Letters: only a coalition can oust the Tories

·5 min read

Two articles last week highlighted the most important strategic decisions facing Labour (“Quash talk of a Labour deal with SNP now, 2015 election team urges Starmer”, News, and “A Lab-Lib pincer movement is the most effective way to strike fear into the Tories”, Comment).

Happily for the party, the dilemma outlined in the former can be negated by forming a Progressive Alliance, as discussed in the latter. With more than a dozen SNP seats vulnerable to Lab-Lib-Green cooperation, a Britain-wide, Tory-busting Progressive Alliance at the next election would also come with the considerable bonus of allowing Labour to re-establish a Westminster presence in Scotland.
Nick Wall
Llantwit Fardre, Mid Glamorgan, Wales

Andrew Rawnsley is right. A Lib-Lab pact isn’t merely desirable, but necessary, if defeating the Tories is the aim. At present, the Liberal Democrats appear to be marginally left-of-centre social liberals, while Labour are centre-left social liberals.

In short, their aims and wants are not dissimilar. They both want an end to more than a decade of scandalous Tory rule and so they must get their act together and unite. In remotely marginal seats, either the Liberals or Labour should stand down to give the Tory challengers the best chance of victory. It does appear blindingly obvious and yet unions, diehard members, the Labour left and the Liberal Democrat right are hesitant. They should focus on the big picture – deposing a corrupt and immoral (not to mention incompetent) Tory regime. Pure ideology must be diluted for the greater good.
Sebastian Monblat
Surbiton, Surrey

How to abolish student debt

The expected student loan interest rate is scandalous, but it is not the fundamental problem facing young people (“ ‘My future’s been stolen’: 12% rate on student loans condemned as outrageous”, News). With so many people going to university, many 18-year-olds believe they will be condemned to second-rate careers if they don’t join in. They feel forced to go to university and therefore to take on a depressing amount of debt.

There are far fewer graduate jobs than graduates, so if we halved the number of university places, young people could end up in the same jobs, but start three years earlier and debt-free. Society should decide what graduates it needs and in what subjects and should provide tuition and maintenance free, as used to be the case. This would cost money, but so does writing off the student loans of the many people to whom university does not give the expected career benefits.
Richard Mountford
Hildenborough, Kent

Taking sides over Heard

I strongly identified with Martha Gill’s article (“#MeToo is over if we don’t listen to ‘imperfect victims’ like Amber Heard”, Comment). At university, my female friends and I were united by our belief in the importance of the #MeToo movement. Suddenly, I find myself isolated as these same people turn against Heard in the cruellest of ways, choosing to believe information they have drawn from TikTok videos.

As a teenager, I loved Johnny Depp’s films, but as soon as Heard accused him of domestic violence in 2016, the shine was gone, because every woman has experienced male aggression and sexual harassment first-hand.

Yet in 2022, I somehow find myself alone, afraid to defend Heard against my friends, who see her as a liar and manipulator. If I disagree, other women see me as a “bad feminist”, so willing to believe any woman’s testimony that I represent exactly what sexists think of us.

Heard might indeed be an imperfect victim, but we must stop expecting domestic abuse survivors to fit an angelic ideal. Social media is spreading a compellingly simple, dangerous narrative of the Depp/Heard trial that is proving appealing even to young women who are most at risk of similar violence.
Name and address supplied

Benefits of the NI protocol

It seems to me that the real reason the Tories want to end the Northern Ireland protocol is because it is showing how beneficial it is for NI-based British businesses to still be in the EU single market (“Truss rejects US plea on Northern Ireland protocol”, News).

Every report that shows how both businesses and ordinary people in Northern Ireland want the protocol to stay in place must send shudders down the spines of Brexit ideologues such as Truss. Were this to morph into a wider movement in support of the UK re-entering the European Economic Area and single market, while staying outside the EU as an institution, I believe a large number of people on the “mainland” would support it.
Christopher Tanner
Llandovery, Dyfed, Wales

Globalisation has failed us

Will Hutton argues that the curtain is coming down on the Thatcherite experiment (“The food crisis is what happens when global supply chains collapse. We might need to get used to it”, Comment, ).

The massive environmental damage caused by global supply chains is a primary driver of global warming, but was never considered by mainstream economists. British governments have been too willing to rely on mass imports of low-cost vital food supplies for at least 50 years and if Putin’s ruthless economic embargo of raw materials that the west relies on leads to a reindustrialisation of food manufacturing in the UK and beyond, it would not be before time.
Adrian Berridge
Clacton-on-Sea, Essex

Hunt’s hidden agenda

Rachel Clarke is not convinced about Jeremy Hunt’s sensible plans for abolishing avoidable patient deaths in the NHS (“This is going to hurt…”, the New Review).

I agree with Clarke that Hunt’s plans are a leadership manifesto – all Tories want the NHS to be privatised and the photograph of Nye Bevan on the piece very poignantly puts the contrasting ideologies into plain sight. We’ve let Bevan down, but his model must prevail.
Jonathan Hauxwell
Crosshills, North Yorkshire

Take a chance on holograms

There is an easy solution to Jude Rogers’s ambivalence about attending the new Abba concerts (“I want to see Abba… but it could kill the magic”, Focus) – she should send her hologram.
Anne Cowper
Bishopston, Swansea

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