Browse Category: Vision in Leadership

Gove Vote Leave

Conviction politician Gove puts country ahead of his leader

Conviction politician Gove Goes for Leave

He did it. He actually did it. Deputy Editor of The Times. Friend, ally and Lieutenant to David Cameron on so many issues. Reforming Minister within a Cameron government. And, stealing shamelessly from Andrew Neil, he has decided to go out on a limb and put his country first.

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Debate Prep for the Leaders Debate

Leaders Debate

At last the Great Debate or the Great Bore-a-thon is with us. Guy Bentley has a useful rundown in City AM on the format and the logistics for the night, who stands where, who speaks first etc.

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Francis Maude – The Turn Around Minister

Over the weekend Francis Maude announced he would be standing down as an MP at the next election. Full disclosure: Francis was the best boss I have ever had. He is smart, fun, hilariously dry and very fair. But, given the space to “get on with it” by David Cameron, Francis Maude has also proved just how competent he is as a Minister. Continue Reading

By-Election Aftermath

By-Election Aftermath

So two by-elections have come and gone- and the media is full of the by-election aftermath. Both main parties have resolutely focused on each other and seemed to ignore any other party. This has been true  all over the country in Blue-Yellow seats, Blue-Red seats, Red-Plaid seats, Red-Lib Dem seats and Red-SNP seats – the national HQ’s of Labour and Conservative have focused on each other.

I have been asking the question for nearly 4 years now – would our two major parties ever acknowledge and face up to the existence of the other parties or just take lumps out of each other. Some say that progress has been made, that undecideds and supporters of other parties are now being targeted by both main parties as much as they focus on the core vote. But I think the rules are no longer reliable.

Core voters? Am I a core voter?

I am as loyal a Conservative as almost any and I would never have voted for Douglas Carswell and UKIP –  but I may well have considered voting for him if he had stood as an Independent. I like his use of social media, respect the way he consults his constituents and admire his thinking and thoughtfulness as an MP.

The electoral reality is that seats all over the country are now 3 way or 4 way contests at best – at worst they are totally unpredictable. Old canvas returns are less reliable than ever. Even those from last year need a very sceptical look. And that is assuming that the canvassing was done correctly in the first place! Party loyalty is at an all time low, disillusionment with politics is high and the stakes are huge. The 2015 General Election is more important than most recent election – the difference in direction and ideology between the two main parties hasn’t been this wide in decades.

National Messaging

I understand and agree with the national messaging focus from the Conservatives on Miliband vs Cameron as PM. Who wouldn’t? I honestly think Ed is now more of an asset to us than Gordon Brown ever was – but with the Lib Dem betrayal of the boundary reform aimed at making votes fairer and constituencies more similar in size – Ed could still be PM in May next year. We need strong and differentiating national messaging and Lynton Crosby will deliver that better for the Conservatives than anyone. I just hope that it works locally in these 3-way and 4-way contests in this fluid and fast moving electoral landscape.


Guest Post – Memories of Maggie

(This is a guest post from by Alex Evelyn, President of Essex University Conservative Future)

Yesterday, ‘Memories of Maggie’, was held by Essex CF in the Lords. The event was hosted by Baroness Jenkin of Kennington. Celebrating the life of Lady Thatcher and appreciating the transformation she made to Britain: Free markets, property owning democracy, competition to our public services.

AlexEveleynThe opportunity for Young Conservatives to listen and question friends and colleagues of the last government allowed us to unravel the legend and misrepresentation caricatured by the left giving us all something more personal.

The evening consisted of four speakers Lord Baker, Baroness Bottomley, Lord Jenkin and Lord Sherbourne. All distinguished speakers who had a unique story.

Lord Baker spoke of Lady Thatcher’s loyalty to her government ministers. He talked about her dedication to ideas, allowing ministers to have ownership over their ministerial portfolios. There was also clarity of what she wanted to achieve and how she wanted individuals to get on. Lady Thatcher’s hatred of vested interest which prevented free individuals pursuing the best course of action drove her to rein in the unions – who were preventing ideas and economic growth in Britain.

Baroness Bottomley talked of Lady Thatcher charm and charisma. She also spoke of Lady Thatcher’s obligation to social mobility and her difficulty to understand individuals not prepared to better themselves. Lady Thatcher was never a snob and her ideology was centred on the strivers in life. Baroness Bottomley spoke of Conservatives being the doers of social justice; not the posers like the left – citing our commitment to charity and helping the neediest in our society.

