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Party Conferences - The Toughest Audience Will Be Stting in the Hall

Posted: 21/09/2012 01:00

Just what is the authentic voice of the party members anymore at conference?

With only two party conference seasons left after this year's gathering before the General Election - Conservatives are getting increasingly nervous about whether or not Plan A will work in time for the next poll.

Defeat seems almost certain in the Corby by-election in November which can only add to that nervousness.

Combine that with increasingly fraternal relations between Ed Balls and Vince Cable - and we can expect to see calls from the Tory right for a faster approach towards Plan A and further supply side reforms.

Nick Clegg and David Cameron will look to demonstrate that the government reshuffle is all about promoting such an approach and also one fired up with the need to show their sides of the coalition is delivering on the economic challenges.

Expect Ed Miliband to revamp his theme around responsible capitalism - a theme which will have more resonance this year than ever. It's wonky - but he is on to something and the poll leads for Labour show this.

For the Tories, debates on Europe - and the UK's place in it - are all over their fringe schedule like a rash.

The prime minister will be wanting to apply soothing ointment to this debate but he may find it very difficult to do. Party members scared of the UKIP challenge will want some Eurosceptic meat to chew on. This remains a huge challenge for Cameron.

So get ready for a partial relaunch of the Coalition following the reshuffle and an attempt to redefine the mission in tough times. Get ready for Ed Miliband talking Plan B. Already Nick Clegg is saying 'sorry'. David Cameron needs to hit the right notes for the Tory right.

The toughest audience for all the party leaders will not be in the country - this year it will just be sitting in the hall!

 

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