Conference diary: Old Tory vs New Tory

Man of the hour: Boris Johnson
Man of the hour: Boris Johnson

By Sean Dilley

How times have changed in just a few short years. I remember how in April 2009, in Cheltenham, an enthusiastic David Cameron and William Hague told me of their excitement to get in to No 10 and how they were going get Britain building again. They focused on the green agenda, and how Britain would have its say on the Lisbon treaty.

And the country listened in 2009. Then, 12 years in to New Labour, hope and enthusiasm spoke to the nation. And to be fair, the green economy and manufacturing have arguably been at the heart of what the Conservative-led coalition has been doing.... but on Lisbon, a black mark remains on the Tories' score card.

One party member said: "It's actually going to happen - a chance to have our say on the Euro". Another rebutted: "Europe's yesterday's debate.... or at least it's yesterday's debate until today's economy is fixed".


And it's the economy which dominated yesterday, as George Osborne reaffirmed. We're not going to introduce a mansion tax, said the chancellor. In a clear message to the Lib Dems, Cameron's closest political friend said it would be wrong to tax people for success - but it's right, he explained, to cut the welfare budget by another £10 billion. A common sense policy some may argue - but another kicking for the poorest in society.

But while Osborne reflects on how his conference speech has been received, his other 'friend' (or not), London mayor Boris Johnson, is preparing to make his speech this morning. "We'd have Boris gladly" said one lady. "He's old Tory, he's new Tory - he's a man for all seasons."

Us hacks will be looking out for any subtle side-swipes at the PM and Boris will no doubt hope his growing success in the polls at the expense of Cameron's will continue.

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