Ready for Prime Time?

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THE FAITHFUL: Long-suffering Tories watch as contenders for party leader try to revive their hopes.

The setting: the decrepit seaside resort of Blackpool, whose own mayor admits it's "a bit dated." The gathering: Britain's Conservative Party, whose members' dominant hair color is silver. The theme for their annual conference last week: "Today's Britain, Tomorrow's Conservatives." Like the whole scene, the slogan had an awkward edge, implying the Conservatives on hand today are not really a match for the problems of today's Britain.

After three big defeats by Labour, even the proudest veterans of Margaret Thatcher's revolution must be wondering whether deliverance will ever come. And despite a surprisingly sparkling convention that lent...

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