Sir: Alexandra Coghlan identifies the coincidence between the rise of recording and broadcast technology and the flourishing of the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge (‘Going for a song’, 5 December). Just as the publication of A Christmas Carol in 1843 coincided with cheaper books and a growing readership to forge the modern Christmas, so recent improvements in musical technology have just as firmly established its soundtrack. If Dickens created our modern Christmas, then its musical accompaniment should be accredited to Sir Stephen Cleobury, who served as Director of Music at King’s for 37 years until his retirement in September 2019. He died two months later, but I hope that it may be some comfort to those who loved him that his legacy, like that of Dickens, will be to bring joy at Christmas to countless people for many years to come.
Sir: The very same day that the online version of my article (‘eBay of pigs’, 5 December) came out, and following a little bit of chat on my personal Facebook page, I received an email from eBay informing me that my account was reinstated. Coincidence or not? I think the latter and am delighted that The Spectator’s reach is global and fills the ether.
Walton, New York
Sir: Matthew Parris is right that the Liberal Democrats have become ‘soggy’, but wrong about the cause (‘The soggification of the Liberal Democrats’, 28 November). Their root problem is mistakenly trying to provide a home in one modest abode for three incompatible political philosophies. Social democracy, classical liberalism and progressive wokery are distinct and, at times, antagonistic systems. Attempts to blend them merely produce the very sogginess Parris refers to, and results in public bafflement. Hyper-progressives such as Layla Moran are well aligned with today’s Labour party; Gladstonian free-traders would find thousands of like-minded souls in the Tory party; social democrats should consider returning home.