Lord Jenkin discussed Lady Thatcher’s resolve to get the job done. She realised the taxpayer was sovereign and not a cash machine for state extravagance. The issue of privatisation demonstrated Lady Thatcher’s resolve with the breaking up of British Telecom rejecting the use of taxpayers’ money. Her headstrong attitude saw Thatcher win friends in unlikely quarters. Lord Jenkin shared a memory of canvassing in Ebbw Vale, formally Michael Foot and Aneurin Bevan constituency. A resident answered the door to Lord Jenkin and responded (queue Welsh accent) “I hate everything this government is doing and I hate Margaret Thatcher”. Lord Jenkin replied “I assume I will not be getting your vote”, for the resident to say “you will be getting my vote because she does what says”. This is a fine example of strong convictions winning friends in unlikely quarters.

Lord Sherbourne, Lady Thatcher speech writer, had the closest contact with her and would spend hours meticulously preparing speeches and PMQ performances. Lord Sherbourne cited her forensic eye over all aspects of government policy. The working atmosphere was intense with long working days all borne out of a desire to get things RIGHT! Lady Thatcher also had a remarkable ability to oppose her own government. Lord Sherbourne recalled a time when the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs had a stated policy from the Permanent Secretary, only for Mrs Thatcher to top and tail the letter and provide her preferred course of action.

Memories of Maggie was an opportunity for her legacy and ideology to be remembered in a respectful and dignified way by four superb speakers, who were able to articulate Thatcher the Lady, Thatcher the PM, and Thatcher the Champion for workers.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the speakers who shared their ‘Memories of Maggie’ yesterday, Baroness Jenkin of Kennington for agreeing to host the event, Peter Botting for sponsoring the wine, and Essex University CF executive team for supporting me to ensure this event could happen.

We most certainly envisage hosting a similar event next year and if you would like to get involved please do contact me!

Alexander Evelyn

@jalexevelyn (twitter)


Values in Leadership – a tribute to my Mum on International Womens' Day

My mother had values. The type that don’t walk quietly. She was also my leader.

This  includes being my facilitator, disciplinarian, fan club, teacher and coach and she has been my demanding benchmark all my life. She had a big heart.

She was tough, funny, hearty and loving. One of seven children, she was sent from Eire to live in London in her late teens. She studied and became a nurse – later becoming the type of Hospital Matron that legends are made of and that Doctors fear.

In 1945, she married my Dad in Croydon. He hadn’t been de-mobbed yet and was still in his RAF uniform. She was 22 and living in a foreign country. The Vicar asked her if she promised to “Love, Honour and Obey…”.

My Mum smiled and responded. “Love and Honour.”

This may not seem like a big deal now – but in 1945 it was more than unusual.

Raised a protestant in Eire and living in Africa, she was wary of talking about or getting involved in politics – but she was big on principles and values and doing rather than talking. She was the backbone and the glue of our family; a letter writer and keeper of telephone numbers; a stalwart of the Womens’ Institute; a baker, fundraiser and an organiser in the PTA at my school; a professional and highly respected Nurse and Matron and the sort of person who cooked and delivered a meal when the neighbours moved in. She was proud and supportive of my father’s achievements in business but she glowed when she spoke of his work with RAPT (the Rhodesian Association for the Prevention of Tubercolosis) which wiped out TB in that country for a generation.

She sent me to a private Catholic multiracial school because she didn’t want me thinking segregated white Rhodesia was representative of the real world. She always spoke of the possible rather than the forbidden. She repeatedly told me that I could be and do whatever I wanted to be or do – as long as I set my mind and my efforts and energy to it.

She is also the person who repeatedly pushed and challenged me when I said something was “good enough”.

We never spoke much about politics. She would have been a fan of the principles of social mobility and meritocracy of Margaret Thatcher and John Major. She would have loved the rhetoric of “Yes We Can.” She would have stood and applauded the Peace Process in Ireland. And if I  ever appeared lazy she would have told me to pull my finger out, stop complaining and get on with it – “It’s your life – it’s your fault if you mess it up. It’s your responsibility.”

She would have agreed with International Women’s Day. But she would have found it ridiculous that the world had progressed so slowly that it was still necessary.

leadership and vision

Leadership and vision – Dubai media read my articles! :)

I wrote an article on leadership and vision which got picked up in the Middle East.

Following a recent trip to Dubai, I was so impressed, that I mentioned Dubai and Sheikh Mohammed in an article I wrote on leadership and vision for The Commentator. 

Well how surprised was I today. I was looking for a video I had uploaded to YouTube that seemed to have got lost temporarily and I did a YouTube search for myself. (That WAS why – honest!). Anyway, cynics and unbelievers, look what I found.

Dubai is well worth a visit – and if you can fly Emirates and go on the A380 it is even better! My article was about leadership and vision and listed 4 leaders who have changed countries rather than just tweaking or administering. Anyone who sees how far Dubai has come and in such a short period of time will surely agree with me.

Sheikh Mohammed, like the other leaders I listed, understood the concept of having a vision. That costs today could be justified if jam came tomorow. He has definitely delivered for his people and on his vision.

If all politicians campaigned with the leadership and vision shown by these four leaders and engaged in less political campaigning maybe we would have more people voting for political parties.

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