Pamela Hall: Why I’m seeking election as Chairman of the National Conservative Convention

24 Jul

Pamela Hall OBE is a former President and Vice President of the National Conservative Convention and now Candidate for Chairman. She is currently President of the North West Conservative Women’s Organisation (CWO).

For Conservatives to win elections right across the country we need a strong, active, and vibrant voluntary party with the right professional support from CCHQ. I’m seeking election as Chairman of the National Conservative Convention, which is the link between being the voice of the voluntary members, to the party leadership and CCHQ.

Voting opened earlier this week and I’ve been asked a lot – what does the National Convention do?

There are five volunteers elected as officers of the National Convention and these become members of the party board. The officers represent associations and their members on committees such as membership, finances, candidates, disciplinary procedures and much more.

They also take responsibility for different regions and, having been elected to roles for three years, I have travelled the UK attending conferences, beach cleans, campaign days, quiz nights other events to meet volunteers and area and regional teams to listen and understand their different needs. “Zooming” around the UK over the past year made it even easier to maintain those vital links, though nothing beats meeting together in person.

The Convention roles shape how the voluntary party works and over recent years have brought about the revival of CPF led by Andrew Sharpe. I further developed the Association Incentive Scheme as a way of connecting volunteers with CCHQ, sharing ideas and support, as well as valued rewards and competition. The Convention officers also host events, training webinars and most importantly make sure the voluntary party’s needs, concerns and frustrations are voiced and heard within CCHQ and our party’s leadership.

The electorate for the National Convention is All Association Chairmen, Area and Regional Chairman and the CWO National and Regional Officers.

I’ve also been asked – what’s the main issue in this election?

The only way to completely ensure we build back better is to win the next general election and all other local elections before then. If elected I will work with CCHQ and our members to support the right campaigning resources in the right places, across the UK – I have already made inroads previously working closely with chairmen and area teams when, as vice president, we rolled out the original Campaign Manager programme in 2017. There is no doubt we need more resources everywhere, and that is my priority.

And then the next question – what will you do?

It’s vital we bring more people in the party together, members must feel included, involved and appreciated and have opportunities to use their skills – as a voluntary organisation we need them all alongside the following:

  • The right policies from Government which align to our values and our manifesto, ensuring the CPF is at the heart of future policy making.
  • The right support from CCHQ for campaigning – against any opposition, right across the country, involving and including local councillors, candidates and associations as we develop messaging and policies.
  • More training for chairmen and more teams to share ideas, tips and successes.
  • Continuous support for the CWO, YCs and CPF representation in all our association, area and regional officer teams.

I understand our party’s structures, with three year’s experience on the National Convention. Having successfully served our party over the past 25 years, from YC chairman, association, area and regional officer to councillor and parliamentary candidate, I know our volunteers, and how to get things done.

I’m standing as it’s an opportunity to do the right thing for the voluntary party – and Convention roles are absolutely the best roles in the politics! The vice president roles weren’t contested at all this year and that needs to change in the future – everyone needs to know about all the different opportunities to get involved in politics at all levels.

I have spoken at many CWO and Association Scheme events, encouraging others to get involved, developing mentoring schemes around the country, and I would do much more of this to support more women, more young people, and everyone to look for opportunities in our party.

If elected, I and the other board members along with the regional and area teams need to be much more visible and accessible to associations. Future Convention elections need a level playing field for people to stand on. These roles take a lot of time, shoe leather and petrol to do well, but it’s fabulous to meet so many other people passionate about politics and help them find roles to thrive and enjoy.

Our party must do more to connect with all members and all voters if we are to continue to win and get our values and messages across all over the UK. If you have a vote, please vote for me to improve those connections, enable more resources in the right places, so we can all have opportunities to win together.

Please contact me to discuss further or for more information: pamelahall.uk

Dinah Glover: Why I’m standing for Vice President of the National Convention – and why it matters.

17 Aug

Dinah Glover is Chairman of London East Area Conservatives and of Bethnal Green and Bow Conservative Association.

Listening to a dedicated and well tuned-in Party activist the other day, I was struck by something he said. Despite his activity, he had barely heard of the National Convention and its officers, let alone what they did. It is highly probable that many of you reading this now would be in the same position. That, to me, signals a problem.

So what is happening? The National Convention is made up of all the association chairmen and other area, regional and CWO officers across the country. Every year they get to elect a chairman, president and three vice presidents. These people sit on the Party board and can have a significant impact on the Party. But still barely half of the electorate participates in the election. This is local association chairmen remember, not disinterested voters. So why is this?

In my view this is down to a fundamental disconnect between the officers and the voluntary Party. Tom Spiller (former president) provided a very powerful insight recently when he said that it did not really know what it is for. We need to be clear about what the National Convention represents and that is why I am standing.

Politics for me has always been about democracy from the grassroots up. It is so important we empower our members so they are enthused to help us build a better future for our local communities. It was, after all, the idea behind David Cameron’s Big Society.

I am standing on a platform calling for empowerment, transparency, accountability and democracy. Not for its own sake, but because this allows greater engagement by all and will deliver a political offering that is even more attractive to the public. Look at what was delivered last December when we were in tune with people. The breakthrough in the Red Wall seats was because we were in touch with what voters wanted. We connected.

The Party needs to provide more engagement for its members. When it does it succeeds. We saw this in action last year when we had an unusual opportunity for the members to choose the next Prime Minister of the UK. The Party managed a fantastic nationwide leadership contest with packed out hustings held around the country. That was a credit to Andrew Sharpe and CCHQ. It was thanks to the two excellent candidates that we had an intelligent and respectful debate that really engaged the members and opened up genuine discussion. This demonstrates what can be achieved when the members are involved. I wonder why we can’t do similar for the National Convention? With this in mind I will host a zoom Q&A for those interested.

I want to serve on the board of the National Convention because I believe in this Party; it runs through my very veins. We have so many talented activists and I am not sure we always use them to their best advantage. I believe every process should be measured in terms of whether it is empowering, accountable, democratic and transparent for members and associations.

Certain processes do need to change and be improved. We should have consultation periods from the ground up through associations to seek their ideas. Ultimately the board has to decide – we can’t function by committee, but we need to be open to ideas.

There are several CCHQ committees that need to be opened up to have a two-way conversation. I would like to see members of these committees reporting to the regions. Why not have the regions voting for their own representatives on these committees, which would mean there is a ready made communication channel?

I do not want to fix what is not broken and I know the team under Sharpe’s leadership have been making improvements where they can but much more needs to be done. If we fail to make this change then that disconnect will impact on our ability to deliver for our new and old voters. That is why I want to play my part to ensure that does not happen. So if you have a vote, please use it and please vote for me.