Nigel Fletcher - Dale & Co.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Miss Smith goes to Westminster
A wonderful sight this afternoon as my friend Chloe Smith finally took her seat in Parliament. Having won the by-election in Norwich North in July, she had to wait all summer until the House returned after the summer recess, but lost no time in making her debut today.
She has already proved herself an effective representative for her constituency, having been selected for the seat over a year and a half ago, and I know she will go on working hard until the election next year and beyond. I've known Chloe for nearly ten years, so I am totally biased when I say that she will make an excellent MP, and a breath of fresh air sorely needed on a day when the expenses scandal has made a come-back.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
My phone battery expired before I could blog my reaction to David Cameron's speech last week, but my post beforehand pretty much covered it. It struck the right tone, with a sober assessment of the scale of the problem facing the country, but a positive vision of how a Conservative government could make a positive difference. The most powerful moment was his declaration that the poorest in society have been let down by Labour and that it now falls to a Conservative government to help them. This brought the whole hall to its feet in an enthusiastic ovation, which was quite something to see. The polls have shown a rise in the Party's lead over Labour, but no-one I have spoken to underestimates the scale of the challenge facing us. As David Cameron said, it will be a tough mountain to climb, but the view from the top will be worth it.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
The queues to get into the hall for David Cameron's speech this year have been huge, stretching well outside the building. As a party staffer in previous years I had a good view of the hall from the sidelines, but this year I joined the hundreds of others in the queue, so am particularly pleased to have found a good seat for what will be an historic speech.
Those of you familiar with Conservative literature, and anyone who has been to a Tory event in recent years will be familiar with the images of blue skies and trees which are now used as backdrops for speeches and on printed material. It reinforces the theme of 'change, hope and optimism' with which David Cameron campaigned for the leadership four years ago. Since then, the dark economic clouds have forced a change in tone, with talk of hard times and an age of austerity. This week's conference has been a mix of the two messages, perfectly reflected by the weather, which has veered from pouring rain to bright sunshine. As David Cameron prepares for his speech this afternoon, the word in the press is that he'll be confronting the hard times but looking beyond them to better times to come. That would be exactly the right message- as my picture of the sky above Manchester today illustrates, there are still dark clouds above, but as they clear people want to see sunshine after the rain.
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Merchandising triumph of the week so far- the Taxpayers Alliance are dishing out bags emblazoned with 'I love low taxes', which a large number of conference-goers are now using to carry their accumulated clutter. Not quite the leadership's message of choice for the age of austerity, but full marks for effort. My former colleague Alex Deane models them above.
It says something about how far the Tory party has come in recent years that the only hostility faced by gay Party members attending tonight's Tory Pride party in Manchester came from Labour Party activists who took it upon themselves to picket the event with banners and loud hailers to scream abuse at attendees. All credit to Tory blogger Iain Dale, one of tonight's hosts, who went outside to debate politely with them. He is pictured above with Amy Lame, who was with the LGB Labour lot. He invited her in, but she sadly declined, thereby missing the chance to mingle with Party Chairman Eric Pickles, Thesesa May, and the host of other shadow Cabinet members and MPs who are packing the event. As I type this I'm on the dancefloor dancing to Abba with Anne Milton MP. This is a proud party tonight in many ways.
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
As regular readers (if I have any) will know, my flat in Eltham is just down the road from the local Labour HQ. This means every morning and evening I have to endure the sight of their shopfront and a garish huge photo of Clive Efford with Gordon Brown. Today, on my way to Manchester for the Conservative Party conference, I noticed that Clive has vanished, to be replaced by 'Vote Labour' posters. What could this mean? I hope they haven't been targetted by vandals- something that happened to the Eltham Conservative office last year. Will try and find out.