Wednesday, 2 January 2013
EXCLUSIVE: Less Bus More Base - Holmes wants to focus on strategy.
Paul Holmes wants to lead the Youth Wing of the Tory Party, Conservative Future (CF)
In a Q&A session with tbg Holmes talks about Ben Howlett and his opponents in the upcoming CF election. Holmes also reveals his council estate roots, how he wants a strong CF campaign team in based in every region & his admiration for Harold MacMillan and Dr Pepper.
Simply, why are you a Conservative?
"For me, I joined the Conservatives because they are the true party of aspiration.
"I was born and my parents still live on a South London council estate. I attended an average comprehensive and studied hard. I became the first in my family to go to university and earn a degree.
"I believe that most people in this country want to be independent, responsible and work hard. This is why I am a Conservative, a believer that the state should only involve itself in matters where absolutely necessary and lets people get on with themselves most of the other times.
But the state should be there, as a barrier to harm and hardship, and the Conservatives have always believed in supporting those in need.
"This will be the message that runs through Conservative Future if I am elected."
What's you favourite fizzy pop beverage?
"Dr Pepper - served from the fridge."
Why do you want to be Conservative Future National Chairman?
"I joined the Conservatives aged 16, in 2004. I was working for Jacqui Lait, then MP for Beckenham, and set up Lewisham West & Penge CF.
"Now, Lewisham is not a traditional Tory area. However, from getting out there and speaking to voters – young and old, it was clear that most people shared our values.
"Since then I have wanted to help continue to break down the barriers that stop people voting Conservative.
"In Southampton, I chaired the university’s association before running as a city councillor. Several months later, I was promoted to cabinet member for children’s services and learning.
"The party’s youngest ever holder of a major local authority portfolio was quite a daunting task at first, but I persevered and the results followed.
"In order for the Conservatives to win, we need to be ready and able to fight across the whole of the United Kingdom.
"Conservative Future has an integral part to play in breaking down those barriers and so making sure that our infrastructure allow it to compete in that fight, is a job I’d relish.
"My knowledge of and experience in the Conservative Party will ensure the organisation successfully builds on its achievements while addressing the issues voiced by our members."
What do you think of your now seeming likely opponents Matt Robinson and Oliver Cooper?
"They have both served our party in different ways and I for one will not criticise the help that they have given to the party. But let’s not forget that neither has officially declared; only James Deighton has.
"I do not want the CF National Chairman campaign to be bogged down by perceived personal attacks.
"Individually, Charlotte and I decided to run over summer. But it was apparent at this year’s Conservative Party Conference that we could work better together.
"We took the decision to announce our intentions and kick-start the campaign in November rather than hold-off and work under cover so to speak. I said then and I’ll repeat it now: this will be a clean campaign, a campaign that focuses on the issues and the policies.
"Since then Charlotte and I have shown what can be achieved, in a short space of time, with the campaign gaining momentum day-by-day. We will not engage in personal politics and I hope that my fellow candidates also play by those rules. Only time will tell if they agree and stick to that."
Who is your greatest political inspiration and why?
"Two of my greatest political inspirations are linked: Harold MacMillan and Margaret Thatcher.
"MacMillan started the culture of spreading genuine aspiration to the many, in the 1950’s and 60’s, through his housing programme.
"Making this the beginning of a long journey, if people look after themselves and are responsible they can achieve prosperity and independence.
"Add to that perhaps one of the greatest political moves in this country’s history: Thatcher’s right-to-buy schemes.
"This single policy changed the demographics and ability of the Conservatives to attract people who had never voted for us before.
"I am delighted that the current government is developing this policy. We are showing that we are on the side of all hard working people."
Where do you see Conservative Future being as an organisation come the 2015 General Election and do you think David Cameron can achieve a Conservative majority?
"I do think that David Cameron can win us a majority.
"He must speak with clarity to our natural supporters while speaking sense to the forgotten majority in our country. We must win over ethnic voters but also working class voters, who we lost the support of from 1997 onwards.
"We need to better communicate how we are standing up for the average voter while reminding the country of the mess that Labour left us in.
"Conservative Future must be ready as both a nationwide campaigning tool as well as a policy-building organisation. Our manifesto addresses both."
Do you think Ben Howlett has been a good thing for CF?
"Ben successfully won two consecutive terms as National Chairman.
"During his time he has increased the number of supporters, mobilised the campaigning base and professionalized the organisation.
"If elected though, I want to make sure that instead of having to bus people everywhere from London, we have local strong campaign teams in every location in the UK.
"I wish him well in the future and I’m certain that CF members will be out campaigning for him one day soon.
"However I believe there needs to be change. We must become more focused, more strategic. That means working even harder. There’s still much more to do."
Do you believe in God?
"Well my family are Christians and while I believe in something - I’m still working that one out!"
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