What made the whole thing a story is that the Tories have been trying, and failing, to control the media agenda at this, which for them, is a crunch conference.It is the conference before a General Election and as a party looking to take over the UK the Conservatives want to get their message across. Yet they are trying to do just what Labour did in the run up to 1997 and thereafter control the beast that is the fourth estate.
A flute of champagne at a Conservative Party Conference would never have been a front page headline and full page story apart from the fact that Eric Pickles had ordered, yes the Tories can be authoritarian too, all the front bench spokespeople not to be seen with champagne. The Alistair Campbell impersonation that the Tory media machine is attempting is where the story actually lies.However, that media machine is failing whole heartedly. Last night on Channel Four news the Tory Conference story was Ben Summerskill, director of Stonewall not turning up at the LGBTory Conference Pride event, it was backed up by Stephen Fry being interviewed about the open letter that was sent. The morning the papers ran with the champagne storied and Europe continues to hang like the sword of Damocles over the whole shebang. We've all seen the panels on Newsnight in which the PPCs are even not allowed to say 'anything' when the Europe question is posed, how different from the Lib Dems at Bournemouth.
Even when it comes to policy they are seen as stealing and then not too well. Millennium Elephant points out the plagarism of a poor student that Osborne has perpetrated to fill the void of a lack of substantive Economic ideas that his party had before the crunch started to bite. Like any mediocre student he went to the library and looked up what the master had written, taken some key points out of it, tried to pass it off as his own work, but fell short as the whole thing doesn't fit right together. The comments in the side when Osborne receives his work back would probably say 'you have grasped some of the key principles but failed to understand the mechanics behind them to create a coherent, comprehensive answer'.
As Millennium wrote:
"At the Liberal Democrat conference, just a fortnight ago, we were having debates and arguments and even out-and-out scraps about which of our MANY well-established, long-standing, democratically approved, POPULAR policies we could STILL AFFORD to place front and centre in a manifesto.
"It was PAINFUL. It was DIFFICULT. It was what REAL "tough choices" actually looks like.
"The Conservatories, by contrast, have NOTHING.
"There are NO policies that they have had to say "we can't do that"; there were NO polices there in the first place."
So while the age of spin spins inexplicably out of control under the Conservative masters the lesson learnt from that flute is that the media is an uncontrollable as the bubbles in the glass. They will always be there ready for the fresh excitement of being unleashed. While you think you have control as you hold the glass however, the bubbles themselves will do whatever they want.