Sunday, 4 October 2015

98 today

When I awoke this morning, slightly fuzzy from last night's curry and Cobra, I anticipated a fairly quiet opening day of conference, and a chance to catch up with friends. 

My day started as it always does in Manchester with large strong Americano in Starbucks, opposite the Midland Hotel. Whilst there I noticed four anti-capitalist protesters drinking caramel lattes and texting on their iPhones. I tweeted the irony of banner waving anti-capitalists availing themselves of two of capitalism's greatest products (Starbucks and Apple) and suddenly found it had been retweeted to almost a quarter of a million people...

Next up was an unexpected Tweet from my friend, Neil Garrett, informing me my blog in praise of the Home Secretary had been picked-up by Roland Wihite in today's Sunday Times...

By now it was just after mid day and I was half way through a Bloody Mary with Milly Skriczka when someone told me Breitbart had published Iain Dale's annual list of 'The UKs 100 Most Influential Conservatives' and I was on the list at number 98. This news rightfully and deservedly brought bucket-loads of opprobrium down upon my head, with one group of friends saluting 'Benny Hill' style as I walked past and even the presentation of a '98' badge, which friends thought amusing to ask me to wear. Needless to say the badge remained firmly hidden.

Finally, if this wasn't enough, at 4.30pm my phone starting 'pinging' again as various friends inside the main auditorium texted me to say 'Lord Feldman is talking about you from the platform'. Apparently he was referring to our work in the West Kent Group and how this was a model for the future. 

Does any of this matter? The answer is of course, a resounding no. Whilst inside the sanitized bubble almost everyone I met knew about Breitbart, Atticus or Lord Feldman's kind words, each and every aspect was internal. Tonight, as I walked through Manchester on my way to dinner with friends, not a single person knew or cared about Breitbart, me or what Lord Feldman had said.  My fifteen minutes of fame today won't bring in another pound of campaign funding, another membership or put another Conservative vote in a ballot box. So let's enjoy conference and celebrate what we have achieved. We deserve it. But our future success will be based on what we deliver, not how important we all think we are. 

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