Letters: Tories must get behind their leader if they don't want to let Labour in

Liz Truss on the opening day of the annual Conservative Party Conference - Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
Liz Truss on the opening day of the annual Conservative Party Conference - Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

SIR – Is the Conservative Party looking forward to a Labour government? That’s what will happen unless it gets behind the Prime Minister and supports the mini-Budget.

The PM’s approach is the right one, and is the change in direction the country needs. Labour supporters and those still annoyed by Brexit will not be happy until the Conservatives are driven from office. But I did not expect Tory MPs to be leading the pack.

Richard Moores
Littlewick Green, Berkshire

SIR – I am no supporter of Liz Truss, but note that the present calls for her to stand down seem to be based purely on what might happen as a result of her policies. The previous calls for Boris Johnson to resign were at least based on what he’d actually done.

John Godfrey
Hitchin, Hertfordshire

SIR – How many more knives does the Conservative MP for Surrey Heath have in his possession (“Michael Gove hints he could vote against Liz Truss’s 45p tax cut”, report, October 2) ?

Janet Milliken
Capel-le-Ferne, Kent

SIR – There is little doubt that, had Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng properly thought through their strategy to bring growth back to the economy (“We should have laid the ground better for mini-Budget”, report, October 2), and justified it with properly considered consultation, they might not now be facing opposition reminiscent of the kind suffered by Leavers during the referendum campaign.

The BBC and ITV seem to have shed any pretence of impartiality and appear to be engaged in what can only be called naked anti-government propaganda (speculation and criticism with no mitigating reasoning), which has doubtless influenced recent polls and encouraged the Labour Party’s delusions of power.

The Bank of England must share some of the blame for the volatile market reaction, but in comparison it seems to have got off lightly.

David Taylor
Lymington, Hampshire

SIR – Why would anyone with a mortgage ever vote Conservative again? By giving tax cuts to the wealthy when many people are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis – and are now facing terrifying increases in their mortgage payments – the PM and her Chancellor have destroyed the trust of property-owning people who have voted Tory for so many years.

Richard Marshall
Stoke D’Abernon, Surrey

SIR – Surely the Government should challenge energy companies over their standing charges on gas and electricity. After the price rise on October 1, my standing charge is £250 a year. If I didn’t use one KWh of energy I would still have this bill, just to have the privilege of being connected.

Gary Easton
Ramsgate, Kent

Let farmers farm

SIR – As a veterinary student in the 1970s, I recall the animal husbandry lecturer saying that the main problem with British farming (Letters, October 1) was that it had its own government department – at the time the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

Not much has changed except the name – to Defra.

Dr Robert Ruberry
High Legh, Cheshire

SIR – The apple harvest is so good this year, yet much fruit remains unpicked due to a lack of labour, and farmers are inviting locals to help themselves. Some of the Bramleys we picked weigh more than a pound each. We filled two large bags and will probably go back for more to give to the family.

I feel so sorry for farmers as the produce is excellent and should be harvested properly.

Jacqueline Davies
Norton, Kent

Loose-leaf cuppas

SIR – Maxwell Blake (Letters, October 1) recommends using a teapot to save money. May I also suggest using loose-leaf tea rather than teabags? The used leaves can then be scattered directly on to the garden.

Sandra Crawley
Shanklin, Isle of Wight

SIR – After the mess in the garden from teabags in the compost, and considering the environment, I now put a teaspoon of loose tea straight in the cup. I can vary the strength, blend teas to suit taste, do not send a single bag to landfill, and do not need to separate bags from tea for compost.

Keith Allum
Christchurch, Dorset

SIR – I was horrified to read that Maxwell Blake squeezes four cups of tea from a single teabag. That would never happen in my house. I once went out with a man who suggested I make two cups from one teabag. Note the “once”.

Lesley Thompson
Lavenham, Suffolk

I’ll drink to that

SIR – The propaganda about having a sober October (report, October 2) is ignoring the needs of our beleaguered hospitality industry. Britain’s waiters, cooks and bar staff need us to spend money in order to keep their jobs. I intend to put these fine people first and continue to drink this month.

Damien McCrystal
London W14

Insurance-based NHS

SIR – David Davis (Comment, October 2) is quite right: the only way to save the NHS is an insurance-based system. No political party dares to suggest this, as it is political suicide. It has to be tackled by a cross-party panel, the numbers corresponding to the number of MPs each party has.

