Political summer holidays aren't all about body-boarding and pointing at fish for the cameras. For most in the front rank of British public life, their fortnight in the sun is when they begin the work of drafting the Big Conference Speech.
It's important to them because, despite the many ways politics has changed with television and the internet, no one is considered leadership material unless they can successfully deliver a 50-minute speech to a roomful of supporters.
[caption id="attachment_8886032" align="aligncenter" width="520"] David Cameron pointing at some fish. Image: WPA Pool/Getty Images[/caption]
The speech, reporters are always told in advance, is ‘their most personal yet’, probably because ‘they wrote most of it themselves’.