Conservative Party Conference 2009

TimAs seen from the Blue Room (#cpc09 for twitter)

Expectations and Aspirations for Conservative Party Conference 2009 

I am no longer a ‘noob’, having lost my conference virginity at last year’s conference, although I am far from being an old timer just yet either! So I thought I’d share a few thoughts before, during and after conference for newbies and veterans alike since Party Conference is THE major event for any political aficionado anorak like myself, and the wonderful thing about conference is the variety of interesting people to meet.

Firstly, I should say what a pleasure it is to write for Boris’s blog, particularly since Boris has been so pivotal to my political journey, albeit short and as yet unglamorous! I watched with glee as Boris was appointed mayoral candidate, glad that we finally had a candidate with oudles of character and unlimited opinions. I started off handing out flyers, taxi receipts and oyster card holders and met similarly enthused Boris loving activists. Like me, this was the first time many had been activists, inspired by Boris. Towards the end of the campaign we were whizzing around London suburbs as the advance team, preparing the ground for the imminent arrival of the blonde one and I was lucky enough to be invited to the election night party. After which I was addicted to politics and determined to help fight for change. So off I schlepped to my first conference in 2008.

Going to party conference is akin to a chocoholic being invited to a planet of chocolate. From the moment you arrive you are surrounded by fascinating people, enthralling subjects and you feel the force, the sense of being connected. The conference consists of literally hundreds of fringe debates on every conceivable subject, to suit every interest and MPs walk amongst us, like A-list celebrities on the red carpet, not to mention the recognisable faces of the political media. 

Even though I knew no-one at first, I soon found myself chatting to people who came from all over the country, from all sorts of backgrounds and of all ages. Before I left, one of my friends had snarkily snorted “you be the only person there under 50”, so I was pleasantly surprised to find that the majority of people I saw and meet were under 50 and those who I met over 50 were just as warm, entertaining and energetic. My first dilemma was trying to decide between countless clashes on the fringe, finding rooms and scurrying back to the main hall for the really interesting speeches. Of course last year, Boris was one of the first big speakers on the main stage, still relatively fresh from his recent win. Conference listened in awe. I found it reasonably easy to get a great seat for most of the speeches, although I must admit that I found a couple of sneaky ways to get a good view last year that I couldn’t possibly share. One by one I ticked off my Panini stickeralbum of shadow cabinet ministers; Grant Shapps, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt, George Osborne and then the hastily rescheduled speech on the economy from Cameron gave me almost a full house.

Timforchange will be blogging and live-tweeting daily from party conference. Timforchange is a conservative activist based in Surrey. Join Tim and other conservative activists, blog, comment and find out about the latest events on or if you’re a progressive conservative and follow him on twitter @timforchange.

This conference has to deliver a number of things:

  • Cameron has the mandate to be radical, he will never have the same level of attention, nor the desire for change from the country and the media. I am hoping he offers some genuine electoral reform, parliamentary reform as well as powerful ideas to transform welfare dependency. I believe that we also have to demonstrate leadership on Europe, I’d like him to promise a referendum on the Lisbon treaty irrespective of whether other countries have ratified it or not, but I could be waiting a long time for that one!
  • This is the launching point for our election campaign, as activists we have been waiting for the party to outline of manifesto and he must deliver. I expect small nuggets will be dropped all week by shadow ministers and then Cameron will reveal further big policy ideas. I will tweet them all as I hear them.
  • I want to hear Cameron restate not just his commitment to Progressive ideas, but also outline how we are going to pay for these progressive policies during an economic crisis. Labour has failed (#labourfail) to help the most vulnerable, so we must outline how we can step up to the job.

I am proud to be a conservative, a party that is growing and has become the only party that can fix Britain. The party depends on its members, to shape and influence its direction, therefore this week in Manchester is vital. Change depends on you, just as much as it does on the leadership. Party conference is the congress of all of our conservative views, principles and ideas and I am relishing the thought of debating and discussing these new ideas with fellow activists. Please do come up and say hello, or as Eric Pickles would say, “Hello Chums!”.

