CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

'FINKELSTEIN'S FAN'

Spectator – 20 July 1996

Peter Oborne is a stimulating and ingenious commentator but, in his profile of Danny Finkelstein (13 July) he has seriously gone astray. Far from feeling "neglected" or being "upset" by Danny's "remoteness", as Mr Oborne alleges, I have had perfectly good access to him, as one of his deputy directors, ever since he became head of the Conservative Research Department. A simple telephone call to me would have been enough to establish this.

The Oborne article also overlooks Danny's achievement in burying the preposterous and counter-productive "Coca-Cola" strategy favoured by some influential Conservative figures a few months ago. This was the notion that the party should acknowledge that Labour had become quasi-Conservative, and that voters should thus be urged to support "the real thing", rather than Tony Blair's cheap imitation. In fact, such a policy would have signalled to the voters that it was now safe to support New Labour. It isn't, and they shouldn't.

Finally, the article suggests that there may be some prejudice against Danny Finkelstein because of the "imperialist and anti-semitic resonances" of the "post-war Tory Party". Yet, being Jewish has not prevented me from being selected as a prospective parliamentary candidate for a distinctly winnable seat. It will not inhibit Danny's Conservative Party career, either.

JULIAN LEWIS
New Forest East Conservative Association
Cadnam, Hampshire