political commentator * author * publisher * bookseller * radio presenter * blogger * Conservative candidate * former lobbyist * Jack Russell owner * West Ham United fanatic * Email iain AT iaindale DOT com
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Tories Are Getting Younger
There is one striking difference at this party conference. The age profile of the represetatives (we don't 'do' delegates in the Tory Party) is much younger than normal. Everyone is remarking on it, even journalists. I wonder if this is either because a lot of the older people who normally come to conference haven't come because it isn't by the seaside so they can't make a week of it, or because the Party has attracted a lot of new activists. I suspect it is a mixture of the two.
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It is my standing complaint and in fact the thing that makes me blog , that the people who do all the work ( people like me ) are entirely excluded from the political process because we are busy bringing up families and working .Pretty much excluded from blogging too really .
There will be virtually no-one there representative of the true core supprt of the Conservative Party. There will be plenty of wierd oddities like Donal Blaney frightening the horses by chirruping Maggie Maggie Maggie * or something .
* Not that I disagree
good to have more talent at conference
whats wrong with eye candy
however, some real good looking women lobbyists
yes I will back anything you say
I'm in my 50s having been at most conferences since 1972. The reason I didn't come is I can't stand Birmingham (and am not keen on Manchester either).
If we're going to hold conference in a big city, may I respectfully suggest London, Edinburgh or Bristol
Too many of them are City boys for my liking
why have they got time on their hands
when the City is meltdown
shouldnt they be looking after their bonuses...oh no we are
Even the Today Programme commented on this earlier, with Evan Davis saying that the young men were notably better looking and more sophisticated than the "Tory Boy" stereotype of the olden days.
Iain, are you sure it's not the 'policeman looking younger' syndrome?
I wouldn't say you've attracted a lot of new activists when membership numbers are dropping. More likely there's an over-representation of spotty little hacks.
Lots of Jeremy's
Lots of Jeremy's - in their 20's, in pin strip suits, talking gardage.
Rah rah rah we're going to smash the oiks - anyone for real tennis, daddy sends harks.
Good to see so many old FCSers here
our day will come
Is that the same FCS that had badges saying hang Nelson Mandela
You wouldn't think so if you watched BBC news or in particular Newsnight! Then that's what we've come to expect from the BBC
Anonymous @ 9:24:
If your reason for not going to the conference was because of the location then you have your priorities skewed.
Anyway I was in Birmingham a few weeks ago, and for a big city under London's shadow it seemed pretty decent to me. When was the last time you went?
p'raps the usual blue rinse brigade are at staying home saving their money for this winter's gas bill?
Iain this could be a very shrewd marketing campaign for the party. Has David Cameron really found the elixir of youth?
Young people can't get onto the job market any more so they go to Tory conference instead...
Yes, I heard the Today programme comment on it too. Charles Moore, if I remember correctly, said there was a lot less of the old folk who go for an outing and who really don't do politics.
Boy is Charles moore in for a shock on polling day.
New line forming at the trough?
The food is much better than Blackpool. And if you don't mind a free 10 min bus ride you can find a fairly cheap hotel.
The reason we don't have so many oldies is quite frankly they are getting too old or have died.
We saw a lot of them before because these were the Tories who joined the party in the 50s when membership was 10 times bigger than present membership.
Of course there are the 'new' oldies who became active in the 60s and 70s, but they are far less numerous than the previous generation.
As someone who is 50, I always used to feel young at conference. In the last 2 years I have started to feel old!
But how many reps are there in attendance.
Have just listened to Dave and now understand what Brown means about "novice".
How exactly did Carlton in any way prepare him for this?
No time for financial boy scouts be they Toryboy or Labboy.
Still a hideously white crowd though
The fact there is a "freshers" zone which, everytime I walked past had quite a few people in attendance speaks volumes.
The reason of the shift in age-range is neither to do with the location or the attraction of younger members to the party. It's merely because for every new person who joins the Party, 50 die.
At the last AGM of my constituency association, the comment under membership was "the biggest reason for the drop in numbers is, by far, death".
Despite the decline in average age of the Conservative front-bench, I'd suggest the average age of members is still hovering around 70.
Lilico is bang on the money with his dangerous dave comments (Conhome)
Surprise, surprise. The BBC are almost entirely zooming in on the older "representatives" in the audience. I know the truth because I was there on Sunday, but the BBC are determined to show otherwise.
Iain, you assume the changes you've noted are partly down to "the Party [having] attracted a lot of new activists". Obviously you've allowed the sight of so many good looking young people cloud your judgement. It appears party membership is nose-diving both quickly and substantially. See: http://www.labourlist.org/daves-decline.pdf
ross-this is unfair!
The membership have been crying out for an old Etonian who understands the man in the street for years.Your just bitter because we got a super wealthy guy who understands media and spin-nothing else matters.
I went for the first two days this year - first visit for ten years and only my second since 1990. Used to go almost every year in the late 70s and 80s.
There were a lot more younger people this time, but quite a lot were there for their work, as lobbyists, organising fringe meetings etc. However, the rest of it is probably because it is no longer unfashionable to be a Tory. A couple of people who had been running stands at all (or both) conferences commented to me that the people at ours are much more numerous, much more lively and upbeat.
But the biggest change is not the age but the role of the constituency representatives. We are not even representatives any more as any paid up member can apply to go - no distinction between a restricted number per constituency with voting rights, and others as observers. Why? Because there are no votes on anything, no motions and no real speeches from the floor - only a few questions at certain points. In effect every constituency attendee has been reduced to observer status. The whole thing is a top down communication exercise, not bottom up at all. I cannot see how the Shadow Cabinet can get any measure of the party's mood on anything. Although I went to some good fringe meetings in my two days, caught up with a few old friends and acquaintances, and enjoyed one or two speeches (particularly Boris), overall I found the thing totally dispiriting.
I think people who have gone every year must, like frogs in gradually boiling water, have not noticed this fundamental change. But when you don't go for 10 years and then come back - boy, has it changed for the worse. Where is the heart and soul the Tory Party now?
Yes, I was there and noticed it too. I must say, as someone who attends all three, that the Tories are always ahead on the totty front. Posh Tory totty... yummy!
Well said Londoner.Heartless and now gutless.
At the risk of sounding like I'm trying to make excuses for my typically scruffy appearance (I promise that I really don't give a stuff)It seems that there is a noticeable shift back to suits. When I first attended conference in 1998 I seemed to be the only male of any age not wearing either a suit or a blazer. By the time I last went, a couple of years back it seemed that there were lots of youngish people not wearing suits. This year I seemed to be alone again. (Setting aside Guido's delightful tangerine cords of course.)
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