SIR: At Wednesday’s privileges committee hearing (report, March 23), Boris Johnson was asked about concerns raised by his former communications director about the infamous Downing Street garden party.
He admitted that it might be thought that “we were doing something that other people weren’t allowed to do… I can see why people might have felt that way.” It’s hard to imagine why anyone wouldn’t, although our former Prime Minister seems to have pulled it off.
SIR: Everyone seems to have missed the most interesting thing to come out of the privilege committee hearing, and it happened right at the beginning.
In a comment on the lockdowns, Johnson stated that “anything people can say about them now [they] They were essential for public health.
This was the policy that arguably caused more damage to public health, not to mention our economy, than any other in history. Yet despite all the evidence, Johnson arrogantly maintains that the closures were necessary. That, more than anything, makes him unfit for any future position.
SIR – The “trial” of Boris Johnson is absurd and should end.
It did not 10 have to overcome a crisis and we should be grateful that it did. It was inevitable that there would be achievements to be recognized, as well as retirements and other circumstances that warranted encounters.
By working together at the time, these people were taking risks and deserve credit. A far greater offense, in my opinion, was committed by officials who disappeared when the opportunity presented itself and have not yet returned to their desks.
Mawnan Smith, Cornwall
SIR – Alcohol must not be consumed in the workplace. End of story. It’s incredible that anyone in Downing Street thought this was appropriate. In fact, in most workplaces it results in disciplinary action or even instant dismissal.
SIR – The rapid decline of Mr. Johnson’s political career is unprecedented.
The tragedy is that he generated so much support among the electorate and then squandered it very quickly.
It is now obvious that the big issues were mishandled. Brexit continues to be divisive, and Covid politics was chaotic. Future politicians will find it difficult to regain public trust.
Beverly, East Yorkshire
SIR – I noticed that Boris Johnson had cut his hair before facing the privileges committee.
So looks matter now?
Dr Jeff Slater
NHS made simple
SIR: It is astonishing that Richard Meddings, Chairman of the NHS England, thinks that one of the reasons we don’t have enough doctors is that they are too qualified and we can afford to cut their training and use more ‘assistants’ (report, March 22 ).
Some years ago I examined a small child with a mild respiratory infection. I was able to detect an interesting heart murmur. The boy had a previously undiagnosed congenital heart defect and required surgery. I don’t think anyone except a properly trained and fairly experienced physician would have made that discovery.
I would like to ask Mr. Meddings if, if this child had been his, he would have preferred it to be seen by an “over-qualified” doctor or someone barely qualified to know what it was.
Where is the great foreign model that shows that this stupidity works? Surely when we go to the doctor, we want the best possible advice. The fact is that, certainly in general practice, the profession has allowed itself to be severely damaged, but that is no reason to adopt a second-class system with second-class practitioners.
SIR – From the age of 13 until I retired, sane and in one piece, at 30, rugby was my life. I would go anywhere at any time for a game: Saturday for my club, which is still playing in the Premiership; Sunday for Commercial Casuals, a pub outfit in Brixton. Tuesdays and Thursdays were for club training, and Wednesdays he attended the Public School Wanderers or the Firkins. There were Easter and summer tours. There was also rugby netball on Clapham Common.
None of my player friends from that time suffered head injuries (Letters, March 22). This is a scourge of modern rugby union and was unknown until the professional game began.
The players are now too big and fast. How much did centers like Jeremy Guscott weigh? Between 12 and 14 stone. Today the centers weigh 17 or 18 stones. The weight of the entire team has gone up from four to five stone per man.
I can’t watch modern rugby. For me, it’s not rugby, it’s a mix of sumo wrestling, the storming of the Bastille and tennis. Only the women’s teams play real rugby.
Unless the powers that be address this issue, rugby will fade away.
