The Tories in North East Derbyshire are coming for your spare time


Like the countless other unremarkable things that have gone largely unnoticed recently, a new branch of the Dronfield Conservatives have formed in an effort to get you drinking and hopefully voting.

The Dronfield Conservatives are a group geared towards making the Tory party look more like approachable socialites and less like boring old bastards by campaigning and organising social events that will appeal to ‘the working man’: a term that cropped up every time someone mentioned either watching pub singers or drinking during the week; two things I was assured ‘regular people’ do all the time.

The branch meeting I was lucky enough to attend let me experience firsthand the tedium of watching socially inept people monumentally misunderstand how to engage with the public-at-large and each other. It kicked off with a clockwise introduction of who’s who: a depressing indictment of why giving titles like ‘Deputy Politik’ is a bad move unless you want people acting like self-satisfied nincompoop

The group Chair, Alex Dale, who, on a personal level, I actually quite like, gave an overview of his forecast for the branch in the most inspiring and productive 5 minutes of the meeting. Although I am sure the meeting was supposed to be about organising social events, it quickly descended to – and never waded from – door-to-door canvassing. The majority of the meeting, aside from my refusal to help with their social media marketing or their tedious discussion of how much to charge for membership to a social event group without a single event on its calendar, was about doors.

With a mere seven months until the General Election, we discussed the best ways for local canvassers to give your bell a good ring, fiddle with your knob, have a good-go on your big knockers or if the front entrance is out of commission then fist your rear entrance (ooh Matron), like some innuendo-laden Dronfield version of Carry On Campaigning without the sex appeal of young Barbara Windsor but with tons of Kenneth Williams smarmy nasally voice.

The relentlessly dull and socially awkward nature of door canvassing is something I have never understood in a world in which an unsolicited knock on the door means several unappealing things: either you are about to learn the truth about Jesus, a man from SafeStyle is going to tie you to a radiator and burn your toes until you buy triple-glazing, you are about to become a disgraced children’s entertainer, or local politics is going to fail to engross you, once again.

 As a branch we agreed on something memorable for our slogan; I still can not remember whether it was: ‘we are about winning elections’, or, if Mark Foster, the self-confessed canvassing champion (bell botherer), had anything to do with it: ‘we are about knocking on doors’. In fact, as the meeting was drawing to a close at 7:30 on a Wednesday night, Mark wanted everyone to go out canvassing at which point me and several other pretended to have dinner plans.

Unfortunately for both the Dronfield Conservatives and the rest of the Conservative party, their reluctance to change tactics and their reputation as boring bastards, resulting in membership figures that have been on the decline longer than David Cameron has been alive, has left their efforts to engage with people stilted and – for the sake of ironic pun – laboured.

With all that in mind, if you want to pop down to the Green Dragon pub at 7:30 tonight (29th October), the Dronfield Conservative Branch will be there to say hi. Also, Lee Rowley the North East Derbyshire Tory candidate will be there.

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