21 OCTOBER 1972, Page 25

Political chess

From Miss B. E. Thomas

Sir: I am Tory to the backbone — and it is not an inherited allegiance, as my parents were Liberals — but when I and others with similar opinions criticise the present Tory administration, we are accused of disloyalty or of rocking the boat. Can nobody else

see what is really happening? Has

it not occurred to anyone else that it is not the mass of disenchanted Tory voters throughout the country who are guilty of disloyalty to Tory ideals, but those at the top '? It is no longer a case of the tail wagging the dog; the tail has become completely detached, and has life of its own !

Any doubts that I may have had were chillingly dispelled by watch ing and listening to the Tory Party conference on television and radio. Heaven knows that hardly any party conference is ever particu larly uplifting, but this one was almost unbelievable. There was a two-dimensional, nightmare sense of unreality and irrelevance. There they all were, putting up their paper-tigers and shooting them down with jubilant glee, glossing over their failures and reversals, and patting themselves on the back for just how much they had managed to do in only two and a half short years. The fact that, with the possible exception of the tax cuts, their main achievements — the Industrial Relations Act, local government reorganisation, fair rents,' VAT and, outstandingly, entry into Europe — are regarded with deep suspicion or downright hostility by the nation as a whole, did not appear to trouble them in the least. On matters of real urgency, such as law and order,' immigration and soaring inflation, where much popular support could be gained, we were treated to the usual exhortations, pious hopes and windy generalisations.

All in all, I get the increasingly strong impression that our govern ments, no matter what their political labels, are playing a kind of esoteric game of chess in their ivory towers around Westminster and Whitehall. The fact that they are supposedly there to govern the country and to look after the best interests of the people whom they represent, seems to have become largely irrelevant. They prance and posture before their fellow politicians, indulge in orgies of selfcongratulation, stage mock battles with their ' toy-soldier ' backbenchers as troops and judge their effectiveness and popularity by the reactions of the so-called media, the Lilac Establishment and South Bank clergy. Their batteries are recharged annually by the unrepresentative applause of unelected delegates at their party conference, where they become convinced that their statemanship and wisdom is unequalled throughout the world.

If true democracy is to survive in this country, things just cannot go on this way! Something has to give! And Heaven forfend that it should prove to be the patience of the long-suffering British people! Perhaps we could draw a cordon sanitaire around their natural habitats in London SW1, give them close-circuit television and telephones, provide them with the necessities for life — carefully avoiding actual contact, of course! — and then just let them get on harmlessly with their little frolics! After these precautionary measures have been taken, we should be able to get down unhindered to the task of running this country the way that we, the despised and disregarded electorate, want it run!

My lighthearted suggestion is, naturally, not meant to be taken seriously, but, after talking with and listening to many, many people from all walks of life, and hearing so much anger, resentment, frustration and unhappiness, I am utterly convinced that our whole way of life is threatened unless some means is found by which ordinary people can feel that they are genuinely represented in Parliament, and that their Government's first and main concern is the welfare and prosperity of Britain and the British people.

B. E. Thomas Rushacre House, Narberth, Pembrokeshire