04 October 2006

How was it for you, dear?

I'm back in Prague after about four hours sleep last night - I'll review my thoughts whilst it's fresh - I may well feel differently with more hindsight.


The party was in a buoyant and positive mood. Very confident. In Tory eyes we have won all the major political arguments and events at home and abroad continue to reinforce our key beliefs. The power of the Internet was evident as there were discernable campaigns being orchestrated here and there - but that's politics - the point I am making is that it is easier than ever to find like-minded souls in the party and work together to shape things. One slightly discordant note was a feeling that the issues that matter in the North are being sidelined for a Notting Hill agenda. We made no progress from 2001 to 2005 in places like West Yorkshire - this conference is unlikely to have an impact in these areas. We need to listen to these communities if we are going to give ourselves a shout.


It was manifest early on that the Main Hall was carefully choreographed. It was about mood music, bashing Labour, clarifying our new direction and not a little branding rather than setting out policy. It didn't take long to read those runes. Also, the speeches were so well trailed you barely needed to see them. Saying that, I'm glad I was there for the Davis, Hague and McCain speeches on the first day. I didn't miss much by not seeing DC today did I?


I was more hungry to see what policies are developing by visiting the fringes.

NB - The most boring fringe event that I attended was Osbourne's cautious interview and Q&A with Sieghart. Too many media and they got their scoop anyway. In that event, a UKIP infiltrator was another incident as was the Ed Balls Conservative membership revelation, which went down well enough for George to use it in his conference speech two days later.

More interesting/wonkish were the fringe events around education, criminal justice, social justice and "Modern Compassionate Conservatism" which encompassed all of the above. There are a lot of deep thinkers both within and outside the party who are engaged in excellent research in all these areas and I gained great confidence that the policies that we will be presenting over the next few years will contrast very positively with Labour's knee-jerk approach and incompetent delivery of policy since 1997. The types of organisations that are receptive to our new, but still Tory way of thinking might surprise a lot of people.


Lots of names to faces in the blogging world. Also, heard on the grapevine about another active Tory coming out to Prague. Hurrah.


beethoven writes said...

Hope you had a good journey back.


Anonymous said...

Another Tory in Prague? Vow! And what about moving the whole Conservative Party to Czech republic, taking over the ODS and merging with the SDKU-DS?

Praguetory said...

Happy to work with you in any way Peter, but I don't think your colleagues or countrymen would be so keen on that idea. Keep it quiet, but the woman who is coming over used to work at the highest levels in the Cosnervative party.

Trevor Ivory said...

Glad you got back safely and it was good to meet up at conference.

As to missing DC's speech, I am afraid to say you missed a highlight - although you can catch it on the web if you haven't done so already.

Keep in touch

Bel said...

Good to see you arrived safely. Thank you for your updates from Conference.They were very entertaining.