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MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT: Tories must chart the nation’s future – not focus merely on tax 

MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT: Tories must chart the nation's future - not focus merely on tax 

The next leader of Conservative Party You will have many problems to solve. This is a big, complicated, powerful country that is going through a lot of huge changes.

We are recovering from the multiple crises caused by Covid, which affect education, health, criminal justice, employment and transportation.

the BBC and its license fee clearly cannot survive in its present form for much longer, and this great and important institution will require imaginative and thoughtful reform.

We are just beginning to grasp the enormous opportunities and changes that brexit has brought and will continue to bring in the coming decades.

We need to develop thoughtful policies that will keep us prosperous and secure in the century ahead. However, the Tory leadership contest has so far concentrated almost entirely on the narrow issue of taxation.

We are deeply engaged in the biggest European war in a generation, and although we did not actually participate in it, we are deeply engaged in Ukraine. Partly as a result, we are facing the most pressing energy crisis Europe has ever experienced.

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Nationalism in Scotland and Wales puts unrelenting pressure on the Union. Our system of government, especially the House of Lords, is clearly creaking. The long and tumultuous reign of Queen Elizabeth II, in which a loved one has held us together by personal charisma and selfless restraint, will come to an end in the fullness of time.

And, as the president of the National Farmers Union, Minette Batters, argues on the right page, the great problem of food security, linked to our precious countryside and a large part of our economy, remains largely unsolved.

Rhetoric and slogans will not help us resolve these issues.

We need to develop thoughtful policies that will keep us prosperous and secure in the century ahead. However, the Tory leadership contest has so far concentrated almost entirely on the narrow issue of taxation.

Sir Keir Starmer seems to lack the strength to take on the militants, he fails to convince as a born-again Brexiteer and he certainly lacks the glamour, decisiveness and verve he would need to emulate Tony Blair's success.

Sir Keir Starmer seems to lack the strength to take on the militants, he fails to convince as a born-again Brexiteer and he certainly lacks the glamour, decisiveness and verve he would need to emulate Tony Blair’s success.

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Without a doubt this is important, and it is good that we know the opinion of the candidates in this regard. But it gives little clue as to where Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak stand on the many other issues that will occupy the time and energy of whoever becomes prime minister in September.

Indeed, sad experience shows that whatever commitments governments may make on tax matters, circumstances may force them to go back on what were genuinely firm promises. Sunak knows this very well. Mrs. Truss may one day find out the hard way.

Ultimately, the tax is secondary to political goals.

Here, in one of the world’s most mature democracies, a major political party is considering its future and its purpose. It would be a shame to miss the opportunity to discuss much more extensively what it represents.

It would greatly benefit both the party and the nation if Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak decided to do so from now on.

After all, a clear and consistent position on the country’s pressing needs would give the Conservatives a huge advantage over the Labor Party, once again neck-deep in controversy over its purpose.

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Is Labor simply to be the political arm of increasingly militant and irresponsible unions, while still being their paymasters? Or will it be the voice of the awakened metropolitan left?

Do you have something useful to say about the economy, industry or agriculture? Not that we’ve heard it. Does it offer a genuinely new approach to any of our national problems?

In truth, Labor remains an uneasy coalition of pantomimes of remaining middle-class members and trade unionists.

Sir Keir Starmer seems to lack the strength to take on the militants, he fails to convince as a born-again Brexiteer and he certainly lacks the glamour, decisiveness and verve he would need to emulate Tony Blair’s success.

Conservatives have done themselves much harm, but if they can now devise a coherent program to keep this country at the forefront of the world’s civilized nations, they have little to fear from a fractured and fractious left.

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