaflet we deliver.
Every call we make.
Every candidate we select.
Every member we take.
It’s all about 2015.
Perhaps this passage was inspired by that Police hit Every Breath You Take.
I would have liked a bit more detail about what is being done to improve the Party organisation. What of the mystery shopping exercise earlier this year which showed of those who applied to join the Conservative Party over half had no reply, 10% were told the Party was close to new members and some were told that an interview must first be passed. So far as I can gather this disgraceful response applied equally to men and women, black and white, rich and poor. What is Baroness Waris doing about it?