Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Goodbye Manchester - see you all in Birmingham in 2016

It's been a strange conference and very different from others in recent years. I haven't once set foot inside the main auditorium, though look forward to the PMs address tomorrow.

The highlights for me this year include;

1. Being able to spend time sharing a drink and a chat with old friends - some of whom I haven't seen for years.
2. Enjoying relaxed evening meals with good friends at several fine restaurants.
3. Having the time to visit the various exhibitors and learning about their work, including an invitation to learn fly fishing - something I have been thinking about for years
4. Strengthening my ties with 'Conservatives for Britain' and signing-up to help run the 'leave' campaign should the PM not succeed in achieving a good settlement
5. Continuing my role in the party review and hearing my position paper repeatedly referred to by Lord Feldman at three meetings
6. Co-hosting, with William Rutherford, the fifth and probably best West Kent Tea
7. Meeting with many Associations from the Midlands and the north, keen to discuss grouping and joint working, and helping them on the road to change
8. This evening's fascinating fringe meeting hosted by the Spectator with Andrew Neil interviewing Charles Moore about the second volume of his book on Mrs Thatcher
9. For the first time in my life, having breakfast served in my room by room service rather than rushing out to an early fringe meeting attended by three men and a dog
10. Being invited back to my home city of Liverpool to speak to local Conservatives and help launch their Mayoral campaign

And what I am looking forward to most...

Going back to Kent and hugging my lovely partner, who I have missed dreadfully.

As for the protesters; I appreciate some representatives have been upset and intimidated, but those of us around in the 1980s have seen it all before - The Peoples' Match for Jobs, violent striking coal miners and the rise of the Trotskyite Militant Tendency. Threatening violence, shouting obscenities from behind a face mask, telling women they are child murderers and spitting at old ladies are not signs of strength but evidence of impotence and defeat. 

See you all in Birmingham.

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