Vir Cantium

I'm right, you know …

Conference Day 1

The first rule for organising a conference fringe event is to ensure that the magic word “refreshments” is prominent in any promotional material. Otherwise, you’ve got your work cut out ensuring a big turnout without a big name.

So following young William’s morning conference opener, it was on to the National Lottery fringe event this lunchtime and I can report that many members were keen to ensure that Lottery funds were going to a good cause. Away from the hot buffet, though, there was some interest in the Lottery itself, and a vote on a range of case studies of possible good causes revealed just how low the party had come – when the meeting came up with the same result as Lib Dems had at the same event two weeks earlier. (Even though I voted for the one that Labour delegates had chosen.)

[Serious policy comment] Some do get worked up about Lottery money going into areas that should be funded by the taxpayer. Frankly I reckon that as no-one is forced to buy the tickets, then Lottery funding is nearly always preferable to milking the taxpayer.[/enough already]

Into the main hall for the first time, squeezed into the temporary auditorium style seating (rather than the old single level arrangement), and the DVT held off for long enough to take in Lord Heseltine and more. Hezza’s baggage ensures that he could deliver the combined oratory quality of Churchill, JFK and the Lord Jesus himself, and still he wouldn’t have mustered much more of a standing ovation than the handful of members who stood at the end of his workmanlike speech today. I was not one of them.

Boris Johnson at Conservative Party Conference 2007Never mind, Tarzan, we had Big Eric Pickles to brighten things up (full marks for the soundbite “this Government’s idea of freedom for local councils is to say “jump” and then leave them to decide how high”, which will have pressed councillors’ buttons). Following that, we had Boris, Dave, Arnie and finally Mayor Bloomberg of New York giving a masterclass in fiscal conservatism.

Boris may not be the most polished of formal speakers, but he hardly needs to be – his strengths lie in his other qualities. If the activity level of Livingstone’s astro-turfers and smear-merchants is anything to go by, he has them rattled already.

And finally for now…

Conference tip #1
When Dizzy is already miffed about the whole pass thing, don’t add to his stress levels by sitting him in front of a crooner in the Hilton bar.

Conference tip #2
Free chocolate is available at the Conservative MEPs’ and the Electoral Commission stands.

Conference tip #3
Chocolate tends to mess up a laptop keyboard somewhat.

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