Letters: It’s a pity that Liz Truss implemented her good ideas so incompetently
SIR – Liz Truss, who claims to have been “brought down by the Left-wing economic establishment”, was the first prime minister in decades to hold genuinely Conservative views.
The problem was that she proved to be absolutely terrible at communicating those views, and equally bad at implementing them – which leaves us where we are today. Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, is seen as a safe pair of hands by the mandarins, who know he doesn’t have any original ideas and will simply agree with them. Britain’s current economic policy could have been devised by Gordon Brown on a bad day.
Continuing down this path will lead to the end of this Government, and perhaps even the end of the Conservative Party.
SIR – I am so pleased that Liz Truss has spoken out. I felt sure that her downfall was orchestrated by the powers that be, and her fate was finally sealed by Rishi Sunak and his allies.
I have always been a Conservative supporter, but cannot forgive the unseemly way in which the party has behaved. It needs to take a long, hard look at itself.
The contents of the “mini-Budget” don’t look so unappealing now.
SIR – Funny, I thought Ms Truss’s downfall came about because of unfunded tax cuts, and the drastic effect they had on our economy – in particular, by increasing the black hole that the Treasury had to fill from £30 billion to £60 billion.
SIR – Liz Truss’s reflections on her tenure as prime minister neglected to mention that many of her policy proposals were unfunded. Historians will surely take note of Lord Lawson’s warning at the time about making tax cuts in an uncontrolled inflationary environment.
No mention, either, of the removal of Sir Tom Scholar, the permanent secretary to the Treasury; the absence of Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts on credibility and confidence; or the lack of supply-side reform in the mini-Budget.
Nevertheless, I feel Ms Truss might still have some way to run in today’s political and economic vacuum.
SIR – Even if the Government and Bank of England do nothing, inflation is likely to go on falling this year, so there would be no harm in next month’s Budget promising a cut in personal and business tax rates from April 6 2024. It would give us cause for optimism, boost confidence and serve as a much-needed Conservative response to our present gloom.
Donald R Clarke
Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Landlords under fire
SIR – How right Matthew Lynn is.
Since the Government began its attack on landlords, I have reduced the number of houses I rent out, and now have only one remaining.
Anyone with a half a brain could see that taxing landlords so heavily, and making them implement so many regulations, would drive them out of the market, resulting in fewer available properties and higher rents.
Not all landlords are greedy and exploitative. The Government should think long and hard about how it has treated them.
SIR – Once again the virtues of wood-burning stoves are being extolled.
The suggestion is that everything will be fine as long as the wood is dried and a suitable stove is used, ignoring the fact that wood contains carbon. No amount of drying will remove its content, which presents itself as CO2 in the flue gases after combustion. In fact, for the same heat output as coal, burning wood results in more CO2 being released into the atmosphere.
So by all means enjoy your wood-burner, but don’t pretend that it is eco-friendly.
Burgess Hill, West Sussex
SIR – Before any readers rush to follow Pamela Wheeler’s advice (Letters, February 4) to save money by cancelling their energy direct debit, they should bear in mind that (certainly with British Gas) both the unit rates and standing charge will increase by 10 per cent, to be paid on receipt of bill.
Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Drugs in Canada
SIR – Jane Stannus is right to despair at British Columbia’s decriminalisation of hard drugs and legalisation of cannabis.
What is equally bizarre is that, when we were in British Columbia over Christmas, my 18-year-old daughter was not allowed a glass of wine with her dinner (something she has been allowed in Britain since she was 16). The province has very odd priorities.
SIR – I have no objection to the Welsh Rugby Union’s attempt – so far unsuccessful – to ban the singing of Delilah.
It always was an awful song. My mother was one of many WI choir members who had to sing it, but she resented the words.
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
SIR – Rather than using coins, I ensure my tulips stay upright (Letters, February 3) by pricking the stem with a pin just underneath the head.
SIR – My mother’s remedy for sagging tulips (and roses) was to put a drop of whisky in the water. This also worked wonders for reviving our ailing fairground goldfish.
