Letter: Three parties in a new world

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Sir: Following their momentous rout, the Conservatives will now be trying to discover what went wrong. While I see no need to comment on all the more recent reasons, may I point to a much earlier one which they may possibly overlook?

It is well known that Margaret Thatcher was inclined to surround herself only with those who were "one of us". She ensured that many capable people were excluded and that those who remained were all from the same mould. There was then no in-built resilience, or, to use a scientific analogy, biological diversity, in her coterie. An understandable strategy, perhaps, in the very short term, but this legacy has meant that in the longer term the Conservatives have not been equipped to temper their own excesses, nor have they been capable of responding sensibly to new challenges, as they discovered to their cost last Thursday.

Fortunately, there are signs that the new Labour government recognises the need for diversity in both opinion and expertise and sees it as a strength and not as a threat.

Dr IAN R McLAUCHLIN

Dursley, Gloucestershire

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