Postbag: Tories yet to reveal all

MY thanks to our MP Jonathan Djanogly for answering all those questions I put to him recently (Hunts Post, January 18 and 25). He has given the party faithful cause for optimism and the rest of us much food for thought. However, some issues were ducked.

MY thanks to our MP Jonathan Djanogly for answering all those questions I put to him recently (Hunts Post, January 18 and 25).

He has given the party faithful cause for optimism and the rest of us much food for thought.

However, some issues were ducked. For example, he showed how Council Tax had become unaffordable but suggested no alternative. Pinning hopes on "efficiencies in local government" won't help pensioners and other Council Tax payers who are losing the financial struggle and very possibly their homes.

With the environment irreversibly damaged, there's no time left for complacency. Yet it seems we cannot look to Mr Djanogly for urgent action on oil bingeing or even a long-overdue tax on aviation fuel.

As for police reform, Conservative leader David Cameron recently made a number of interesting promises. I'd love to believe that the Tories will make police authorities directly elected but, remember, they set their face against it when last in power.

I also have a problem with our MP's response to the foreign policy challenge. He talks of terrorism without admitting to its causes. As Prof Noam Chomsky said in the Amnesty International annual lecture: "There are ways to deal constructively with the threat of terror . . . The constructive ways have to begin with an honest look in the mirror, never an easy task, always a necessary one."

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After supporting Labour's disastrous and bloody war in Iraq the Tories ought to do what they preach to others and renounce violence. General Sir Michael Rose, a former UN commander, said it was something "no one should be allowed to walk away from" and has called for Blair to be impeached. In the US there's much talk of impeaching Bush.

I hope the British Government (even a Tory one) will talk with Hamas, the people's democratic choice. Whether they'll renounce violence and recognise the state of Israel surely depends on whether international law and UN resolutions are enforced and Israel withdraws to its pre-1967 borders.

One more thought: Christian Arabs used to account for 13 per cent of the population of Palestine but numbers have dwindled to around three per cent, many driven out by the economic strangulation and sheer nastiness of the military occupation. At this rate there will soon be no Christians left in the land where Christianity was born. Will the West really cut aid and let Islam fill the void?

I didn't raise the question of schools because political parties regularly turn the classroom into a war zone. Now they are at it again, with Mr Cameron welcoming Tony Blair's dubious reforms, which include making schools independent trusts with control over their own admissions and giving pushy parents more power. Blair's ministers insist that selection won't be allowed, while the Tories rub their hands in anticipation that it will.

The battle to end selection and guarantee children parity of opportunity was fought and won years ago... It is tiresome having to grapple with it all over again.

After eight long years of reflection, the Tories' policy framework is still wobbly. Perhaps the image-conscious Mr Cameron will overcome doubts and emerge as the saviour we've been waiting for, perhaps not.

STUART LITTLEWOOD, Hemingford Grey

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