The Manchester Central venue has been a fashionable location for conferences in recent years, with Labour holding conference at the location in 2010 and 2012, and the Conservatives following suit in 2011 and this year. Whilst Manchester is certainly not ‘blue’ in political speak, as one of the largest cities in Britain it is a significant opportunity for the Conservatives to try and appeal to votes in northern cities, who have continued to support Labour but must be won over by David Cameron if he is to throw off the shackles of coalition and win a majority at the next election.
The recent return of the economy to growth has helped Cameron narrow the polls somewhat, and he will be using his address to the party faithful to argue that Britain is on the mend. However Cameron remains vulnerable on the issue of living standards, with many people having seen their income fall as a result of austerity measures since the last election, and the electoral maths alone means he faces an uphill struggle if he is to lead another government after the 2015 election.
Cameron has recently beefed up his campaign team with the appointments of former Obama campaigner Jim Messina and Lynton Crosby, and will be hoping that they can help him hone a message to appeal to swing voters. However for the Tories the elephant in the room will be Europe. Although Cameron has promised to hold a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU after the next election – if returned to power of course – for many activists this is not soon enough, and the increase in UKIP’s popularity threatens to harm Tory candidates at the next election.
Referendums are seldom used in the UK, although last year’s poll on a change to the electoral system and next year’s vote on Scottish independence suggests that there is a growing power for more direct democracy, and an increase in people power. Our research has looked into the reasons why people decide to power charities, and we’re delighted to have the opportunity to share that with representatives from the largest party in the Government.
Our fringe event will give us the chance to hear from the Minister for Civil Society himself, as Nick Hurd MP has kindly agreed to join us to offer his informed take. We’ll also be joined by Penny Mordaunt MP, as well as Pete Moorey from campaigning organisation Which? to offer us their perspective on the relationship between people and charities. If you’re at Conservative Party conference this year come along and join us for a fascinating discussion about why people give.
CAF’s Conservative Fringe:
Tuesday 1st October
Chester Suite, Midland Hotel, Manchester
Speakers: Nick Hurd MP (Minister for Civil Society), Penny Mordaunt MP, Pete Moorey (Which?) Dr John Low CBE (Charities Aid Foundation)
Chair: Toby Helm, Political Editor of The Observer