Letter: Country needs change - and so do Tories

Share
Sir: Some months ago I ventured, as a former parliamentary colleague of the Prime Minister, to tell him that in my view a clear majority of the electorate had decided that for a variety of reasons it was "time for a change"; in the 1997 general election I could not and would not actively support the Conservative Party, as I have consistently done for over half a century.

It is now timely to stress that we British preach - and claim to practise - a fully pluralistic form of parliamentary democracy; and hence should recognise that pluralism does not merely mean that one party recognises the existence of others. It also entails an acceptance of the historic concept that, from time to time, one or other can reasonably expect to take over the reins of office, as has happened during the last century.

This consideration has become blurred since 1945, because the only other party, at least under our present electoral system, capable of forming a government, was an avowedly Marxist-Socialist one, socially divisive and dedicated to creating a class-warfare society with aims incompatible with, and erosive of, our nation's historic respect for individual freedoms.

Now this has all changed. Whatever Mr Blair may be charged with, he is not a Marxist and does not lead a Marxist party.

The present performance of our national economy may well now be on the right road. Yet it is pertinent to recall that, as Kenneth Clarke has very recently admitted, what we have had to endure in the interim has not been due just to a world recession, but arises from wrong policies the Tories pursued in the late Eighties, culminating in Black Wednesday in 1992, involving us in the largest ever single debasement of our currency.

"New Labour" may well be divided on national constitutional issues, and about our future relationship with Europe. But there is a general national consensus that centralising trends have to be reversed in favour of more devolution: arguments are only how best to achieve this.

As regards Europe, it is within the Conservative Party the deepest fissures exist. Mr Major continues to stress that Britain has to be "at the heart of Europe". So far he seems to interpret that role as a readiness to inflict a series of cardiac arrests within the EU, using a veto whenever he feels so inclined, to maintain a facade of unity within the party.

No one in their senses wants a change of government just for the sake of change. Yet certainly the Tory party as now constituted and directed needs, in its own best interests as well as those of the nation, to have the opportunity to undertake severe heart-searching in order to regain a new identity and unity of purpose, before it can hope to take office again.

Sir FREDERIC BENNETT

Aberangell, Gwynedd

The writer was a Conservative MP, 1951-1987

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia  

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Oliver Poole
Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup