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Contradiction in terms

David Willetts is one of the best of the Tory apologists, argues Tony Wright, but even he cannot conceal the tension between free market radicalism and Quintin Hogg's civic conservatism

By Tony Wright   May 1997

The sun is shining, the economy is booming, unemployment is falling, test matches have been won-and the ruling party is cruising to a comfortable… defeat. David Willetts finds this puzzling. Dissembling David (his reference in the preface to “my debt to my fellow MPs” is one of his best jokes) claims a mystical affinity between the Conservative party and the people of “middle England (and Wales and Scotland)”-what magnificent brackets-yet offers not a clue to the perverse inability of people to recognise such affinity.

Maybe I can help. A long time ago, perhaps as much as two years, middle England…

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