In terms of pre-conference build up it was a bit of a mixed media bag for Tom Elliott. A message clash with his BT interview claims, a reasonable performance on Hearts and Minds with no balls dropped (helped by Noel going easy), a rather cruel report by UTV (young people asking Who is Tom Elliott?).
However, throughout all of them there is a negative media narrative that the UUP is trapped within - no good at politics, not modern, not united, not relevant - with Tom placed in the position of trying to deny that but not persuasive enough to convince them otherwise. Events have not helped and the loss of another Westminster candidate, Harry Hamilton, will reinforce that pattern of unhelpful events. This will most likely the prism through which the UUP conference will be viewed.