Sir: After blaming the firestorm which immolated them at the federal election on the cunning perversity of everyone but themselves and their own un-costed vision of a distinctly Green utopia, the ALP and the rest of the Left have bid bon voyage to Anthony Albanese as he departs on an Homeric “Listening Tour”.
If, as we have heard claimed over the last three weeks, it was only a matter of failing to explain their wonderful policies well enough (an assertion presuming that voters are dullards) and that they were victims of a conspiracy between the big end of town and someone else – possibly pensioners on the back of their yachts – then just what Mr Albanese will actually “hear” around the countryside whilst he pretends to listen is anyone’s guess.
I would suggest that he will be, like Fox Mulder in X-Files, only interested in gleaning anecdotes that support the conspiracy theory – whose mantra is “We was robbed” – which the Labor Party has already decided upon as the official truth.
Who would dare, anyway, to give a Labor leader something to listen to while a camera might be rolling nearby – that, as we’ve seen, is how to lose your job.
Robert T. Walker
Wagga Wagga, NSW
Trump and Brexit
Sir: Your leading article (‘The Trump card’, 1 June) states that ‘May’s successor should seek to capitalise on Team Trump’s enthusiasm for Brexit’.
President Trump — the leader of by far our most important political, economic and military ally — has always respected what most British MPs have chosen to ignore: that the British people voted to leave the European Union. Assuming that the Conservative party wants to survive, it must choose a proven vote-winning leader who is determined to leave the European Union on WTO terms by 31 October this year, unless the EU has agreed by that date to a convincing, substantial improvement to its current offer. If the new prime minister commits to doing that, it’s likely that Nigel Farage would join forces with the Conservatives in a general election. And if the Tory party is so foolish as to elect a Remainer, don’t be surprised if a vote-winner such as Boris Johnson electrifies the British people by joining the Brexit party. Such an alliance of Leavers would surely win a general election, and handsomely, at a time when millions of Labour and Conservative voters are crying out for no-nonsense political leaders.
Winston Churchill, so admired by millions including Boris Johnson, defected to the Liberal party, then rejoined the Conservatives. Donald Trump, a Democrat, ran for President as a Republican. In politics, as in war, a true leader does whatever has to be done to win. Is it only President Trump who understands this?
Power to the people
Sir: Jonathan Sumption (Diary, 1 June) states that there was ‘not much’ that ‘British politics could learn from the United States’. In fact, the UK could learn a lot. The US constitution has successfully preserved democracy by ensuring that power remains vested in the people.
In contrast, power in the UK and Europe has been ceded to unelected EU presidents and the increasingly undemocratic Brussels regime. Sumption also says that ‘many regard [the referendum result] as an act of economic vandalism by a bare majority of the electorate’, and he defends Theresa May in her efforts to limit the damage. This negative perspective emanates from the same political faction which incorrectly predicted economic failure if the UK did not join the euro, and recession in the immediate aftermath of a Leave vote. In referring to Brexit supporters as ‘grim fanatics’, Sumption exhibits the disdain of many intellectuals for public opinion, but also for democracy. The British public is highly intelligent and has more insight than any narrow elite. That is why democracy works.
Don’t give us Gove
Sir: A good many of us hold Michael Gove personally responsible for the fact that Brexit has not taken place (‘Can the Tories save themselves?’, 1 June). Had he not ‘knifed’ Boris Johnson we would not have been landed with May. He appears devious — trying to face both ways at once — and he has nothing like the national appeal of Johnson. If people vote Gove, we would more than likely get Corbyn.
South Cerney, Gloucestershire
Leaver vs Remainer
Sir: David Soskin, ‘Leavers only, please’ (Letters, 1 June), calls for two Leave-supporting MPs to be put to the membership. I believe this is wrong. We need a Remain-supporting MP on the ballot so that MPs can see the strength of feeling within the party against remaining in the EU. There can be no doubt that the Remain arguments have been rejected by the membership (and the majority of Conservative voters), and MPs have a duty to listen to the membership. Two Leaver candidates would not make that clear.
Sir: Could the distressing problem of cats exercising their natural instinct of killing birds and small mammals (‘Vegans should go cat-free’, 1 June) be partially solved by the RSPB sponsoring and promoting collars with small metal bells fixed to them?
Why teachers hate Tories
Sir: Toby Young blames teachers’ support for Labour on left-wing university staff, as if teachers were passive receivers of other people’s opinions (No sacred cows, 1 June). When I entered the profession 55 years ago, teachers were overwhelmingly Tory, to the despair of the Communist party, which ran my local NUT. Continual meddling has caused the change. Two examples of Conservative stupidity and cowardice: the academies’ draining of resources from classrooms into the pockets of men in suits, and an unpopular sex education policy which has been foisted on schools. If I were to tell a staffroom that I supported the Tory party, it would be assumed I jested.
The commentator’s curse
Sir: As a cricket fan, I was growing more confident of England’s chances in the World Cup, until I read Roger Alton’s article last week (Sport, 1 June). While his glowing praise of the 50-over side was largely fair, it placed the journalistic equivalent of the commentator’s curse on their chances. There is the small matter of the Ashes looming later in the summer — and a rejuvenated Australian side with a point to prove in both formats of the game is always a dangerous threat to an English team, especially if we are regarded as favourites.
Kingswinford, West Midlands