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'A High Tea for the Tories'

June 25, 1987

As a recent British expatriate, I read William Schneider's article (Opinion, June 14), "A High Tea for the Tories," with great interest.

Although a number of Schneider's conclusions are correct, he fails to see why the Tories are now the national party of government in Britain, by not referring to the recent and not so recent history of British politics.

Due to Labor's increasing move to the left, four of its most prominent leaders formed the Social Democratic Party in the late 1970s, and took with them a substantial bloc of traditional Labor votes, which under the electoral system is not enough to translate into seats in Parliament, but enough to deny Labor taking marginal seats outside of its historic heartlands in the north and Scotland, where the loss of traditional manufacturing industries have resulted in high unemployment.

Labor still uses the traditional rhetoric of "us" and "them," but the "us" of the 1960s is now the "them" of the 1980s, i.e., homeowners, shareholders, etc. The fact is if there were only two parties in Britain, the majority of the Liberal/Social Democratic Alliance 23% of the vote would have gone to the Tories, hence the Tories 43% is not the weak mandate that Schneider infers. Further evidence is the rapidly decreasing numbers of trade unionists who vote Labor, and they were the party's founding fathers.

In conclusion, until there is a single left-of-center alliance, the only single bloc of the electorate in Britain large enough to vote in a majority government are the "middle classes," who are and will always be Tory voters. There is a demarcation in the electorate in Britain that ensures this, unlike in the United States, and short of a major political scandal, Margaret Thatcher will indeed go on for as long as she and the rest of the Conservative faithful wish.

IAN BAKER

Los Angeles

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