Howlett sows his seed.

Conservative Future National Chairman candidate Ben Howlett has today launched his policy; Branch Development – Sowing the Seeds of Growth

Howlett states that the recent Poole CF launch was "branch development in action" and dedicated the policy announcement to their work.

The recent launch of branches such as Poole, Morley and Outwood allows Ben to show them as examples of how CF is continuing to grow and build a base of activism. Ben says he wants to use his term in charge of CF to "build membership and encourage branches to develop".

Ben also lays out a series of ideas designed, he says, to encourage membership growth including associate member schemes, a plan to create membership toolkits, membership cards and increasing communications with members.

Ben said: "Conservative Future will struggle to grow and prosper if we just sit back and expect people to join us, especially whilst our Party leads this government. To succeed, we must all work together to build upon membership effectively and efficiently. Constituents have a great opportunity to join us and have greater influence over our Government. Let’s get out there and build CF"

Read the entire policy on Scribd.

CF Chairman Runner Loses Surrey

Rowan Cole quit as Surrey Chairman last week before he decided to speak for the entire Surrey CF and back Ben Howlett's opponent for CF Chairman.

There was uproar amongst local Chairman and members as they did not get say in where their area support should go. In a victory for democracy acting Surrey area Chairman Josh Burge has held a branch vote this past weekend to decide which candidate should receive Surrey's endorsement.

Ben Howlett won the branch vote by 4-2.

Howlett won the support of Royal Holloway, Surrey University, Mole Valley and Woking. Craig Cox has received no support in Surrey.

Three branches are yet to declare, but Howlett insists he has verbal backing from both Runnymede and Surrey Heath. Epsom & Ewell have offered an open invitation to all candidates to come and discuss their ideas for CF in tBg's story earlier today.

++UPDATE 19:51++

tBg has asked Ben for comment on this dramatic turn of events.

Ben said: "I am very pleased with the vote from the Branch Chairman of Surrey, democratically speaking on behalf of their branch members. The election conducted by Josh is the first of its kind in the National CF Election Campaign and has conclusively shown that members do not want to be told what to do but be empowered to have their vote count. I am pleased to have their support.

I look forward to meeting with Epsom CF on Friday to talk about their issues with CF and to see how I can better represent their members and engage with the grassroots across Surrey."

Epsom & Ewell CF reject Surrey endorsement pressure.

In a letter posted on their blog yesterday, Epsom and Ewell Conservative Future have stated their opposition to the rash of early endorsements that is currently sweeping the organisation in the national CF Chairman elections.

Despite being put under considerable pressure by the Surrey CF exec' to state their preference by Sunday 22 August, the EECF committee have decided instead to withhold any statement of endorsement until the final list of candidates for the role has been announced.

"We (EECF) will not take part in the rushed attempt to save face which is being pursued by some individuals. We will not cast a vote for candidates who have yet to even declare, we will certainly not cast a vote without being able to read all the candidates’ manifestoes, most importantly we will not cast a vote before we have given a chance to those candidates who wish to stand to speak with us, and convince us of their worthiness of receiving our vote."

In the same blog EECF Chairman, Alexander Clarke, has sent an open invitation for all national CF Chairman candidates to attend EECF’s regular monthly social at the Epsom Conservative Club this coming Friday to talk to members about their plans for CF.

The event is open to all CF members, whether from the Epsom and Ewell constituency or further afield, and will offer those unable to attend the previous London hustings the chance to quiz Ben Howlett, Craig Cox, and Simon Cavalier-Jones on their policies.

The event will take place on Friday 27th August from 20:00 at The Epsom Conservative Club, 39 Church Street, Epsom.

There was outcry from Surrey members after Its exec' backed a candidate last week. One member, Scarlett Hubbard, was raging in the London Spin comment section of this latest announcement.

Epsom and Ewell CF are also on Facebook

CF Social Action.

Ben Howlett met with members of Northamptonshire CF and other youth groups in the East Midlands last night in Wellingborough. He used the meeting as an opportunity to find out how Conservative Future can support community groups and youth organisations of a similar nature to Conservative Future. He met with members of the East Midlands Branch of the British Youth Council. Also in attendance were representatives of local community groups that are campaigning to get more young people off the streets and involved in community based youth groups.

Ben explained to those in attendance that he has committed to begin planning a national social action project from day 1 of being elected as Chairman.

Ben said: "Conservative Future has an opportunity to forge links with other youth organisations across the country. We can support organisations such as the ones I met with last night by helping them fundraise, to communicate their events or to help redecorate community centres. Members of the British Youth Council were very keen to work with other political organisations to debate the issues that young people have with politics. I will be working closely with the CF Policy Forum in that endeavour."

