It’s actually the start of day two here, but I didn’t get time yesterday to post anything (and the wifi in my hotel is so shonky that working from there was near-impossible). So here’s a brief rundown of yesterday.
As a first-time conference-goer, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. But, in many ways, it’s similar to many other corporate events I’ve been to in the past, so there’s nothing particularly unusaul about it. I spent most of yesterday wandering round the exhibition hall, chatting to people and generally networking – I have yet to encounter anyone I know, but there’s no shortage of people to talk to.
I attended the CPF lecture by David Willetts, who I have to say is an excellent speaker in that context – erudite, witty and not afraid to assume that his audience is as intelligent as he is. Anyone who can reference the Marshmallow Test and the Prisoners’ Dilemma and make them both sound interesting is doing pretty well!
The main set-piece event of the day was the speevh by William Hague. That’s the one you’ll have seen on the news or read about in the paper, so there’s not a lot I can add except to comment on his reference to Nick Clegg. Most of the press seems to have picked up on the fact that this generated applause, what they don’t say is that the hall was split almost evenly between those who were applauding loudly and those who kept their hands firmly by their sides. The coalition is still a sore point in many sectors of the party.
While we were inside, there was a protest march outside by various groups opposed to being told the truth about the economy. I was a bit amused by the RMT banners, which had a distinctively retro-Communist look about them (although I suppose that sums up the approach of their leader very well). One repeated theme on Twitter from those on the march was a chant telling David Cameron to “fuck off back to eaton” (sic). It might help their campaign a bit if they’d paid more attention to their own schooling. Incidentally, despite being very noisy from close up (I went out to the security fence for a bit to watch it go past), the march was entirely inaudible from inside the venue. If they though they were disrupting us or making their voice heard, they were sadly mistaken.
The final event of the day for me was the Members’ Dinner. Again, that’s the first time I’ve been to anything of this nature, but from my perspectiev it went off very well. Excellent entertainment from Chethams musicians, a witty speech from Michael Gove (who, I’ll be honest, I didn’t previously have a lot of time for, but he came across very well here) and good food made the price worth it.
Anyway, day two starts now, and I’ll try to blog a bit on that sometime today rather than tomorrow if I get the chance. One drawback is that not only is my hotel wifi pretty poor but there’s also limited free wifi here at the venue so my laptop isn’t as usable as I’d like (I’m writing this on an Internet cafe PC – how 20th century). That, surely is something that really needs to eb sorted out – I would epxect decent free wifi for all delegates as standard at an event like this. Sort it out for next year, please, CCHQ.