Crikey, what a year! In 2015 Conservatives for Liberty hosted a range of events – some of which were so successful that we’ve decided to make them regular.
We kicked off the year with two fantastic events, the first with speaker Owen Paterson MP and hosted jointly with the Selsdon Group. Mr Paterson covered a wide range of topics in his speech including environment issues (he had only recently stopped being the minister), with a special focus on how GM crops can help feed the world.
Just a week later our first cabinet minister joined us for a drink – Sajid Javid MP. Mr Javid talked about how he was first drawn to the Conservative Party as a youngster – and explained why Ayn Rand’s book The Fountainhead resonates with him.
And in May, a few weeks after that great election result, we noticed an increase in interest in what Conservatives for Liberty was about. So we decided to reserve a couple of tables and have an informal get together with like-minded people. That small gathering had to be rapidly relocated as interest grew – in the end about 70 people came along – and is now a firm favourite among London-based liberty-lovers as our monthly ‘Pint & Patter with Conservatives for Liberty’.
In June, we celebrated 800 years of liberty and the signing of Magna Carta with a black tie dinner at the Savile Club, and special guest speaker Jacob Rees-Mogg MP. Mr Rees-Mogg’s speech was as brilliant as you would expect – and it earned a mention in The Spectator. Last week I had the pleasure of booking a new venue for the second Magna Carta Dinner, so look out for announcements in the new year.
July saw the launch of Conservatives for Liberty Northern Ireland. The London team travelled across to Belfast for lessons in proper drinking, and special guest speaker Alex Kane talked about why liberty should be central to the Conservative Party’s message in Northern Ireland.
We attended Conservative Party conference again, and repeated last year’s successful event format. Freedom Fizz is exactly what you would expect – plenty of fizz, and plenty of talk about freedom. This year we went to Epernay, the champagne bar in Manchester, with speakers Daniel Hannan, MEP and our honorary president, and Matt Ridley, the Viscount Ridley (author, libertarian & friend of CfL).
At the end of October Conservatives for Liberty turned two years old. We celebrated with a special birthday Pint & Patter. As with all good birthdays, there were drinks and cake.
In November we were delighted to host our first event in Parliament. As with most of our events, we decided to embody the phrase ‘go big or go home’. ‘Forgive us our trespasses: The moral case for choice and responsibility’ featured five MPs – Chris Philp, Lucy Allan, James Cleverly, David Nuttall and John Redwood – followed by Chris Snowdon of the IEA, arguing for small government and freedom of choice. Over 100 people attended – and many of them joined us for a drink afterwards.
We rounded out the year with another event in Northern Ireland – mulled wine, mince pies, and Jeff Peel. I was delighted to go to Belfast and hear a discussion not just about the need for free markets, but the value of Austrian economics, too.
We’re winding down for Christmas now, but plans are afoot for next year. ‘Like’ us on Facebook for event announcements, and drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org is you’d like to get involved with Conservatives for Liberty – we’re always looking for writers and other team members to help us make the arguments for liberty within the Conservative Party.
Huge thanks to everyone who has attended our events and supported Conservatives for Liberty – see you next year!