Fraser Nelson

Don’t mention the Conservatives

Don't mention the Conservatives
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Has somebody stolen the Tory Party? A stranger walking around here would have no idea that its their conference. The word "Conservative" or "Tory" is nowhere to be seen. Just a slogan, "Together in the national interest" – a form of words that Cameron has repeatedly used to describe the coalition. As I say in my News of the World column today, Cameron will this week perform the impossible – to de-Tory the Tory conference and make them love it.

There is plenty Tory red meat being served: welfare reform, school reform. It wouldn't susprise me if an announcement on keeping Trident is made this week. So the activists are happy. They also know that there is less than three weeks to the spending review and the battle that accompanies it, so they are in loyalty mode.

This isn't the Tory conference – in the way that Clegg revved up his base in a LibDem conference. It's a coalition pre-cuts rally, attended by Tories. "Play a key role in the funding of our party," exclaims one poster. But which party? It doesn't say.  The only place you see the word conservative is on the little pass holder necklaces. And, if you are watching the conference from the roof, it's on the floor of the hall (below). Someone must have forgotten to take it off.

I didn't see it, but I'm told that Sayeeda Warsi – the chairman of the Conservative Party – said to Adam Boulton earlier that, "it's time to put party aside". That certainly squares with the logos being used. But is the Tory annual conference really time to put party aside? Neither of the other two parties did. But Cameron wants to present a wartime "national government" vibe, setting the mood for the spending review. And airbrushing his party's name out of his party's conference is a way of doing this.

According to the BBC, there will be a poll tomorrow showing sky high approval ratings for Cameron amongst Tory members. So he can de-Tory the Tory conference – and get away with it.