Nowhere to turn
Sir: Like Tanya Gold and Matthew Parris (9 November), I too am feeling politically homeless. Over the decades my vote has wandered along the mainstream party spectrum but today that seems wider than ever and its constituents increasingly unappealing. A vote for the Conservatives would be to endorse utter incompetence in government of several years, whereas Labour’s neo-Marxist tendencies are not to be countenanced in power. As a Remainer, in ordinary times I might, as previously, be attracted to the Liberal Democrats, but their policy on revocation makes them no longer democrats. It is disingenuous of Matthew Parris to not worry about this just because they will never be in a position to implement it. It is a point of principle and who knows what horse-trading will occur in the event of another hung parliament?
As I find the narrow focus of minor parties unconvincing but believe we all have an obligation to vote, I fear I will have to spoil my ballot paper. Perhaps such disenchantment is more widespread than is generally recognised.
Sir: ‘We live in volatile times’ writes James Forsyth (‘Marriage of convenience’, 16 November). The most startling manifestation of this is the rise of the Politically Homeless Party. This new political force issues no membership cards, has no canvassers, and publishes no manifesto. Yet its supporters can be found in every corner of the land. They include Remainers who once voted for the Conservative party and Leavers who once voted for the Labour party. Its rank and file are the ‘disenchanted ones’ who have grown weary of the ideological paralysis that has discredited the House of Commons since the referendum. In three weeks’ time the PHP members will be coming home, yet there is not a single psephologist who has a real clue as to where this home will be.
Hong Kong horrors
Sir: As someone who spent 25 years working for the Hong Kong government, I have enormous affection for the territory and its people, and like Alec Ash (‘Brave front’, 9 November) have great sympathy for those protesting for greater freedoms. But Mr Ash fails to ask the key question that many of us would like to have answered. What do the protesters really think they can achieve? It is difficult, for obvious reasons, to imagine the Chinese government being prepared to give way to violent protest and concede full democracy to Hong Kong, much less the independence that some protesters are seeking. And for how long can they retain public support as Hong Kong’s economy declines, disruption to the lives of ordinary residents continues, and their willingness to use violence, such as the recent burning of a pro-Beijing resident, increases? Like Mr Ash, I fear that the protesters, many of whom are too young to remember 1989, are kids playing at war, unaware of the dangers that they face. Sadly, it is difficult to foresee a happy outcome.
East Lavant, West Sussex
An ordered universe
Sir: Toby Young is right to attribute many of our present ills to the decline in Christian belief in this country (No sacred cows, 9 November), but wrong to suggest that Christianity is simply a more organised form of irrationality than that offered by the pseudo-religions which have largely taken its place. Christianity teaches us that a rational God created an ordered universe, and created mankind in His image with the rational faculties needed to comprehend that universe. Far from being irrational, Christianity thereby provides the only stable foundation for a belief in the trustworthiness of rational thought, a trustworthiness undermined by both atheistic materialism and eco-obsessed pantheism.
Compliments to Taki
Sir: Taki is suggesting he’s getting quite old — 83’s not old! He had better not even think of giving up. The old boy is just as lucid and amusing as he was all those years ago when he started writing for the Speccie. (I’m 90 and have been a Spectator reader for 72 years.)
Sir: James Delingpole’s column about the ‘joy of a day spent bagging almost no birds’ resonated with me — it is the all-round enjoyment of the day, not the bag size, that is the highlight. Yet I wonder if he would find more success on the field if he were to branch away from the ‘like-minded, up-for-it blokes’ crowd? The days of the old boys’ club are fading as a growing number of adept ladies successfully take up shooting. Indeed, there’s a whole swath of women who are also happiest when ‘outdoors doing man stuff’.
Vice-chair of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, Wrexham, North Wales
A pint of the black stuff
Sir: Rory Sutherland is right that the biggest single influence on whether people drink Guinness in a pub is whether there is already someone in the pub drinking Guinness (The Wiki Man, 9 November). But it’s not because ‘we don’t want to be the weirdo who does it first’. We just don’t want to be the one who gets the pint that’s been lying around in the pipes for hours.
Otley, West Yorks