20 thoughts on “Conservative Party Conference 2009”

  1. People are saying it was a painful appearance by Boris Johnson in Eastenders: “Boris looked like just like a startled toff would do if he had wandered in orf the east end street to find himself in the Queen Vic.”

  2. So pleased to read comment from the audience, as it were, rather than filtered through the soup of agenda and prejudice that is MSM. I will be following Tim’s comments with interest. Great post.

    Are we allowed to post questions to Tim?

  3. @hector twigg: people are certainly entitled to their opinions. I thought it was rather charming in its awkwardness. Stunt appearances always seem a bit shoe-horned in and therefore awkward. None so much as when Henry Kissinger and Gerald Ford had cameos on Dynasty years and years ago. THAT was painful

  4. @timforchange: Thanks, Tim. I wondered if you were going to any fringe events – apparently Iain Dale is having a bash I think. There are a couple of feminist blogs I’ve been reading; Penny Red and Girl in a Press Hat – can you tell us if you chat to any left-wing press in attendance? Thanks.

  5. Hi again, yes I will be going to as much as possible over the course of the conference! The prob is trying to squeeze it all in! Are you going? Iain Dale’s event is on the Wednesday night but it clashes with the Tweetup event that I am organising, so sadly I won’t be able to make it. Do let your feminist bloggers know to come along if they fancy it, all welcome Weds 8:30pm more details
    is there any left wing press left? (Only joking) Yes I will be trying to network like crazy so who knows I might bump into some press peeps. I’m going to be primarily promoting my progressive project and getting press contacts for our launch in November.
    All the best and thanks for the question. Cheers, Tim

  6. ” Time for change. PM said it 41 times in speech, and we agree… so we’re backing Tories! ” ( The Sun ) – Classic!!!

    Gordon Brown waged a one man war against Tony Blair for years in an effort to get the job he always cherished. It ultimately destroyed New Labour!

    Labour Party conference delegates jumped onto the stage and angrily tore off copies of The Sun newspaper with the headline LABOUR HAS LOST IT on the front page !

    Peter Mandelson Exploded with a torrent of abuse because of The Sun’s withdrawing their support for Labour !

    Harriet Harman barked: ” The only thing The Sun knows best is Page 3 Girls ! “. Hahaha!!! For the past 12 years, Harman was grateful for The Sun’s support for his party and their Page 3 Girls were OK by him then. What a bitter man she is.

    Let’s face it – other newspapers are backing Tories, too. Labour says The Sun is a tabloid and what it says doesn’t matter. If so, why have Labours gone mad publicly after The Sun backs Tories?!

    Labour politicians have revealed their true colour- they are thugs. No wonder some of the young generations have grown up into thugs like these Labour politicians and the Labour government and the authorities under Labour direction don’t see anything wrong with it and this is the reason why they have done nothing about it.

    Check out Harman’s pictures – she looks like a mad rottweiler!

  7. BIG BROTHER LABOUR is watching you! UK is the most watched nation on earth… with 20% of the world’s CCTV cameras but only 1% of the population.

    There are 4.2 million CCTV cameras in the UK. That’s 1 for every 14 people.

    There are 1million CCTV cameras in London. For every 1,000 crimes, only 1 crime A YEAR is solved. If you spend your day in a city in the UK, you could be viewed up to 300 times.

    The whole San Francisco city has only 71 CCTV cameras.

    Corby Council, UK has 90 CCTV cameras to catch people peeing against the lamp posts.

    Dublin + San Francisco + Johannesburg + Boston have only 1,110 CCTV -cameras altogether.

    Wandsworth Borough, UK proudly installed and maintains 1,113 CCTV cameras on their streets – to catch people peeing against the lamp posts. ( Last time I was in Wandsworth, I was busting but didn’t dare hitch up my tartan mini jupe to pee against a lamp post in case those pervs in the CCTV Camera Watch Tower could see me Yorkshire Pudding for free, to be honest with you all ).

