Rose is the right choice
Sir: Every Wednesday for the past nine years, it has been my privilege to attend the lunchtime Eucharist services in the Parliamentary Chapel, conducted by the Speaker’s Chaplain Rose Hudson-Wilkin. These routine acts of worship are not public, but are attended by parliamentary staff, MPs and peers. Central to them are Rose’s homilies and prayers, which are spiritual life-support to those of us who serve and navigate our increasingly fraught politics. I did not recognise the person described by Ysenda Maxtone Graham in her article (‘Kent’s new Rose’, 20 July) and noted with some concern the author’s emphasis on perceived political agendas, which we are told is ‘what worries East Kent (population 89 per cent white British)’. Those of us fortunate enough to have worked with Rose know her to be first and foremost a skilled evangelist and preacher, who has profound pastoral gifts. It is those qualities of evangelism and pastoral care that make her entirely the right person to minister to all the people of the Canterbury Diocese in her new role as Bishop of Dover. She will be greatly missed in parliament, as the many heartfelt tributes paid by those who know her and have benefited from her kindness, wisdom and counsel bear witness to. She leaves us with our prayers and enduring gratitude.
Head of Parliamentary Affairs,
Church of England, London SW1
Sir: I agree with most of Ben Sixsmith’s article on the lack of representation of Poles on British television (‘Poles apart’, 20 July). But he omits to mention that, in addition to the million or so recent Polish immigrants, there are also more than half a million Anglo-Poles, descended from the wartime Free Poles. Many of us retain a strong attachment to our Polish heritage and the language, down to the third or fourth generation born here.
As far as I am aware, there is only one Polish broadcaster on UK TV — Kasia Madera (an Anglo-Pole and Polish speaker) safely tucked away on BBC World. Sixsmith asks whether any of this matters, and I would say it does. The lack of Polish representation in the media contributes significantly to a continuing ignorance and misrepresentation of Poles, their history and character. I have no time for identity politics, but I think it would simply be nice to see a few more Poles on UK TV.
Letter from Babylon
Sir: While it is right to question new NHS services, Max Pemberton’s article ‘Health warning’ (20 July) was both inaccurate and misleading. Even accusations by anecdote should contain all the relevant facts. All video consultations are stored for patient safety and to enable patients to re-watch their consultation if they wish; so, as medical director, I checked Dr Pemberton’s consultations. The medical decisions were absolutely reasonable given all the information. Patient confidentiality means we cannot give more detail, even to defend ourselves.
Medical regulators have assessed GP at Hand and shown our patients often get appointments within 30 minutes and our doctors are available every hour of every day, so patients don’t end up at A&E or wait weeks before being seen. We have clinics for face-to-face appointments and our Care Coordination Team helps people with chronic illness, mental health or safeguarding issues. An Ipsos Mori report found that 85 per cent of our patients said GP at Hand was as good as or better than their previous GP practice. Babylon GP at Hand is helping the NHS, and digital-first practices will soon be the norm.
Dr Matthew Noble,
UK medical director, Babylon, London SW3
Sir: Occasionally your columnists seem to switch roles. Jonathan Ray’s account of being led astray in an Avignon transvestite nightclub by wicked wine merchants (Wine club, 20 July) bore all the hallmarks of a Low Life adventure. I bought a mixed case on the spot.
What we want is a comity
Sir: Matthew Parris’s analogy is wrong (‘We Remainers aren’t going away’, 20 July).Were the EU, like the Commonwealth or the UN, an intergovernmental and not an expansionist and protectionist supranational organisation then it is highly unlikely that any ‘significant group in Britain’ would ever have started agitating for us to leave it. To the contrary in fact; a comity of independent, friendly nations, like the Commonwealth, is exactly what most Brexiteers would like ‘Europe’ to be.
Sir: Liam Halligan is right to point out that the backstop proposal from the EU would change the constitutional position of Northern Ireland without public consent (‘Varadkar’s gamble’, 20 July). But I suggest that he should have gone on to say that if the EU and the UK tried to implement the proposal, their action would in effect be illegal under international law. The relevant section of the British-Irish Agreement, which has the status of an international treaty, states: ‘The present wish of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland… is to maintain the Union and accordingly that Northern Ireland’s status as part of the United Kingdom reflects and relies upon that wish; and that it would be wrong to make any change in the status of Northern Ireland save with the consent of the majority of its people.’ It is astonishing that this was not made plain to the EU by the British negotiating team as soon as the backstop proposal was made.