If it’s the Conservative Party Conference, and it’s Monday, then it’s time for one of the fringe’s great perennials – the annual ConservativeHome Boris Rally. The Mayor of London will speak at 6.15 this evening in Hall One of the International Conference Centre on the theme: “How we win in 2015”.
It is the only fringe event at the conference at which Boris will speak, and he himself has styled it “a Rally for Victory”. Last year, he told the rally “UKIP if you want to – David Cameron’s not for kipping,” before warning there was a danger of “this country sleepwalking into a Labour Government.”
The Mayor excoriated Ed Miliband and Balls as members of the “Titanic school of economic management”, and said that had they presided over ‘the most disastrous economic shipwreck of the last 50 years”.
“I don’t want to give back the economic management of this country to the people who were on the bridge when the ship ran aground,” he said, warning that voting for UKIP risked putting Miliband in Downing Street – thus ending the prospect of a EU referendum.
The ConservativeHome programme continues tomorrow with a major speech by Liam Fox, the former Defence Secretary, titled: “Conservatism – better, not just different.” Owen Paterson, the former Environment Secretary, will also speak at an event on immigration.
Co-hosted by ConservativeHome and British Future, it is titled “Immigration: how can we make promises that we will keep?” Other speakers will be Mark Field MP, the Isabel Oakeshott, who is co-writing a biography of David Cameron with Lord Ashcroft, and Sunder Katwala of British Future.
This evening’s appearance by Boris marks a busy autumn for him in the wake of his recent selection as Conservative candidate for Uxbridge, which ended a long period of speculation about his plans for the next general election.
After his adoption, he said that he was “obviously thrilled” to be selected. “It will be a tough fight, it will be a long fight,” he said, “but I have no doubt whatever that we are going to be able to return David Cameron and the Conservatives with an absolute majority in 2015.”
He also reiterated his intention to continue as Mayor while serving as an MP, pointing out that Ken Livingstone served as an MP after becoming mayor in 2000. “It has been done before and I see no reason why it shouldn’t be done again,” he said.
It will be a busy autumn for Boris, whose biography of Winston Churchill will be published later this month. The book is entitled The Churchill Factor and will explore “the character, life, legacy and meaning today” of Churchill.
“I am interested in the memory of Churchill, and how it has been distorted,” Boris said after publication was announced. “I want to shine a light on some aspects of Churchill’s character and to explain how Churchill made a difference to events or to society – and explore his meaning and his message today.”
“He is the resounding human rebuttal to all Marxist historians who think history is the story of vast and impersonal economic forces. The point of the ‘Churchill Factor’ is that one man can make all the difference.”
Paterson, who was dismissed from the Cabinet in the summer’s reshuffle, warned recently that Cameron must adopt “robust, genuinely Conservative policies” or risk the “criminal failure” of letting Miliband into Downing Street.
Fox warned recently that the West has been “serially weak” over Russia. This is not a short-term crisis. This has been in the making,” he said. “He cut off Ukraine’s gas. We did nothing. He launched a cyber attack on Estonia. We did nothing. He invaded Georgia where his troops remain to this day.”
In Boris’s speech to the Conservative Conference itself last year, he said: “We don’t want a mansion tax do we? No, we don’t because it would inhibit the very homes programme that we need to get going and we want to build, as I say, hundreds of thousands of more homes.”
“We don’t want to go back never mind to the age of old Labour, we don’t want to go back to the age of Diocletian, Emperor Diocletian that is, with some crazed attempt at governmental price fixing, which is what Ed Miliband came up with last week.”