Although some of the younger members reportedly act like a bunch of unruly students at times, the NEC Group was pleased to report that this year’s Conservative Party Conference was a breeze.
The Tories, apparently a government-in-waiting, ready to help steer the U.K. away from credit-crunched times, flocked to NEC’s Birmingham International Conference Centre (ICC) to lay down their vision for the future.
“They behaved impeccably,” said ICC general manager Geoff Fenlon, suggesting the younger Tories’ media reputation is a little unfair.
Fenlon headed the 985 full- and part-time ICC staff who dealt with the conference and the 260 fringe events and meetings that come with it.
He said the Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 event was a triumph for NEC Group and the city of Birmingham, which appears to have entered into the spirit of the occasion.
That was certainly the case with Reflex Bar, a club situated at the opposite end of Broad Street to the ICC, which sold 12,000 Margaret Thatcher masks.
Those of the 10,250 delegates and 2,000 media people that took advantage of the ICC’s catering got through 1,050 carvery meals, 1,000 full English breakfasts, 5,635 sandwiches and 6,000 canapés.
The ICC catering staff reportedly dealt with 3,000 questions, including directions to the nearest fish and chip shop and where to find one of Birmingham’s famous curry houses.
The delegates also consumed 1,800 litres of fruit juice – which meant the ICC catering staff squeezed 4,200 oranges – and 600 litres of organic milk.
They also supped 4,500 bottles of wine. At press time, it wasn’t possible to discover how many bottles of champagne they necked.
As Foreign Secretary David Miliband had been photographed holding a banana at the recent Labour Party Conference, the Tories made life-size cardboard cut-outs of him and gave out 1,200 bananas that all had a label of a grinning Miliband stuck on them.
Fenlon says opposition leader David Cameron and his cohorts must have been impressed with the way the ICC handled the conference as they’re already making noises about coming back in 2010.