From Professor John A. Davis Sir: As a one-time Conservative voter, I would like to warn the party's leader that they will not recapture my loyalty or those of my persuasion by going back to the Thatcherite policies, the failure of which were responsiblefor our alienation. To do s o would be to make the same mistake as the Labour party when a faction assumed that their party had lost power by not being extreme enough. We owe Mrs Thatcher to Benn and Scargill; we may yet find ourselves in the hands of the ideological left thanks to Gorman and Portillo.

It is the country, not the party, that Mr Major should be trying to unite; and to do so he needs not to pay too much attention to noisy minorities. To offend against what is the very basic moral principle of acting fairly is to risk either losing the confidence of the country or corrupting it. Ideologists of the right, as of the left, advocate a Procrustean kind of administration; the political good sense of the English has lain in their refusal to adhere to extreme and uncompromising factions.

Yours faithfully, JOHN A. DAVIS Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire 19 December