Letters to the Editor

For and against Boris

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BY Iain Martin | tweet iainmartin1   /  19 July 2019

Boris is the best

Dear Sir,

As we know as MPs, the best way to succeed in a battle with the Liberal Democrats is constant work, the pavement politics that allows us to localise and personalise the policies of national government – talking about the detail in people’s lives that they can feel; our hospital, our schools, our community.

This is why we are supporting Boris Johnson to be Prime Minister. His record as London Mayor in introducing the London Living Wage, increasing life expectancy and reducing poverty in the poorest parts of London and making people safer through reducing crime stands the test of time. His two victories in a city that was drifting away from the Conservatives demonstrates his ‘Heineken’ nature, reaching voters that other Conservatives struggle to engage.

We all know the next few months are vitally important for our country and our Party. Whereas much of the media coverage has naturally focused on Brexit and the disaster that would arise from a possible Corbyn-led government, we know only too well that our particular fight on the ground is against the Liberal Democrats and remains key. With that in mind we will need to concentrate on three areas over the coming months

– Leaving the EU by October 31st – which delivers what voters across the country asked us to do and starts the process of healing the division of which the Liberal Democrats have taken advantage. We can then concentrate on how best we leave the EU, not whether we leave.

– An optimistic, aspirational vision for the country – that speaks to all ages, genders, communities and backgrounds. We need to remember that we must reach people who would perhaps not traditionally vote Conservative. We have to recapture the trust of those who have drifted to the Liberal Democrats as well as other parties.

– Championing, trusting and valuing Party members – we must have a party system that increases the role and voice of members. We must be fluid and flexible to enable a more proactive approach in addressing our local needs. Where the Lib Dems are strong, local campaigners should be trusted to go out and tell their own localised stories.

Boris’ vision of a strong economy, underpinning excellent public services that support the most vulnerable and a government that creates opportunities for all; his determination to end the uncertainty by having a firm Brexit deadline of October 31st and his understanding of effective campaigning to share an optimistic vision make him the right person to lead us at this unprecedented time.

If you have a vote, please do make sure you send your ballot paper back in good time and together let us give Boris the strongest mandate possible as the new party leader and Prime Minister of our country.

Signed by Michael Tomlinson MP, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, Maria Caulfield MP, Rebecca Pow MP, David Warburton MP, Steve Double MP, Zac Goldsmith MP, James Heappey MP, Scott Mann MP, Sheryll Murray MP, Marcus Fysh MP.

Why does Boris not check things out?

Dear Sir,

I watched the Conservative party hustings held in London to listen to the pitches of both of the candidates for leader this week. It was heartening that there was such a good turnout by party members and reports of the Tory party’s death have clearly been exaggerated. They have some life left in them yet.

Much attention has been concentrated on the business of Boris and the kipper. It turns out that the story he told that evening was nonsense. The rules the kipper salesman complained about were British rules, and nothing to do with the EU.

It was a troubling little episode. It sounded bogus even as Boris said it. He is about to become PM. Does he not check these stories out before saying them? Or does he not care whether they are true or false?

Boris is a charismatic politician with many skills. But in the end I hope it is Jeremy Hunt who wins. He seems much more sensible, competent and straightforward.

Caroline Powell

First class Brexit

Dear Sir,

The historian Hugh Trevor-Roper noted that those who got Oxford Firsts were so pleased with themselves they stopped thinking. David Cameron springs to mind. Those with Seconds carried on striving intellectually and were far more interesting. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove got Seconds.

HTR also believed in the pregnancy of error. A misguided analysis could be far more stimulating and fruitful than a boring rectitude. Leaving is far more pregnant with the opportunity of error than Remaining.

HTR would surely have been a Brexiteer along with his counter-part and competitor AJP Taylor. Taylor was a noted Brexiteer before the term was invented. He taught Paul Johnson at Magdalen whose first and best book The Offshore Islanders was published in early 1972 to dissuade us from joining the EEC.  Losing an empire was tolerable, Johnson argued. But to join the EEC involved losing one’s judgment, which was far worse. Paul, of course, begat his Eurosceptism to his sons Daniel (former editor of Standpoint) and Luke. Both went to Magdalen.

Taylor also, of course, taught Alan Sked at Magdalen, founder of the Anti-Federalist League in 1991 which later rebranded as UKIP.

Rupert Boswall

Hard left has Labour in its grip

Dear Sir,

Removing Jeremy Corbyn Corbyn still leaves Labour in the hands of the hard left. So would removing him make that much difference?

The polls indicate support for Labour now dropping at such a rate that by extrapolation next year support would be down to zero.

See https://britainelects.com/polling/westminster/

Presumably the decline stops at some point, but by then Labour could be permanently in 3rd or 4th in the polls. Regardless, I can’t see the hard left relinquishing their hold on Labour.

Derek Emery

Tory membership numbers don’t add up

Dear Sir,

I have noted the reported increase in member numbers (revealed by Reaction) with interest as I suspect the party is double counting some members.

If a member, like me, has a bank card that routinely expired during the year and was replaced (by the bank) then the party systems may fail to collect monthly payments from that member, and as a result their membership is deemed to be cancelled. Of course, the party made no effort to verify that cancellation was intended, and seems incapable of operating financial systems that can cope with routine card replacement.

This happened to me and I was told to re-apply as a new member, and appeal to have a vote in the leadership election (although my length of membership would normally entitle me to a vote in the election run-off).  This is despite me having already paid substantially more than the normal annual membership fee in the current membership year before my bank card expired.

I know this has happened to other members, and wonder if a surge in applications is due, not to the leadership election, but rather to members wondering what has happened to their voting rights. I do wonder, however, if Chris Grayling was put in charge of collecting subscriptions.

Richard Smith


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