The Deputy Prime Minister said the world had changed since Mr Foot and Mr Kinnock had led the Labour Party; the pace of international competition meant that Britain could not afford to make mistakes, or waste time, with the kind of policies Mr Blair would attempt to introduce.
That, he said, "is one way, I think at the heart of the matter, in which Tony Blair is more dangerous than the regimes represented by Michael Foot amd Neil Kinnock."
Opening a new campaign under the slogan, New Labour, New Danger, Brian Mawhinney, the Conservative Party chairman, urged the voters to safeguard Tory economic success from the dangerous depradations of New Labour.
He told a London press conference that there was no question of a change of Tory strategy; the negative attack on the new dangers posed by Mr Blair would be accompanied by the continuing positive message of Government success in reviving the feel-good factor.
Mr Blair told a meeting of Labour's national executive that it was a most foolish strategy _ "the greatest political retreat of modern times".
Earlier, Mr Mawhinney and Mr Heseltine published a 24,000-word Tory version of the outline 10,000-word manifesto to be published by Labour tomorrow, under working title, The Road to the Manifesto.
The Conservative version, The Road to Ruin, was a heady mix of selective quotation, heavy sarcasm and student rag-mag parody, with a welter of "pledges" allegedly based on statements made by Labour.
It included: "Everybody has a stake in everybody else's property. There must therefore be a right to roam over it"; "People from all around the world should be allowed to stay as long as they want in Britain at the taxpayer's expense"; "New Labour's economic policies will abolish unemployment"; and "It may be that our current endorsement of a single curency would be a sufficient mandate to abolish the pound after a general election."
Accusing Mr Blair of a "cynical pursuit of power", Mr Mawhinney said in an introductiuon to the document: "If some of the proposals seem ridiculous, remember that they are all drawn from official New Labour sources. It would be funny if it were not so serious."
Mr Mawhinney said the document presented a devastating picture of what life would be like under Labour. "Under new Labour, we would have a new set of taxes. Under New Labour, we would have a new constitution with another layer of government, fragmentation of the United Kingdom and unelected judges wielding ultimate political power."