Monitor: The Sunday papers look forward to the Tory conference

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The Independent Culture
WHATEVER SIDE one takes in the single currency debate it is fairly obvious that the cycle of internal conflict has the scent of madness about it and that, if it continues as it has, the Tories' future as a party of government will stay buried in the permafrost of the political tundra.

Since the election, the white noise of the European question has drowned out Conservative debate on almost every other subject. But it has also insulated the party from the need to address anything else. And time is not as plentiful as some Tories seem to think: Mr Hague must be ready to face the electorate in only two and a half years.

The Sunday Telegraph

(Matthew d'Ancona)

WHENEVER I see William Hague, I think of Thoreau's famous line about most men leading lives of quiet desperation. True, he maintains a certain good humoured dignity in public. Yet somehow I imagine him, when the door closes behind him in the mirror for a minute or two, and then suddenly letting his face contort into a scream.

Sunday Times (Robert Harris)

A BATTERED Tory Party puts itself on show this week. But Mr Hague should be holding a trump card: a mandate from party members to stay out of the single European currency for at least 10 years. That is the stuff the people of Britain are itching to hear. They don't want to lose the pound.

The Tories have a long way to go before they regain any credibility. Championing the pound is a promising start.

News of the World

WILLIAM HAGUE'S gamble of balloting grass-roots Conservatives on opposition to a European single currency looks like being a success.

If the poll strengthens his credibility and dampens the squabbling which has torn his party apart, it will have been worth the effort.

But with most voters stubbornly indifferent to Europe - and his party - the Tory leader still faces an uphill struggle against a supremely confident Tony Blair.

If the Tories are to reclaim lost ground, they must rediscover themselves and start providing effective opposition. It promises to be a hard road.

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