Christian May backs Cox.

CF Deputy Chairman Christian May has today endoursed CF National Chairman candidate Craig Cox. Cox is said to be "delighted" at the news and gives a real heavyweight boost to his campaign.

Cox and May first met in Washington 3 years ago while they studied together at the Leadership Institute. Christian May has alot of influence in Conservative Future circles and has a clear vision himself of where CF should go now we are in Government.

Christian said: "What I really want(ed) to see from this Chairman election was a candidate who had the spirit to give CF a political voice. Previously, and rightly, CF's focus has been relentlessly on campaigning and fighting the election. But for the first time in CF's history we are now in government..."

Craig has also received the endorsement of Chairman of Essex University CF. Dan O'Docherty, the old Birmingham University Chairman, and current Birmingham City Deputy Chairman, are also backing Craig.

Surrey quitter backs Simon Cavalier-Jones.

Former Surrey CF Chair Rowan Cole has backed Simon Cavalier-Jones to be the next National Conservative Future Chairman. One tBg source said the former Surrey CF Chair went "literature-ally bonkers" in a resignation letter over a CF 'clique culture', London Spin revealed this past Monday.

Cole then slammed the CF machine saying: "The elections have already become farcical – they have been poorly managed and have become petulant already. The campaign has been badly coordinated, with hustings for national chairman already underway before nominations even open! It is appalling and unprofessional."

Another source, from the Simon Cavalier-Jones side of the fence, told tBg that his campaign was "the Tortoise" in the race, which is why he, as of yet, has no clear vision in terms of holding the National Chairman's office.

We have seen a glimpse of what this election could really be like with the Cox vs. Howlett over Howletts re-branding policy. Good healthy debate. Simon is yet to show his cards when it comes to his ideas for the future of CF.

That tube party.

Another chance to see former CF'er and production king, Darius G Laws documenting the night before drinking was banned on the London Underground.

Howlett attacks the BNP.

During a set of meetings with Conservative Future members in the North West and West Midlands, Ben used a meeting with Stoke-on-Trent CF to savagely attack the BNP.

With the news last week that London Assembly Member Richard Barnbrook resigned the BNP whip, Ben wanted to expose the disgusting campaign the BNP have run in Northern Cities and the South and explain how CF can campaign against them.

Ben said: "Next May Stoke-on-Trent will be voting to elect an entirely new set of councillors. This year Stoke-on-Trent CF has been instrumental in eradicating vast swathes of BNP support across the city. Every seat across the City will be up for election and CF has got a great opportunity over the forthcoming months to attack any remaining BNP presence.

I have promised Stoke-on-Trent as well as areas like Barking and Dagenham that they will receive 100% support and commitment from CF nationally in order to eradicate any existence of such a disgusting organization. I will be working with all Regional Chairman to ensure they are using Supper Saturday campaign days to support areas like Stoke."

tBg wonders what does the rest of CF thinks when it comes to dealing with the BNP?

Silence Cavalier-Jones.

As the 2nd week of August draws to a close the ‘Silence’ from a certain Campaign is rather staggering.

Having been promised a launch in the 1st week of August, tBg has asked Simon and has been contacted by concerned senior CF members to express their concerns at the complete lack of action.

A senior London source commented: "It was made very public that a certain Chairman campaign would go live in the 1st week of August. We are now almost into the third week and we have heard nothing. Surely if they want to be taken seriously you have to stick to your promises, this sort of wishy washy campaigning reminds me of the Liberal Democrats."

A further source in Yorkshire commented: "Certain candidates seem to believe they have Yorkshire in the bag! Have they spoken to anyone here? Other than a small group on the Regional Executive a lot of people are concerned at the complete lack of policy being offered. How on earth can you be taken seriously if you are going to run such a short campaign?"

Interesting development as nominations open in less than 72 hours…

Poole CF launches.

Poole Conservative Future successfully launched their new branch last night. Ben Howlett was there, and seems to be getting around so much tBg thinks he might actually see everyone before election day.

Ben had this to say: "Ashley Fraser who has recently set up the branch and Area Chairman for Dorset, Will Burstow, must be congratulated for their efforts in its creation and continued efforts to empower branches to grow. The Pool launch was branch development in action and as a result I would like to dedicate my policy announcement due out this weekend "Branch Development - Sowing the Seeds of Growth" to them and their hard work."

"The best way to ensure that branches continue to be set up and grow is from the bottom up. They have proven that this can happen and I will continue to empower members and give them the tools to grow"

So, the "Branch Development - Sowing the Seeds of Growth" policy will launch this weekend. tBg has a snippet from this highly top secret document below, don't tell Ben though...

