I’m heading into Birmingham today for a meeting with a new client, hoping to avoid the ring of steel-style security precautions in place for the Conservative’s annual conference…and the Tories themselves, obviously.

So after just 24 hours of this momentous event in Birmingham’s conventional, political and cultural history, what has the reaction been so far?

Needless to say The Birmingham Post is having a big say on the Tories’ arrival in the city – from live blogging proceedings to the editor giving a speech to delegates.

But it is over on the paper’s Lifestyle blog that Richard McComb hits the nail on the head.

Tory leader David Cameron has reportedly said Birmingham is “on trial” as a conference venue.

But Richard quite rightly points out that the city itself has absolutely nothing to prove as a conference venue – it has been doing very nicely for a couple of decades – and it is the Tory leader himself and his party’s fitness for Government that is on trial this week.

The Post’s political editor, meanwhile, a veteran of conferences, believes Birmingham has already proved itself as the best venue in the country.

There is an element of “well he would say that, wouldn’t he?” as he is a journalist on a Birmingham paper, but he still makes a convincing case.

Over on lolitics.co.uk, there is a different take on the Tories’ appearance in Birmingham.

I have to say I’m enjoying the video round-up far more than the BBC’s coverage so far.

BoJo has already made an appearance and the London mayor went down a storm, albeit a quiet one as Boris Johnson was apparently under instruction (along with everyone else at the conference) not to be too triumphalist. Wise words, remember Neil “Alright!” Kinnock.

I only hope BoJo hasn’t given any tips on leading a city to Birmingham’s glorious figurehead Mike Whitby.

A further reason to avoid the conference quarter comes with news that the cabaret for the Tories’ gala dinner is ex-Spandau Ballet crooner Tony Hadley – a celebrity supporter of Mr Cameron.

And I wonder which enterprising journalist will be doing a post-conference survey of how many Tory delegates too advantage of the discount vouchers for Birmingham’s Rocket Club?

It looks like a case of so far so good for Birmingham and the Tories.

I wonder if we’ll get some substantial policies too?

2 responses »

  1. UK Voter says:

    The bottom line, is all we want to know is what the conservatives, under the leadership of David Cameron, mean to do if voted into power. Clearly subtlty is not one of Cameron’s better attributes if he has suggested that ‘Birmingham was in trial’, if I was a Birmingham city dweller, I may have been minded to throw him out on his ear.

  2. Ursula says:

    Paul, far be it from me to extoll the virtues of anywhere. Party conferences in town are just a security pain for the resident. Birmingham may have them all; though, of course, I do not wish Blackpool, Brighton and Bournemouth to miss out on associated trade. Has anybody noticed the odd quirk that all these places start with B?

    Richard McComb is a hoot (I loved his recent piece on the black hole).

    As to the Rocket Club (thanks for the name) I Ieft a comment on Jonathan Walker’s blog (13 Sept), as he was offering his ticket for the lap dancing experience: “Jonathan, Party conferences are big business for the night life of any town/city (think Bournemouth). Considering that many of your colleagues and delegates will seek out certain places for light relief anyway, how much better if they are firmly pointed to a “posh” joint. If anything, it’ll enhance Birmingham’s image – trust me.”

    As to the “best” conference venue, remember: Variatio delectat. Maybe best to pull at the same string, rather than compete.


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