DISPATCHES FROM THE (VOTE BLUE, GO) GREEN ZONE

Chris Calland

One of the most striking aspects of Party Conferences in big city centres these days is the Green Zone-style security: roads sealed off and armed security everywhere.

On the whole that’s a reassuring sight if you’re inside the conference “secure zone” (let’s not forget that the 1984 Conservative Party Conference in Brighton was bombed, killing 5 people), but it can contribute to a feeling of being in somewhat of a bubble – the Westminster Village temporarily transported to another city and plonked down like a visiting alien mothership.

So after PLMR’s first full day at this year’s Conservative Party Conference,  what’s the atmosphere like ‘behind the wire’?

Undoubtedly the day has been dominated by the Chancellor’s speech, alongside the announcement on welfare spending. Indeed, one of the biggest differences between Opposition Party Conferences and those of governing parties is that politicians can announce things that will actually happen, rather than simply promising to do something.

Unsurprisingly, there’s been wall to wall coverage of the Chancellor’s speech – aided by a round of broadcast media interviews in advance of it – but on the whole there is a strangely sedate mood around the Conference floor.

That’s not entirely surprising as its midway through this Parliament and inevitably people are waiting for David Cameron’s speech on Wednesday.

But it’s worth remarking that whilst the cameras focus on the Conference podium, there are some genuinely interesting events and debates happening off camera. PLMR has been especially interested in the three life sciences fringe events that have already taken place.

However, tomorrow looks set to heat things up, with Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s address, Jeremy Hunt’s first speech as Health Secretary, and then what we can expect to be a vigorous championing of school reforms by the Education Secretary.

So, the atmosphere at the end of today? Like a football club having enjoyed an expected home win, but with everyone preoccupied with the away leg to come.

Share this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on print
Share on email