My evening with Cambridge University Conservatives was certainly not without incident. I was speaking at their termly black tie dinner. Apparently the attendance was the highest for several years. I last spoke there in 2004 when not a single woman was present. This evening about half the attendees were female, and there were quite a few ethnic minorities present (some in their own country's dress) too.
The first person I saw when I walked into the room was the Adam Smith Institute's Madsen Pirie. I explained to the CUCA Vice Chairman Mark Padley that I had known Madsen since 1987. Mark kindly told me he wasn't even born then...
I have to say I have never been to a Tory Party event when grace was said in Arabic. The evening got gradually more raucous and then it was my turn to perform. I duly appointed a Russian Mancunian called Igor as my cheerleader. The jokes seemed to go down OK, but I have to admit I didn't use a single one of the ones left on the blog during the course of the day (!). In fact I got interrupted so much that I ditched half my speech as it would have gone on for far too long. If I'm honest, I think I went on for a bit too long as it was.
I don't do too many speaking engagements at universities but I rather enjoyed this one. If they can harness the undoubted energy they have for the good of the party and campaign as hard as they party, then maybe the Conservatives will start to make a comeback in Cambridge. Fifteen years ago we had an MP there. Today we don't have a single councillor. An appalling decline.