Watch the video on the right to see Eric Pickles explain how to set up a Watch Party for the TV debates:
"The Conservatives have long called for these debates as a way of reaching out to millions of people who have become disillusioned and disengaged with politics.
They are a real opportunity for people to see the choice they face at this election: five more years of Gordon Brown, or change with the Conservatives.
As so many people will be watching these debates, why not make an evening of it and watch them in a group?
Conservatives across the country are going to be holding Watch Parties, and this is your guide to hosting your own."
It’s completely up to you how you do it – it can be as informal or formal as you like. You could just invite some friends to gather around your TV over pizza, or you could arrange an organised evening that is open to a large number of people.
The first thing you’ll need to do is register your event by emailing email@example.com so that we know it’s happening, and so that we can arrange a conference call with you and Eric Pickles before the debate starts.
To maximise attendance, you can promote your event by:
Inviting friends to an event page on Facebook
Inviting people by email
Setting up an event on MyConservatives (if you have a page)
MAKING IT HAPPEN
First and foremost, your Watch Party should be fun. It’s a great way to relax and socialise with like-minded people.
If you aren’t able to provide food and drink for all your guests why not ask them to bring some themselves.
But as well as being about socialising, Watch Parties are a great way of helping the local or national Conservative campaign. With polling day just a few weeks away it’s vital that we all contact as many voters and raise as much money as we can.
1. One way of doing this is to go out leafleting or canvassing so that everyone can help out with before settling down for the Watch Party.
2. Or you could organise some telephone canvassing before the debates start. You should be able to arrange it by using MyConservatives or by getting a list of numbers from the local campaign office.
WATCHING THE DEBATE
Then of course you get to actually watching the debate. It will start at 8.30pm on Thursday 29th April and go on to 10pm without ad breaks. The first half of this debate will be focused on economic issues, before going on to wider issues.
Remember - don’t just share the experience with those you’re watching it with – you can share it with everyone else watching the debate by posting comments and photos on Facebook and Twitter (using the hashtag #LeadersDebate).
This is a great way of telling the world what you think about the debate as it is happening. It’s also important to highlight the facts and to counter all the spinning the opposition will be doing.
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