Having been a regular attendee at the Conservative Party Conference for some years, I decided not to go this year. Accommodation was really hard to find unless I was prepared to travel in from miles out of town, and room prices demonstrated the cynicism shown by some hotel and hospitality organisations towards major events in their locality, with normal rates hiked by ten, fifteen or more percent just because it’s “Party Conference Season”.
So I won’t be receiving my usual Conference Guide, detailing the hundreds of fringe events available, and packed with little coloured A5 sheets granting me entrance to anything from the “Conservative Smokers’ Reception” to the “Conservative Jewish Association” receptions.
This year’s handbook has apparently been outsourced to an organisation called Marketing Birmingham, a local PR agency. Tasked with showcasing the very best Birmingham has to offer, they have this year included a ten pound discount voucher for The Rocket Club, a lap dancing venue just around the corner from the International Conference Centre, where ‘discerning businessmen’ are guaranteed “on any night we have up to 50 of the world’s most beautiful girls from around the world”.
Makes a change from the Mayor of Blackpool’s Drinks Reception at the Winter Gardens…