Sunday, 12 February 2012

Symud Ymlaen - Leaving the Welsh Conservatives

After long and careful consideration, last September, I took the decision to resign from the Welsh Conservatives. For those who are interested, (and a number of people have asked me), here’s why:
Politically speaking, it would be fair to say that I shall always espouse the politics of the centre- right, however, it won’t have been any secret to those who know me well that within the Welsh Conservatives, I was very concerned about the way the party is run and more particularly, about how the membership is treated. There were a number of members who shared my views and many friends and former colleagues urged me to either 'bite the bullet', or to try to change things from within. However, I discovered that sadly, there is very little appetite from within the party to bring about positive change to this effect, and last September I made up my mind. To rather crudely mix my metaphors, I arrived at this conclusion: if a horse doesn’t want to be led to water, then there ain’t no point flogging it until it’s dead!

Whilst it cannot be denied that Welsh Conservatives have done well in recent elections, it’s my belief that the way the party is run may not augur well for sustaining these good results and more importantly, for recruiting new members and appealing to people from all walks of life. No one individual is to blame for these problems, but as was evidenced by the party’s poor communication problems over the recent cancellation of their Welsh Conference, there really does need to be radical root and branch reform.

I think that most people would agree that the progress of any organisation is dependent on its reputation. In my opinion, in order to improve this, the Welsh Conservatives need to get their marketing right and to properly serve their members, (the people who are after all, the ‘shareholders’ in the company).
• Members need to see evidence that the professional party in Wales (the salaried arm of the party charged with administration) is properly performance managed.
• There needs to be better communication from the Party’s Management Board to the Party members.
It is a pity that it always seems to have been a struggle to find volunteers who are willing to stand for election to the Management Board, to such an extent that within the Party over the last few years, members have seen the same old suspects from the voluntary party hierarchy being ‘recycled’ back onto the Board. This is not good for party democracy or for introducing new ideas.
• There needs to be better communication with Party members overall.
Members want and need to feel a sense of belonging and inclusion and that their opinions are valued – this means making regular contact and not just asking them to deliver leaflets at election time!

Over the past twelve years that I was a member, I made many friends within the party and I was privileged to have served in the Assembly with a group who were for the most part talented and hard-working. I am very grateful to have experienced all of this and trust that the many friendships will remain, but I feel sure that those who know me well will understand that in order to remain true to myself, I now need to plough my own furrow.

5 comments:

  1. Goodness Lisa, that must have been a very difficult decision indeed for you (especially with a Conservative Prime Minister). Are you likely to remain non party for some time or are you toying joining another party / becoming a formal Independent and contest any forthcoming elections?

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    1. Hi Harry, Just seen your comment. As I said when I bumped into you in ABeraeron yesterday, I am independent. Whilst I officially resigned from the Conservatives last September, it would appear that not many people actually knew about it. I have not left the Conservatives in order to join another party. I have been asked by residents living in Aberystwyth to stand in the forthcoming council elections and I intend do so as an Independent.

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  2. I've always respected you and your work Lisa, particularly in chairing Ceredigion's 'Yes' campaign in the Welsh powers referendum last year.

    Good luck to you in your future endeavours Lisa, be they party political, or not.

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    1. Thank you very much Mark. Always respected you too. I thoroughly enjoyed the YES campaign and we had such a wonderful team. Definitely, the best campaign I've ever worked on. I will be continuing as an Independent.

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