Like many conference-goers I sometimes feel a bit cynical. I come to see old friends, swap stories, attend fringe meetings and recharge my political energy. I seldom go into the main hall apart from when I want to hear a particular Minister speak. This year I have listed to George Osborne and Michael Gove.
My politics is driven by anger. Anger at the injustice and selfishness of people who believe they have the right to deny opportunity to others. The NIMBYs in their comfortable homes who want to deny an affordable home to the next generation. The closet racists who want to "send the immigrants home" but are happy to eat Indian food or fruit picked on a Kent farm by Eastern European labour, ride on a train or bus driven by a Jamaican and too often dump their ageing parents in a care home staffed by Filipino or African staff. And anger at the metropolitan elites who buy houses in Herne Hill and announce that they live in Brixton; who champion inequality but support policies which pigeonhole, stigmatise and limit the hopes and dreams of entire generations, as only by limiting their aspirations can they feed the sense of injustice which retains their client loyalty.
And to those on the Left (and a few traditional Tories on the right) who might raise an eyebrow that I hold such views I remind them that I was born and raised on a council housing estate in Merseyside, from a single parent family and educated at a run-down comprehensive, so please don't patronise me about inequality and social justice. I listen with disdain to those on the Left as I know that they are the problem not the solution. I want others to have the same opportunities as me, but I also know that ambition comes from within, not imposed from above. I have achieved what I have, not because of government schemes or hand-outs, but through bloody hard work, ambition and aspiration.
Yesterday's education session was truly wonderful.
Those courageous words from George Parker, the American trades unionist and leader of the USAs most left wing teaching union who has seen the light, "I came away from a disciplinary hearing having successfully defended a bad teacher and ensured her reinstatement, when it dawned on me that I wouldn't want her teaching my daughter, yet because of my work as a trade unionist, defending her incompetence, that is exactly what she would be doing."
The courage of the Bedford mum who took a leap of faith in sending her children to Britain's first Free School as she simply wanted the best education for her children, and she didn't believe the state system could provide it. And who, having heard the passion and dedication of Head Teacher Mark Lehaine could not think how much better our children would be educated if every head teacher had his passion and commitment?
And, of course, Lindsay Johns. Yes, perhaps his command and use of language was a bit too fruity, and I also winced at the Stevie Wonder joke, but what a truly inspirational man.
First time in over 25 years that I have been moved to tears at conference, by outstanding and inspirational speech by Lindsay Johns #cpc13
— Andrew Kennedy (@Andrew__Kennedy) October 1, 2013
I suspect the guest speakers stole much of Michael Gove's thunder, his speech seemed average by comparison, but in the words of Ronald Reagan, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit.”
I have never been prouder to be a member of the Conservative Party than I was yesterday.