Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Cure for the Summer Time Blues

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Cure for the Summer Time Blues

Article excerpt

TEMPERS TEND to rise in the hot summer months.

Nowhere more so than in that feverish organisation, the Conservative Party. Another bout of Tory Wars has broken out this week, since it was revealed that a group of younger members are planning a breakaway party. They think that the Conservatives have failed to adapt to modern Britain, a familiar charge from the modernising wing of the party. At the same time, a former senior Tory adviser, Rupert Darwall, has attacked his party for abandoning its core principles of low taxation and limited government, and for being too concerned with an image makeover. Mr Darwall thinks that the Tories have adapted to New Labour Britain too much. But the socalled Tory modernisers have a point. The party is still too often represented by people who look and sound nothing like most members of the general population.

Uncomfortable in their language and appearance, they alienate voters the minute they open their mouths. The Conservatives must find a look and vernacular that makes them appealing. Tory traditionalists make an effective case in one particular. The Conservatives must stand for something, even if it is only strident opposition. What each side fails to realise is that both prescriptions are complementary, not alternative, cures for the party's ills.

One of Iain Duncan Smith's rare successes since he became leader was to raise the case of Rose Addis, the nonagenerian patient left to wait on a hospital trolley. That was a rare moment of spirit. The Conservative party's weakness since then has been its fear of being political, of sounding a note of controversy, of raising an argument and then sticking to it. For any one who cares about the Tory party, or indeed about the need to have a vibrant national opposition, the lack of progress is troubling.

Conservatives will not prosper until they stop talking about their problems and start to talk about ours.

Bad taste TV PAUL BOLT, the director of the Broadcasting Standards Commission, the watchdog that regulates television content, has accused the BBC of a lack of imagination in its drama and entertainment schedules. …

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