Karen Allen

I fought South Shields at the May 2010 General Election for the Conservatives, gaining a 6.4% swing which was a 4% vote increase. The Conservatives polled 7,886 up from 5,207 in 2005. I was born in the North East and grew up in South Shields. I currently live in London and am employed as a Director at Lloyd's Broker Howden International.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Bid to be elected to the National Executive

Since living in London I have been involved with my local Conservative Associations, canvassing at the General Election, By Elections and Council Elections. I started to receive some correspondence from Conservative Future, as I was a member aged under 30. In 2004 at the grand age of 25 I started to become more involved with the activities of CF. As a late joiner to CF I was aware I was entering a group where many members who were around the same age as me had anything up to ten years of experience. I do think, however that I was able to provide a fresh input, as I had no preconceived opinions, but came from a Professional Background and only wanted to become more involved with people under 30 who are keen to promote and campaign for the Party.

Although we have been attracting more new members since the appointment of David Cameron we are still a long way from the Heydays. The bulk of new CF members have been aged 18-24. I would look to attract more members aged over 22 and believe I am in a good position to do so, working in an environment were there is a vast network of twenty somethings. CF is being wrongly perceived by the first or second jobbers, who have not previously been involved with the group as a student. I want to change this. I also believe many first or second jobbers think they do not have enough time to “get involved.” Indeed I thought I would not have the time, but have found that working with teams of dedicated activists, whom I have met through CF, it’s been possible to use concentrated time productively to achieve some great results.

I believe training and development is fundamental and an area which has been lacking in CF. The social evenings organised at present are excellent and a good way of networking and speaking informally on Party views and issues. I think it is important to continue with these events and I would indeed look to organise more. However I would concentrate on hosting more breakfast meetings which step across into training type sessions in which debate can be successfully engaged. It is this sort of “training” in debating and public speaking I would focus most on. These meetings could also be broadcast opening them up to members of CF who are not able to attend the session, this further extends into the arena of media training, which is another area we have not supplied enough of to our members. Debating is fundamental training which I would look to organise in working groups and sessions which are broadcast.

I was a member of the committee for the Working Life Conference 2006 which was held in Loughborough. Through publicity and liaison we successfully attracted many “first timers” to attend this conference which was dedicated to the first and second jobbers, interested in becoming involved in politics. Using a network of contacts we were able to schedule sessions with excellent speakers, with objective of equipping attendees to become stronger activists, by providing guidance on local issue campaigning and learning how community projects can make a real difference to the Conservative Party, as well providing Media training and a session on how to use presentation to influence people. The Committee is already working on ideas for new events, including follow up sessions as post conference outlets for those who want to further develop their skills.

Coming originally from the North East, an area where the Conservatives have historically not be so strong, I have been extremely encouraged on recent visits to Newcastle by growing interest in the activities of the Party and indeed the success of CF. I would look to attract further members and open more branches in this area. I believe it is also fundamental to open new branches of CF in target seat. The Young vote can win elections. We are the voters of tomorrow.

I ask you to vote for me because I am dedicated to improving CF and want to be in a position where I can maximise my input. CF is the Future of the Conservative Party.


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