James Forsyth

The conference season blues

The conference season blues
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Few things irritate the Prime Minister’s circle more than the insinuation that David Cameron is lazy. So Ben Brogan’s column this morning with its slightly barbed observations about the number of box-sets that Cameron finds time to watch will have been read through gritted teeth in Downing Street.

Ben argues that Cameron will have to use his conference speech to show the country what he stands for and what he wants. This is, as Ben acknowledges, said about most leaders before nearly every party conference. But I understand that preparations for this year’s Tory conference are particularly chaotic. While the work on Cameron’s own speech is proceeding apace, the rest of the conference programme is short on both ideas and a theme. Apparently, Tory high command has been scrambling to find ministers to speak on topics that are, within the coalition, the preserve of the Liberal Democrats.