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As ever, a sharp analysis by the Editor.

However, must disagree about Letwin. The day was saved because finalisation of policy was taken out of Letwin's hands. Oliver is a lovely man, but he cannot make a decision to save his life and the whole thing was getting quite out of hand.

The sharp reining in of all the barmy eco army - putting Zac and GumGum in a box with an airtight lid - and the taking of serious decisions by Osborne and Cameron themselves to join the rest of the British public at chucking the trolleys in the river made the real difference.

And thank heaven that they did. There's nothing like the threat of an election to concentrate minds.

"Given this week’s successful announcements on tax, Mr Johnson should consider offering Londoners a council tax rebate? "

Oh for crying..look, the worse thing we could take away from this conference is to start offering tax cuts all over the place at the drop of a hat for want of anything else. We'll be back to square one if we do. The IHT announcement worked becuase it was thought out and coupled with a tax increase on wealthier earners.

There was a time when the Party Chairman and Leader would attend all Area Receptions. Not any more unfortunately. This year's Receptions were very badly supported by Spelman and Cameron.

I agree with David. The inheritance tax announcment was huge and brilliant. Anymore firing off tax cuts willy-nilly will only undermine the strength of the origional message. Osbourne has already said there is more to come. Let's enjoy the suspense and the press that will generate.

I agree about IDS who I think did give the performance of the week! His speech making has improved 200% and he no longer has that "rabbit in headlights" look about him! What he said about "Fixing Our Broken Society" was The Big Idea and actually was incredibly moving and brought a bit of a lump to my throat!

Yes: The tax announcement was the most important event of the week.

Am I right in thinking that we haven't yet allocated the family tax cuts that will be financed by higher green taxation?

Boris Johnson delivered a barnstorming speech on Sunday afternoon but I remain concerned that he’s not got much of a vision for London.
I think it's more about whether the electorate in his chosen venue of battle have much of a vision of him, and if they do what it is - whether they will greet him coming or if it's more of a case of you won't see us if we see you first and we've seen you.

I am sure there will be many who will look forward to watching Have I Got News For You and hope Boris Johnson is on it, while hoping very much that he won't become Mayor. Indeed if James Whale does stand for UKIP as he intends and many in UKIP want it is quite possible that James Whale could end up being the main challenge to Ken Livingstone.

Why do you need to go and spoil it by giving all marks - every MP is different they do not come out of a factory stamped with ISO 9000 certified – lets stop giving the press an opportunity to use this as an excuse to beat us with.

does anyone have a link to watch IDS' speech online?

You can find it here, Matthew.

I fear that you a little unfair on the Chairman. She gave a heartfelt talk about how her background and her Conservatism were in tune with the spirit of the age. She helped show that the Conservatives were a modern and compassionate force and that the party workers, both in the constituencies in CCHQ and in the constituencies should be recognised for their efforts. It isn't always the Chairman that gives the barnstormer. Hague is the best barnstorming speaker we have today in the way that Hezza was easily the best in the '80s and '90s.

Cameron was brilliant. Davis was better than most people have given him credit for. Hezza and Clarke were also fantastic speeches from much missed class acts.

Fair comment, Disraeli, about Hezza and Clarke. Their contributions are all part of the 'unity theme' that was a hallmark of the week.

I certainly agree that Michael Gove gave a fine account of himself. He has a lot of tenacity and good 'Rifkindesque' vocal delivery which carries a lot of gravitas. Its always good to have a tone of voice that makes people listen.

David Cameron was amazing and all the time I was listening to his speech I was thinking what a great prime minister he could become. David was able to articule so many concerns and had answers to every one.

Willam Hauge, what can anyone say to top what has already been said. The man is fast becoming a legend and rightly so. If ever a man was born to be a parliamentarian it is William.

I agree that the Editor is being too tough on Caroline Spelman. She may not be a rabble-rouser but she comes across well on TV.

I agree with the positive view of Iain Duncan-Smith. His speech was very challenging.

William Hague should be above Liam Fox in your list. He made a bigger contribution to the week than your Dr Fox, Tim!

I am baffled by the comments of Alan S. I was with Caroline Spelman throughout conference and I can assure you she attended every area/region reception, and many more besides.

