26 APRIL 1975, Page 4

Welcome back

Sir: My longish absence from your columns must not be taken as evidence of my endorsement of your varied and varying views about home and foreign affairs during recent months. On the contrary, I have often differed from your expressed opinions, and especially at times from the contents of the always well written 'Political Commentary' by Patrick Cosgrave. I think much of his clever analysis of Tory party problems as they embrace persons and policies is at present largely irrelevant. I say this for a variety of reasons. It has become increasingly clear since the last election that the present brilliantly led Government itself comprises an able and constructive Opposition which has virtually taken over from Her Majesty's present feeble fumbling official Opposition. This is true of Parliament and outside it. It is led by a displacement of a Heath, who, despite his many shortcomings, was anxious to maintain to some degree, at least, his Party's traditional upper-class values of service to society. His successor clearly repudiates them. She represents middleand lower-class selfishness, and has indicated already that she stands for a ruthless meritocracy in action, typified by her 'workers not shirkers' outburst in a situation in which thousands are today out of jobs and in no sense can fairly be classified as slackers because of it.

1 first remember Mrs Thatcher when I fought her home town constituency of Grantham as its Labour candidate. She was then about to take off in public life as a tax avoidance lawyer and the winner of a second class chemistry degree, each feat built up as it is by most of today's press, and the public relations satellites surrounding her, as outstanding intellectual achievements. To promote a product unrelated to its intrinsic merit in the long run credits disillusion and disgust. So let what I say be a warning to Thatcher toadies.

It is damaging for democracy to see the Tory party abandoning the ideas and principles which used to earn it a measure of respect, occasionally allied with admiration, even from the likes of me and others with my outlook, who knew our own party sometimes needed refreshment in the wilderness. Today we would all dread the Conservatives taking over the government with its present leader and the cronies in her entourage who have been handpicked to promote her and the reaction she

stands for. If! were a Tory I would still look for salvation and leadership to Enoch Powell, foolish though he has been to backwatei' himself in Northern Ireland, T. C. Skeffington-Lodge 5 Powis Grove, Brighton