4 october 2011, politicos in town

The conservative party conference is here, so as part of the manchester team I've been hobnobbing with the government of the day and their various hangers-on, to sample the atmosphere, listen to the ideas getting worked up, and most importantly do what we can to get what we want. Even the (labour party) leader of the council has a very pragmatic view, and popped up at a fringe event on the future of the tories in the north chaired by graham brady, whom I know from my ecb days when he came over twice as part of the treasury select committee to write run on the rock. Funnily enough, richard was the most optimistic person in the room, seeing the sharing of the spoils of the demise of the liberal democrats. The talk was all about how the party could not win an outright majority next time round without transforming the situation "up here", when the point was made that "it's not about how we need to do things for people up north so we can win the general election, but how we need to win the general election so we can do things for people up north". Yesterday I spoke, on a smith institute platform, at a good event where all the speakers pretty much rubbished a recent report on pumping money into the north and forming a new "northern council". I thought andrew lansley both confident and competent, on a stellar platform with mathew taylor and stephen bubb, and our very own tom bloxham did a good turn this morning, though bob neill and mark prisk were less impressive. It's hard to deny the excitement of such a major event on the doorstep, and good to bump into journalists and talking heads that I see on the screen every night. The freebies are good too, best so far is a politicos top trumps.