In the second of our series of guest posts during the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, PragueTory writes a letter giving us an insight into the theme and mood of the delegates and a personal take on how the conference is progressing. This post was delayed from yesterday because PT was in a rather long conference meeting looking at the effects of alcohol. By the sound of him on the phone, he appears to be a real expert in this subject matter.
Dear Brummie Republic,
The conference opens with a sense of euphoria – how could it be different as members from all over the country meet old friends and share their success stories? On a personal level, my conference started very well on Sunday night because the event that I helped organise in Brindley Place for Birmingham University’s Young Conservatives for which we expected maybe 40 attendees attracted well over 200 visitors.
The average age of the attendees is substantially lower than for other year’s conferences and I’ve either got better at spotting political celebs, there’s more of them about or the layout of the ICC makes it harder for them to hide – I think it’s a mixture of all three.
But being at conference in Birmingham in 2008 has been a sobering reminder that the Conservatives are still in opposition. It is completely impossible to remain objective about how the conference is being perceived from the outside, but it is of course not ideal from a PR perspective that far more significant news events are taking place at the same time. As I receive tidbits from the maelstrom of financial chaos in the wider world, I can’t help but think that the opposition’s conference must look like an irrelevance at best. And I think many other delegates feel the same. And whilst it’s great to hear some of the brilliant policy ideas that we have ready, it’s frustrating that we are still probably 18 months away from having the chance to improve public services and do more to support families and children.
On the fringes, you can see the appetite for radicalism amongst ordinary delegates is high. In particular, Douglas Carswell MP and Dan Hannan MEP’s newly published The Plan – 12 Months To Renew Britain is selling like proverbial hotcakes. I imagine its strategy to move power away from Brussels and London to the regions will appeal to Brummie Republicans!