All this makes a murderous backdrop for what will be Mr Cameron’s second, and possibly last, conference as Tory party leader. He was the future, once. Now we are in the extraordinary position where serious Tories talk about Mr Cameron being gone by Christmas, after losing an autumn election — and ask whether the Tory party would survive in its current form, or be torn apart by a modernisers-versus-traditionalists war. It is not much of an exaggeration to say that, if Mr Cameron fails, the party may face an existential crisis. ~Fraser Nelson 

A party conference can be many things: a show of confidence, an agonising reappraisal or, as in this case, a series of auditions by pretenders to the throne while the lost leader withers before our very eyes. ~Francis Urquhart