Saturday, 30 June 2007

An article written by Sue Joyson.

Yesterday evening was the annual Women2Win Summer Fundraiser at Kevin Bell’s wonderful river-side location. The aim was an informal get-together of Conservative women, some of whom are candidates, supporters and MP’s. Delicious canapés with Pimm’s and Champagne helped relax everyone. David Davis, Shadow Home Secretary gave a speech in which he praised Margaret Thatcher who as the first woman Prime Minister was an inspiration to all women in the Conservative party. I met a lovely, jovial lady who is hoping to win the South Derbyshire seat at the next election, and she was thrilled that the Conservatives had won control of the council for the first time and where she is leader. This lady appeared so untypical of some of the suave, sophisticated women candidates in that she was warm, approachable, everyone’s mother, colleague, friend, mate and very funny. I hope she wins. Some of the other women candidates take themselves more seriously and I wonder if they can relate to the ordinary voters or engage with their problems as easily. Another woman I admire tremendously has had to overcome prejudice towards her sexuality, but has been accepted unequivocally by the Conservative Party and has been chosen to fight a seat in the Midlands. She deserves to win as she really listens to people and takes on board their problems.

There was quiet consternation at the announcement of Quentin Davies’s defection to Labour, but the consensus was that he would not derail the Tories from its modernising programme under David Cameron. There was also the feeling that having been passed over by David Cameron as a minister in the Shadow Cabinet there was an element of sour grapes.

My one reservation with the evening was that at £50 it was much too expensive for many women to attend. Maybe the idea was that only a select number of women would go because of the small venue, but there are women out there who work in the public sector, professionals, stay-at-home mums, or the unemployed who wish to get actively involved in the Conservative Party but who would find £50 just too much. What a shame! Not all women are business women or chief executives.

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