Utter the phrase “conference season” to a Westminster veteran and don’t be surprised if their initial reaction is a shudder. For regular attendees of the annual party gatherings, which kick off next weekend, they raise the prospect of lengthy policy sermons and curled cheese sandwiches by day, followed by sweaty bars and third-hand gossip by night.
This year, however, any attendees consuming questionable catering and astringent wine will only have themselves to blame, while the boring conversation will be inflicted not by policy wonks, but their immediate family. When the 2020 season starts, Westminster’s strange autumn tradition will decamp not to a seaside resort or city conference centre, but online. The queues will relocate from the bars to the virtual tech help-desks.
For some regulars, the list of conference traditions that will not be missed roll easily off the tongue.
“Terrible food that’s incredibly expensive, meaning you have to search the fringe agenda for…