SIR,—Alan Watkins (July 15) takes the July num- ber of
the Conservative Political Centre Monthly Report to task for subscribing to the theory of national decadence. He quotes from the first page, where the Report mentions an apparent lack of will to deal with the country's economic troubles. But he mistakenly concludes that it is therefore blaming the British people.
What the Report really says is in fact very much closer to Mr Watkins's own thoughts on the matter: that the problem is not a failing of the British character but of the economic climate in which the British live. It points out that 'Conserva- tives have certainly never believed that people can be made responsible, or hard-working. or produc- tivity-minded by Act of Parliament. But [that] it is possible, by Act of Parliament. to make it worth being all those things.'
The conclusion is therefore a long way from the Calvinism of which Mr Watkins accuses us. It is that people appear unconcerned and decadent be- cause they cannot see any solution to our problems— an attitude which the present Government must be reinforcing with every blunder. Surely Conserva-
tives believe that there is a solution, and that the British people will shrug off the present malaise as soon as they are convinced of it too? BEN PATTERSON
Editor, CPC Monthly Report
32 Smith Square, Westminster, London, SW1