Sunday, 30 December 2012
EXCLUSIVE: Cooper claims Thatcher is God.
Oliver points to former PM as our saviour
In an exclusive Q&A session with tbg, Conservative Futures' potential next National Chairman shares his love for Red Bull and cites France as an example of a post-Leveson UK. Oliver Cooper also says he wants to help CF "get away from cliquey personality politics".
What are you doing with your day?
"I spent today delivering letters inviting local residents to the public primary my constituency association is holding on 30th January to select our next parliamentary candidate. We lost the seat by a tiny margin in 2010, and need to start work now to get the right result in 2015. I’m a huge fan of primaries and it's a shame that they've been dropped by the government.
"In most target seats, preparing for the 2015 election means winning crucial county council elections in May, so there's no respite between the must-win PCCs and the must-win May elections.
"Meanwhile, London had neither, while other metropolitan areas don't have elections in May. As a result, I'll spending every spare second leading up to the May election campaigning in marginal counties, not in my backyard - sorry to any of my constituency association officers reading!"
So rumours of a new job are not true?
"I have a great job, working for a great boss, and I’m not moving. I’m not sure where the rumour started – nobody’s ever asked me about it! – but it’s sad that others feel as though they have to make up stories about my job to score political points. Smears, lies, and negative campaigns have no place in CF."
What do you think of National Chairman candidate Paul Holmes?
"To be honest, I don’t know Paul that well. But I know both him and I have been subjected to a barrage of smears, which just deters serious CFers and distracts from what really matters: standing up for members. The only way we’ll help build CF is by getting away from cliquey personality politics. So instead of talking about Paul or other candidates, I’d much rather talk about ideas that will benefit CF members: whether campaigning, training, or events."
What's your favourite fizzy pop beverage?
"Red Bull. What, that doesn’t count? Fine, then Monster or Relentless: twice the heart attacks as Red Bull for the same cost – now THAT’s austerity!"
What did you eat for breakfast?
"A good British breakfast of eggs and eggs and eggs. And if that sounds hard to digest, try digesting the codswallop that the Guardian serves up daily to its seventeen readers. I’m not sure I could stomach that."
Do you want to keep the press free from State intrusion?
"I’d rather have an open society than a state-controlled one – that’s the way to raise standards in public life. Who was it that exposed the expenses scandal? A newspaper. What about phone-hacking itself? A newspaper. A free press is – along with a free market – the bulwark of all of our liberties, on which all our other freedom depends.
"For a glimpse of a Leveson-run world, look to France: where the press has been heavily-regulated since 1881, where ministers pilfer public money and Presidents have affairs with impunity, and where no-one reads newspapers. Not just as a former journalist, but as someone that believes in freedom and democracy, I cannot think of a worse response than state control."
Where do you see Conservative Future being as an organisation come the 2015 General Election?
"I hope that national CF becomes a more national organisation. Right now, branches, areas, and regions outside London are just left on their own by national CF and have to just get on and do it. They do it admirably, but members and officers across the country across the country tell me they feel completely disconnected from the national organisation.
"So I’d like to see national CF do more targeted campaigning - having branches in each and every one of the eighty target seats we have to win, liaising with local CF to make sure campaign days are focused in target areas, and encouraging university branches to 'adopt' target seats and wards. CF also needs better communication and social media presence. That will make us a more effective campaigning machine, with members kept up to date about the best ways to help CF and the party win in key areas."
Do you think David Cameron can achieve a Conservative majority?
"We can win a majority in 2015. In fact, we have to win a majority in 2015. We’ve seen the Lib Dems oppose crucial policies: on cutting petrol duty or cutting income tax, reducing red tape on business or reducing red tape on schools, tackling out-of-control crime or tackling out-of-control borrowing, or just standing up to the EU.
They’re not just on the wrong side of the policies we know the country needs, but on the wrong side of voters – especially working class voters – too."
"I know CF can play a major role in winning in 2015, having seen great examples across the country. We set up five branches in North West London when I was area chairman; thanks in part to CFers’ hard work, those five target seats saw twice the average swing to us. If national CF helps areas to focus and gives them resources and responsibility, CF can make the difference in 2015."
Do you believe in God?
"Believe in God? Not only do I believe in Her, but believe that Her eleven years in Downing Street were nothing short of miraculous. OK, so I don't believe in god, but it's a scientific fact that Margaret Thatcher was the country’s saviour."
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