Having good weather makes a difference; and we were lucky in Bournemouth this year. We could walk along the coast to the BIC, enjoy the view of the sea, the sunshine and a warm wind. So we arrived in a good mood.
I was struck by the contrast in the tone of the key speeches from Michael Howard abd Oliver Letwin, compared with those from Tony Blair and Gordon Brown last week. The latter shouted, declaimed and harangued their audience. They visibly perspired. The former spoke quietly and conversationally. I have no doubt that those watching at home found ours more user-friendly and less intimidating.
I also noticed that, while the Labour Party professes to be more modern, our Party conference seemed to have moved with the times. Labour had people at a podium, speaking to composite motions, followed by block votes that were widely ignored. We had our Leader interviewed by Michael Brunson; we had Any Questions in the conference hall; we had roving mikes and audience participation, and Shadow Spokesmen on sofas answering questions and talking to each other. Again, this is the environment that people are more accustomed to.
And whereas Labour's conference was riven by the Blair/Brown split, there was no Leadership Issue at our conference. We have put that behind us. And I found Michael's speech moving and effective.
On content, I hope we provided the country with a clearer idea of what a Conservative Government would look like; and what it would do. One feels the electorate disengaging from the Labour Government, feeling a bit disillusioned and let down. But they have not re-engaged with anyone else - if the opinion polls are to be believed.
By setting out five priorities - school discipline, more police, cleaner hospitals, controlled immigration and lower taxes - and by explaining what we would do in our first few days, I hope we gave folk more information about us, that they can draw on as they make up their minds who to support at the next election.