• 8 Oct 2009

    Is there a Tory Plan B for Europe?

    Very brief mention of Europe in Cameron’s speech but here’s what we’ve learnt this week. The Poles named the day for signing the Lisbon Treaty today, the Czech prime minister said yesterday that the Czech signature would go down before Christmas. The day is fast approaching when David Cameron will have to tell his party…

  • 8 Oct 2009

    Tory conference is livening up

    Livening up a bit now – they love the stuff about don’t you dare lecture us on poverty, Labour. But I still think, just on the atmospherics, this is a little bit flat. Partly the hall – very difficult to play as others have found all week, and no match for Birmingham Symphony Hall last…

  • 8 Oct 2009

    Cameron’s speech: low key for a potential PM

    All pretty low key in hall for a leader potentially on edge of power. Doubt Thatcher in 78 was like this – though bits of the message are similar (talk of enterprise and entrepreneurs etc). I know Tony Blair in 1996 was nothing like this. If the intention was to look workmanlike and not euphoric/presumptuous…

  • 8 Oct 2009

    Cameron is still hampered by the Conservative brand

    A senior Tory strategist on why the Tories aren’t in as strong a position as Tony Blair was just before 1997.

  • 7 Oct 2009

    Dannatt, not champagne, gives Tories the biggest conference hiccup

    The fact that Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling, caught off guard by the BBC, misunderstood whose government Dannatt might be joining and dismissed the move as a “gimmick” is the icing on the cake.

  • 7 Oct 2009

    So, do we actually have a credit crisis?

    I’ve just done a ‘sit down’ with David Cameron, and met his wife too – tall, elegant, very personable. We all met on the 23rd floor of the Hilton here in Manchester, an eerily deserted place with splendid views across the jumble that is Manchester and the sun kissed Pennines beyond. Talked with Cameron for…

  • 7 Oct 2009

    Tories make nearly £1.5m profit from conference

    The Tories have made a profit of nearly £1.5m at their 2009 party conference, mainly from flogging stall space to corporate Britain.

  • 6 Oct 2009

    Why Tory pension plan contains a ‘debatable’ £13bn

    Why the £13bn the Tories claim to save by raising the state pension age is debatable.

  • 6 Oct 2009

    Women lose out in the slasher wars

    The public sector pay freeze, the biggest contributor to the government money chest announced by George Osborne today, hits women considerably more than men.

  • 6 Oct 2009

    Will the great debate happen, and if so – where?

    There is so little wiggle room. Nothing so defines the current political contest as the contesting measures that have finally aired from both major parties for paying off the debt. A pay freeze on higher public sector pay and and delay in the national age of retirement. It doesn’t really matter now who says it…

  • 6 Oct 2009

    Familiar faces from DC in Manchester

    Here’s rather sweet aside from the rain stricken wastes of Manchester. Last night I ran into David Cameron and his crew, amongst whom was a protection officer from Greater Manchester. I had met him before.

  • 5 Oct 2009

    A party caught in the glare of its headlights

    It hits you like a tidal wave. No sooner are you through the doors of the Manchester Exchange than you are amid a morass of suited, white-shirted, tied-up business folk. Or that’s what it appears.

  • 5 Oct 2009

    Continued confusion over a Europe referendum

    It was a bit of a walk and talk and he didn’t want to stop, but I think Ken Clarke just told us that he thought it was the settled policy of the Tory Party to have a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and nothing else. The leadership is clearly thinking about a referendum on…

  • 5 Oct 2009

    Boris Johnson, from EastEnders to Europe

    Boris Johnson speaks to a Tory conference in a pickle over Europe and the Lisbon Treaty.

  • 5 Oct 2009

    The Tory conference – full of known unknowns

    I’m not sure I can remember a UK political party gathering that has been so full of uknowns – Europe inheritance tax, cuts, slashing incapacity benefit – as this year’s Conservative party conference.