11 APRIL 1992, Page 25

Dizzy spell

MY ELECTION-week reading is Conings- by, the maverick Tory manifesto written by

Disraeli as a novel. I now expect to see

Tory mavericks, romantics and true blues turning to Coningsby and finding texts for

the times. They will recognise Tadpole and Taper, the party fixers, looking for a mid- dle-of-the-road election slogan to suit a moderate government. 'Ancient institutions and modern improvements, I suppose, Mr Tadpole?' Ameliorations is the better word; ameliorations. Nobody knows exactly what it means.' What the country requires is a sound Conservative government"! understand: Tory men and Whig measures.' Lampooning the leadership, Disraeli went on to bring down his own leader and climb to the top of the greasy pole himself. Sido- nia in his novel is a Rothschild figure in a Dizzy spell, with a topical message: 'The minister cannot pay the interest on the national debt, not an unprecedented cir- cumstance, and so has applied to us. Can anything be more absurd?'