On Saturday, I closed out Preston Manning's annual bash in Ottawa, and enjoyed it enormously. I think it was broadcast live on CPAC, but, if you missed it, Chris Selley has a post-conference round-up in The National Post:
The sixth annual Manning Networking Conference wrapped up Saturday evening here with a rapturously received speech by Mark Steyn, who's pretty much the perfect closer for a crowd of potentially frustrated right-wingers.
"Culture trumps politics," Mr. Steyn argued. "Once every few years you can persuade the electorate to go out and vote for a conservative party. But if you want them to vote for conservative government you have to do the hard work of shifting the culture."
"Because if the culture's liberal, if the schools are liberal, if the churches are liberal, if the hip, fashionable business elite is liberal, if the guys who make the movies and the pop songs are liberal, then electing a conservative ministry isn't going to make a lot of difference."
He's right about that, and it was the right message with which to release the assembled Tories from the fishbowl.
That applies from Ottawa to Washington to London and beyond. In the Canadian context, Mr Selley's column is principally about "senate reform", which I played mostly for laughs, from which you can deduce my estimation of the likelihood that anything meaningful is going to be done on that blasted sod. Still, it's part of the broader concern:
It has been observed that the conservative family seems increasingly estranged from the Conservative Party of Canada. It's not just policy questions, I think, but the simple question of ambition. Like Mark Steyn said, Mr. Manning and his fans don't want a government called Conservative; they want conservative governance.
~I've left Ottawa for Toronto, where I'll be swinging by the University Street courthouse to see my old pal Ezra Levant in the dock yet again. The trial starts this morning at 10am. A little later this week, Ontario Superior Court Defendant Levant and District of Columbia Superior Court Defendant Steyn will be getting together on his TV show.