Letter: Reshuffle raises fears and hopes

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Sir: I am surprised that the announcement that the new chairman of the Conservative Party is to have a seat at the Cabinet table has passed with so little comment. Am I alone in wondering about the propriety of such an arrangement?

It has been a concern for some time that the distinction between party and government has become blurred, a function of the fact that a single party has been in office for far too long. With this appointment, the Prime Minister makes it clear that he is either indifferent to this concern, or that he too is blind to the difference.

It would be nave to imagine that the party political implications of government policy does not play a significant part in the formation of strategy. It is worrying, however, that this seems at times to be the sole driving force behind government decision-making. The Conservative Party does seem to have lost track of its goals and ideals, the only objective now is to hang on in government.

The appointment of Jeremy Hanley, probably a perfectly reasonable chap, as minister without portfolio is a signal that the Government is likely to continue to be preoccupied with party political advantage rather than tackling the very serious problems facing this country.



Richmond, Surrey

21 July