24 October 2006

Tory By-Elections Strategy

Wedding and birthday surprise went swimmingly. I'M BACK. In recent times there have been at least 6 to 15 predictable bad news stories per Parliament. That’s right - by-election results. For some reason they never seem to come up in Labour/Conservative marginals where we could give Labour a bloody nose, but nevertheless our results are appalling. The last time we made a gain in a by-election was June 1982. That's less than once in a blue moon.

Back in July in the aftermath of the debacle at Bromley & Chislehurst, a Tory Radio interview with Francis Maude gave me no comfort that he was going to solve the problem. I never like the words “try to” when talking about how to solve a problem. So, at conference, I was particularly interested to find out what was happening about by-elections. I asked the girl on the by-elections stand who had been put in charge and she said that (she thought!?) it was Grant Shapps. She was also recruiting a by-election volunteer task force. I hope this volunteer force doesn’t look like this.

Grant Shapps (Welwyn & Hatfield) is a great campaigner and one of only 40 Tories who won a seat from Labour in 2005. Every Tory blogger should check out his local web forum and he is full of excellent ideas – an interesting factoid is that he reckons that he has e-mail addresses for 10% of his constituents. Nevertheless, the man is an MP – he has a day job. Use his expertise by all means, but I want someone heading up the by-elections who is employed in that role full-time who has that as his/her prime responsibility. I want the someone who can strategise, who can lead and motivate and can jump at the kick of a bucket. Should failure continue that person will be out of a job. I want that level of clarity. Am I asking for too much?

1 comment:

Ed said...

Think your wish has already come true. As I understand it Grant is the political head, but there is a full time individual whose job it is to do all the stuff you describe in your blog post.