All eyes were on David Cameron as he delivered his keynote speech, which had to be rewritten as the economic crisis unfolded. He had to pull off a difficult balancing act. He could not savage Gordon Brown, having just promised to support him through the global financial crisis, but he had to show why he was the better man to lead the country.
Mr Cameron limbered up for the speech with an early morning jog
Mr Cameron was highly critical of Labour's handling of the economy and its general tone, describing the government as authoritarian, expensive and interfering. In a sometimes dour address, lasting more than an hour, he presented the Tories as a serious, forward-looking alternative. The audience was appreciative, but Mr Cameron chose not to bask for too long in the applause. Triumphalism is the last thing anyone needs at the moment, the leadership reasons.
THE BREAKFAST CLUB
Senior Tory MP Tim Yeo, pictured right with knife and fork, is a well known supporter of environmental issues, so it should have come as little surprise that he believes in that old adage, waste not want not. But passers-by might have thought he had gone a bit too far when he took his breakfast fry-up outside with him after a fire alarm at his Birmingham city centre hotel. And, some may wonder, while he was demonstrating he was in tune with these credit crunch times, is it entirely Cameroonian to have your own personal plate holder?
BACKSTAGE WITH THE OSBORNE
Ok, not quite Sharon and Ozzie, but we've all been given an exclusive back-stage pass to conference thanks to the all-new Reali-tory TV, part of the Tories' £250,000 website redesign. Seconds after his speech, we heard from George on the audience's take on his speech:
"They liked some of the things I had to say on the City, about some of the hard messages we had to give... They really liked the announcement we can freeze the council tax for two years... Pointing the finger of blame at Gordon Brown went down well, but that's the truth. It was a great speech to give. Fantastic hall. Great audience..." Cue a walk-on appearance from the fresh-faced head of the family. Not Sharon, but Dave [Cameron]. "It was absolutely perfect... It was brilliantly done." The two then disappeared for more TV interviews.
David Miliband has been the subject of much mirth and derision this week after he was snapped "wandering around Labour's conference with a banana in his hand", as Andrew Mitchell put it in the hall. The foreign secretary - or a cardboard cut-out of him - has even been put to work at the refreshment stalls in an effort to boost sales of his favourite fruit.
David Cameron promised to work with the government in speeding through legislation to protect economic stability and protect bank account holders. Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve has outlined plans to offer help for "have-a-go-heroes". Shadow schools secretary Michael Gove has said the Tories would offer relationship guidance to couples about to marry. And former party leader Iain Duncan Smith has spoken on the issue of social breakdown.
David Cameron's speech on the economy
There was much bafflement at a fringe meeting after a questioner asked the panel - including pop and railway mogul Pete Waterman - if their businesses suffered from the problem of "sticky floors". It was explained that sticky floor is a term along the lines of "glass ceiling", and refers to the difficulty workers at the lowest level might have in moving up the ranks. The best answer came from Network Rail boss Iain Croucher who said that while there might be a sticky floor in some parts of his company some of his staff had sticky shoes... in other words they enjoyed what they did and did not want to move up.
THATCHER IS WORKING
Lady Thatcher signed 65 of the posters
She may no longer appear on the conference stage, but Lady Thatcher is still proving to be a hit on the fringe. Limited edition prints of the Tories' iconic 1979 "Labour isn't working" election poster, signed by the former PM, were doing good business at the Bodleian Library stand - a snip at £495 a go. Those on a more modest budget could buy an unsigned print for £9.99. The cash goes towards the Bodleian's digitisation programme. The Bruges Group is, meanwhile, offering supporters a chance to have dinner in the presence of Lady Thatcher to mark its 20 anniversary - tickets start at £125 a head, although you can sponsor a table for anything up to £10,000.
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