Can someone far more intelligent than I explain the difference between wasting £billions and offering well thought out alternatives that would eventually lead to tax cuts?

Are people happy that £billions is wasting, so long as we all feel nice and warm that we've paid our share!

Editor - have you got a link to Hague's speech 8 years ago that you mention?

Here's the text, pabw, but as you can imagine - its strength was partly in William Hague's delivery of it.

Caroline Spelman isn't a rabble-rouser - but that's a good thing. We don't need a rabble-rouser for Chairman. We have a very effective communicator in David Cameron, incisive commentators in George Osborne and Michael Gove, and combative speakers in William Hague, Liam Fox and David Davis.

What we need from the Chairman is someone prepared to put the hard slog in all the unglamorous backroom work putting the party organisation onto a sound footing - and Caroline Spelman is the woman for the job.

Agree with pretty much everything you've written, Cameron's speech brought the biggest benefit to the Conservative Party but the best speech of the conference by far was that from IDS.I never thought a speech from a politician would move me as his did.

The main team came across very well in their presentations, I disagree with the comment on Davis.

That said there are some worrying slippages in how the the shadow ministers handle the media.

During the Conference the BBC reported that 1. Davis stood up Andrew Neil,
2. Osborne stood up Martha Kearney
3. and then today Jacqui Lait gets her diary mixed up and is a no show on Daily Politics.

Just read the text of Hague's speech. What a marvellous speech it was. I'm struck by how many of the same issues were covered by Cameron on Wednesday and also how little difference there seems to be between Brown's Labour government and its predecessor.Let's all hope and work for Camerons fate to be different from that of Hague.

I was there too..

Boris Johnson – people near me gave him a standing ovation …BEFORE HE SAID ANYTHING. Why? His speech was hopeless; he has no vision for London. Contrast with Mayor Bloomberg who was urbane, thoughtful, has a political programme for his city and we laughed at his jokes.

William Hague – his appeal is to Tory prejudices. A pity since he could be much better.

No doubt as to the worst performances: Caroline Spelman and Theresa May were hopeless and patronising, Theresa Villiers was just hopeless.

Malcolm Rifkind and Stephen Dorrell starred at Fringe events.

Mr. Brinsmead,

Mike Bloomberg is despised, and I mean despised, by conservatives here in New York whether they are of the small or big ‘c’ variety.

The man switched parties for the 2001 mayoral primary only because he would have an easier time of it, and then ran a false campaign to woo supporters of the (wildly popular) Giuliani. Then as soon as he was elected he threw out an agenda based in the main on higher taxes, a truckload of amazingly intrusive government regulation, and of course Ken L-style national politicking. And you'd be amazed at how immediately dirtier and less efficient the city seemed within months of Bloomie's arrival in office.

It seems to many of us that he ran for mayor only to push some of his personal preferences -- such as banning ashtrays in outdoor cafes, for example.

And he won re-election by obscenely outspending a non entity. (nothing wrong with spending, but I just bring that up to underline why he won an easy second term)

Take it easy guys,don,t get too excited.
We have just had our Conference and everyone is buzzing and thus,acceptable to the spin of the party incumbent snitches.
In reality,we are still behind,this is because the whole country knows that we have nothing to offer our Countrymen/women,our bluff,via David Cameron to "bring it on" only demonstrated our anxiety and fears for the future.If Broon did as we requested and called the Election,we would be far up the creek, without a paddle, and therefore, soon after, sunk without trace.Now, is a time for planning and not for blabbing each and every idea we have.
Keep 'em guessing,and keep 'em thinking "it's in the bag Gordon".

We must not have an early Election because we can not win it.

To Bill Brinsmead

To my surprise Boris made a reasonably constructive speech about what he would do for London and did it in his normal humerous and interesting way.

Just what brand of Conservatism do you believe in?

We must not have an early Election because we can not win it
the calling of General Elections in this country is by the monarch, usually on the advice of the Prime Minister - David Cameron as a Privy Councillor can advise the Queen it is too early, but otherwise the final decision is up to the monarch, whether it is too early or too late for anyone else.

Most people do not want a General Election at the moment, in fact most Labour voters don't - it isn't just a matter of who would win, but also that the idea of power is to make changes not go at the first opportunity ditching any legislation that hasn't been put through meaning that if it is to be put through then the whole process of passing it goes back to the beginning.

