Last night I attended the inaugaral Conservative Home Awards held at the offices of Policy Exchange. A night to rival the Oscars, the purpose was to reward a number of Conservatives (and non-Conservatives) as voted for by Conservative Home, with input from its members.
A full list of award winners is available from Conservative Home. An amusing night, with a mix of useful and entirely useless information! My favourite parts include Matthew Parris, on accepting the award for Best Writing, showing the audience his rat bitten shirt that formerly belonged to Alan Duncan MP, and Jonathan Isaby's very good attempt at a William Hague voice in awarding the Taxcutters Award to Wandsworth Council, and finally Iain Duncan Smith's story of a recent encounter with a member of the public who wasn't sure if he was Tony Blair, that bloke Smith, or whether Blair was leading the Tories.
Wandsworth Council have done a fantastic job in consistently providing low council tax (14 consecutive years - lowest council tax in the country) but still offering fantastic services. Russell King who accepted the award on behalf of the Council was not slow in pointing out to the audience (including George Osborne) the benefits of such a system, and how to implement it through continuous improvement, and getting rid of Sir Humphrey! Other serious notes to take away include the very sensible comment of Richard Bacon MP (who exposed the Home Office's foreign prisoner scandal which led ultimately to Charles Clarke's resignation) that the Goverment makes far too many laws, and not enough scrutiny. Considering the laws in criminal justice (which I deal with every day) that have been introduced recently, this is certainly true. Finally, Iain Duncan-Smith had some very moving words of support and encouragement for the British Armed Forces, and the support that they not only need, but so clearly deserve.
Well done to Conservative Home for what they do - it is a constant source of political news (and gossip). As David Cameron said whilst to him it is sometimes infuriating, it is always good value.