Membership Cards

It is an ongoing saga that CF members do not receive a CF membership card, only a national membership card. I will be working with the party to get one that is easily accessible for branches to access centrally. Local associations will be given the template and they can send out CF cards along with the national membership card.

Ground-breaking stuff!

Twatter shuts up.

Twitter has now closed @cllrbennthowlett's account, which was featured in tBgs article this morning. Victory declared by Howlett.

++ UPDATE 13/08/10 09:55 ++

Team Howlett has informed tBg that due to matters of legality, Twitter is now exploring legal process.

Is that a skirt you're wearing?

Outgoing Chairman, Michael Rock, was just snapped wearing a kilt in Fulham, London. One tBg source said: "I was just at a funeral declaring the death of my Grandma and there he was, in all his glory! Brought a smile to my face..." And tBg.

Twatter @CllrBennyHowlet.

It would seem someone doesn't like Ben Howlett that much they are willing to break the law over it. Not only is someone impersonating Howlett on Twitter but actually seems to be enjoying it. The frequency of the tweets is quite astonishing, this man or woman rarely stops tweeting.

Any ideas on who it could be? Can anyone can unmask this unwanted soul? It is probably the same person who posts under unsuspecting CF members names on this site. Who ever it is, really needs to see a doctor.

Howlett focuses on under-18's.

Howlett says "Education, Education, Education" was Labour's buzz phrase in 1997, and what have we got to show for it? An education system with far too little to distinguish it from that of the 19th Century. With a new Conservative led government, Conservative Future has an opportunity to support our Government sorting out yet another mess left to us by Blair & Brown."

Ben said: "Since the formation of CF, we have always had a tendency to fail to reflect all the age groups we represent, and one of the most forgotten age groups are the under 18s. While much has been done in recent years to attempt to tackle this problem, and much can be learnt from their experiences and improve upon their successes, we need to take an unashamedly proactive step to remedy this. To CF, those at school and college are a vital part of our membership.

I have decided to create a policy document that sets a clear and considered direction of where we should be taking our policies towards schools and colleges.

With the help and ideas of many people like Sam Austrums, Branch Chairman of Brigg and Goole in Yorkshire, who is running my Schools Campaign, we have come up with a number of key ideas that can help to encourage more school and college students to get involved with CF."

Read the full document on Scribd.

A Granita pact?

Is Howlett opening doors to a pact? ;-)

Howlett gets on with the day job.

With the CF election only a few weeks away, Ben has been getting on with the day job and showing signs of maturity as he has suffered a barrage of attacks on tBg comments over the weekend.

On Saturday he was in Richmond helping with Zac Goldsmith MP's thank you letter deliveries, holding drinks in Brighton in the evening and then on Sunday helping Norwich with their unitary by-election campaigns.

While his opposition are still working out what their policies are, Ben is two months ahead of the game and is now promoting his manifesto pledges across the country while getting on with the day job of supporting events and campaigns.

Ben said: "I stood for National CF Chairman not for the pomp and ceremony, but to get on with the day job and encourage others to get more involved. I have been asked a few times, what is the point of CF outside of election time? This weekend answered that question with a flurry of activity across the country. Norwich have their unitary authority by-election campaigns coming up, and Richmond wanted to get deliveries under way. We also have the Hackney by-election, the Tower Hamlet's mayoral elections and the Exeter unitary by-elections coming up soon. CF has proven that it can be, and will remain, a helpful, strong and proactive force to support campaigns across the country.

Norwich and Richmond are great examples of how CF can mobilise its troops and get things done. I really liked the set up of the events they ran, with a few hours of campaigning followed by a fun group lunch in the pub or dinner in the city later on to catch up on the day. This is the successful format that I want to continue and use for the Super Saturday programme."

This weekend Ben will be in the North West meeting CF members.

Big Brother is watching.

[Image removed by request.]


[Image removed by request.]


UPDATE 11/08/10 14:10:

tBg must add that he is not implicitly saying **** is the Anon' commenter. But suggesting the perpetuation of the euphmaism that is "...telling Howlett's..." by the ****. Thus the commenter may be from the **** side.

Craig Cox needs you.

Craig Cox has called upon CF members to suggest policies that he says he will consider if elected to office. Craig says he will publish the top three results in a fortnight online.

Cox is quite the maverick and is clearly attempting to run a policy driven campaign.

tBg likes this.

Read the full article.

Radio Ga-Ga.

Ben Howlett has attacked Dennis Skinner's record in East Midlands.

