By Harry Phibbs
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So far the Conservative Party Conference is going well. David Cameron has over 100,000 followers on Twitter after only four days. Labour's YouGov poll lead has fallen from 14% on Sunday to 10% this morning.
We have the Boris/Cameron saga, of course. Political correspondents have reverted to writing soap operas. After the preoccupation with Gordon Brown's rivalry with Tony Blair, they now offer a running commentary on Boris Johnson's ambition to succeed David Cameron.
That such ambition exists, there is no longer any doubt. It is scarcely less disguised than Brown's, although it manifests itself in a far more cheerful form. Boris is a remarkably positive, good humoured, generous spirited, force. Gordon Brown was sour, nail biting, and sulking. His ambition ran just as deep but it was a less appealing spectacle.
We have had some signs from George Osborne and other conference speakers – such as the head of Waitrose – that the Conservatives will get up off their knees and defend wealth creation and the free market. Sometimes it is necessary to lead rather than follow public opinion. There may be support for higher taxes on the rich but that support would diminish if people could be persuaded that such tax increases were to reduce rather than increase revenue.
More broadly this week is marking a recovery in self belief for the Conservatives. There has been less pretence that there is no disagreement with the Liberal Democrats. There have been distinctive Conservative policies backed up by clear and unapologetic Conservative arguments. The leader writers in the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Daily Telegraph have started to sense there is something worth cheering on.