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New Year's Honours List 2013

Posted by: Charles Barwell on

It is with a sense of pride and of history that I received the news that the Prime Minister and the Head of the Civil Service have recommended to Her Majesty the Queen that I should be appointed an Officer of the most excellent Order of the British Empire in the New Year’s Honours List. The appointment is made for Political Service over a period of more than twenty years.

For the past fifteen years few honours have been made to volunteers in the world of British politics, with only a handful of elected councillors and parliamentarians being recognised. No volunteers in the Conservative Party have received an honour for "political service", although it was entirely right that Jeremy Middleton received a CBE earlier this year for "political and charitable services" recognising his fundraising for charities in addition to his political service. The reality of fifteen years of denial of recognition and thanks for political volunteers through the Blair and Brown governments causes me to have an even greater sense of responsibility in accepting this appointment. I do so on behalf of those scores of people from across the political spectrum who have given their time and commitment to serving the Nation in the political field, and to whom no-one has said thank you. Politics is held in poor repute by all too many people in our society, but the delivery of politics is critical for our Nation in the global sphere in almost every aspect of the business of our society.

I greatly enjoyed my twenty year engagement in politics, possibly most so at a very local level here in Edgbaston. Serving the members of the Conservative Party who elected me to represent them on the Board of the Party between 2007 and 2011 was an incomparable experience and a huge honour. My greatest pride will always be, as President of the National Conservative Convention, making the decision to bring the Party conference to Birmingham, and opening the conference in my home city in October 2010. That was a decision that has brought more than £15 million into the economy of this city in each of the three years that the conference came here. It is one of my deepest hopes that the Party conference will continue to come to Birmingham bringing with it decision makers and opinion formers in politics and business and the world’s media.

Volunteering is an honourable estate that is all too infrequently recognised. Over the past fifteen years there have been hundreds of volunteers in the Conservative Party who in previous years would have been recognised, thanked and rewarded by the appointment of knighthoods, CBEs, OBEs and MBEs. In accepting this award I do so mindful of all those volunteers who gave thousands of hours, delivered hundreds of thousands of leaflets, raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to support local campaigns, and who did so honestly and whose families invested great commitment to their serving Britain, but who were overlooked in different political times. To them all, and to my family who put up with my focus on politics for so many years, thank you, this is for you as much as for me.

How tedious. Typical Labour cheap populism making headlines this morning on banker bonuses. They're talking about only a couple of hundred investment bankers many of whom are Res Non Dom and not taxed in the UK at all. Granted, they are paid too much but they do create jobs and economic growth, and they help make London the financial capital of the world.

Stupidly, Labour's tax would hit tens of

We are just two weeks away from the 2011 National Convention meeting in Cardiff, which will mark the completion of my four-year term as a member of the Party’s Board, and the conclusion of a twenty-year involvement in voluntary politics. 

Its been a great privilege and a massive commitment to represent hundreds of thousands of Conservative members as, firstly, a vice-president, and over the past

Time to Deliver Change

Posted by: Charles Barwell on

Let no-one doubt the result of the General Election is a massive success for the Conservative Party. 

For those thousands of us who delivered leaflets, met voters on their doorsteps and across every community in the land, the result is an undoubted triumph. Together we have all achieved the greatest swing to the Conservatives and the largest increase in Tory seats in eighty years.

To all those

It was a real honour when, on Saturday, constituency chairmen with Area and Regional officers of the Conservative Party from up and down the country, elected me to serve as President of the National Conservative Convention for the next year.

President of the Convention is more than just a title. It’s a major commitment for the year, and a huge responsibility to represent more than 200,000 members

Its been a whirlwind of two weeks following my nomination as one of six candidates to stand for election as the next MP for Bromsgrove.

At the packed selection meeting of members of Bromsgrove Conservatives yesterday Sajid Javid won. He's a great guy, an accomplished businessman, family man, and will be the Conservative Party's first muslim MP. That's great news all round.

It was the first time

Candidate for Bromsgrove

Posted by: Charles Barwell on


Goodness, I wasn't expecting that.

I was just leaving a meeting with a long-term client on Wednesday evening where we talked about their bank accounts and small investment portfolio when a call came through to me from the Chairman of the Party's office. I was asked whether I would like to be included in a list of six candidates from whom local Conservatives in Bromsgrove will select their new


Posted by: Charles Barwell on

I am the happiest man in the world.

Yesterday evening, at the top of Brae Hill overlooking the Camel Estuary in Cornwall, Juliet agreed to marry me.

I will never forget the look on her face as I looked up from my knees, and she will never forget the words I used. It is an inestimable honour, and I'm blown away that she said

A Government in Meltdown

Posted by: Charles Barwell on

Its been a big day in politics.

Finally, and somewhat late, Gordon Brown said sorry. He said he was sorry, shocked and angry. Not sorry for his disastrous handling of the economy. Not sorry for raising taxes on the poor by cutting the 10p tax rate. Not sorry for the culture of government that has become so insular and thuggish. But sorry for a scurrilous email that was sent by his most trusted

Music Education Taskforce

Posted by: Charles Barwell on

Last summer the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt MP, asked me to join a taskforce that would look into the impact that music can have in education and society.

I've been a member of the Board of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra for four years, and sing in its Chorus. In fact I've sung in choirs all my life. The sensation of achievement that comes from

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