Conference Diary 1: A pathetic protest outside, a united party inside



The protesters decided to stay at home. And who can blame them? Overthrowing capitalism is important work, but not as important as keeping toasty and updating your showreel.

I salute the few Revolutionaries and Remainsessives who made it out. There were a couple of Socialist Worker-types in “F*ck Brexit” t-shirts (imported from China). A morbidly obese man on a mobility scooter with a “Johnson Out” placard who may have been simply advertising. And, of course, Steve Bray, the professional shouty-man who roars “Stop Brexit!” into a megaphone in Parliament Square. He had journeyed up to make his voice heard. He didn’t hang around long, presumably there was a real ale with his name on it somewhere, but he hollered an enfeebled “Plap blexy” as I walked passed him.

Inside, it was dry – considerably dryer, in fact, since the Grieveites and Soubryistas have gone. Some of the media, in their mischief, are trying to suggest – because of the expulsions – this is a divided party. I have never known it more united, or the atmosphere more electric. Indeed, there was an appetite for going further, and trimming away a few more who have been undermining us at this crucial time.

The average Conservative, brow-beaten and deflated during the May years, is rejuvenated and full of mission. Boris is our man. Support for the Prime Minister is huge. Everywhere he went, cheers erupted. There is something Churchillian about him – I half expected him to raise his metaphorical Homburg and roar “Are we downhearted?” – and quintessentially British, too.

It’s that quintessential Britishness which is keeping him flying in the polls, and giving the Tories a 12 point lead. Remainers, who wail “Bollocks to Brexit” and take selfies with Guy Verhofstadt, and ‘Comrades’, who wish to nationalise private schools and reintroduce secondary picketing, do not understand the average British voter. BoJo, with his promises to level up hospitals and ensure fish and chips and hot buttered toast are available on every ward, does. He should throw in free Mr Kipling’s cakes for every patient, too.

There seems to be a general acceptance that we will lose a few middle-class voters, who were attracted by the soggy Lib Dem wing of the 2010 Coalition and now prefer JoSwi (nope, not as catchy) with her “hectoring older sister” “charm”.

But they can be replaced – in droves – by less privileged voters (the same demographic who delivered three election victories to Mrs. Thatcher) who want a patriotic party, which believes in democracy, “a safety net below which nobody can fall but everybody can rise”, and is responsive to their interests both at work and as families.

This is a party which is reinvigorated – and evolving. No wonder the Opposition rabble in Parliament are so desperate to avoid an election.

“Are we downhearted?” Certainly not.


A Tory activist reciting the lyrics of “Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West)” by Benny Hill.

“His genius is that he is actually totally aware of what he’s bloody saying – he’s like my Sergeant Major.”

“The British working class are not racist. They love everyone – except the French.”

Tim Dawson is a writer and journalist and the Editor of Free Market Conservatives. Follow him on twitter: @tim_r_dawson