Letter: Tories bounce back

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The Independent Culture
Tories bounce back

Sir: Listening carefully to what Peter Lilley actually said in his RA Butler Memorial Lecture to the Coningsby Club, I experienced a considerable sense of relief ("If the Tories didn't exist, would we really need to invent them?", 21 April). It was a careful, reasoned and informed analysis of how the substance and the presentation of Conservative policies on health, welfare and education need to be shaped if the party is to respond to the explicit aspirations of society as a whole, an institution the existence and importance of which loyal Conservatives are once again allowed to recognise.

My sense of relief followed from the fact that he was seeking to move the intra-party debate away from the hurling of slogans and onto why the party has lost the confidence of the electorate and how to regain that confidence.

His arguments are to the effect that the market is necessary but not sufficient and that the electorate will not give its necessary confidence to a party for which the market is "all you know and all you need to know".

That, I am ready to believe, is the direction in which William Hague and Peter Lilley, as his deputy, are leading us, to regain the intellectual high ground which holds the key to the political middle ground.