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Conference 99 Thursday, 7 October, 1999, 13:00 GMT 14:00 UK
Your views on the Tories
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Even if you are not travelling to Blackpool for the Conservative Party conference you can still get involved in the debates on policy and the future.

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Your Reaction:

It seems to me that the Tories are making all the mistakes that the Labour Party made in the 1980s and they seem blissfully unaware of it.
Tim Saunders, London

All my adult life from age 18 to 36 we were subjected to the Tories and their credo of greed and individualism.

Please God never again. Even if I thought that William Hague was a nice man, and I'm sure he is, the fact that baying hordes are celebrating the return of mad Maggie and her support for Pinochet fills me with absolute horror.
Patrick Donohoe, Hull

Being a New Zealander living in the UK, I am constantly amazed at the amount of coverage on your key political parties. They do not warrant such coverage, its quite embarrassing actually especially since you are 2 years from a gen. election and Labour will undoubtedly win again anyway.
Rosie Griffin, London / New Zealand

If the Tory party has gone through a common sense revolution then how come William Hague is still the leader? Michael Dakin, Leicsetershire

I grew up under 18 years of rightwing Thatcherite government. I hope I never see the greed, selfishness, ignorance and intolerance that it engendered ever again.
James Hamlyn, London

Why do they bother? Hague is a geek, Major was a cardboard cut-out and Thatcher was from the land that time forgot.

Why on earth would anybody want to be governed by this party? Why should they even get a chance? Their attitude stinks.
Martin Pierson, London

Why do the conservatives critisize Labour for following their spending plans?

I will NEVER vote Conservative because of their Xenophobia and adoption of monetarist economics, the British people like a Social democratic system.
Edward Hortop, Lincoln

Margaret Thatcher's comments on Europe and providing for 'English speaking people's' shows that either:

a. her blind xenophobia an bigotry is deep rooted throughout the party she used to lead, or

b. the current leadership is far too weak to do anything about her repulsive statements, and therefore is a million miles from office
Mark O'Donnell, London

I think it was absolutely obscene and insensitive of John Redwood to score political points when asked to comment about the dreadful rail crash that occurred today. His party would surely have gained some much needed respect if he had expressed his sorrow at the tragedy and his sympathy for all involved.
A Heath, Nottinghamshire

If the bizarre mix of self importance and crass populism made the Labour Party Conference depressing viewing, the first real day of the Tory conference has been positively terrifying. Thatcher's zenophobia was disturbing but quite obviously the product of a now feeble mind, and Tebbit's crass distortions were simplistic and transparent, but it was the barely reported comments by (I think) Andrew Lansley that were most frightening, especially in view of the power he currently seems to wield.

Not content with sounding like a newly launched commercial radio station (patronisingly manipulative repetition of the phrase "common sense revolution"), he veered as close to neo-fascism as I've heard in a long time - and certainly from a supposed mainstream party. Commenting that the "common sense revolution" was a means of restoring individual freedoms, which he proposed the Tories would support as long as people do the right thing amounted to an extraordinarily twisted display of logic - that people would be free to do what they're told.

Be very afraid.
Mark Spivey, Nottingham

We are on our way back but as ever there is a danger that there seems to be a wide gulf between Conservative Central Office and local Tories. Don't lose touch now that you are just beginning to really make contact.
Eveleigh Moore Dutton, Cheshire

I find it interesting that during the BBC's coverage of the Labour conference, Andrew Neil (conference talk presenter) was very forthcoming and reasonable with the party members, but during the coverage of the Tory conference, the same presenter is beig very unreasonable and boisterous. Isn't the BBC supposed to be impartial, because the view I am receiving (as an 18 year old prospective voter) is that the BBC is firmly supporting Labour.
James Child, Yorkshire

Tony Blair has made so many promises for two years and none have been delivered. My Gran has been waiting for a whole year for her operation for her leg and I think she has been seriously let down by Tony Blair's government. Tony Blair has not done anything for the NHS waiting lists to go down.
Gavin Robertson, Glasgow

In my opinion the Conservatives have reformed themselves and their structures in such a quiet and competent manner that I am more than willing to trust them to do the same with the UK again.

Perhaps if the left wing press lead by the BBC was to look a little closer at the party then they themselves may come to a positive conclusion.
Andrew Percy, New Jersey, USA

I would like to say how excellent the conference was and wondered can the public go to see t he conference? I thought Hagues thoughts about Europe were excellent. Well Done.
James, Plymouth

In this time of red hot Labour socialism gripping the country with inept but frighteningly dangerous zeal, I look forward to Mr hague and his colleagues offering us a cool refreshing shower, of sensible yet exciting policy.

