I harboured a feeling at North West Conservatives regional conference back in 2008 that the party lacked depth. Beyond the front bench the talent pool was pretty shallow.
Tonight I saw Eric Pickles on fine form, using an old cricketing sledging joke. But that's just showboating. Policy wise I was impressed with some of the ideas aired by Philip Hammond this lunchtime: savings bonds to fund infrastructure, tax advantages for equity investment without debt structures.
The event at the Town Hall was a good idea and was very Northern in feel. Insider's North West PLC publication was on show. Food was supplied by the Garstang Cheese company, there was Bury Black Pudding, Warburtons bread and Hollands Pies. I'd never had the pepper steak one before but it is very good.
They are working hard on planting deeper northern roots, and there is much ground to make up.
I met our delightful local PPC - Annesley Abercorn. Bless him. He has a house in Romiley, but works in London for Oliver Letwin. Next time he's up, he's promised to pop round and would like to meet more of his potential voters in Marple.