Morning after the night before
Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 9:23
Simon Clark

Events have rather overtaken the Forest/TMA drinks party in Manchester on Tuesday night.

I was driving out of the city yesterday morning when Theresa May began her speech. Even before the interruption by a so-called comedian and the repeated coughing fits, it was a car crash.

'The British Dream'? WTF is that? We're British. We don't dream, we muddle by.

The subsequent annoucement of a series of Ed Miliband style policies on housing and energy prices only made things worse. Is this the best the Conservatives can do?

But you'd have to have a heart of granite not to feel for someone dying on their feet. Even while I was driving I was holding my head in my hands muttering, "Oh my God, oh my God."

It was so painful I wanted to turn the radio off but I couldn't.

Outside the Westminster bubble you may be wondering what all the fuss is about but the clips shown on the news last night only hint at the tortuous nature of May's unfortunate performance.

I've previously defended not her policies but her apparently genuine sense of public duty and I do so again, but as others have commented you need luck to be a successful general and May is currently having no luck.

The letters dropping off the staging behind her back was another thrust of the political dagger.

In the light of all that our 'drinks party' (how quaint that sounds) seems light years away. In fact it was quite a success with Conservative MP Nigel Evans giving a rip-roaring speech that could not have been more appropriate to the drink-fuelled nature of the occasion.

"This is the best event at conference," declared Nigel boldly, "because people are allowed to do as they want."

I wouldn't go as far as that but guests were certainly allowed to eat, drink, smoke and vape (at the same time!) so that was probably unique.

Officially we were limited to 120 guests but there were many more than that. The heated, covered terrace was packed and the lounge was pretty full too.

The first guests arrived at 7.45 (the event was billed to start at 8.30), and the last left at 12.15.

Around 10.00 we ran out of booze (we'd pre-ordered cockails, beer and prosecco) and had to order more. 

Sadly the only thing most people will remember about the 2017 Tory conference is the PM's speech the following morning.

C'est la vie.

Below: Nigel Evans MP addresses guests at the Forest/TMA reception. Alongside him are fellow MPs Craig Mackinlay and Gareth Johnson.

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