The Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham was different in tone from any other that I have ever attended. Because of the Coalition, there was a real sense of those who were participating that we were engaged in a novel enterprise. And that enterprise has been carried out against a background of the worst economic crisis since the Second World War where decisions taken by Government will really matter in terms of touching the lives of everybody who the Government seeks to serve.
So these issues were reflected in the mood. It was a purposeful gathering with very little celebration of victory, but a very strong sense of relief that the Labour government had been thrown out!
Coupled with that was a feeling, that the Coalition is delivering sound Government because it is, above all, based on sound decision making. I can certainly vouch for this myself from my own experience. I do not think there has been a period in Government in the last 50 years where the decision making process in Cabinet or Committees has actually involved so much frank discussion and debate. The consequence is that that the Coalition is working well, bringing people together of different views, but succeeding in delivering outcomes round which everybody can agree and coalesce. This is going to be particularly important as we move in the coming months through the difficult period of the necessary savings in public expenditure which are required to save us from the current economic chaos that Labour has left.
Speaking personally, I found that I enjoyed the Conference hugely. It was rounded off by an inspiring speech from David Cameron which made clear both the scale of the problems we face, and also his utter determination that the Conservative Party should be the great engine of economic and national renewal.
I am looking forward to the coming months as we place these policies into operation. As a Party we now have a great opportunity to serve our country.