Mr Hague's ideas on education are very exciting - I am a teacher who has been working in a GM school, recently forced back into the local authority - with hugely bureaucratic and burdensome restrictions on how are time and money must be spent. Allowing schools to completely opt out of LEA control is the only way forward.

I don't know if it worries many, but the situation in Northern Ireland severely concerns me - Mr Hague should come out with the Unionists and tell this government what a crass and dangerous game they are playing.

I look forward to hearing some exciting policy and provocation this week, leading up to a return to power at the next election for the Conservative Party.
S R McCall, London

I must admit I have never voted for the Conservatives in a general election, but now after the undemocratic, dictatorship of Tony Blair and also after watching the first day of their conference in Blackpool, I can't help but think what a great honest leader William Hague comes across as.
Steve Hanwell, UK

"UK Politics - Tories unveil 'radical' policies... Mr Hague began unveiling up to 60 "radical" new ideas... The 50-page document will be launched at this week's conference, which Mr Hague said would have the theme "The Commonsense Revolution"."

When I read this, I laughed out loud. In Ontario, Canada, we elected a Conservative majority government five years ago and again this year. Premiere Mike Harris ran in 1995 on a platform called... you guessed it - "The Commonsense Revolution". What have we achieved in five years? A better balanced budget, certainly (much of which can be attributed to the generally booming economy). But health care quality has fallen disastrously, infrastructure maintenance has fallen to the point that dozens of automobile deaths are attributed to sub-standard "killer highways", and the government's top initiative in this session's speech from the throne this fall is the vitally, crucially important one of ... removing those pesky windshield washing "squeegee kids" from the streets of Toronto so all those BMW drivers don't have to come in contact with nasty people driven into homelessness by harsh Conservative policies.

The platform was sold to the public with promises of lower taxes, which of course is very popular. What is never mentioned are the inevitably reduced services in education, health care, social programs, and infrastructure support. And generally, the lower taxes affect high middle and upper income earners, widening the social gaps even more. People don't realize that critical services have been whittled away until they need them - and even then, its difficult to make the leap of logic from your grandpa getting pneumonia in hospital to the fact that one voted Conservative. With a two tiered health care system in the UK, there will be even less pain to the moneyed classes because they can avoid the NHS queues, unlike Ontario where private health care is illegal.

Have a look at the Ontario genesis of the "Commonsense Revolution" and the bitter fruit it has borne, particularly with respect to health care and social responsibility. I hope that Major's book will spark a movement to derail this potential return to Thatcherism.
John Nelson, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

To put Mr. John Nelson's comments in context, it should be pointed out that Hamilton, Ontario, Canada is an industrial city and a labour (NDP) party stronghold. The Harris government replaced a lengthy and in the end extremely unpopular labour (NDP) government that had devastated the economy and burdened the populace with government regulations.
Alan Murphy, USA

I think the crack down on benefit claims and taking the first job is the best idea I've heard in a while. I hope that William Hague doesn't bottle it, so to speak.
Jill Thornhill, Dalton-In-Furness

Isn't Hague's latest document, the, 'Common Sense Revolution' rather absurd.

After 18 years of hellish Tory rule of which lowering taxes, deprived the majority of us by increasing inequality (social and economic), and pleasing the rich. This led to Britain having the worst living standards in the EU.

Now vague Hague wants us to live that life again, where's the 'Common Sense' in that. It's not even revolutionary either
Peter Salmond, Weston-s-Mare

As the leader of the Conservative group on the local council, I wish to assure everyone reading this that we are rebuilding as a party. We are regaining local seats across the country and as people recognise the mess LibDems and Labour have made in so many areas at the local level it will only be a matter of time before the reality of Labours national PR sham is exposed. Labour MPs and local Councillors are gagged so tightly by party control I am surprised that they can even breathe.

At least the Conservative party are democratic and allow people to express their views, even if at times it is uncomfortable. Anyone watching the rows of "Stepford Wives" MPs on the Labour benches will know what I mean. Hang on in there William...
David Gillett, Emsworth, Hampshire


I think that the Tories are wonderful and the only party commited to listening to the people. I believe that there stance on the POUND is very important to the Future of our Country.
Mark Ingram, Kettering Northants

I am an active Conservative member, my politics are strongky Right wing eurosceptic. I hope that Mr Hague will maintain a Eurosceptic stance. In view of the majority view of English voters and of many European Countries being against the Euro, why only object to joining the Euro for one further parliamentary session.

