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As Conservative activists gathered in Birmingham, it was assumed by some that gloom would be the order of the day.

Four days later, with a packed and exuberant Conference drawing to a close and David Cameron speaking again of his optimism about the strength of family and community links, and their role in building a sunny national future, activists left with a spring in their step.

Conservatives are at their very best when positively laying out their plans to help people get on in life and Birmingham 2014 was no exception. An exciting Bright Blue fringe programme furthered the forward-looking mood, with 12 events discussing Conservative approaches to issues that make a real difference to people’s lives. Our packed events saw activists come together to analyse the further work needed to empower both individuals and communities:

·         What housing policies should Conservatives have? with Mark Pawsey MP and Cllr Gary Porter

·         What do Conservatives want from welfare? with Iain Dale (LBC Radio)

·         Immigration: a balanced agenda with the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP

·         Can the Tories go green again? with Neil Carmichael MP

·         Making the UK the HQ for global talent with the Rt Hon David Willetts MP 

·         Getting a better deal for consumers in the energy market with Baroness Sandip Verma,

·         Helping the middle class with Dominic Raab MP

·         Drink Tank with the Rt Hon Ken Clarke QC MP

·         Conservatism unchained: what will the Tories, do alone in government with the Rt Hon David Davis MP

·         A Tory nanny state? Conservative and childcare with Sam Gyimah MP

·        Standing up for the little guy: Conservatives as consumer champions with Baroness Dame Neville-Rolfe and Mark Garnier MP

 Buoyed by Conference, we look forward to a great range of events running up to Christmas, starting with our Energy and Climate Change Think Forum on the 16th October- see here for details 

Matt Browne is Communications Officer at Bright Blue