In February 2011, Matt Robinson was elected as Regional Chairman for Northern Ireland Conservative Future. In December 2011, he was re-elected as Regional Chairman, and elected to the CF National Executive as Regional College Chairman.
The activist, who has lived in in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England, has previously served in Branch, Regional, and National positions in Conservative Future over the past 5 years.
He is standing for the National Chairmanship of Conservative Future.
Since the Conservative Party has entered government in coalition – and indeed, even during opposition – there have been a myriad of issues that have caused rifts within the party. Such divisions are, of course, inevitable in a party that covers the sprawling landscape of the “centre right” in the United Kingdom.
There is, however, one campaign that can act as a rallying cry for all members of the Conservative and Unionist Party. Indeed, there must be few issues where you’ll find Alistair Darling, Sir Alex Ferguson and David Cameron in wholehearted agreement. But there is one such matter- and that is the ‘Better Together’ campaign to ensure Scotland remains as a valued member of the United Kingdom.
What has been remarkable since the referendum was announced is the amount of unity that we have seen in the party on the topic. Many of us are keen to do everything possible to ensure Scotland remains part of the UK come 2014, and want Conservative Future to play a role in this alongside CF Scotland. As a case in point, I recall how well attended the Scotland reception and Dr Fox’s rallying cry in support of the Union were at the 2012 party conference in Birmingham. Displays such as these are surely a testament that the pride in our Union’s unique composition and heritage runs stronger than ever in our party.
For over 300 years, we have fought alongside one another in armed conflicts and overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges together. Economically, we embarked on industrialisation together, and experienced the social challenges as well as opportunities it brought. The eventual post-war industrial decline was felt in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as much as it was in Scotland. Today, we see services thriving in Edinburgh and London in an intertwined and co-dependent manner.
It is these shared experiences, common history and shared journey moving forward and in to the future that bring us together as a people with a common national narrative that is so crucial to any nation state. That there are cultural nuances in Scotland isn’t something that should drive us apart, but something to celebrate in the diverse patchwork that is the United Kingdom.
The question from many Conservative activists is what exactly we can do to help. The obvious answer – and the one where I hope Conservative Future can play a crucial role (managed by CFS, of course!) – is in the ground effort. Be it manning phone banks or getting on a train and making the journey to Scotland to dish out leaflets or assist in manning stalls, I want us to be a part of the fight.
I believe there is more to it than just campaigning though. It’s also about ensuring Scotland continues to feel a valued part of the Union. In our own party, simple gestures can go a long way. Over the next month alone, we are due to see some great examples of events revelling in the unique Scottish heritage that can thrive and be celebrated as a member of the United Kingdom. The Bow Group’s Burns Night supper and the University College London’s Ceilidh Ball all promise to be thoroughly entertaining, and I hope such events can proliferate in the future.
I hope 2013/14 can be a time to bring the party closer together in the run up to the 2015 General Election. Granting a solid platform to supporting the Union could just be one of the solutions.
#CFElects is the hashtag for the national elections to Conservative Future, youth wing of the Conservative Party. Since the next term of office will end within a few months of the 2014 referendum, all candidates have been offered the opportunity to write an article, explaining how they will address Union issues if they win.Share on Facebook