Flat at conferences…
Everyone at every single party conference this year has used the same word: flat. I think that really just reflects the inevitable mid-term blues affecting each party in different ways. At the Lib Dem conference we saw creditable speeches from politicians like Nick Clegg and Vince Cable who were trying to manage a depressed party and prove that they still had enough answers to prevent electoral annihilation.
At Labour “one nation” was born which, if it did nothing else, provided a way for New, Blue and Old Labour types to realign and begin the process of talking to each other again. It was a signal moment for party rather than country and very important.
And here at the Conservative conference we have sober speeches for serious times. Which is why Boris is receiving such adulation because he offers a little colour in a sea of stony faced grimness.
The Tories know how to party and it’s always been annoying that this conference comes last just when your liver is teetering on the edge of oblivion. But even here there is a curious mixture of a party out of love with its leader but not sure either whether to even think abut change. The fabulous Populus events at all three conferences have been fascinating and Rick Nye is clearly a polling god – but for the Conservatives he bought very unnerving news. All the polls show that voters prefer Labour on the issues but that they prefer Cameron as leader.
That schizophrenia runs right through the party here. You can sense it – are we right, are we wrong? Are we well led? The real answers just aren’t obvious. Anyway I’m off to re-inflate my flat and confused liver.