TORIES GAIN BY LEFTS' WEAKNESS
By Michael de la Bedoyere
THE Conservative Party Conference seems to have done wonders to re-establish, or prepare to re-establish, Tory political primacy in this country. The truth is that as things are today it can still have no serious rival. It may, in course of office, seem to drift and lack self-confidence, but at the word of command, order and effectiveness are re-established not by threatened sanctions, but by tradition.
Liberalism has sharply revived and produced paper plans . in themselves more forward-looking and contemporary. but all this must remain academic for some years to come. They will certainly considerably improve their parliamentary position at the next General Election', but one cannot help thinking that quite a high proportion of the Liberal whitecollar vote at by-elections will return to a rejuvenated Tory party. But the fundamental reason why the Tories cannot really he seriously challenged is the helplessness of Labour. Labour, too, is academic in its programme. but it is an outdated academic programme in contrast with the Liberals who are too far ahead of the times. done is to skate over the political, as opposed to the economic, aspects of the Ceimmon Market.
Not unnaturally, after eo many generations of international leadership, the Britisher has a deep-set suspicion of sharing any real part of sovereignty with any other country. But it is the pooling of sovereignty that Western Europe wants — and quite rightly.
On the other hand, it is the pooling of sovereignty that mane Tories and nearly all rank and file Labour fear. The Tories fear it for reasons of national precedent and of British prestige; the Socialists fear it for little-England labour privilege reasons, Yet the Government policy is clear, if hardly honest: it intends to play down the political involvements of entry into Europe until escape is no longer possible.
This is probably the only way: hut as with so much in politics and diplomacy, it involves quite a bit of trickery. The end. for once, seems to justify the means. Perhaps the cause of Christian Unity has actually helped to allay fears of the 'Black Front' leaders in the Six!