ES Views: ‘Strong’ government needs a true leader not a follower

Is Theresa May the true leader the Government needs?: REUTERS

The “strong” government Theresa May wants us to elect won’t necessarily be a good one. And one of the ways to keep any government on its toes is through a strong Parliament, not one that simply acts as a rubber stamp.

A big Conservative majority at the election will not alter the position of the EU in the Brexit negotiations. The Prime Minister’s mandate, which she already has, stops at Dover. What it will do is lessen the force of Westminster’s scrutiny over a deal, the content of which we are still clueless about.

London voted decisively and sensibly to stay in the EU. With this in mind we have two options: we can either put our trust in a Prime Minister who campaigned for Remain but is now Brexit’s purveyor-in-chief, who repeatedly said she would not hold an election and who has not fulfilled her pledge to enfranchise long-term expats.

Alternatively, we can ensure we get a cohort of MPs who accurately reflect the level of dissent over Brexit and take seriously the desire — which many Leavers say they hold dear — of ensuring that we have a robust legislature, one which holds the Government to account in the perilous months ahead.
Dominic Brett

Theresa May appears to have convinced her voters that she is a “strong” leader by simply repeating the word over and over again — but her record shows otherwise.

During the referendum she was too cowardly to make a stance — she was famously described as a “submarine” because it was not clear whether she was pro- or anti-Brexit. When she was Home Secretary she appeared to shift the blame for Home Office failings on to junior ministers, while her staff ensured that she never faced a Jeremy Paxman-style grilling.

When the net migration figures were released she would send out her immigration minister to explain why she had failed, yet again, to deliver the promised cuts in net migration.

Now she refuses to attend the leaders’ TV debate ahead of the election. If May really wants to prove that she is a strong leader, she should face up to the British people and her political rivals.
Panos Gregory

With some voters Theresa May can’t win. She is criticised as being an “unelected” PM after taking the reins from David Cameron, yet when she decides to run another election to provide her and the Tories with a legitimate mandate for Brexit, she is widely condemned.

It will not matter come June 9, however. With a 23-point lead over Labour, May will finally have the backing from the electorate to guide us through these testing times.
Ben Thomas


Toxic air is the big Oxford Street issue

The proposed pedestrianisation of Oxford Street is a particularly ill-thought-out scheme that will not only leave less able shoppers without transport but also shift the air and noise pollution into residential side streets and adjacent areas.

These narrow streets will become jammed with noisy, fume-belching black cabs and buses all day and with even noisier, mostly diesel vehicles, all night.

As the Mayor of London’s emissions reduction plans do not make it mandatory for these vehicles to run quietly and cleanly, air pollution in these streets — just below or at World Health Organisation guideline levels for damaging health — will only get worse.

Transport for London and the Mayor have the wrong objectives — they should be working to reduce the noise and air pollution in the residential side streets, not making the lives of thousands of Londoners worse.
V St Clair


Circumcision has no place in society

You report that Sadiq Khan has been urged to make London a “zero cutting city” to protect girls from the barbaric violence of FGM [April 26]. This would indeed be commendable but we must also remember that male genital mutilation, while not in the same league, is also an abhorrent act that needs eradicating.

Humanity is advanced and enlightened enough now that we can shake off these ancient shackles and follow our faiths without having to wear our beliefs as chains that load us down.

If men choose to subject themselves to such barbarism then so be it — but circumcision of any child is abuse and has no place in a modern society.
Julian Self


Corbyn is right to show humanity

Matthew d’Ancona believes Labour’s policies under Jeremy Corbyn represent an “antiquated ideology” [“Six weeks to go and divided Labour is still showing the cracks”, Comment, April 26].

It isn’t “antiquated” to want to ensure that no primary school child goes without a decent meal, as many do at present, and to want to put an end to the obscenity that in the fifth richest country in the world, many people have to rely on food banks.

It is called being civilised — something the privileged Mr d’Ancona should ponder on.
Peter Hurst


Don't let children drift along in life

The outgoing chief of Ucas, Mary Curnock Cook, and parenting expert Noushin Rahman-Blake both advise parents and children to chill out and stop being so preoccupied with exam results or whether their courses will lead to graduate jobs.

This is idiotic. Far from letting children simply drift, schools and universities should be honest about what the job market requires and give compulsory classes on skills, networking, internships and CVs.

An early lead in the rat race is hard to make up.
Rev Dr John Cameron

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