At around 2PM, the protesters seemed very happy having their little party beyond the barricades. Several hundred happily walked directly past the entrance, through the steel blockade and to the other side to join in. Between these times I went for lunch in a Pizza Express, where quite clearly around 100% of the clientele were here for the conference, including Ruth Davidson.
It wasn’t until approximately 4PM that protesters started gathering en masse. First they lined up by the dozen to jeer and insult people entering and exiting the centre, and then one or two hundred hard core “anarchists” joined in. There was about half a dozen police on horses and a further 5 police with dogs.
Not long after this I saw an elderly lady turn around and lean back as if she were about to head butt someone. She gave them a death stare as she leant forward, and then forcefully answered the abuse being spewed at her. Sometimes the least assuming people are the bravest.
I myself had a brief conversation with a charming fellow who quickly noted that he was thinking of assaulting me, before turning his attentions to accosting the police.
I was so persuasive in fact, that a lot of leftists seemed very keen to have a look at our leaflets. A few even started holding them out and chanting ‘freedom fizz, freedom fizz”. I was thankful for the promotion; all publicity is good publicity after all!
Seriously though, I did manage to find one Tory, a local Mancunian who was my company for the afternoon. There was another Tory in the crowd and I quickly converted him and persuaded him to hand out Conservative for Liberty leaflets.
My other main companion was a lady working for ‘The Know’ who lamented that the Tories had refused to let them pay for a stall at conference. Now, the party allows a very large number of lobbyists to have stalls and events at party conference, and to have this one specific group singled out suggests it was because the leadership find their views uncomfortable. For a party apparently committed to staying neutral, I find this highly unacceptable.
Throughout the evening, a number of protesters deigned fit to accost me. The worst offender was a very clearly intoxicated bearded man who decided to stand in front of me spewing insults about Tories and asking me how I could live with myself for about 15 mins. I ignored him and told him to speak to someone else, and eventually he relented. Like all bullies he simply wanted a response, and without it, the confrontation didn’t interest him. That’s probably, in part, why I was just about the only Tory not to get screamed at whilst I was there.
Steve Baker was the only politician, and indeed one of the only people, to attempt to talk with the protesters all afternoon. Several simply shouted at him rather than converse. We need more politicians like him, we really do.
At around 6pm Jacob and Annunziata Rees-Mogg arrived. The same 3 or 4 shouty protesters who had been berating me for an hour or so promptly surrounded him, and followed him, shouting in his face. One made a hilarious joke, to which Jacob Rees-Mogg, ever the gentleman, replied; ‘yes, very funny…’
I must have been the only Conservative to go through the entrance for the entire afternoon who wasn’t booed or jeered. Proving once and for all that socialists are truly dinosaurs. Not only is their policy from another era, but if you stand still enough for long enough, they can’t see you, so blind with rage are they.
Thomas has been a supporter of the Conservatives all his political life. A member of the party since May 2012, he has served as chairman of the University of East Anglia’s Conservative Future branch and stood for Kent County Council in 2013. Follow him on Twitter: @