As the Conservative Party is left reeling from electoral meltdown and Boris Johnson looks set to scrape through in the London elections, former candidate for National Chairman releases an open letter to CF.
"When I launched my campaign to become CF Chairman in 2010 I was widely seen as the right winger; the guy who would be a thorn in the side of the party hierarchy to protect the interests of the members. A similar challenge occurred in last year's elections, with a formidable, yet unsuccessful, challenge to the status quo which has been led by a Chairman whose apparent belief in pragmatism has trumped the ideals of the majority of his membership. In the opening salvos of a coalition, I can quite understand and - with the benefit of hindsight - probably support such a painful course of action. Two years later, however, we're in the mire.
The status quo I speak of still envelopes party obedience as its key objective, being a mouthpiece for an administration which is currently on the ropes and with little prospect of getting off of them any time soon. With the mayoral elections taking place tonight, and with Boris seen as more or less a different entity to the Tories, this may not now be too much of a problem with most ordinary Londoners agreeing that Ken is a disaster just waiting to happen again. However, the terminal issue with CF now is that it's leadership seem to regard themselves as a minister of state; a being that faces a severe dressing down if it fails to toe the line. A line, coincidentally, which has has drawn in part by our coalition partners.
The sad truth is that CF no longer represents the majority of it's members. Only two years ago I fought against someone who I believed, despite our differences, had the best interests of our members at heart. As I have witnessed recent events unfold by people displaying disparaging arrogance (on both sides, it has to be said...in some cases I believe motivation has been purely about personal gain), I feel an awful sense of foreboding.
The reason for this article is not about these operational risks. Neither is it about politics. It is, rather, about a leadership style which is more interested in self promotion than ideological rigour. We have seen vast swathes of previously loyal Conservatives cross the floor to an ever enlarging force in UKIP. To deny their threat is imbecilic, and not to treat them and their views with respect will lead to disastrous consequences. Alarmingly, the current CF administration seems to be treating these people - good, unreconstructed Tories - with a contempt which is shaping the future of our organisation. A future, I believe, that should be avoided at all costs if we wish to have any semblance of a youth wing left in 5 years time.
It will come as no surprise to people that I am a proud Conservative, one that also has sympathy for some of UKIP's views. And I am not alone. Our party, living in the shadow of a European Union which day by day is encroaching on our lives and eroding our liberty, needs us to fight the fight. It needs us to have the courage to respect euroscepticism and understand those who disagree. What we need not do, is to be so arrogant as to believe everyone agrees with the 'party', or our own world view.
So I urge you, Mr. Chairman, to reconsider your position. Our party is made up of more than just former Guardianistas who joined when the going was good. It is more than just the so called CF elite who fancy a crack at parliament. It is about protecting the folks who were here in the thin, as well as the thick. The people who are Tories with a big T and proud of it. The self obsessed defectors who aim to promulgate their own feted careers, I have no time for. The defectors who I out of desperation are my real concern - they are the rump of our party. Ben, we are friends from old, and I would hate to see you be remembered as the man who broke CF. Please, stop the rot and unite our party, before we have nothing left."