The Spectator

Letters: The Tavistock is a national health scandal

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The race isn’t run

Sir: Bravo Fiona Unwin (‘Rooting for Rishi’, 6 August) for the best piece I have read on the grassroots take on the Conservative party’s leadership election. Having attended several such hustings both this time and over the years, this one does remind me of 2005: David Davis vs David Cameron. Lots of career-focused senior MPs backing an early front-runner, and then quiet reflection from the life-experienced sensible grassroots membership. Few predicted the 2005 winner until that electric party conference speech. This time, with dozens of events like the one the vice-president of West Suffolk describes, the typical Spectator reader rather than the Westminster hack will select the next prime minister. It’s all to play for.

Tony Devenish

London W2

Required reading

Sir: Matt Ridley’s article ‘How to be PM: ten rules for the next Tory leader to live by’ (6 August) is brilliant; it should be widely circulated to everyone, not just prospective PMs. It’s a masterpiece, simply a masterpiece!

Derek Cross

Brenchley, Kent

National health scandal

Sir: Anyone still believing the NHS a national treasure – worthy of the George Cross it was awarded – needs to read Lionel Shriver’s depressing piece (‘Good riddance to the Tavistock’, 6 August). No other institution could wreak damage on this scale and get away with it. Of course, nobody will be punished and the scandal will be brushed under the carpet. The Tavistock’s disgraceful history is evidence that our institutions are highly vulnerable because those running them find it easier to surrender to pressure groups than resist them. Legislation is urgently needed to bar self-selecting political pressure groups like Stonewall from access to all British institutions, from the NHS to schools and universities.

Gregory Shenkman

London SW7

Take stock

Sir: As a point of information, the Tavistock Gender Identity Clinic will be closing soon, but not the Tavistock Centre, which houses several other clinics as well as research and educational programmes.

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