Letter: Tory MPs unite behind the ostrich

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The Independent Online
Tory MPs unite behind the ostrich

Sir: I cannot believe what is happening.

In 1979 Labour's response to the Tory win was that they clearly weren't left-wing enough, so they elected Michael Foot as their new leader. By 1983 Labour still cannot have been left-wing enough because they lost again. After splits and another thumping in 1987 Labour's attitude started to shift. Meanwhile, the Tories recruited more exponents of the new right- wing orthodoxies as MPs at the expense of their left wing.

In 1992, despite Labour's shift to the right, the Tories scraped another chance. They used this to conduct an orgy of infighting between left and right, between Europhile and Europhobe, so that the parliamentary party became unmanageable. Conversely, the Labour Party united behind a position even farther to the right.

Now, after one of the most crushing election defeats ever, the message from the Tories is that they clearly aren't right-wing enough. They must make a principled stand now against the onward march of European federalism, rather than make a considered judgement at the appropriate time. They must unite behind the ostrich style of leadership and elect their own Michael Foot. Are we really to be condemned to 18 years of increasingly leftward and interventionist Labour government because Tory MPs have too many principles to learn from recent history?