Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Farewell Blackpool

David Cameron's closing speech in Blackpool today - a storming success by all accounts - marked the end of an era in British political conferences, with none of the major parties due to return to the old Lancashire seaside down.

Most politicians and journalists will no doubt be relieved about that. Few ever had a good word to say about the place. But I have always begged to differ.

Of the other main conference venues, Bournemouth was ruined by the dismal press facilities - they used to put us in a windowless underground car park, in seats so uncomfortable that one year I did my back in and spent the next fortnight practically unable to move. And Brighton was wrecked by the security arrangements - the configuration of the Brighton Centre meant the entire seafront had to be sealed off and after-hours access was inevitably limited to a roundabout route to the rear.

I always had a better time in Blackpool. I found a good little hotel, the Tregenna, within walking distance of the conference centre which I used to stay in year after year, and for mealtimes instead of being forced to eat pretentious, overpriced food I would tend to frequent a marvellous chippie on the outskirts of the town centre.

The best thing about Blackpool, though, was the Number Ten Bar at the Imperial Hotel, the atmosphere of which was like nothing else - maybe because it lent itself more to the noble art of beer-drinking rather than the copious wine-quaffing you were likely to see in Brighton's Grand or Bournemouth's Highcliffe.

Even though the hotel itself is unlikely to play host to a conference again, I hope someone preserves that bar for posterity.

Update: For a more mainstream view of Blackpool, read Iain Dale's Spectator Diary

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2 comments:

UK Daily Pundit said...

It seems to me that Blackpool needs a decent conference centre more than it needs a casino.

UK Daily Pundit said...

And I'm not sure it's a good idea for any Tory to describe Blackpool as a "hellhole", particularly when you're trying to win marginal seats there.