Sir: I prefer Peter Costello’s view of conservatism to that of Michael Davis (Conservative Notes 18 June), that conservatives judge things in terms of outcome, not posture. The true measure of a policy or political action is its consequence, not its intention. The moral vanity of the Left outweighs outcomes for people’s lives and the Left excuses failure because they acted with impeccable intentions.
Sir: Although I enjoy the radical and contrarian views of The Spectator, you were wrong on your views concerning Brexit. What is as troubling to me as Brexit (and the lack of planning by both sides in the debate) is the lack of moral fibre of the proponents of Brexit, who deserted the field. Boris was particularly disappointing, as I had hoped to see him developing into a latter day Winston Churchill.
However, come to think of it in his early political career Churchill was an out and out opportunist and made some terrible decisions and look how he turned out… so perhaps there is a glimmer of hope after all.
Better off without
Sir: The Spectator’s call for Turnbull to resign and be replaced by somebody less incompetent (RESIGN! – 9 July) is based on the dodgy supposition that we’d be better off with a prime minister than without one. I would argue that the only time we need a PM is when fighting world wars or insidious diseases such as the vaginal yeast infection that Rod Liddle is so vigilantly monitoring (same edition), but on all other occasions let the states do the governing and turn the electricity off in Canberra. Can you name a single thing that any PM has done this century that hasn’t made us significantly worse off? And that includes your invasion of Iraq, John Howard.
Lurid about Leavers
Sir: Matthew Parris has spent much of the past few months denigrating those of us who want to leave the EU, but his latest article (‘For the first time, I feel ashamed to be British’, 9 July) really does go too far.
It is simply untrue to claim that the leaders of the Leave campaign relied on hatred of immigration, and that this won it for Leave. As Brendan O’Neill pointed out (‘Not thick or racist: just poor’, 2 July), a majority of Leave voters (including me, for what it is worth) rejected the EU primarily for sovereignty reasons. But whatever Mr Parris may feel, there is nothing immoral about wanting to control (not stop) the number of immigrants who enter one’s country. Very many other sovereign states do just that, without incurring his wrath. As for Daniel Hannan losing his temper with Christiane Amanpour, he was no doubt angry because, like so many of us, he is sick and tired of accusations that wanting to control immigration is racist and disgraceful. I have for many years read and enjoyed Mr Parris’s columns, and am disappointed that he has chosen to portray Leavers in such lurid terms.
East Lavant, West Sussex
A sense of loss
Sir: Ralph Prothero (Letters, 9 July) writes that ‘we have referendums and elections for a reason, which is that they are a peaceful means of resolving our differences’. Elections, yes. But referendums? Of the three UK-wide ones we have had, two were to dampen down raging rows within the ruling party, while the third (the AV referendum) was a stitch-up between the two parties of a coalition.
In the same issue Hugo de Groot writes ‘I did it [vote Leave] for them [his children], to hand them back their country’. Along with many of my family and friends who voted Remain, I feel I have just lost my country. No amount of sloganising about ‘Brussels bureaucrats’ can change that deep-rooted feeling.
Sir: As a Conservative party member who was intending to vote for Theresa May in the leadership election, I have to wonder, with all of Corbyn’s shouts about his mandate from the Labour membership, how May can comfortably lead the party without approval of the Tory membership. While I think May will make a fantastic PM, I worry this could diminish faith in her premiership before it has even started.
Thinking in miles
Sir: Ysenda Maxtone Graham, in her piece on imperial measurements (‘Imperial ambitions’, 9 July) didn’t mention the quiet withdrawal of the attempt to change our road signs. For a few years it looked as if we would have to think only in kilometres. Thank goodness sense prevailed.
Sir: I disagree with Toby Young’s claim (Status Anxiety, 2 July) that the decision to leave the EU reflects ‘a decline in the authority of Parliament’. On the contrary, it shows a desire to see the authority of Parliament restored. There is now so much legislation imposed on us by the EU over which our representatives have no control and, worse still, regulations which are not even voted on by the EU parliament. It will be a relief for our MPs to know that their work is restored to its proper place.