(Image: Private Media/Mitchell Squire)

About four days into a call-around for a Crikey article about the National Party, an anonymous email arrived -- the equivalent of a cry for help, as though slipped under a hotel room door.

"There is a growing fury among the ranks of young Nats," the email read. "They view the Nats as fossilised and out of touch, trapped in the '50s. Their views on women, the environment, and lack of opportunity in regions lies at the core."

The email joined the dots of recent media coverage: