By Jason Moore

YOU would have thought that things couldn't get much worse for Prime Minister Tony Blair. Failing health, low approval ratings and the on-going crisis on Iraq. But taking all this into account and Blair is still ahead in the polls and Labour is on course for a third election victory with a majority of about 80. Incredible but true. I wouldn't say that Blair's lead in the polls is because the majority believe he is an effective politician it is because the opposition is totally ineffective, and while Blair's trust ratings have fallen few appear to trust Conservative leader, Michael Howard. I was impressed with Howard's speech at the Conservative Party conference last week but even he must admit that the chances of him becoming Prime Minister are very limited indeed. Britain needs a strong opposition and the Conservative Party must re-invent itself, in the same way as Labour did in the 1990s. There is plenty of talent in the Party but it doesn't appear to be too evident in the shadow cabinet. The problem, I believe is that many people have very unhappy memories of the last Conservative government but still the shadow cabinet is made-up of many former ministers under John Major. To gain the trust of the public again a clean sweep is needed replacing the veterans with new faces. The Conservative government of Major was a complete disaster and people can still remember the years of recession and the thousands of companies that went to the wall. Many of those in the shadow cabinet were part of Major's team. Britain, unfortunately, at the moment is a one party state and this is clearly reflected in the opinion polls. The Conservatives will once again suffer a crushing defeat next year because they have been unable to re-invent themselves. This is a sad state of affairs for Britain and democracy. Howard and the old guard must go and new talent has to be discovered otherwise the one-party state will continue.

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