Letters: With or without Boris Johnson, it’s Conservative policies that attract votes

·8 min read
Boris Johnson with President Emmanuel Macron of Frances at the G7 summit in Bavaria - Stefan Rousseau/PA
Boris Johnson with President Emmanuel Macron of Frances at the G7 summit in Bavaria - Stefan Rousseau/PA

SIR – Has the leadership of the Tory party not noticed the unmistakable fact that, when they are conservative, the people vote for them, and when they are not, they don’t?

Andy Tuke
Pensford, Somerset

SIR – If Conservative Party rebels change the 1922 Committee rules to remove Boris Johnson, democracy is done for. They lost the Brexit vote in 2016 and lost the recent attempt to oust Mr Johnson by fair democratic ballots, and both should be respected.

Gill Broadbent
Winscombe, Somerset

SIR – The Prime Minister may not want to “undergo some sort of psychological transformation”, but those who voted for a Conservative government already have.

Philip Hall
Petersfield, Hampshire

SIR – The remarks from Boris Johnson about serving for two or three terms as prime minister are reminiscent of James Callaghan stepping from his plane on his return from abroad in 1979 with a smile on his face, inviting the headline: “Crisis? What crisis?”

Buffoonery and joking will impress no one, least of all Tory voters. Let us hope that the Tory MPs now realise they are cutting their own throats by letting Boris Johnson stay. The public were disillusioned long ago. His clinging on is irreparably damaging the party. Get rid of him now!

Neville Dickinson
Morpeth, Northumberland

SIR – A third term for Boris Johnson? Thankfully, when prime ministers start to talk about going “on and on”, we can be sure their end is nigh.

Adrian Charles
Enfield, Middlesex

SIR – I do not know whether Conservative MPs will belatedly wake up, get organised and install a new leader, but one thing I do know with absolute certainty is that Boris Johnson will not be the prime minister after the next general election.

David Fouracre
Napton, Warwickshire

SIR – If you add the results of the two by-elections together you get: Conservatives 24,634, Liberal Democrats 23,045, Labour 14,728.

Clive Davis
Gotham, Nottinghamshire

SIR – We are all aware of what the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats think of Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party.

I think we would also like to know their opinions of each other.

Alan Sharplin
Histon, Cambridgeshire

SIR – Boris Johnson suggests that endless scrutiny of his character is driving people mad, but in fact it’s just his character that is driving people mad.

Will Curtis
Raydon, Suffolk

Appeasing Russia

SIR – The Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds is reported to advocate a trading of Ukrainian land for peace with Russia. We’ve been here before; it was called appeasement. It led to a world war because it did not work.

Nick Reilly
Esher, Surrey

SIR – Does Germany want Ukraine to lose? Promises of military support have been backed up by little action. In fact, more effort seems to be going into blocking the flow of arms to Ukraine.

Is Chancellor Olaf Scholz afraid of Vladimir Putin? Or is he anticipating partition and sees no profit in prolonging the inevitable?

Nicholas Woodeson
London SE27

SIR – Con Coughlin (“Britain must be prepared to go to war with Russia”, Comment, June 23) emphasises that President Putin remains a considerable danger, despite setbacks in Ukraine.

It may also be helpful to remember that for possession of nuclear weapons to have much chance of deterring, you do not announce that you would not use them. Mr Putin understands that. President Joe Biden and Boris Johnson do not.

Whether or not you in fact use them is a different matter, but if you do not threaten to use them, save your money and bin them.

Peter Cave
London W1

Once for sorrow

SIR – Mark Venmore-Rowland (Letters, June 24) asks about reducing the number of corvids, such as crows and magpies.

A Larsen trap is effective. I once caught six magpies in one morning. However, dispatching them stayed with me for a while.

Since magpies are territorial, others soon after appeared, and I don’t have the heart to do it again.

Marcus Lawrence
Hillingdon, Middlesex

Post haste

SIR – John Bunner (Letters, June 24) finds first-class mail often delayed, particularly if posted on a Friday.

I send postcards to friends and family from various parts of the country. I always use second-class stamps, of course, and invariably cards I post from southern Scotland arrive the next day. Can anyone explain this?

Timothy Wigglesworth
Newcastle upon Tyne

Rail strikes cause hardship to customers first

SIR – Forced to delay my train journey home, I passed Glasgow Central where an RMT leader was addressing pickets, jabbing his finger in time-honoured manner. A young shop assistant opposite complained she would have to listen to this all day; her mother had impressed on her that businesses only succeed if they keep customers happy.

