The Tory conference – full of known unknowns
It’s clearly not the Brighton train – at least, not the one I caught to Labour this time last week. This is unmistakably the Virgin tipping train to Manchester.
It may be 6.17 in the morning, but the differences are palpable. There’s a lot of Louis Vuitton bags aboard. More Dell than Apple. The overall presentation is more quaffed, more Jacqmar. More tied around the throat… clean, dull, more white-shirted (like me, I suppose – well, if you leave out the tie).
Yes, I’m en route to the Tory conference – a leap into the unknown in a kind of a way. What is the Conservative party now? Who is David Cameron?
I’m not sure I can remember a UK political party gathering that has been so full of unknowns. Europe, inheritance tax, cuts, slashing incapacity benefit…
They don’t add up to quite the ideology that propelled Thatcher into power. And yet we are being told that Cameron is set on a course that will deliver a scale of triumph she can only have dreamt of.
Let’s see how it pans out this week. Deadpan it won’t be. Pre-coronational, I slightly doubt. The “None Of The Above” party is still with us, I suspect, rendering the conventional battle rather tighter than some of my fellow hacks like to imagine. Don’t forget.
On Thursday the Channel 4 News website will be providing extended live coverage of David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative conference, including film extracts, expert analysis and Twitter commentary.
To watch and contribute, go to www.channel4.com/news from midday on 8 October.