The Spectator

Letters | 9 August 2018

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Why we love Boris

Sir: Stephen Robinson is right: Boris Johnson is not loathed outside the Westminster bubble (‘Brexit means Boris’, 4 August). The reason is simple — people can tell he loves the country and is prepared to fight for it. Jacob Rees-Mogg is also very popular for the same reason. Many of our politicians and political commentators seem to have nothing but contempt for the country, or at least the people who live in it.


Bromsgrove, Worcestershire

Virtue-signalling MPs

Sir: James Forsyth writes, ‘Both Labour and the Tories are being accused by their own MPs of abandoning the liberal centre’ (Politics, 4 August). He may be correct on Labour, but my impression is that the majority of Conservative supporters regard many of their MPs and, in particular, government ministers as the epitome of the liberal elite, worrying more about the human rights of criminals than about the society they were meant to protect, and spending their time virtue signalling on fashionable causes such as refugees and global warming.

Michael Staples

Seaford, East Sussex

Sunday best

Sir: I have just read Judith Riches’s letter relating to Cosmo Landesman’s article ‘Problem Children’ (28 July) and I am quite simply appalled at the behaviour of the Churches Conservation Trust, which would appear to be run by atheists or children or both. This has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘conservation’.

For two decades I have attended a little Anglican church in Pau, south-west France, and because of the proximity of Total-owned gasworks we have a significant number of Nigerians in the congregation. They come to church as families and contribute enormously to the running of the Sunday School. Their children are beautifully behaved and if infants get fractious, they are taken out by a parent. After the service the children gather up all the hymn books and service sheets and put them neatly back on the shelves. Their presence, respect for the church with all its traditions and excellent demeanour has encouraged other, non-Nigerian families, to bring their children to church as well, who are equally well-behaved. What a contrast.

Peta Seel

Lahitte-Toupière, France

Church going

Sir: I am glad that Judith Riches (Letters, 4 August) noticed the children’s activities at St Mary Magdalene, Croome D’Abitot, Worcestershire. They are very popular with our many family visitors. Croome is one of 353 historic buildings in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. We like them to be enjoyed as places of heritage, culture, spirituality and beauty.

Next time she (or anyone) visits one of our churches, as around two million people do every year, I hope they won’t be intimidated. As long as they don’t do damage, if they want to boogie up the aisle or shout from the pulpit that’s fine. I’d just ask that they make a donation to the daunting cost of keeping these places going.

Peter Ainsworth

Chairman, the Churches Conservation Trust, London N1

Daft meters

Sir: Please reassure Charles Moore that smart meters are perfectly capable of coping with a switch of tariff within his selected energy supplier’s options (Notes, 4 August). They can’t, however, cope with a change of supplier, as apparently each supplier’s meters are incompatible. Oh, and the displays don’t work without decent mobile signal.

Barbara Oliver

Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

Religious liberty

Sir: As a young Bible-believing Christian, I was distressed to read Mary Wakefield’s account of Father Mark’s removal from Glasgow Caledonian University as chaplain (‘Why sack a Catholic priest for being Catholic?’, 28 July). We are living in a society that is increasingly intolerant of anyone who has a religious belief and does not prescribe to an LGBT agenda. Surely this is teaching students that intolerance is acceptable. I increasingly feel that I am unable to live out my faith, be it at work, at the pub or with my friends. My opinions do not count so long as they are in opposition to the majority. What has become of religious liberty and freedom of speech?

Esther Wong

London SW6

Return of Mr Chips?

Sir: As a prep-school headmaster throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, I concur with Charles Moore’s analysis of today’s boarding prep schools, which have in effect, though not in name, been nationalised by the creep of legislation, inspection, regulation and compliance (The Spectator’s Notes, 4 August). As a result our schools, once brilliant in their diversity, have become homogenous institutions to be managed, not communities to be led. However, the prospect of Mr Chips taking back control now that a few Russian oligarchs are said to be removing their children is well wide of the mark, sadly. Fees will remain high and schools may well begin to bemoan the absence of a group of parents who, by and large, were refreshingly undemanding.

Rhidian Llewellyn

London SW14

Summer visitors

Sir: At the risk of being picky, Susan Hill refers to swifts as hirundines, but that term is reserved for swallows and martins (Diary, 4 August). The three appear alike but they are from distinct orders and the similarities are the result of convergent evolution. In any case I am delighted that she is enjoying the return of the summer visitors — but make the most of it, for they will soon be gone.

Martin Riley

Ablington, Gloucestershire