Crockham Hill, Kent
SIR – When I ran the RAF Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre from 2002 to 2004, the two full days of medical, aptitude and leadership testing were as objective as possible (Letters, February 4), the sole aim being to maximise military effectiveness by identifying those most likely to succeed.
The manpower planning also made the process brutal. It didn’t matter how gifted you were, or how much clout your parents had. If the training requirement for that financial year was 10 pilots or administrators, and you came 11th in the selection process, you missed the cut.
Even then, there were targets to encourage an increase in the representation of women and ethnic minorities, but to let this skew selection or entry into training would have negated the point of the centre.
Gp Capt R J A Powell (retd)
Barry Island, Glamorgan
SIR – I read with sadness Allison Pearson’s criticism of the RAF diversity drive.
It is well established that a person of colour, and specifically a black person, is less likely to do well at school, less likely to go to university, less likely to get a higher-paying job and more likely to be incarcerated. These are shocking statistics in any day and age.
How do we try to readdress the balance? Well, partly, in my view, through measures such as positive discrimination. Yes, it’s uncomfortable – and, yes, it means that some will miss out. However, it is a way to overcome systemic inequality of opportunity.
So instead of recoiling in horror at the thought of positive discrimination, let us stop and ask some deeper questions, including: what kind of society do we want to be? I know I want to be part of one that has the capacity to see the bigger picture and is able to approach societal challenges with an open mind.
Lower Somersham, Suffolk
SIR – Starting off very early one December morning on a mountain walk in Mallorca, I called into a café in the village of Valldemossa (where Chopin wintered with George Sand).
The café soon filled with local tradesmen and farm workers. Not a business suit in sight. They ordered espresso and smooth Spanish brandy, and conversed before facing the winter air outside (Letters, February 3). How civilised.
No serious student should be scared of Ulysses
SIR – Academics, presumably with too much time on their hands, have placed a trigger warning on James Joyce’s Ulysses (last banned in 1922) on the grounds that the modern reader may find the sexual passages “difficult”. This, despite the fact that most people of student age have viewed pornography on the internet.
The only thing that is difficult to understand is how we have reached this point, with an endless stream of people finding new things to cancel.
Dr Martin Henry
Good Easter, Essex
The indefensible cost of the Lords’ new door
SIR – Your report about the renovation of the Peers’ Entrance to the House of Lords raises issues of great concern to many peers.
It is unclear to us how and why the costs have increased to £7.5 million – a rise of almost 300 per cent – since we first learnt of the planned renovation less than six months ago. It is also difficult to believe that the increase is “due to delays caused by issues unearthed during initial surveys and other works taking place nearby” or inflation, as the Senior Deputy Speaker stated in his recent parliamentary answer. Nor can such expenditure be justified at a time when so many are facing financial hardship.
These renovations have been proposed on the grounds of security, but we have seen neither the report which made these recommendations nor the financial case to support them.
Rather than ruin the magnificent Peers’ Entrance, it would be preferable to address the obvious security risks posed by the existing low barriers, which should be replaced by a perimeter fence that is both secure and in keeping with this World Heritage Site, while minimising the cost to the taxpayer. It would also be better if we were consulted in advance of these decisions being made, rather than being faced with a fait accompli by the House administration.
Lord Mancroft (Con)
Lord Strathclyde (Con)
Baroness Deech (Crossbench)
Lord Shinkwin (Con)
Lord Bridges of Headley (Con)
Lord Roberts of Belgravia (Con)
Baroness Meyer (Con)
Lord Dobbs (Con)
Lord Howard of Rising (Con)
SIR – Who are they hoping will make this door, Brunelleschi?
SIR – While the cost of the new door for the Lords does indeed seem remarkable, it is worth remembering that the oldest door in Britain is in Westminster Abbey across the road. It was made around 1052 and has survived for more than 900 years. Surely £7 million would not be excessive if the new door lasts as long.
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