Its conference season: that time of year when politicians swap places with holiday makers and flock to the seaside for a few days of drum banging, flag waving and mutual back-patting.


And with a general election just around the corner, expect this year’s round of political shindigs to have an extra edge.

First up, it’s the Lib Dems who kick off proceedings today in Bournemouth and are expected to make great play of their support for manufacturing.

Expect more discussion on public spending cuts to dominate the Labour party conference, which begins on Sunday.

The Conservative party conference doesn’t kick off until next month.

But while Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg will today be setting out his stall in Bournemouth, Renault’s director general Patrick Pelata will appear before Formula 1 governing body, the FIA, to answer charges that the company ordered former driver Nelson Piquet Jr to deliberately crash in Singapore last year to help team-mate Fernando Alonso win the race.

Although the car maker hoped that last week’s resignation of MD Flavio Briatore and engineering director Pat Symonds would help lessen sanctions, there remains a chance that Renault could face ejection from the sport.

All may be revealed later today.

Meanwhile, away from the highly politicised worlds of top-flight motorsport and politics, the world congress on Intelligent Transport Systems and Services meets this week in Stockholm, Sweden.

It is the 16th outing for what has arguably become one of the world’s most interesting and important transportation events.

Jon Excell
Deputy Editor