Ann Roberts
Market Harborough, Leicestershire

SIR – At last! We have waited far too long for a politician to state that the NHS is viable only if it ceases to be free to all. It has been obvious for years that some form of insurance-based model is necessary. We should have copied one of the existing successful European systems years ago.

Well done David Davis for finally saying the apparently unthinkable. Do we now have a Government that has the courage to pull off the perceived impossible?

Charles Holden
Micheldever, Hampshire

SIR – Britain’s NHS is no longer the envy of the world. Continental insurance-based systems are more cost effective, and have better outcomes. It’s assumed to be both too difficult and too dangerous politically to change such a system, but it would not be a huge shift.

We have a tax – National Insurance – that is both progressive and is collected separately from the rest of the tax system. Remove any pretence that it is, or ever was, a saving scheme for our state pensions, call it health insurance and make it hypothecated to fund only health cover. Everybody would pay something, including pensioners, and it would be obvious how much our healthcare system was costing. If improvements were needed, up go the contributions, and there would be more pressure for efficiencies.

James Masters
Bucknell, Shropshire

Putin’s delusion

SIR – Vladimir Putin has, predictably, annexed parts of Ukraine for the second time (report, October 1). If Ukraine tries to take back these lands, he will claim that it is attacking Russia, which will mean an escalation of the war. He will then claim that Ukraine and the West started the war.

Putin is always eager to quote history, but he neglects to mention that it was a Russian leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, who opened the door for Ukraine and others to claim their independence from the USSR.

For the sake of our grandchildren, we must support this claim.

Alan Merrett
Sheffield, South Yorkshire

SIR – In 1939 the Soviet Union was expelled from the ill-fated League of Nations following its invasion of Finland.

Why has present-day Russia not been expelled from the United Nations following the invasion of Ukraine?

António Guterres, the UN’s Secretary General, has proved to be incompetent in handing this crisis. He must be replaced.

Ronald Agar
Ouston, Co Durham

Marathon effort

SIR – Yesterday, with much admiration and pride, I watched several thousand wonderful, happy and true people from across the country – and from other parts of the world, even Ukraine – run the London Marathon to raise millions of pounds for charity.

In these challenging times, when travel both at home and abroad is hard, I hope they manage to get home safely.

Nobby Kerton
Chilton Cantelo, Somerset

Many village pubs are already a distant memory

Sign of the times: the White Hart, a Wadworth Brewery pub, in Castle Combe, Wiltshire - alamy
Sign of the times: the White Hart, a Wadworth Brewery pub, in Castle Combe, Wiltshire - alamy

SIR – Rowan Pelling (“If we don’t use our locals we will lose them”, Comment, September 23) has a nostalgic view of the Kentish pub.

When I moved to Bearsted in Kent I was disappointed to find that although a number of buildings had pub names on the outside, inside they were restaurants by any other name.

I share Ms Pelling’s sentiments but unfortunately in a lot of areas we have already lost the battle on village pubs.

Roger Gentry
Weavering , Kent

We must keep talented teachers in our classrooms

SIR – As Conservative Party members gather in Birmingham, leaders of the country’s top independent schools are meeting in Edinburgh.

The conference title is Enlightened Education, but what seems to be missing from the programme is a mature conversation about the decline in our system’s productivity, in both the state and private sectors.

The current system encourages our best and most effective teachers to leave the classroom and become managers and administrators, even if they are not best suited to these roles. Compliance, health and safety and wordy policies are tying schools up in red tape. Talented teachers spend hours on tasks that do not bring any educational benefit to their pupils.

If our new Government is really determined to have a bonfire of regulation, it might look closely at bureaucracy in education and the decline in productivity. Apart from the impact on children, there is an ever-increasing bill, both for taxpayers who finance state schools and for hard-working families who pay fees at independent schools from their heavily taxed income.

These same issues exist throughout the public sector and we can only hope that, from Birmingham, we might now hear some well thought through proposals to tackle them.

Alastair Graham
Principal, Hall Grove School
Bagshot, Surrey

SIR – The only people who want to bring back grammar schools (Letters, October 1) are those who passed their 11-plus and parents trying to avoid paying school fees.

Secondary moderns provided little more than childcare before pupils were cast into low-wage jobs. Less than 10 per cent left with even one GCE and I never met another secondary modern student at university.

Peter J Newton
Chellaston, Derbyshire

SIR – Grammar schools worked well in the past. Now, however, parents with the means spend a small fortune on tutoring in the months before the test, meaning it is not always the most deserving children who gain the places.

Anna MacFarlan
Ramsgate, Kent

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