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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Tessa fizzes with ideas; she has all the warmth in the world but a core of steel  

Why Tessa Jowell gets my vote for London Mayor

Alan Johnson
Was this the game when the public started to fall back in love with English cricket?  

How can anyone say Test match cricket is dying after this glorious, complex battle?

Matthew Norman
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada
Birthplace of Arab Spring in turmoil as angry Tunisians stage massive sit-in over lack of development

They shall not be moved: jobless protesters bring Tunisia to a halt

A former North African boom town is wasting away while its unemployed citizens stick steadfastly to their sit-in
David Hasselhoff's new show 'Hoff the Record': What's it like working with a superstar?

Hanging with the Hoff

Working with David Hasselhoff on his new TV series was an education for Ella Smith
Can Dubai's Design District 'hipster village' attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?

Hipsters of Arabia

Can Dubai’s ‘creative village’ attract the right type of goatee-wearing individualist?
The cult of Roger Federer: What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?

The cult of Roger Federer

What is it that inspires such obsessive devotion?
Kuala Lumpur's street food: Not a 'scene', more a way of life

Malaysian munchies

With new flights, the amazing street food of Kuala Lumpur just got more accessible
10 best festival beauty

Mud guards: 10 best festival beauty

Whether you're off to the Isle of Wight, Glastonbury or a local music event, we've found the products to help you
Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe

A Different League

Unai Emery’s passion for winning and eye for a bargain keep Seville centre stage in Europe, says Pete Jenson
Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey - Steve Bunce

Steve Bunce on Boxing

Amir Khan and James DeGale’s remarkable Olympic performances were just the start of an extraordinary journey
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf