David Cameron paid tribute in his conference speech to the volunteers who made a success of the Olympics, to Theresa May for securing the extradition of Abu Hamza, and to the troops serving in Afghanistan, for whom he led a long-standing ovation – but not once did he utter the word "police". Those who contributed so much to the success of the Olympics, and who lost two female colleagues in brutal circumstances only three weeks ago, were not granted even a passing mention.
Ian Edwards, chairman of the West Midlands Police Federation, said: "It's indicative of how the Coalition Government views the police, unfortunately. We invited David Cameron to come and have a curry with us while he was here, but he never replied. We also invited Boris. At least his office replied, to say it did not fit in with his schedule. Apart from that, we've heard nothing from any of the Coalition MPs." Perhaps, in fairness to the Tories, they were put off by a very large poster they had to walk past on their way to their conference every day. Paid for by the police federations of West Midlands, Warwickshire and West Mercia, it carried the caption: "Say hello to Dave. Goodbye to your police service."
All of this is fuel to the speculation that Andrew Mitchell's days as Chief Whip are numbered.
One of the most vivid images in the Cameron speech was this one – "There are young people who work hard year after year but are still living at home. They sit in their childhood bedroom, looking out of the window dreaming of a place of their own. …" Vivid, but unoriginal. It was lifted from the speech that the vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan delivered to the Republican National Convention in August. He said: "College graduates should not have to live out their twenties in their childhood bedrooms staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life."
In search of friends
So the party conference season ends. Next year, Labour goes to Brighton, where there are no Labour MPs, the Tories to Manchester, where there are no Tory MPs, and the Lib Dems will go to Glasgow, where there are no Lib Dem MPs . In the election year, the Tories will go to Liverpool. No one can accuse any of them of hiding in the heartlands.
Boris or Dave? Here's an off-the-cuff report
Phil Pinder, who ran the conference stall where novelty cuff links were on sale, reports that he shifted all 15 pairs of the "I Love Dave" cuff links, while the "I Love Boris" were proving so popular that he made an extra 10, and sold 22 out of a total of 25.
"So Boris won, but Dave sold out," he observed. Which pretty much encapsulates what the Tory right is thinking.
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