Not much really happened at Conservative Party Conference. Specifically, the pressing issue of future leadership of the party remains muted by Brexit bickering.


Boris bottled his big moment to take aim at the leadership, although his supporters seem pleased with him showing ‘loyalty’ and think it’ll stand him in good stead. The Prime Minister’s speech passed off without any hiccups and the boost she’ll experience in the coming few weeks will distract from some frankly terrible policy announcements (new immigration policy, raising stamp duty for non-UK residents, etc. etc.) The Mirror splashed the obligatory stupid young Tory story (how does somebody get it so wrong every year) and Liz Truss cemented herself as the absolute darling of the free-market wing (watch this space.)

In fairness, though the media portrayed a quiet, half-full conference — the fringes were awash with activity. The right-wing think-tank world continues to be ahead of the curve and do the vast bulk of the heavy lifting when it comes to the Conservative Party. Really interesting fringe panels on cannabis legalisation, housing policy and rebooting capitalism were wildly at odds with the rhetoric in the main hall as Sajid Javid promised a crackdown on drug users and Theresa May yet again gave great free-market rhetoric whilst delivering very little in terms of free-market policy.

One of the main things that struck me is that Brexit divisions are helping to delay a serious conversation about the future of the Conservative Party and which direction it’s going to go in. When May finally steps down (still have my money on March despite a good conference and the dogs backing off) the subsequent leadership election will be a fight between the warring wings; liberal free-marketeers, interventionist Mayites, One Nation Tories and the Johnson wing — which, frankly, I’m not entirely sure will believe in much post-Brexit.

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