Aside from this the fact that many people have moved and some will have become eligible on reaching 18, but will not have updated their details in the rolling register as the Registration Forms have only recently gone out and are just going back in.

If many Labour supporters don't turnout out of sheer annoyance and some switch and tactical voting turns less favourable for Labour then Labour are actually likely to do worse than in future. If Labour had no majority or a hairline majority then Gordon Brown could say that he needed a majority to put his programme through - not the case with a majority of 65, he could have cited Tony Blair's having said he would serve a full term - but leading labour figures have already announced that that is not their position.

So what that leaves is the appearance that Gordon Brown if he holds an election this Autumn, is doing so because there is bad news ahead - whether there is or not this is what the campaign would be about and what people would mostly conclude.

Don't normally post here but would like to say that the standard of speeches overall was superb, starting with Hague and finishing with Cameron. I don't normally watch many speeches in full but had to listen to the following 6 after seeing snippets
A) Hague
B) Davis
D) Fox
E) Johnson
F) Cameron
Not in any order. All different and all above any provided by the Labour Conference which was dire and all about one man. This is the difference Conservatives must talk about, A party that is about the many rather than just about one flawed man.
If there is an election in November, we must use the broad range of talents available as our weaponry. It will remind the public that politics is not about the ego of one man and his desperation to control us.

I thought Messrs Clarke and Hestletine both gave good speeches. All the speeches are availble as Flash video, or MP3 audio from conservatives.tv

Cameron's speech was excellent and in some ways confirmed the fears that we are a one man party. The shadow cabinet barely made headlines (Hague and Osboure aside).

As has been discussed in length on this site previously. We need to be seen as a TEAM. Only then will the public view as a credible altenative government.

I would disagree "cf-mhewlett" - maybe you are right about coverage on the BiasedBC but we wouldn't expect anything different from them.

As a reader of the Times and Telegraph every day (okay, the Times mostly to do the crossword as it's more of a challenge than the Telegraph one but that's not the point) I read long and good reviews of the speeches given by IDS, DD specifically - and others too. Just about all of the dead tree press coverage of fringe events was very positive too.

I think we came across as a great team. I don't doubt that Mary Toynbee (why does she call herself "Polly"?) and the Guardian editorial team etc will slant things as negatively as they can get away with it, but I think it is generally recognised as a great conference.

cf-mhewlett, I must have been dreaming then becase Liam Fox led every bulletin on Tuesday with his "Brown's 126 words on Iraq" line. And on Sunday if I heard Hague say "You are no Margaret Thatcher" once, I heard it many times over...

Hmmm.... I had always thought IDS's Social Justice (ugh!) thing was part of his Community Service Order to which he was sentenced after his stewardship of the party. But he seems to be making a real contribution. Virtue its own reward......?

The announcement of "per-capita" funding for schools is the one that got missed, but has the greatest potential to revolutionise education and improve our country.

I stood in Hackney South in 2005, hardly a hot-bed of Conservatism, but time and again I was asked by mothers on council estates how they could get their kids into better schools. Almost wihtout exception, when our then policy of Swedish style vouchers was explained to them, they loved it.

Per-capita funding is just the same idea in more technical language. It is what we should have done in 1990 and we must do it straightaway, ending the Local Authority hegemony over every single schools.

We must not repeat the mistake we made with Grant Maintained Schools in making the adoption of them voluntary, so they were both divisive and - because there weren't many of them by 1997 - easily reversible.

I can't tell you how pleased I am that we've stuck with this and I'm sure Gove's style will allow him to explain it in a way which carries those single mums on the Hackeny estates. Well done, Michael.

Through the haze of influenza - I only made Conference one afternoon - but it was the afternoon of Iain Duncan Smiths speech. It was incredibally well constructed and given and must surely have touched many. It did me.

I would take issue with your comment about David Davis. The media you cite wasn't even the opinion of one newspaper it was one columnist. Other comment was pretty positive.
David regualrly comes out near the top of shadow cabinet members who are active in the press and i certainly dont think you can say he hasn't gone hard on issues of crime and immigration.
Having been up there for a few days it was a great conference. As you say Davis has a major part to play in getting the conservative party elected. He has got his head down and worked hard under Cameron and im sure he will continue to do so.

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