Our correspondent joins the Tories at their party conference for their "fight back" against the Brown Bounce ahead of the much-rumoured snap election
The city of Blackpool has the feel of faded glamour about it, an air of once-great influence and position never to be regained. How appropriate a place then, for the 2007 Conservatives to hold their party conference.
For years, the Tories have looked washed up in the face of Blair’s New Labour. But with Gordon Brown taking over, a renaissance was supposed to occur, the new-look modernising Conservatives suddenly able to trump the PM’s dour, Stalinist politics.
However, in spite of terrorist attacks, floods and farming disasters, the Brown Bounce has become a sustained uplift, and the polls suggest Cameron and his party are looking at another term in opposition if the long-rumoured snap autumn election becomes reality.
This could be the week that changes all that. The possibility of an early trip to the polls is supposed to have galvanised the Conservative Party into making all kinds of policy announcements at its annual conference this week, though few are yet to emerge on this chill Monday morning.
If they are to launch a credible election platform, the Tories have to let people know what they stand for. Having criticised Tony Blair for years for his spin-obsessed blue-sky thinking, Cameron’s Conservatives are doing exactly that. Their campaign literature and conference hall backdrop is even adorned with blue skies and wisps of cloud.
But for the Tories to even think of winning an election, those fluffy clouds need to turn into a towering cumulonimbus of policy.
I’ll be here for the next two days trying to find out exactly what that will be, and meeting various construction, housing and architecture types while I do so.
It’s the first week of October, and Blackpool already has its Christmas lights up. It remains to be seen, however, if Christmas will also come early for the Conservatives.