There is a discernible lack of good gossip to report from the Tory conference this year. Save from the Daily Mirror‘s questionable “Tory sips champagne shocker” splash on Wednesday, the papers seem to vindicate Eric Pickles’ and Andy Coulson’s hardline emails to campaigners to stay serious and watch out for the hacks.
This itself, however, raises an interesting question about the party: in a week when it was revealed that, without decisive action to unravel the agreement, the next Tory incumbents will be stuck with a European Constitution in all but name, why are the party members not appearing more rambunctious?
Europe, after all, was the issue that divided the party in government and enraged it in opposition. However warmly the anti-euro-integrationist MEP Dan Hannan has been greeted by delegates (and that’s pretty warm—one I spoke to said “he’s my hero”), the hardliner meetings are far from badly-behaved and former skeptics are, broadly speaking, taking Cameron’s “hold-fast” line on the chin.
The answer, in part, is that the party has sniffed government, and are more realistic than ever about the country’s prospects. That said, the conservative party did not leave this conference with their position on Europe solved so the peace won’t last. Good news for diarists perhaps, but not for Cameron.