Saturday, January 19, 2008

How to Make the Party Conference Better

Donal Blaney, on his increasingly unmissable blog, has made a brilliant suggestion HERE. He reckons that the Conservatives should allow the wider Conservative Movement to take exhibition stands at the annual conference at a minimal cost. Normal stands cost a minimum of £6,000, with most costing upwards of £10k. If you're a well funded pressure group that's just about affordable, but if not, you're excluded. Wouldn't it be great to see the likes of the Taxpayers' Alliance, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Conservative History Group with their own stands? The LibDems make every effort to facilitate party affiliated groups at their own conference and so should the Tories. I hope this is a suggestion which the Party hierarchy will take seriously.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I didn't the Tories believed in giving subsidies

Conservative said...

Unmissable? I'm appalled we are in the same party. This is a man from the "guns, gods and gays" school of the extreme-right, who not only supports the death penalty but glorifies it in a way I thought was confined to Saudi Arabia.

The man has no place in mainstream politics.

Hotspur612 said...

Here Here - what an excellent idea

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

Y'know, back at Blackpool, I wondered what would be involved in setting up a 'fringe' exhibition, free from the constraints and expense of the main conference centre.

The Hilton would have been an ideal venue, given that it already hosted a number of fringe meetings, guests and was in the immediate area of the Imperial.

I'm guessing the same wouldn't be too difficult for any of the other future conference venues.

Newmania said...

Good idea Iain.

Ed said...

Good idea Iain, perhaps a good way for the party to keep in touch with the "grassroots" as well?

Donal Blaney said...

LOL @ "conservative". I am a libertarian, not a social conservative so I have no idea where you get the idea I am a guns, God and gays conservative from. Still, why let the facts get in the way of a good personalised insult!

Let's hope we can get this reform through in time for the next party conference. It will give the conservative movement a great boost in the run-up to the next election.

Donal Blaney said...

Machiavelli's Understudy: I'd be reluctant for the exhibition to be at another venue such as the Hilton in Blackpool. There was loads of space inside the Wintergardens. This works very well in the US at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference and I have every confidence it will work here too.

judith said...

As long as Burning Our Money and Devil's Kitchen are allowed to be there too - not to mention Dizzy!

Jonathan Sheppard said...

Judith - I think the point Donal is making is that organisations get charged a fortune for exhibition space. Having organisaed a conference presence for a company before I cna tell you I had a budget of £150,000 to cover all three conferences - the vast majority of it going on the actual space to have a stand present on.

Individuals such as Dizzy and the likes would of course be able to go - that's a pass issue, though as Devil's Kitchen doesn't regard himself as a Tory I'm not sure he would want to :o)

Johnny Norfolk said...

Iain what are you suggesting, letting the grass roots have a profile. We dont need reality in any party they could not cope with it.

Womble On Tour said...

As an outsider, I'd say that one of he things the Conservative Party needs to do is to become be "assessible" and less exclusive. Although this idea in itself wouldn't help, because only those already on the inside would see it, it may help to create a greater feeling of accessibility within the Party, and that may transmit itself to thoes on the outside.

Plus the fact that it would encourage debate from some pretty passionate individuals, which is also a good thing.

Chris Palmer said...

'The man has no place in mainstream politics.' - conservative

How wonderfully intolerant.

Donal's idea is a good one, but I can't see it happening. The party conferences are there to make the party plenty of money, and I don't see the Conservatives giving up that opportunity and also welcoming in a multitude of organisations with open arms - especially if they diverge from 'acceptable moderate Conservative' opinion.

judith said...

Thanks Jonathan, I was attempting a light-hearted comment. However, perhaps one stand that bloggers like the afore-mentioned could plug their wares at ....?

asquith said...

Yes, invite him and his fellow headbangers along to show the floating voters what's rotting away at the "heart" of the Tory Party, despite all of Dave Snooty's best efforts. Brilliant idea.

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

Machiavelli's Understudy: I'd be reluctant for the exhibition to be at another venue such as the Hilton in Blackpool. There was loads of space inside the Wintergardens

That's pretty much the point, though- it's within the fold of the conference complex.

I do not think that the conference organisers would be so willing as to let space go for such a small amount, nor do I think they would expect other standholders to tolerate others getting in on a subsidised space.

You also have the problem of having to deal with the Party's appointed organisers, who, if I remember correctly, were quite prescriptive at Blackpool (anyone remember the Blackpool rock stall story?), so I'd want to see some of those on the fringe to be guaranteed the opportunity to be represented.

I honestly do not have a problem with having Conference grow outside the boundaries of the traditional conference complex.

It just seems that the easier solution would be to work alongside Conference, rather than within it.

I think that party conferences will eventually have to go in the direction of grassroots organisation in order to survive, anyway. If Conference wants to maintain relevance, it has to go the way of the Internet and become more grassroots...

A Tory Islander said...

Please don't mention guns & gods to Irish politicos. I had hoped we were over all that.

I agree affiliated groups should get free or cheaper access.

I'm amused at the idea of Dizzy 'taking the stand' as it were; he's on jury service.

Conservative said... 'The man has no place in mainstream politics.'

I said... 'Would you ever feck* off?' (I guess that means I don't have a place in mainstream politics either)

*Iain this is a gaelic word used in dialect Irish English. As seen on 'Father Ted'. Honest!