October 05, 2006

Conference round–up

Well another year of party conferences has passed, and to be honest I’ve been too busy with work to pay as much attention as I’d like to the happenings. Rather predictably, it’s the negatives that grabbed the biggest headlines on all sides; the biggest Conservative story being Boris Johnson saying he didn’t like Jamie Oliver – wow big scoop guys. At least Cameron made it clear that unlike some other parties around, he doesn’t have a problem with members voicing their own thoughts and opinions even if they aren’t in line with his…

I will concede though, that our critics do have a point when they point to Cameron’s unclear message and lack of policy. I know we have big policy reviews set to report next year, and we will form policies based on those recommendations, but for the meanwhile the lack of real substance is wearing. As to is his focus – he chose to make the NHS his big issue during his conference speeches this week, whereas previously my money would have been on him banging on more about green issues. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of what he says makes a lot of sense and it’s refreshing to hear a leader speak about things that less traditionally centre-right voters will identify with, even if it is to the discomfort of traditional centre-rightists such as myself. At least it brings us hope of moving things in the right direction. But even I struggle to stomache all his spiel – yes it’s a great idea to do all these things, but isn’t that obvious? Far more important than what you want to do is how you intend to do it (and then if it actually works); given that he’s shed little light on that as yet it does try your patience.

Many of Cameron’s critics level the accusation that he’s too like Blair, and I can see their point. Blair dragged a left-leaning party right, Cameron is dragging a right-leaning party left, largely by much the same methods. I hope he turns out to be able to tell the truth and have a little more humility though, and perhaps actually finds some substance. Maybe the policy review will bring the latter. Maybe I’m being hopelessly optimistic on all points, but I can dream. As to the actual critics, well given that I reckon at least half of them are the same people who have voted Blair to all three terms I don’t see what cause they have to complain, as a group that has spent the last three terms fighting the bloke surely we have more cause for complaint than they do.

All in all though, our conference I think was a successful one, and from what I’ve seen of it I’d definitely consider trying to go to the next one. Most depressing news that actually came out of the conference though, William Hague ruled out a return to leadership. My hopes for the future are ruined :-(


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