Sandra Jones
Old Cleeve, Somerset

SIR – I attend Charing Cross hospital frequently as a cancer patient. The wonderful porters, cleaners and catering staff upon which the hospital depends, all low paid, can only have been inconvenienced and annoyed by the selfish RMT strike. If anyone deserves a pay rise, these overlooked people do.

Gavin Masson
Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire

Judges and abortion

SIR – Whatever one’s views on abortion, Friday’s majority decision of the US Supreme Court in the Dobbs v Jackson case makes judicial sense.

The overturning of Roe v Wade leaves American abortion laws in their proper place, the state legislatures – as a matter for elected government rather than unelected, life-tenured judges.

In Roe v Wade an abortion right was implied rather than expressly conferred by the US Constitution. In effect the 1973 court had created new law. Given traditional separation of powers, it was an example of judicial overreach, of judges straying beyond their usual cautious interpretative role into a politically controversial area.

The Dobbs court has been condemned by some for not following Roe as a binding precedent. Yet, exceptionally, as with Britain’s Supreme Court, the US Supreme Court can overrule its own previous decisions. Now the ball lies with Americans’ elected representatives.

That said, may there not be an inconsistency between Dobbs and the same court’s decision the same week in the Koch and Nash case invalidating a state gun-control law?

John Kidd
Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia

SIR – One has to admire the logic of the US Supreme Court. It relaxes gun laws so that everyone can carry concealed weapons, then it abolishes abortion so they will have more children to shoot at.

Brian Cameron
Weybridge, Surrey

Cycle number plates

SIR – I am all for laws that protect cyclists from law-breaking drivers, such as the announcement (report, June 25) that drivers who cross solid white lines into cycle lanes will be prosecuted, but I am fed up with the way some cyclists disregard road law with impunity.

I refer to those who go through red traffic lights, cycle on the wrong side of central reservations into the path of oncoming traffic, cycle the wrong way in a one-way street and turn left and right when signs prohibit it.

I have a solution to this problem, which is for all cyclists to be registered and have a registration plate. Cyclists are currently able to record motorists’ numbers with their head-cams, and thereby enforce the law. Motorists should be able to do the same, and make the roads a safer place for all who use them.

I also believe cyclists should have road insurance.

Tim Franey
London SE24

Greta’s Glasto gig

SIR – It was inevitable that Greta Thunberg should turn up at Glastonbury to lecture the crowd on green issues (report, June 25). Unfortunately, for those who live in the area the festival is anything but green.

Huge lorries begin their deliveries in March and the clear-up carries on until August. There are endless helicopters and extra trains and coaches, along with the private cars which cause jams for several days. The majority are diesel powered as are the many generators on site. The pall of pollution hangs in the air, along with the posters for Greenpeace, Oxfam and Wateraid, which are in fact large third-sector businesses.

I don’t have any problem with large groups of people gathering at the festival to enjoy themselves, as all big events cause pollution. It’s the hypocrisy which grates.

Mark Robbins
Bruton, Somerset

Hardy, Larkin and Wilfred Owen cancelled

Thomas Hardy at the age of 82 painted in 1923 by the portraitist Reginald Eves - GRANGER Historical Picture Archive / Alamy
Thomas Hardy at the age of 82 painted in 1923 by the portraitist Reginald Eves - GRANGER Historical Picture Archive / Alamy

SIR – The proposal by the OCR examination board to remove the writings of Philip Larkin and Thomas Hardy from their GCSE syllabus is breathtaking.

Thomas Hardy is not to my taste, but his writing caught a moment in time from our own history, and the cruelty and inhumanity of human beings to each other.

Philip Larkin must be in the top three British poets of the 20th century – someone who captured, graphically, social interaction, geographic diversity and the glory of the English language.

As a former education secretary, I appeal to those involved to think again and to understand that diversity of history, here in the UK, is just as valid as the diversity of other cultures, and of other times.

Lord Blunkett (Lab)
London SW1

SIR – Pulling Wilfred Owen from the syllabus is especially unwarranted since so much of his poetry lends a voice to the distressed (“Mental Cases”) and the unfortunate (“Disabled”) while decrying war (“Dulce et Decorum Est”).

His concerns are not far removed from those of today’s young.

Removing a poet from the syllabus who was almost certainly gay is hardly in keeping with OCR’s drive for greater diversity.

Andrew Copeman
London SW11

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