This week and next mark the annual Labour and Tory party conferences in the UK. These are similar to the U.S. political conventions in that they draw significant media interest and the most important speech is the one given by the party leader.
Unlike American conventions they are annual instead of every 4 years and regular party members have more access to elected officials. Having done work around the U.S. conventions everything is so hierarchical and under much more security so it is harder to get anywhere unless you have connections or money.
In contrast the UK conferences give attendees far more opportunity to meet and talk with members. Friends who have gone to the Conservative party conference in the past say they have been able to talk and have drinks with Ministers in government. Somehow I doubt anyone I know will be chugging beers with Rand Paul’s policy team in 2016.
In the past, some U.S. Republicans like Arnold Schwarzenegger and John McCain have spoken to the conference. Like all Americans he went on and on about Churchill not realizing that most people there had moved on a bit from WWII.
Will any 2016 GOP candidates address the Tory’s any time soon? Given the GOP’s list of likely nominees I doubt it, aside from possibly Chris Christie. For example, Ted Cruz is a little out there for a country that has had the NHS since the 1940’s.