In today’s Telegraph, Iain Martin notes the depressed state of Labour’s Manchester conference this week, and contrasts it with the temptation among Conservatives to celebrate their first conference ahead in the polls for 21 years.
"Next week, the task of the Tory party is to keep its feet firmly planted on Planet Earth. If the leadership’s staff can arrange for a ban on the sale of champagne within the conference perimeter, they should issue the order without delay. In this age of the mobile camera-phone, images of gangs of young Tories swigging Pol Roger will find their way to the picture desks of tabloid newspapers. The tabloids will probably provide the champagne, given half a chance.
"This is not a time for wild Tory partying: there is a lot to be serious about, to quote the Prime Minister. Behaviour that suggests excessive frivolity, or a lack of seriousness, in the face of dramatically altered political conditions will be punished by voters. They want to hear what the Conservatives have to say about the condition of our times, and expect sober answers.
"To that end, David Cameron has cancelled an event planned for Sunday afternoon to celebrate recent successes in London and beyond. Instead, there will now be an emergency debate on the economy, in which both Cameron and his shadow chancellor, George Osborne, will speak."
Yesterday’s opinion poll showing a lead of only 11% will disappoint activists, but may help combat the complacency that Iain Martin identifies as being so dangerous.