Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Blogging from Bournemouth9- Conference roundup!

I think that most people that read my posts have guessed that I found the Tory Party conference great fun this year but that is really missing the point- did it succeed in its objectives as far as the party leadership were concerned? - what did Conservative delegates make of it, did armchair activists enjoy it and how was the Party perceived by the media and most importantly I guess, by floating voters?
Well leaving aside the disgraceful fiasco over conference passes being issued late, http://timesonline.typepad.com/politics/2006/10/fear_and_loathi.html#more
the conference seemed to be generally well run this year. I have never been one to sit in the conference hall but have preferred the fringe and yes the bar but there were some interesting speakers from the main hall this year as well as the usual shadow cabinet portfolio holders.- John McCain, Monbiot, Clarissa Dickson-Wright, Mark Malloch Brown,Roger North and Eric Schmidt are good examples.
The debate with Parris and Johnson was quite amusing too!
I thought Osborne's set piece speech was well delivered and The Sun liked it too
http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,31-2006450763,,00.html after the fringe fiasco.
Cameron's main speech was certainly newsworthy and while he was attacked for being vague and policy-lite, it seemed to work in the hall and the country- even if The Sun didn't like it!
There has been much written about Cameron's commitment to marriage and civic partnerships in his speech but really it is not surprising- some of the conference delegates may be a little aged but in probability the majority are far more tolerant than the media coverage might suggest and as to the NHS- well most of the delegates use it so the reality is that both in the hall and in the country, he was pushing at an open door.
I suspect the main aim of the conference was to improve the popularity of the Party in the Country. If that was the case, the leadership certainly succeeded. The Sunday's Telegraph poll must have given the top brass real heart with the Tories have regaining a clear six per cent lead over Labour after the party's conference in Bournemouth last week.
The web-Cameron video blog worked well too - the intro I thought was brilliant, it actually had me laughing as he spoke intermittently to his child and the camera and I thought it worked if the aim was to show he is an amiable articulate guy.
However it is not all sweetness and light (or even Sunshine!) Over the next 12 months his team will have to start fleshing out policy while keeping the party united and inevitably that will mean upsetting a few people...
A good summary of the conference and the implications of it can be read at


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