I SPENT this weekend packing for a four-day trip to Birmingham to cover the Conservative Party conference. And I really mean all weekend too.
To start with, it turns out chief whip Andrew Mitchell isn’t going, saying he risks being a “distraction”. So much for the Pleb & Proud t-shirt. His absence doesn’t reflect well on the recent reshuffle that propelled him to the role, but so be it.
Anyway, these days the Conservatives are all meritocratic, LibDem loving tree-huggers aren’t they? They have an ex-miner in the cabinet and everything. It’s going to be wall-to-wall ethnic-prints and open-toe sandals. Or maybe not.
Policy Exchange, the think-tank favoured by No. 10, this weekend slammed the Conservatives for failing to modernise. It says the Tories remain the party of the rich and are languishing in urban areas in the Midlands and the north of England. I wonder if gracing Britain’s second city with their presence for four days will help?
Well, I need to fit in to persuade these Tory-types to talk to me. Back to posh frocks it is.
Blue is out. I don’t want to suggest an unintended political affiliation. Ditto red. And yellow. And green. This is due to the low-light of Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg’s oratorical career, delivered at his party conference last month.
“To make blue go green, you have to add yellow,” he proclaimed. I know Clegg is really into this whole work experience scheme, but there’s no need to get a GCSE student to write your conference speech.
It’s easy for us journalists to be flippant about conference season as the parties attempt to rally the grass roots for the looming May 2015 election. But still there are some issues crucial to the UK at hand.
The economy is in a right royal state. David Cameron and George Osborne are expected to stick to Plan A in Birmingham. Good luck to them. Yields are still low, though how much that has to do with Plan A is up for debate.
But other issues lurk, such as Europe. Foreign secretary William Hague this weekend suggested there’ll be no referendum, but voters can have their say on Europe through their vote in the next general election. So far, so fudged.
And women. The Conservatives need women voters. Badly.
In the run up to the conference the new Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt called for the limit on abortion to be cut to 12 weeks from 24 weeks. That’s way below the 20-week limit advocated by many in his party.
I don’t know the answer, but I do know this brewing row could make Pleb-gate look like light-hearted banter. By the way, if you’re looking for me at the party conference, I’ll be in pink.
Beccy Meehan is a CNBC Anchor