Letters: how to get the uni protestors out

Soft left Sir: I read with a certain wry amusement in Yascha Mounk’s piece that ‘activists’ occupying Columbia were demanding the university administrators should supply them with food and water (‘Preach first’, 11 May). How times have changed. In winter 1976 I was the president of the student body at Edinburgh University. A group of ultra-left activists occupied a building of the social science faculty. The administration sent two members of staff to speak to me in the hope that I might be able to dislodge them. I explained very patiently to them that given my own unashamed Conservatism, there was unlikely to be any meeting of minds on this

Europe has no answer to its immigration problem

Pulling off the rhetorical trick that Brexit would undermine the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement, Michel Barnier, the EU negotiator, said in 2018 that the agreement meant removing borders not only from maps, ‘but also in minds’. Even a single CCTV camera on the North-South roads was considered a threat to the peace process. Now it turns out, which is grimly amusing, that the Irish government has not banished the border from its mind. The Republic is upset that asylum seekers are crossing the border that it does not believe in, fleeing the threat of deportation to Rwanda from the United Kingdom. It talks of sending them back, ignoring a

Labour ramps up its cladding campaign

The Fire Safety Bill comes back to the Commons this afternoon for MPs to consider the changes made by peers — and there’s an amendment in there that Labour hopes is going to cause a bit of a fuss. It’s the reiteration of what’s become known as the ‘McPartland-Smith amendment’ after the two Conservative MPs — Stephen McPartland and Royston Smith — who originally made the demand. The amendment bans leaseholders from being made liable for the costs of remediation work, such as removing flammable cladding from their homes. Raising the cladding issue is something Labour plans to do repeatedly in certain areas as the May poll approaches This amendment was

Could leasehold reform cause a new Tory split?

Now that the Conservative party no longer has the issue of the EU over which to tear itself apart, is there something else that could replace it? Although perhaps not on the same scale as Europe, there is an issue which splits two of the party’s client groups: leasehold reform. On the one hand are the aspirant homeowners, the voters who turned to Mrs Thatcher thanks in part to the right to buy and the wider promotion of home-ownership. On the other hand is the landed interest, an amalgam of new and old money which owns the freeholds to many of the country’s blocks of flats and leasehold houses. Today’s