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The Need for Better Events

Member Views is a series of opinion pieces written by Blue Beyond members.

I recently received an invitation via email to an event. Due to the very senior nature of the MP, I wasn’t privy to who it is. The cost was actually fairly reasonable for once, at £20. The downside, however, is that it is 1 ½ away from where I live.

Now, the event is for the entire Yorkshire and Humberside area. It is, unfortunately, rather large. It was clearly a mass invitation to those Conservative supporters who live in the regions listed, such as myself.

It’s natural to have fundraising events such as this one- there’s a campaign to be won. So what about events in general?

Usually, it’ll be a glossy invite to dine with some minister at someone’s house. £40-50 seems to be the norm, boasting a three course dinner and a drink of wine. It’s all well and good for those on disposable income, but for students and those on low income, it puts them in a rather impossible mission.

When you go to Tory meetings, it’s often older, middle class people at these events. They’re often retired and can easily spend money on dining with MPs at a moment’s notice. As the membership diversifies, you’ll find that many just cannot afford that. Students for example, could use that ticket money to get several weeks worth of groceries.

If price isn’t the problem, one thing is- distance.

Though many people are doing their best to ensure events are held across the country, it always seems to be London. Whether it’s politicians, journalists or activists, you’ll often see the words ‘Westminster’ or ‘London’ written on the invitation.

Well, on the one hand, a lot of politicians are in London most of the time. It’s convenient. What the party seems to forget, however, is that many members don’t live inside the M25. Champagne events are fine if you work inside the bubble, but anyone outside of it seems to be content with a free glass of wine. There are politicians who live in constituencies outside of London- most of them do, in fact.

Is it so hard for people to *gasp* travel?

I’m sure that Londoners think the North is a cesspit of sin with gravy flowing rivers, but it’s no excuse for party exclusion. If you look at the GE results, you’ll see that the Tories actually did extremely well in the North and The Midlands. It’s London where they’re having problems. Would it not make sense to thank those voters?

I’m not asking for Boris Johnson and Priti Patel to pop up for free every weekend, but I’m not paying £50 for a three course meal I probably won’t even finish. All I ask is that the Conservative Party factor in accessibility and cost when it comes to events.

Sarah Stook