The latest stop on CAF’s conference tour of Britain sees us head to Manchester to join the Conservatives. Prime Minister David Cameron will be addressing party members for the first time since leading his party to a majority at the 2015 election, and it will be the first time that the Conservatives have met as the lone party of government since John Major addressed his troops in Bournemouth in 1996.
Whilst all polls pointed to a hung Parliament (with many experts projecting Labour to emerge as the largest party), Conservative campaign chief Lynton Crosby orchestrated the kind of effective campaign that has seen him run election-winning campaigns in both London and Australia. Crosby’s strategy saw the Conservatives take seats from the Lib Dems in the South West, as well as better than holding their own against Labour in the English marginals.
The result gave Cameron a majority of 12, and he has wasted no time in getting his ministers to start implementing the Conservative manifesto. The summer months saw both the Lib Dems and Labour engaged in leadership battles, effectively paving the way for the Conservatives to press ahead with their agenda, an opportunity that no Prime Minister would turn down.
In the charity world, the Government have been enacting the Charities (Protection and Social Investment) Bill, which seeks to beef up the powers of the Charity Commission and make it easier for them to crack down on any abuse of charity. However, as a result of stories about fundraising practices over the summer, this has been the focus of much political debate, and is now also being used to clamp down on the kind of fundraising activities that members of the public perceive negatively.
Whilst both Lib Dem and Labour conferences have taken place in the shadow of worse-than-expected election results, the opposite is true for the Conservatives. As a result, activists can be expected to be jubilant, with the political forecast for the next few years currently looking extremely positive. Of course, things can change quickly in politics, and the presence of the EU Referendum on the horizon means that that choppy waters may lie ahead.
We’ll be taking our science lab stand up to Manchester where we’ll be speaking to Conservative activists about their thoughts about the future of charities. We know from our research that there are some differences in views between Conservative voters and their MPs, and we’re looking forward to discussing some of these issues with visitors. If you’re up in Manchester, stop by at stand 49 to find out more.
We’ll also be hosting a discussion to go into the findings in more detail. Katharine Peacock from ComRes will present the findings to the audience, before CAF’s Dr John Low will chair a discussion about the future of charities. Contributors will include Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, Chair of the Health Select Committee, Cllr Mark Hawthorne, who is the Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, and Caroline Julian, Head of the Society Programme at ResPublica.
It should be a fascinating discussion, so please do come along and share your thoughts and questions with the panel. You’ll be able to find us on the Sunday (4th October) in Exchange 10, Manchester Central, from 1930 – 2100.
Refreshments will be provided!