Let's give credit to the Tories. They have pulled off this week what many in the Labour Party thought impossible, and that was that they have appeared united, behind their leader, and can look forward to the General Election, whenever it may come, with some confidence.
The substance of what the Tories had to say this week was not likely to set the pulse racing. Inheritance Tax excites the wealthy and natural Tory voters. I seem to recall either Lloyd George or Churchill claimed that the best time to tax someone is "when they have died" , but the Tories disagree. I note that elsewhere the Tories plans to tax non domiciled UK residents to make up for this tax cut for the wealthy has come under some criticism, but in general terms this policy is politically neutral.
As for other policy news, Immigration again and the strapping of home information packs are well practised and repeated Tory lines.
No, despite what the Tories might like to say about policy, it is the fact that for a few days they have managed to forget why they are in opposition and remembered what they did when they were in power that has seen this conference be a success for them, and that, put simply, is stopping the bickering, applauding at the right time, and generally feeling positive.
I wonder if Gordon talked up the election too much. There is nothing more likely to Focus the mind than an imminent election, and any chance of discord was probably lost as soon as Labour started hinting at an election.
Gordon has been a fool, and the Tories have taken advantage. Perhaps Gordon Brown's first serious mistake, and it could prove to be his biggest.