Chairman of Conservatives Abroad in Majorca, Peter Newey, yesterday returned from the annual party conference, his 15th, surprised and pleased at what he saw and heard in Bournmouth. Newey admitted that he, along with many other delegates, headed out on the road to the conference somewhat down beat, my expectations were none too great to be honest, but the conference went much better than I had anticipated and the vast majority of delegates came away sharing the same opinion. New Conservatives is not quite the terminology either Newey or his fellow Tories will use, but the chairman of Conservatives Abroad said that the time has definitely come for the party to stop apologising and to start working towards the next election. We've had 12 months of blood letting, perhaps we've lost too much blood and now need a transfusion, he said.
Is that transfusion a new leader? I ask. No, the last thing the party, or any party, wants before the next election is a leadership battle, the party is aware of that, the party is contented and, while a leadership battle can never be ruled out, no one's job is ever 100 per cent secure, the grass roots Conservatives are very happy and pleased with what they heard at the conference. We heard some good policies, especially the caring for Britain. Hague set out to change the party's image and the way it was perceived by the press and public, but now we've changed the substance behind the image and it's evident, Newey said. In the past we've been seen as the party to help itself, now it's the party helping others and sticking up for what people believe in. We've spent the past 12 month analysing ourselves and saying sorry, but I think the time has come to stop and push on. Newey said that most of the back stabbers who brought about the end of Major and Hague have been weeded out of the party. There's really is no longer a role for the dinosaurs such as Tebbit. The party wants Iain Duncan Smith to do well, there was a tremendous sense of good will at the conference and that has been finally echoed in the press. We all expected something from Iain Duncan Smith and he delivered a solid approach to policies. We all breathed a huge sigh of relief at the end of the conference and all the delegates left in a very positive mood, there is a very good feeling amongst grass roots Conservatives at the moment.