Conservatives elect officers.
Busy night last night, having spent far too much time snapping away at David Miliband, I was late for the start of this meeting held in St. Peters, church hall, Harton, South Shields. Having missed the main business (the election of the officers and adoption of the balance sheet etc.) I had arrived at what seemed a most inappropriate moment at the back end of a blazing row between a couple of members on the floor and the President (George Smith) who was having a bit of a struggle to maintain order and dignity. It all looked rather embarrassing for their guest Mr. Michael Bates the former Paymaster General and MP for Langbaurgh. Michael is a vice-chairman of the party and the No. 2 of the Northern Board working with William Hague to regain seats in the major cities of the north of England.
Bates himself is a very amusing speaker and retold tales like a professional from” jackanory” without notes and would make excellent company over dinner, his encounter with Margaret Thatcher sounded an absolute giggle whilst his time in office under John Major sounded more of a frustration than a big bag of laughs!
I could sense that Bates could see through the facade of this association and see it’s problems in a stark light, he made much of the need to establish more Conservative Future branches in the North-East and highlighted the fact that the two Universities of Durham and Newcastle have memberships of 300 and 200 respectively, amongst the highest in the country! It’s certainly time to consider a future for the association in South Shields before it dies of old age, however, with a little pushing and shoving from some of the younger more energetic and enthusiastic participants ,such as Cllr. David Potts and Quintin Smith, there may be enough fresh breath to raise some flames from the embers.
The Conservative Party is committed to fielding candidates in every ward at the local elections in May and have almost found a full team (I will bring you the names as soon as I have them) so the hustings will be an interesting affair with a full choice of candidates from the major parties and the Independents.
Officers elected at last nights meeting were;
President – George Smith C.B.E.
Vice-President – Rebecca Martinson
(Temporary) Chairman – George Wilkinson
Deputy Chairman/Treasurer – Edward Russell
Pictured (click to enlarge) are Michael Bates, George Wilkinson, and Cllr. David Potts.