A new year brings about many changes and opportunities afresh, and as the old York Tory committee guard leave, another one takes hold of the reins. This reshuffle however was done sufficiently more delicately and swiftly than the Labour shadow cabinet one only recently. Reshuffles are always a messy business, make no mistakes, with leaders trying to assert their authority in party vision by bringing in new friendlier faces, but part of the reason this one was attributed as so messy is because it took so long to finish. This may be because of Mr Corbyn’s apparent love for discussions and reaching agreements, however one does wonder when the listening stops and the direction begins. I am not of the belief that a leader should be a dictatorial and to demand only his needs, but for one to be a strong leader (and considering this to be a desirable quality of a leader), one must have at least a little Machiavellian spirit with the drive and determination to attain his wants and beliefs for the future. I will give it to him however politics is a tricky game, and trying to drag his party back to its former and his leftness is even harder, but it is such that everything is blown out of proportion for a headline, so in this vein perhaps I will move my first Weekly Blues column now in a different direction.
2016 brings with it the possible opportunity for the referendum on our membership to Europe. Whatever one’s side is in the debate, there is consensus that this will be a landmark decision for Britain and our place in the world, and not a decision to take lightly. The public perception of David Cameron’s negotiations on Europe is poor, with many believing that, try as he might, he will not be able to get anything substantial. What will definitely be refreshing however will be the cross party work done on the respective campaigns. As with the national party the York Tories will not be taking a side officially, but members will be free to campaign for their respective causes and to discuss, as they did last term by hosting Dan Hannan MEP, Matthew Elliot and Alan Halsall to discuss Brexit ,and as they will in March when some York Tories members will be travelling to Strasbourg to see Timothy Kirkhope MEP.
It will be interesting to see how well the respective campaigns have noted the lessons from the Scottish Independence referendum. The truth is it is impossible for both sides to run constantly positive campaigns, and this is where the importance of renegotiations comes into play. If Cameron can show that Europe is open to working with him even in a minute way, then he can offer the possibility of future discussions and a continued gradual improvement in our relation, if not then the In campaigns may have to run somewhat negatively, which could have a defining impact. Speculation is currently of little consequence since everything is in flux but one can be sure that the political machinery is slowly cranking up for a possible referendum.
The York Tories are also preparing for the term ahead, the record levels of new members will stand us in good stead for the new term, if you are however out there and thinking of getting involved with us, on Wednesday we are hosting a refreshers event which will begin in D-Bar and slowly make its way into town, for what will surely be a great night. For more information about the York Tories, you can find us on any social media you can think of and you can be sure I will be around to discuss the political nuances of a referendum or the merits of open and frank discussion.
Stefan Schuller is the Campaigns Officer of the York Conservative and Unionist Association.