Peacehaven, East Sussex
Brexit and sovereignty
SIR – Wednesday’s vote in Parliament on the Windsor Framework was not about rebellion or the European Inquiry Group, but about the principles of sovereignty and democracy (“Big beasts don’t strike fear into back benches like they used to” , Analysis, March 23) .
Disraeli wrote in his novel Coningsby: “There was, indeed, a considerable clamor about what were called conservative principles; but naturally the uncomfortable question arose, what are you going to keep?
Brexit answered this question, and the answer was backed by the vast Conservative majority in the 2019 general election. The Northern Ireland question remains an unfinished business, and the Protocol Bill, passed without amendment by 74 votes in the House of Commons, resolved the issues, within the guaranteed sovereignty of Section 38 of the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020.
Northern Ireland remains subject to the EU. Since Brexit, the European Council of Ministers has passed behind closed doors more than 650 EU laws for Northern Ireland by majority vote without even a transcript.
This agreement does not reflect a real Union. There is no sovereignty of Northern Ireland, only constitutional sovereignty of Westminster, so why should two million Northern Irish citizens be treated differently from the rest of the UK?
The abstentions demonstrate a broader concern in the Conservative parliamentary party, which goes to the heart of our sovereignty and democracy.
Sir Bill Cash MP (With)
SIR – Philip Pilkington (“Threadneedle Street’s crazy gamble to rein in inflation hasn’t paid off,” Commentary, March 23) misses a critical component in the Bank of England failure.
Pension funds were allowed to use their gilt holdings as collateral for leveraged strategies aimed at creating some type of return that was not available on gilts themselves. Many increased their leverage to between three and eight times net asset value, incredibly high levels. And yet its regulators at the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Bank not only missed this risk, but, at least in the case of the Bank’s own pension fund, actually joined the party.
Add to the mix that sterling and gilts were already falling on Governor Andrew Bailey’s announcement in July 2022 that the Bank would sell £80bn of gilts over a year, and what would normally have been weakening in gilts. government bond prices in the mini of Kwasi Kwarteng. -The budget turned into a defeat and the near collapse of the UK financial system. Other central bankers have learned their lesson and, unlike Andrew Bailey, are not recklessly jumping off the QE cliff.
As the risk in the pension funds had not been identified, Liz Truss could not be warned about it. The rest is history and undoubtedly a large part of our future.
MR – I much prefer products that tell me they are made with “enthusiasm” or “love” (Letters, March 23) than those with anthropomorphic messages that say “Keep me in the fridge”, “Be careful, I’m hot! or “Don’t turn me upside down.”
Gardens must grow in harmony with nature.
SIR – Like Mandy Gaved (Letters, March 23), I was disappointed by the Bunny Guinness article on “garden pests” (Weekend, March 18).
Why do we feel entitled to kill anything that’s slightly annoying, like the gray squirrel, which we introduced to this country in the first place?
As for baiting, where do mice and rats go after eating poison? Often, somewhere, another creature, such as a cat, fox, or owl, can find them and consume them, causing further suffering. No wonder we have lost so much of our natural world.
LORD – While crushing a garden pest underfoot, a dear departed friend and animal lover uttered the words, “All are God’s creatures, but some are more pleasant than others.”
SIR – Louise Meadows (Letters, March 21) says that we must be optimistic and accept that some of our favorite plants will be eaten by pests. But how would she react if they were all regularly eaten (as in our case) by free-roaming local deer? Would she just give up?
Is there someone in charge at the probate office?
SIR: Nearly 14 months after the death of my disabled adult son in January 2022, and after diligent efforts by appointed attorneys to deal with his estate without complications (including filing a formal complaint about the endless delays in the succession registry), the succession was finally granted on February 3 of this year.
However, a spelling error in the registry forced the documents to be returned for correction. Unsurprisingly, these documents have yet to be returned, but our lawyers have been told they can no longer call the registry, as the system has been centralized.
To whom, exactly, does this labyrinthine, closed, secret, opaque and useless registry answer?
Stonegate, East Sussex
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