The Spectator

Letters | 22 August 2009

Spectator readers respond to recent articles

Conservative progress

Sir: So the notion of ‘progressive’ conservatism is roiling British politics these days (Politics, 15 August). Well, come on over to the colonies, mate, and get educated! We in Canada have had ‘progressive conservative’ political parties, at both the provincial and federal levels of government, for decades — they’re even officially named Progressive Conservatives.

Sadly, though, our ‘progressive’ conservatives tend, over time, to become indistinguishable from big-government nanny-state lefties. That’s why we in Canada have a derogatory term for ‘progressive conservatives’: we call them Red Tories, and we were doing so long before anyone in your Labour party imagined that they had coined a new slur.

Larry Hamelin
Toronto, Canada



Sir: Fraser Nelson may be interested to learn that the phrase ‘progressive conservatism’ was coined by Chief Rabbi J.H. Hertz (1872-1946) to define his own theological position, as ‘religious advance without loss of traditional Jewish values’. This has a reassuring ring to it, but its precise meaning has proved elusive. One can see why it is an attractive phrase for politicians.

Benjamin Elton
London NW4



Sunday football

Sir: Richard Sanders’s ‘The great football myth’ (8 August) reminded us that Sunday schools also played a part is the history of football. The first Sunday schools were founded in 18th-century England as a way to educate and teach literacy to poor children. Some of these also offered sports and three major English soccer clubs — Everton, Aston Villa and Fulham — grew out of the Sunday schools.

Ray Hattingh, director, SAARP
125 Vasco Boulevard, Goodwood, South Africa

Rod Liddle’s python

Sir: Just as I was about to come gunning for Rod Liddle (15 August) on behalf of my two cats I had a sudden wonderful thought.

If it’s OK for a python to roam free in private gardens, then presumably there’s no law against having an anaconda instead.

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