And please stop arguing. We are still low in the poles, for GOD's sake get your act together.
Miss Natasha Crist, Sevenoaks, Kent

The Tory government is looking at a new common sense government, how about some REAL common sense. This offereing takes everthing back to simple basics, I wonder how many people would agree.

I have watched as the Tories recoiled from their defeat by the Labour Party, and without any apparent sense of direction until now that is. You have found "a cause" in fighting the European Federal State. This is wonderful, please please keep this up, there are many like me who DO NOT WANT A FEDERAL EUROPE at any price. But you must go further, much, much further.

Many of us work in Europe and see the European bureaucracy first hand, and we do not want any of it it in Britain. Not to mention the fraud, waste of OUR MONEY, cronyism etc.
Paul Anderson, Berkshire

Keep up the good work! Why are you not sufficiently right-wing?
Mr. Poppleton, Southampton

So the Tories accuse this government of being "arrogant and unresponsive".

That's rather rich isn't it, coming from a party that gave us 18 years of arrogant, unresponsive, and, might I add, uncaring government!
Peter Wilson, UK

Michael Ancram, speaking on Radio 4 this morning (4 Oct), said the reason why the Conservative Party lost the last general election was that 'they were out of touch'. He then went on to add that they have learnt from this. It was more than 'being out of touch'. The last Government was seen to be corrupt and dishonest and became more embroiled in dealing with its own sleaze and the repercussions, as opposed to the role of government. The Conservative Party may well have listened to the electorate, as we are now being told, but have they really learnt from this? Their reluctance to disclose the origins of party funding and the ongoing controversy over their Party Treasurer, as demonstrated today, clearly shows they have not learnt. The Conservative Party needs to get its own house and principles in order before they even contemplate Government again.
Richard Quinlan, Stockwell, London

I think the Conservative Party is on the way back and once Labour start to fall in the polls I believe that they will fall apart. If the Tories can get their message across they could yet win the next election. I know for a fact that in Great Yarmouth, there has been a heavy return to the Conservative fold in recent weeks.
Jonathan Russell, Great Yarmouth

Hague is such a gimp isn't he?
Michael Graham, Durham

Was it not the last Tory government that imposed and increased VAT on the poorest members of our society (including on Fuel). The Tories who managed to almost excommunicate the UK from Europe and N.America. The Tories who supervised the greatest decline (in real terms) on Government spending on aspects of key services like the NHS, education and transport, resulting in even the poorest people in the country resorting to expensive private health care, having, and a dilapidated, outdated and highly expensive public transport network.

Mr Hague seems determined to continue with more of the same if he was to win the next general election. All I can do is pray that he continues to remain as one of the lowest polling Tory leaders in history for the sake of the UK, our neighbours and trading partners.
Paul Nicholson, Christchurch, UK

The Tory party is in terminal decline. Their membership is falling, they will not be able to bankroll their party machine, as they have in the past,with dubious oversea's money.

And with William hague as leader,and Michael Portillo hotfooting it behind.I think it will be a long time before we see another Tory government.WHICH IS NICE.
Terry Froud, London

Thanks for publishing all those comments saying how wonderful the Tory party is (see below). They have certainly brightened my day, and given me the best laugh I have had in a long time.

As I am (regrettably) off to Blackpool today, it will certainly improve my stay there, knowing that the Tories are supported by people who have made the comments below.
J Turnbull, On my way to Blackpool

William Hague is the only man who will stand up for the future of this country. With Labour and the Lib Dems committed to a federal Europe, our future is only safe under the Conservatives.

Hague's common sense revolution sets out practical, workable ideas that are a natural progression from Thatcherism.
David Pugh, Aberystwyth

The Tories are bankrupt of ideas and are still as driven by class war and privelge as they ever were.

The thought of Prime Minister Hague feels me with dread - what would Britain's standing be then?
Jason Thomas Williams, London

Observing British politics from the US now a days is interesting. Where once stood a proud Tory Party, Americans now observe a party in search of an identity. Prime Minister Blair appears, to the US and the world, a strong leader interested in common sense reforms. It seems he wishes to even the class-bound British playing field. All while maintaining a sound fiscal perspective I might add. Through his words and deeds, it appears to the outsider, that the Prime Minister is a thoughtful moral politician.

The Tories appear fragmented, lost, resentful and frightened of accepting their current lot. And as to the coming out of the closet for a previous powerful MP I must say, so what? Does he really want people to believe he "contained" his sexual impulses toward the same sex since he entered politics? Better he should be honest and support gay rights. To think he's positioning himself for party leadership -- now there's a scary thought.
Stu Cohen, NYC

After watching both William Hague and Anne Widdicome yesterday on the Sunday lunch time political point scoring round, I was amazed to hear both of them condone the past capers of the more than slippery candidate that they have voted in as Conservative nomination for London Mayor.

