Well, after 2 hrs I got my pass. I didn't even have to give any ID. It was just unceremoniously handed over.
Stephen Tall refers in his blog to Cameron's vomit inducing sunshine speech of last year. Well, he hasn't brought sunshine to Bournemouth. Quite the reverse. It is throwing it down biblical flood style. (Why is it that it is always sunny at Lib Dem conferences - except when we have the misfortune of going to Blackpool?) A veritable army of wet Conservatives clung for safety to the doorway of the Theatre, waiting for a break in the clouds. One arrived so I made a dash for the conference centre. I just made it and went through the airport style security whilst a flood of rainwater washed over the floor of the marquee in which security is based.
So I've done a tour of the stands. I get the impression there are very few internal organisations with stands than there are out our conference. But the Fur Traders Assn and Countryside Alliance are here.
Not been into the main hall yet for any debates but I have now moved on to the Independent's fringe "have the Conservatives changed enough?". I got a thorough drenching whilst walking from the BIC to the Highcliffe Hotel.
First speaker John Bercow has just finished. His view is no they haven't change enough. Conservatives, he says, should stop talking about tax cuts. Those who do are the Bennites of the Conservative Party.
Now speaking is Tim Montgomerie who runs Conservativehome.com who is arguing that there is a need to talk about issues of traditional interest to Conservatives. Otherwise the Cons will lose these people, just as happened in the Bromley byelection, he says.
Oliver Letwin on now. Known as Oliver Leftwing by the Conservative Rightwing. A rather dull speaker. He says Conservatives stand for social responsibility. Apparently Cameron said that in a speech last night. Now that the Conservatives have been told what they stand for they can now presumably have some policies! No way! Not 3 years out from an election, the first 2 speakers have said.
Frankly I'm finding it difficult to follow what Letwin is on about. He mentions some stuff about how terrible it is to have poor people and that the Cons have to find solutiins to them. He seems clueless about what those solutions should be.
He has however just said he will not announce policies too early as he doesn't want to give something to opponents and the press something to tear limb from limb. How terribly like Labour in opposition under Blair.
This meeting is in a marquee. Bit of a circus act me thinks.
Sent via BlackBerry