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The Conservatives had a very strong lead in the polls throughout 1988 - although Labour were usually on 40%+ aswell, because of the collapse of the Liberal/SDP Alliance.
(I look forward to the first LD poll which shows them in single figures - maybe we'll get a few from time to time).

There would have been a Tory lead in 1988 and probably 2006 aswell, at the time of the conference.

2005 was the best conference I have attended, several days of excitement and upbeat comment around our leadership election, and the sun shone. I didn't think you could have so much fun in Blackpool (particularly after 2003).

My first conference was in 1989 (Blackpool again) so I'm looking forward to Birmingham this year.

I think organising a tribute to our Armed Forces is absolutely the right thing to do - time enough to celebrate our victories in the future I hope!
My first Conference was in 1985 (Blackpool) - the year after the Brighton Bomb - I remember my mother was terrified that I was going...! Every year Conference has a slightly different atmosphere though I have enjoyed every one I have been to. This year's should be fantastic - Tim are we having a Conservative Home drinks get-together?

I hope and trust that the conference will not be triumphalism - the election is not yet won and there is still 18 months possibly to go. DC must keep people's feet firmly on the ground- there is a lot of work still to do and sooner or later the Labour Party will bounce back.

The Newsnight programme last night showed that we still have to seal the deal with the British Public

Will there be much interaction/information here about the conference if everyone is away?

I agree with you Michael M - there is a lot of work still to do so we have to keep our feet on the ground!

I know a BBC Political Correspondent who put 1993 down as the point he knew we'd lost.

All the good totty was at Labour's Conference, ours was dire!

This year I want to see the cabinet ministers really honing their message and their policies. I want to see Michael Gove finally speaking in public about children in care, an issue he has avoided discussing in public since his appointment. Id like to see Lansley put more emphasis in mental health.

In short, Id like to see the Conservatives talk about the less talked about scandals in Britain. Dont attack Brown...itll only give Labour the oxygen of publicity. If Labour is the past, then Labour is the past. Make it a true conversation between the Party and the people, rather than needing to hang onto Labours tattered rags.

At least thats what I'd like to see happen. As Ive said before, Id like to rejoin the PArty but I need Cameron and the shadows to say the things I need to see them say.

So one of your contributors looks forward to Lib-Dems in single figures !! Yesterday you forecast and welcomed Opinion Poll giving Tories over 50% and poor old Lib Dems only 12% !!! You are silent on Saturday's Telegraph Poll - Tories around 45-6% and poor old Lib Dems up 4% to 20 %. Why the silence - was tomorrow's poll not to your liking ?

Yes I think there is a need for the subject of mental health to be addressed by Andrew Lansley. There has just been another perfectly innocent and blameless person - in this case a young woman, knifed about 20 times, in a supermarket in front of children as well. Apparently, the attacker had not been taking his medication - (according to his own mother!!). Of course she is blaming 'Care in the Community', and of course - she is right!!

It is absolutely ludicrous to expect mentally unwell patients, to be capable of managing their own medication.

I think it would be encouraging if Mr. Lansley could perhaps indicate that there would be a review of what could be done, at the very least.

We must be practical and forward looking. We should set out the vision we have and paint a clear picture of our policy framework without giving away all the detail. We should however announce some details in some key areas. We should show some grit and depth to our belief and thus the drive to see our mission through and achieve real change. We should focus a bit less on Labour failures and a bit more on our aspirations for the people of Britain which we wish to be great again.

Patsy you're right - mental health has been relatively ignored for far too long and there is still a stigma attached to it which is not given to those suffering from physical conditions.
I would also like Andrew Lansley to give due consideration to eating disorders which are also a mental illness.

Instead of "celebrations", how about a debate? There don't seem to be any of those on the agenda any more, whilst 90% of the conference used to be in that form.

My first conference was in 1977 and there was a rollicking debate on the hot topic of the moment - trade union reform - when Norman Tebbit spoke from the floor as a backbench MP on how we needed to toughen up our approach, in opposition to Jim Prior. It didn't do any harm to our winning the election 2 years later, but meant that the issue had been aired (and the Tebbit view prevailed a few years later). I see no sign of the conference airing the 2008 equivalent of such topics this year.

A ConHome reception or informal drinks would be good, but I am only there for the first two days and i guess Tim and co might be too busy.

Joe James is right - the Conservatives were still enjoying double-digit leads in the polls at the end of 1988 - it wasn't until mid-1989 when things began to go sour (European Election results, etc).

Mrs. Thatcher with hindsight would have done better to have resigned in May 1989, ten years after coming into office. Then she would have avoided Lawson's resignation, the poll tax riots and being forced out 18 months later.

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