The North Down supper club meets every month, usually at the Royal Hotel in Bangor. It is an institution which is now part of the Conservative Party of Northern Ireland. Every now and then, I go to the supper club and enjoy an evening with fellow Conservatives.
Some who frequent the club from time to time, may be wondering about its future. They should not be concerned. Under my proposal, the links with the Conservative party would remain and should indeed remain. Indeed, the retention of the Conservative link would be an essential part of the plan for electoral success of the new party.
So, when it comes to enjoying our evening at the supper club, we can still have guest speakers from the Conservative Party. There is one little change that would have to be made. It is a little rite which lasts a few seconds. The toast to the Queen would need to be dropped.
The supper club would be seeing some new faces. A sizeable proportion of them will be Nationalists from the Catholic community. They may be people who enjoy going to a Gaelic Football match. They may hold an inward desire that one day, there will be a united Ireland.
On the other hand, these new people will believe, like us, that capitalism works best when enterprise is rewarded and people are allowed to retain their wealth. They will believe, like us, that individuals must take as much responsibility as possible whilst the state should intervene as little as possible. They will believe, like us, that the weakest in society must be protected. They will believe, like us that all of our children should be given the best possible start in life that can be achieved for them. They will believe, like us, that our Grammar School system must be protected and that work must continue to improve all other sectors of education. They will believe, like us, that everything must be done, at local, regional and national level to bring a climate to Northern Ireland in which the private sector economy can thrive and grow.
These people will be amongst tomorrow’s activists. These people will be motivated and inspired to be part of an inclusive new party. These people will be driven to bringing the new politics to their communities. These people will contribute their ideas and their political talent. These people will help to bring our party to new levels of strength and depth.
These are people that we will be proud to call our political associates and friends. Let us look forward to meeting and greeting them