Monday, September 29, 2008
David Davis and Tory Conference in Birmingham
Today I had the pleasure of seeing David Davis MP take on an audience (and Iain Dale) for a good hour or so at the Freedom Zone. With his by-election long over now I wonder what the future holds for this man. It seems like a criminal waste of his phenomenal talents and energy to leave him languishing on the backbenches, for the sake of political convenience, when Britain is clearly on the brink of economic and social disaster and will need the best possible team to lead it to the forefront of the 21st century in the event of a Conservative election victory. It also feels bizarre that someone who came second in the most recent leadership contest is not in the ministerial team at all (I suppose the same could be said of Labour's John McDonnell, but he was barely even a runner-up - and it was hardly fought on what one could call an honourable basis). Anyway he seemed to please most of the audience, even though half of them wanted to talk more about the EU than civil liberties (there were a few refreshingly distinct voices such as the woman at the end who talked about her lost confidence in politicians and how she might regain them if someone of "principle" such as Davis became part of a government).
The Conservative conference is completely cordened off and surrounded by police; with it being bang in the middle of the city I can't help but wonder how they expect locals to react. In order to attend you have to have been a party member for at least three months and even then it costs something like £200 to attend (unless booked far in advance). Andrew Mitchell mentioned a "conference extra" for the plebs on the regional broadcast but I never saw anything of the sort (unless he meant the external fringe events, but since those aren't organised by the Tories (that I know of) they can't claim credit to them! Not being a badge-holder or, for all I know, a member*, I spent my few hours there in the Freedom Zone but felt distinctly underdressed in my polo shirt and jeans, while everyone else (except Guido Fawkes who was wearing bright orange trousers for some reason!) was in full suit and tie! What little nerve I had to speak to anyone was killed stone dead at that point!
* I thought I was a member when I paid to join last year but I received absolutely no communications apart from an e-mail invite to a "Hague-a-thon" bar crawl (not my cup of tea unfortunately). Was I a member? I guess I'll never know...