Thursday, 14 August 2008
Exclusive: The Rock Q&A with tBg.
tBg has conducted a Q&A session with CF National Chair' Michael Rock. The session is as follows:
Q. How was your day?
A. "Not too shabby at all. Busy but managed to play football at lunchtime and have just finished (half six pm) so a fairly early departure."
Q. What did you have for lunch?
A. "A chicken and avocado sandwich (brown bread), fresh orange juice, an apple and a banana, appropriately enough :)"
Q. Why were the CLCWF elections not promoted via Facebook or email - as electronic communication is the way all young people keep abreast of events in the 21st Century, not by Royal Mail?
A. "As you will probably appreciate, I'm not involved in the minutiae of every AGM.
From what I understand, the election was ran by the Association, who dispatched the letters as per the National Elections to all 'actual' members. I have not seen anything to refute this and the initial complaint has not been received at Ebury St.
In hindsight, it may have been wiser to email the 'actual' membership list but Facebook groups do not reflect the actual membership: This is a problem we face at a national level so I understand the logistical difficulties. I have yet to see any formal complaints: if any member feels specifically aggrieved, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org)"
Q. With heinsight do you think they should of been handled differently?
A. "Yes, I have yet to see any process that is perfect, very few things in life cannot be improved upon. I've not actually seen any substantive evidence that there is an uproar about this. Do you know how many 'actual' members didn't receive the letter announcing the AGM?"
Q. Is it true that all area chairmen will be scrapped in October replaced by regional co-ordinators responsible for the whole of the UK? if that's the case then please can you give the membership an answer as to why?
"No, that isn't true. We are looking at how to improve engagement across the country and strengthen CF for the long term, through certain means. Anyone elected will serve the term they stood for."
Q. What (other) plans do you have for the rest of your term?
A. "We're pushing the National Campaign days from September, on the basis of regional days to improve turnout.
Working Life is being re-engineered, CFSAN will continue to be supported as will the Student Life working group. Steve is developing the CF Councillors' Group so we can be encourage and support existing councillors, recruit more potential councillors and improve our chances of winning local elections.
Branch development is a given and we have seen some great new branches start up, from Liverpool to Milton Keynes to Westminster University. Training will be encouraged across the country, starting with the CF Activist Training at Conference, to better enable us to make a positive impact at the next General Election.
The Freshers' season will see the launch of a campaign closer ties to certain pressure groups to push the political agenda for CF and raise our profile.
Conference is going to be tremendous this year with four specific events organised by CF and a range of events that we will be encouraging CF'ers to attend.
Beyond that and not yet specified, we are developing ideas for more regional action days, national events and the Christmas Party."
Q. Do you consider your time so far as Chair' a success and what he would change?
A. "I think overall it has been successful. I am frustrated in the sense that we haven't been able to implement more of the plans we had but all for the good of the Conservative Party: the London Mayoral Elections and three by-elections have given us the opportunity to show how effective we can be and how well the Party is doing.
The press coverage has been good, there is television interest and the emergence of new blogs relating to CF has shown that we are all doing a good job.
There is a significant amount still to do but I would like to thank the Executive and the members for all the support they have shown. CF is growing, the membership is refreshing and we are evolving into an organisation that can make a significant impact on the national political scene.
I wouldn't particularly change anything I've done but I would prefer to have done more, communicated more and visited more branches."
Q. What the hell are you doing in that picture in the FT?
A. "Haha! Out of all the photographs he took, he chose the one where I was asking him a direct question, which was something like "Can you see the things in my pocket?"! Not a bad photo though, it's probably more 'me' than a straight portrait..."
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