Tory Trek will go boldly where no conference has gone before

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Indy Politics

It's party conference, Jim, but not as we know it. In a bid to update its image, the annual Conservative get-together in Bournemouth will feature a modernist stage set complete with chameleon colour scheme.

It's party conference, Jim, but not as we know it. In a bid to update its image, the annual Conservative get-together in Bournemouth will feature a modernist stage set complete with chameleon colour scheme.

Tory Trek: The Next Generation will see William Hague, Michael Ancram and co seated behind a platform console that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Starship Enterprise. With Mr Hague at the helm (mission: exterminate the euro), Mr Ancram in the role of Scotty and, of course, the coldly logical John Redwood as Mr Spock, the team hopes to impress younger delegates with its ultra-modern approach.

With a backdrop comprisingmore glass panes than Kew Gardens, the aim is also to provide a "transparent" image in contrast to Labour's obsession with artifice. But, unfortunately, the windows of the Conservative conservatory are opaque.

Giving journalists a sneak preview of the brave new world yesterday, Mr Ancram said it was "the first time ever" a party would change the colour of the platform to reflect the theme being discussed. During the opening session, true blue will be the hue, while during the women's debate, purple and orange will be on display. Green will dominate the environment session, whereas red, white and blue will light the debate on the constitution.

"It is designed to be modern, hi-tech, simple. Most of all, it is saying this is all going to be transparent," Mr Ancram said.

To complete the modern approach, popular beat music will accompany the colour changes and video images. The muzaksounds like weak europop. However, Mr Ancram, offered some reassurance: "We will be singing 'Land of Hope and Glory' in the traditional manner on the last day, don't worry about that."

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