  8. @timforchange: Tim – I think this is important and hope you do; are you going to the Bruges Group Fringe meeting on monday? I think that’s a good place to ask about INDECT. Would you? I’ve just read about it and would like to hear what they has to say.

    The main objectives of the INDECT project are:

    * to develop a platform for: the registration and exchange of operational data, acquisition of multimedia content, intelligent processing of all information and automatic detection of threats and recognition of abnormal behaviour or violence,

    * to develop the prototype of an integrated, network-centric system supporting the operational activities of police officers, providing techniques and tools for observation of various mobile objects,

    * to develop a new type of search engine combining direct search of images and video based on watermarked contents, and the storage of metadata in the form of digital watermarks,

    The main expected results of the INDECT project include:

    * to realise a trial installation of the monitoring and surveillance system in various points of city agglomeration and demonstration of the prototype of the system with 15 node stations,

    * construction of agents assigned to continuous and automatic monitoring of public resources such as: web sites, discussion forums, UseNet groups, file servers, p2p networks as well as individual computer systems,

  9. Excellent news that Cameron is facing up to his Bullingdon silver-spoon past on Andrew Marr, although it’s a shame he dodged questions about his personal wealth.

    what a shame Boris Johnson won’t recognise his shameful background in the same way.

  10. @Philipa:
    Hi again Philipa,
    Sorry I wasn’t planning on heading to the Bruges Group event. The first day is going to be quite manic. I’m not quite sure how the INDECT project fits in with the Bruges discussion on the EU constitution. However, maybe it would be relevant in a Civil Liberties event. If I get the chance I will try and raise it there.
    Cheers, Tim

  11. @timforchange: Thanks, Tim. You’re quite right. Thanks.

    What struck me was the “automatic detection of threats and recognition of abnormal behaviour“. How on earth is that going to work?

  12. Great Kenneth Clarke speech at conference:

    Clarke’s war on ‘red tape’

    The Conservatives pledged today to cut the burden of red tape on businesses,

    Shadow Business Secretary Ken Clarke announced ‘far-reaching and ambitious plans for reducing the regulatory burden on businesses’.

    He said that since 1997, the Labour Government has introduced an unprecedented number of new regulations, which have ‘undermined social responsibility and reduced the UK’s economic competitiveness’.

    The increase in regulation had not only hit businesses, but increased the bureaucratic burden on individuals, charities, public bodies and social enterprises. This has hindered innovation and social action and has also led to a rapid increase in government spending on administration and inspection regimes.

    A different way was possible, he said.

    Mr Clarke told the conference, “ The burden of red tape and quangos is a millstone around Britain’s neck, stifling our economic recovery and playing havoc with our public services too. We need the right kind of regulation, based on giving people the responsibility to make judgements not forcing them to tick boxes and fill in endless forms.

    “ Under a Labour Government the regulatory burden has got out of control – costing more than £77 billion at the last count. It’s high time the Government got off people’s backs and started helping them instead. These new policies are the biggest and most serious attempt to lighten the load and I hope they’re the spark that lights the bonfire of red tape.”

    His proposals:

    • introduce a powerful new ‘star chamber’, chaired by Ken
    Clarke, which will enforce a stringent ‘one in – one out’
    requirement where any new law must include cuts in old laws which, together, produce a net 5% reduction in the regulatory burden;

    • allow the public to nominate unpopular regulations to be
    reviewed by Parliament;

    • apply a ‘sunset clause’ to all regulators and regulatory

    • strengthen Parliamentary accountability of regulators and

    • publish detailed information about the expenditure and
    outcomes achieved by local councils, so that the public can see if their council is delivering value for money;

    • curb the powers’ of intrusive inspectors by allowing firms
    to arrange their own, externally audited inspections and, providing they pass, to refuse entry to official inspectors thereafter; and

    • consult carefully on changes that may be required to the
    employment and discrimination tribunals system, to ensure the system offers fast, cheap and accessible justice, and that it is fair to all sides.

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