Ben met with members of Conservative Future and the Conservative Women's
Organisation from the East Midlands yesterday finding out how CF can
reinvigorate activism and build a strong, diverse presence in the East Midlands.

Radio Mansfield, who have a strong listenership in Labour heartland seats
including Mansfield, Ashfield, Bassetlaw and Bolsover, asked Ben for an interview
about how to get more young people active in Labour heartland areas. Howlett has experience of campaigning in difficult to win seats in the North East and used
the opportunity to attack Labour's appauling record on the economy, unemployment
and the public sector.

Ben said: "With Dennis Skinner's seat only a few miles away from Mansfield in Bolsover, I hope this will send a message to Labour heartlands that the Conservative Party has changed to become younger and more willing to attack the Labour record on their home turf.

CF in the East Midlands works all year round to give the electorate an
alternative to Labour and they need to be recognised for their hard work and
achievements. I promise to support all hard working branches across the country
and recognise that with a CF awards scheme for excellence. CF branches without
a Conservative MP must be given the support that they deserve. I hope to make
CF an organisation of the majority and not the few again"

Conservative Womens Organisation has an event coming up this month. tBg has the flyer below for all those interested in going to an event full of Tory ladies. :)

Basil Marceaux: The Next Governor of Tennessee?

This is the funniest thing tBg has seen all day. Yet not at all shocked. Hilarious.

Broxtowe MP defends Cox.

A tBg source has alerted him that MP for Broxtowe, Anna Soubry, has had to defend herself to a local Nottingham newspaper over the employment of Craig Cox.

Anna defended Craig by saying: "He knows my view on it. He was about 19 at the time, he made a full apology for it. I know he regrets, hugely, doing something so stupid that upset other people."

Craig also defended himself to the newpaper saying: "I apologised at the time for holding it up but I didn't write it, it was written by somebody else.

I completely condemn all motions of racism. It was held up by mistake and I was cleared unequivocally with no backlash. I'm gay myself and understand the sensitivity of minority groups, I understand how awful and painful it can be.

If I could turn back time and rip it up I would".

Would CF have to defend itself in a similar manner if Cox were elected. Or is the National CF Chairmanship exactly what Cox needs to put all this behind him?

In any case tBg much prefers his defense in the Daily Mail during the event in September 2008:

Craig Cox: "The real story here is that the NUS wants to run a show trial that would make Stalin blush. Due process, natural justice and fairness are, in NUS eyes, mere concepts that can be readily ignored when it suits them.’These witch-hunts have got to stop. It’s about time the NUS started representing ordinary students again and stopped acting as a front for Left-wing zealots."

Great stuff.

Read the full article. []

Also, read an email sent by Anna Soubry to local councillors also concerned about Coxs' employment at the MPs' office.

Identity theft.

With regards to the comments left on today's post: Howlett announces brand review policy. tBg knows how excitable some CF members can be at times. If you are going to use a name, make sure it's not a real person, that can get in touch and tell tBg that he did not leave that comment.

tBg suggests that if you want to remain anonymous you should probably use a permanent alias such as 'Tank_Whore2010', or maybe something more suited to your personality. It used to be very popular in the early days of the Internet for all you youthful fluffy-tailed newbies.

Howlett bites back.

Ben Howlett has hit back at Craig Coxs' "Policy not Petrol" attack on his brand review policy. Since Ben said he would launch a CF brand review if elected, Craig said that CF needed a political revolution, not a re-brand exercise.

Ben, in so no uncertain terms, drew the dividing line between himself and his opponents.

Ben said: "In a CF led by my opponents at best there will be a small clique cohesively campaigning against AV. As one of my fundamental policy commitments as set out last Friday, under a CF led by me I will engage the majority through cascading campaigns that engage the regions, areas and branches together to work for change - whether it's AV or whatever our next battle is. Under a CF led by your alternative choices the Government will not listen to our members.

Under a CF led by me, decisions will be made accountable, our organisation will be stablised and accessible, and our structures will serve the majority, not a clique. With our reputation and brand image restored the Party will begin to trust CF again, and we can get on with making the positive change this country can expect from Conservatives of all ages."

Ben has released this argument, in full, with regards to Craig's rejection of his proposed policy.

On ya bike.

Great to see Londoners embracing cycling as a way of getting around the Capital. Journeys under 30mins are free too! That'll suit tBg as he doesn't think he could cycle for much longer than 27 minutes.

Check out their website.

Cox slams Howletts' re-brand policy.

Craig Cox has released an article this afternoon calling for; Policy not Petrol; Politics not Platitudes.

