Francis Maude MP, Party Chairman
Said everything that needed to be said, but hardly the rabble rousing Chairman speeches of old. You never get the impression that the membership like Maude as much as they should. I was a Maude admirer of old, and was disappointed that he stayed off the frontbench for so long. Good on Howard for getting him to return and Cameron for keeping him on. Spoke well, sound speech - but no standing ovation and a pretty poor applause. My rating 7/10, Audience rating 5/10.
David Davis MP, Shadow Home Secretary
A very very good speech (much better than last year) during which he spent much of the time going over great former Tory PMs. His words on the likes of Pitt, Disraeli and Churchill went down well, but not as good as his remarks on Thatcher. Davis then spent the rest of the speech pledging to work with Cameron, which he did with real passion and I, for one, really believed him. A great effort, well recieved and we look forward to his set piece speech. My rating 8/10, Auidence rating 7/10.
William Hague MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary
Absolutely stunning - the master of conference speeches. It was joke laden, but serious where he needed to be. His jokes at Prescott's expense were just perfect. Clearly grown in stature. A mighty force in Tory politics - he is the most easy-to-listen-to Tory going at the moment. Great knock-about stuff. Audience went nuts and gave him a really great reception. Genuine and quick standing ovation. My rating 8.5/10, Audience rating 9/10.
Senator John McCain, US Republican
The man who many people think could be the next US President. I'm afraid he didn't show enough character for me and this felt much too much like a lecture. He did well to refer to Cameron as "my friend". His choice of subjects were rather predictable, and I would have liked him to speak on the future of the public services in the US. Obviously, though, he steered clear. He can do better than this, but still a coup to have got him as a speaker. The only speaker that I felt I could leave the room during the speech. However, conference seemed to really take to him. My rating 5/10, Audience Rating 7/10
David Cameron MP, Leader of the Conservative Party
Started off rather wooden but soon got into it with a series of good jokes. Cameron is a very natural speaker and his blast on Labour's initiative culture was brilliant. He was right to avoid mentioning the LibDems and will win plaudits, I'm sure, for moving his speech onto how the Tories will improve. The bulk of the speech was on the responsibility culture. He said he was proud of the Tories for supporting the recent education bill (good!). He mentioned crime - challenging the party to say that there was more to crime fighting than sounding tough and building prisons. Plenty of references to his family, although Samantha never looks natural in these circumstances. He made a great finish with his talk of sunshine winning and the party being about optimism. Audience clearly lapped it up, and he got a long applause - delegates on their feet for a while. I feel that this speech was better on content than delivery - he'll save his best for Wednesday. My rating 8/10, Audience rating 8/10
A word on the set and logo - excellent. I feel like the only person who really likes the oak tree. The set is simple but effective. The logo "A New Direction" was well chosen.
A word on the BBC - crap. The BBC Parliament channel spend their time focusing on various old people having a doze and Adam Ricketts. Apparently the conference looks and feels differently this year, so why won't the BBC show this?
A word on conference organisation - even crapper. I hear people have been queuing all day for their passes.
A great start.