We’re sorry to announce that the Chairman of the Party’s Policy Forum will not be taking the stage at a “Tory Glastonbury”, contrary to recent reports, to White Strips “Seven Nation Army”-style chants of “ooooh, Geo-ore-oge Free-man”.
This may disappoint our readers, but the truth is more interesting. Freeman wants to launch a one-day “Conservative Ideas Festival” in September which, in his own words, is intended to be a “cross between Hay-on-Wye and the Latitude festival”. Today’s Independent says that “a project team of more than 20 people, including 10 MPs, is working on Mr Freeman’s event, which will be invitation-only with between 150 and 200 attendees, some of whom will camp”.
Freeman, who remains Chair of the Prime Minister’s backbench Policy Board as well of the CPC, has spotted an opportunity. In the wake of a disappointing election result; with Party Conference being, as he puts it, “increasingly corporate, expensive [and] exclusive”, and with a new generation to hand who have engaged with the case for conservatism – because it hasn’t been put to them – this is Freeman’s first shot at filling a market gap.
ConservativeHome has put on one-day conferences in the past (the last with Business for Britain, the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Taxpayers’ Alliance). And there is already an annual Freedom Festival. But our view is: the more the merrier, and the centre-right is not so strong as to turn its nose up at a Freeman Festival too. We wish the new venture every success. Freeman asks those interested to direct message him on Twitter (see above), and the link is here.