Published in The Independent on 10 October 2001.
I am a businessman, not a politician, but 20 years in the company of politicians has taught me to recognise the imperatives of realpolitik. I know only too well that Iain Duncan Smith will have to pull more than a few punches in order to rebuild consensus within the Conservative Party.
Because of this, and because I am for the time being relieved of the constraints which come with the job of Treasurer, I want to draw attention to a number of weaknesses within the party which must be addressed, but which the new leader may find too awkward to tackle without support.
I offer this as a contribution to a wider debate, and in the hope that those of us who care about the party will give Iain the help he needs to transform the Conservatives into a modern, efficient and effective political party – a party equipped to win.