It beggars belief that Lord Archer is now being embraced by the Party despite the evident questions about his honesty and behaviour. The proposition that he has been chosen by the party at large and therefore will be supported by the Party is ludicrous and no justification. Especially given that in both of the responses I heard yesterday, there was a condonement of this wretch on this basis, which can only lead people to construe that those that voted for him are in collusion with his past fraudulent and deceiptful behaviour.

With no formal case of libel instigated by L. Archer what next? It reminds me of that saying : When in a hole, dig no further! What a bunch of fools.
Peter Pritchett, north east

The Tory party stand for a United Kingdom. This stance is fully supportive of our rich cultural heritage, which the Labour Party is determined to write-off as irrelevant in the New Britain (not New UK!)

May the Tories return to power at the next election, and restore pride in our United identity.
John Atkins, Singapore

The Tories are great. It was particularly refreshing to hear William Hague speak the truth about Northern Ireland at a time when it is considered to be politically incorrect to criticise those who commit murder in Ulster.
Alan Murphy, USA

I think the voters are steadily getting put off by the spin and hypocticy that is the hallmark of this Labour government.

The Conservatives have to develop a clear position and put some clear blue water between them and Labour. The Conservatives, electorally, are at their best when they are the most Conservative.

Hague needs to develop a strain of Thatcherism appropriate for the next decade and come up with clear policy proposals, argue them through and he'll be PM by 2002.
John Jenkins, Llanelli, South Wales

Dear Sir Madam,

I see from reading Mr Leeman and Mr Magregor's responses that we, The Conservative Party, can still induce such apoplexy that even normally level headed University students lose their ability to spell! Perhaps Mr Magregor's bank balance would be more ship-shape if it received a mandatory grant to attend University, as recognition of his own independence and hard work to get there. Something we voted to retain, in the Lords, but Labour abolished.

But as for this conference I hope Mr Hague will outline the unfinished business of freeing Britian from wastely bureaucratic laws.
Gerard A. Magherini, London

Like many first time voters in the U.K during the early "80's, I left the country,disgusted with Thatcher and the people that voted for her. My question/comment is; Now the Labour will be in power for atleast the next 10 years,and the economy's in such good shape,what incentive if any,is there for me to return?
Stuart Whiley, Sacramento,California, USA

William Hague has manfully put up with and not reacted emotionally to the constant slurs and snide criticism in the media generally. He is showing considerable leadership power in a once very divided party.

He should make it clear that yesterday's men, Clarke, Hesseltine and others who were uneasy colleagues of John Major anyway, are no longer relevant and must have a rapidly diminishing following in Tory ranks.

If he establishes his supremacy at this conference the party in the country will rally to him and voters will start to believe that a Tory party can again form a valid and desirable alternative to Blair's demagogy and perhaps dangerous power.
John Figes, Chippenham, Wiltshire

Dear Sir, Madam

I wish to make the following comments.

I am sure that again this Conservative Conference gone to be anti EEC. Again with the famous phrase that the UK DO NOT WANT TO BE RULED BY BRUSSELS.

But what about if we go,not so far, back into the British History and we take a look at all the countries that were under British rules. All of this countries had to accept the British wau of living and those people did not even have a voice to express rheir few (what you well have in Brussels)

On the other hand, I believe, that so long the Conservatives can not turn the EEC into a second British Empire, the party never going to accept the EEC?

This is only one of the impression I have about the tories, since M. Tatcher came into power (and still till to day)
Regards, J.J. Leeman, Adderbury/Banbury

I am always amazed by the short-minded-ness of the British people. Why is it that it something is not absolutley perfect they are whinging and moaning as if the aky was about to fall down? So the government isn't perfect (you should see my student bank balence - it looks like a battleground), what government ever is?

But no Tory government (and no past Labour for that), has ever bought in a minimum wage, a minimum income for the poorest, income tax as low as we have it, or the will to act abroad when our conciouce demands. Yes, there are bad things, but what did people expect? It is as if people thought Britain would become better overnight; those people are wierder than Willy Hague himself.
Matthew McGregor, University of Sheffield

Why should the farming community receive subsidies when they themselves were strong supporters of the Thatcher administration, the same administration who dismantled heavy industry in urban areas, calling them wasteful, inefficient and unprofitable in the modern markets? Rather hypocritical, isn't it, to change your tune when it is your own industry feeling the heat?
Jonathan Brown, Vietnam (currently)

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