The Spectator

Spectator letters: In defence of women ministers, Handel and lefty sex

Spectator letters: In defence of women ministers, Handel and lefty sex
Text settings

Give the women a chance

Sir: Melissa Kite’s article about the reshuffle seems downright unfair (‘A misogynistic reshuffle’, 19 July). Whatever David Cameron’s motives may be, the women he has promoted to cabinet and other posts in his government are presumably intelligent and hardworking and have certainly demonstrated great stamina. This is true of anyone who reaches these levels in politics. They are no doubt excited to be facing extremely tough challenges, but they must also be quite nervous. Instead of giving them congratulations and encouragement, the best Ms Kite can offer is a prediction that none of them will be very successful.

Colin Angwin

London W14

Media circus

Sir: The Inquisition flames on your front cover of 12 July burn savagely but irresponsibly. For instance: those of us who have had the privilege of knowing Leon Brittan since university see him as gentle, civilised and an intellectual giant. The idea of him committing the crime of which he has been accused is absurd and unthinkable.

It raises the question of who among police and prosecutors is behind this media circus. Who is allowing the leaking of such stories, apparently without disciplinary sanction? It will be no surprise if decent and dutiful people avoid public life in future: we will all be the poorer.

Sir Humphry Wakefield

Chillingham Castle, Northumberland

The tragedy of Wales

Sir: As I read Christopher Gage’s article on the catastrophic misgovernment of Wales since devolution (‘The betrayal of Wales’, 12 July), I felt great sadness for what the people in Wales have had to endure under the Welsh Assembly. The old guard have maintained their stranglehold on Welsh politics, and we have to put up with ex-council clerical assistants pretending to know about business and wrecking any attempt to create jobs. People who work for local authorities are still told by those with power in the councils who to employ. Any real talent in areas that matter has long since crossed Offa’s Dyke.

I am suffering from being on the wrong side of the dyke. I was diagnosed with a cancer in my kidney in January, and arrived for my surgery in May to be turned away due to a lack of beds. I hope that next week my operation will go ahead.

I voted against devolution, anticipating the misgovernment that has ensued. Those of us who knew how it really worked in Wales could see what was coming.

Avril Thomas

Llwyngwril, Gwynedd

Why not learn Welsh?

Sir: Wales is indeed a wonderful place (Letters, 18 July). I hope that the Birmingham man quoted as coming to Wales to get away from ‘immigrants’ will, as an immigrant himself, show respect for our Welsh language and culture. Perhaps he might even consider learning Welsh.

Siwan ap Gwilym


Worse than the disease

Sir: Mr Heilbrunn’s article on removing President Obama from office (‘Obama’s dearest enemies’, 12 July) fails to discuss the central problem with impeaching him: the aftereffect of the remedy would be far worse than the current malaise. Under the American constitution, impeaching President Obama would necessarily result in the automatic promotion of his vice president — and who could possibly stomach the thought of a President Biden between now and the 2016 election?

David Clayton Carrad

Augusta, Georgia

Impartial judgment

Sir: How can Fran Unsworth claim that the BBC is impartial and then state that before any view is expressed on air the listener should know whether it represents a majority or minority view (Letters, 19 July)? Does that not prejudge the matter by implying that if a view, such as Lord Lawson’s on climate change, is a minority view then it is by extension the wrong view?

To be impartial the BBC must present all views without any such prefatory remark, respect the listener’s intelligence and let him or her form his or her own opinion on the basis of what is said.

Eric Brown

Bromley, Kent

Handel and the Jews

Sir: I cannot speak for Handel’s librettist for the Messiah, Dr Jennens. But I am certain that Handel himself would have eschewed any intention of upsetting London’s Jews, who were great fans of his biblical oratorios (‘Handling Handel’, 19 July). When his oratorio Theodora failed in 1749, he complained: ‘The Jews will not come to it because it is a Christian story, and the ladies will not come because it is a virtuous one.’ It is however rumoured that the cantor of the Great Synagogue, Myer Lyon, who doubled as an opera star under the name of Michaele Leone, was dismissed by the congregation for singing in Messiah, an early failure of multicultural co-operation.

David Conway

Kiev, Ukraine

Left in bed

Sir: Cosmo Landesman’s conclusions on sex and politics (‘Swinging right’, 19 July) are at odds with my own. Lefties may be less evolved, but I have always thought the fact that they are more in tune with their baser instincts gives them a crucial edge over their more politically enlightened sisters. I have endured many horrendous dinners that felt like listening to simultaneous rants from Polly Toynbee and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (both exempt from my conclusion), only to discover to my delight that the PC puritanism was abandoned at the bedroom door. In the bedroom lefties are invariably wilder, less inhibited and more subservient. It is the one area where they really do know what’s in a boy’s best interest.

Richard Thoburn

London EC1