Well, we now know Dave is a man with a plan and like his TV channel namesake the witty banter is a bit hit and miss.

But we still don’t really know too much about what Dave’s plan entails.

In all honesty I was expecting a lot more style than substance from the Conservative’s annual conference at the ICC in Birmingham. But possibly because the shindig was somewhat overshadowed by global financial news, I’m not sure we even got too much in the way of style either.

Champagne flutes were banned, apparently, and triumphalism was shunned as the conference attempted to portray a sober, serious and considered image.

I’m not sure it entirely worked.

What did work, for me at least, was Birmingham as a political conference host. I thought it was all marvellous, even if I didn’t actually attend any of the conference itself.

When I did have to go into the city for business, I wasn’t hindered in any way by the security ring of steel. I did have my bag checked at New Street station and a police spaniel sniffed my shoes as he/she busied himself/herself along the platform.

I was also asked by an enthusiastic TV researcher who I trusted more with my money – Labour or the Tories? When I answered “Neither” he looked deflated. When he asked who I did trust and I said: “Plaid Cymru”, he looked confused – I wasn’t asked to take part in the televised vox pop taking place further down the street.

One of my conference highlights actually came at New Street. The monotone, disinterested and frankly narked sounding “Welcome to Birmingham” message over the loudspeakers for delegates arriving for the conference by train was a thing of rare beauty.

Elsewhere those who actually attended some or all of the conference have given their own version of events.

Over on The Birmingham Post, Paul Dale believes David Cameron successfully shaped the Tory party in his own image during the Birmingham conference.

I’m still struggling with the realisation that Cameron is only a year older than me. Surely that is too young to be PM?

Jon Bounds gives us a useful ten things we’ve learned as a result of the Tories coming to Birmingham over on BiNS.

Nick Booth was charmed by the Tory get-together and his choice of photograph to accompany his thoughts certainly adds an intriguing new slant on political conferences.

It also seemed to spark a mini-discussion on the Post’s live blog feed about whether Conservative women are the most glamorous when compared to their political opponents – I’d hazard a guess that they probably are, but that the Sarah Palin-effect comes into force.

And local blogger Danny Smith was so inspired by his day at the Tory conference he went home and did this.

Another view from within the heart and soul of the conference itself provides a useful suggestion about the good and the bad of the Tories’ time in Brum.

The bad, according to Blaney’s Blarney, includes the ICC as a conference venue.

Others, it seems, were also less than enthused by the ICC – although criticism that the main auditorium was too small should be directed to the Tories themselves, they apparently opted for the smaller hall as they were scared about not getting enough bums on seats.

So Birmingham, generally speaking, seems to have got a thumbs up.

That’s good, isn’t it?


2 responses »

  1. Ursula says:

    Come on, Paul, when one of the candidates running for office in the States is 47 years of age then surely England can be run by someone a touch over 40, don’t you think? JFK was not even 44 when inaugurated.


  2. Paul Groves says:

    U: I guess that means I’m getting older. Pah!

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