Craig rejects Ben Howletts' brand review policy and states; "CF doesn’t need a rebranding. It needs a political revolution. We need an organisation that focuses on the big issues of the day: opposing AV, opposing the Grad Tax, making the case for tough action on the economy and, most importantly, holding this Conservative Lib Dem coalition to account.

Good to see real, clear choices being offered to CF members in this election, defyining each candidate.

Read the full article.

Howlett announces brand review policy.

tBg understands that Ben Howlett is to have a brand review policy. Ben believes CF has a tainted brand, and wants to improve this with the help of Chris Wilford, Chairman of LSE Conservative Future.

Ben says: "The brand image of Conservative Future has degraded over the last decade and one of my key priorities is to improve the image over the next few years.

A policy to enhance our brand is fundamental to the future operations of CF, as well as its reputation.

As you will already know from my recent policy launch I am very keen to ensure that CF is thought of again as the future of the Conservative Party. Over the next few weeks every key policy announcement will explain how we will improving the brand image of CF.

Private sector companies gain greater buy in and higher revenue from a strong brand image, CF should be no different. This will achieve greater revenue and membership for the organisation. With this important private sector, business-like mentality, we can together change the image of our party.

I would like to announce that Chris Wilford Chairman of LSE Conservative Future will be working on this programme. If you have any ideas or thoughts about the programme, please feel free to contact Chris on Facebook:

tBg welcomes this policy with open arms, it's about time too! tBg believes CF needs a fresh, exciting, almost daring to be funky, look that differs somewhat from the over 30's brand.

[Recycled] Exclusive: Liza Chantelle on knife crime.

CF Superstar Liza Chantelles' personal, eye opening tBg exclusive article on knife crime is back online. tBg suggests you read this insightful piece if you have not already.

Remember to always recycle. Vote Blue, Go Green...

Read: tBg Exclusive: Liza Chantelle on knife crime. Or read it on Scribd.

Big Brother is watching.

What exactly was Ben Howlett up to this weekend on Saturday at 19:25? This did make tBg giggle when it landed in his inbox.

CF election timetable released.

tBg has the full timetable for the upcoming national Conservative Future elections and what positions are up for grabs. As follows...

The full timetable is:

* 16th August – Opening of Nominations
* 6th September – Close of nominations at noon
* 6th September – List of valid candidates published at 5pm
* 7th September – Last time for a candidate to withdraw at 5pm
* 7th September – Last time for a candidate to provide the 500 words for the website
* 8th September – Distribution of ballot papers
* 27th September – Close of Ballot at 12 noon
* 27th September – Count of Ballot at 5pm

All members of the Party aged under 30 (of at least three months standing) are eligible to stand in the elections for the following positions:

National Executive:

* National Chairman
* Deputy Chairman (Political)
* Deputy Chairman (Membership)
* Appointed Officer

Regional Chairmen:

* Regional Chairman for Northern Ireland
* Regional Chairman for Wales
* Regional Chairman for Yorkshire & The Humber
* Regional Chairman for North West England
* Regional Chairman for North East England
* Regional Chairman for West Midlands
* Regional Chairman for East Midlands
* Regional Chairman for Eastern England
* Regional Chairman for South West England
* Regional Chairman for South East England
* Regional Chairman for London

Once elected the Regional Chairmen will each form a regional executive made up of Area Chairman, who will be elected at local AGMs.

As stated in the timetable nominations will open on 16th August 2010. Nomination forms and further information will be listed on this website from that date.

Howlett receives massive boost.

After a very successful trip to the West Midlands , Ben Howlett has announced that Margot James, Deputy Party Chairman has offered her endorsement of his campaign. As an MP for Stourbridge and the Deputy Chairman for Women, Ben says "I am very pleased indeed with Margot’s kind words of support".

Margot said:

"Good luck to you Ben in your bid to Chair' Conservative Future next year, CF needs leadership, energy and vision and I’m sure if you are elected you will bring these qualities to the job”

I am currently working with greater links between Conservative Women's organisations and CF to enable CF to be more representative of wider society."

While in the West Midlands Ben met with members from Birmingham and Worcestershire. In just a few months Worcestershire CF have successfully got a very active branch up and running. The congratulations must go to people like Edward Turner and Chris Morrall for getting the area up and running and for the many members who came along to the event on Sunday.

Ben says: "Active branches such as those in Worcestershire helped people like Robin Walker win the Parliamentary seat of Worcester. There is no coincidence that seats without a CF branch didn’t have as much success as those seats with CF branches and I will be announcing more ways to get new branches set up and membership increased over the next few weeks to ensure that we give the Party as much support as possible."