Letters: The Rwanda resignations leave traditional Tory supporters in despair

A dog looks out of the door of a launderette, set up as a polling station in Oxford, west of London, as Britain holds a general election on December 12, 2019
A dog at a launderette, set up as a polling station, during the 2019 general election - AFP via Getty Images

SIR – In resigning as deputy chairmen of the Conservative Party over Rishi Sunak’s Rwanda Bill (report, telegraph.co.uk, January 16), Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke-Smith highlighted the obvious: voters have not stopped being Conservative – it is the Conservative Party itself that has done so. 

In the past decade, the rate at which it has cynically betrayed its core voters has soared. Such betrayals now happen weekly. The few dozen MPs left with proper Conservative values would be best advised to defect to Reform UK and support a party that favours strong border controls, common sense, family-friendly social policies, and a strong entrepreneurial economy – all traditional Conservative values. 

Keith Phair
Felixstowe, Suffolk

SIR – Who is the loser here? So far we have paid £240 million to Rwanda – for flights that will never take off. 
Stuart Moore
Bramham, West Yorkshire

SIR – What is the point of voting for the Conservatives if they enact Labour policies anyway? 

Like Labour, the Conservatives have done all they can to undermine Brexit. They believe in massive government spending. They have raised taxation to an extent that would have delighted Harold Wilson. And they have governed with Labour’s signature incompetence.

The choice at the next election is between socialist ideology delivered by Labour or the Tories, and the Conservative, libertarian approach adopted by Reform UK.

Dr Steven R Hopkins 
Prospective parliamentary candidate, Reform UK
Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire

SIR – Once again we see the Tory Party – even when presented with the open goal of Sir Keir Starmer – hell-bent on destroying itself by infighting.
Those of us alive during the various Labour attempts at government since the Second World War remember months of hope followed by years of disappointment – always ending in penury.

A glance at the woeful Labour administration in Wales and the equally disastrous SNP regime shows there is still a chance for the Tories. But they will need imagination, drive and strong candidates to succeed. 

At last we have a PM who is a decent person, without an axe to grind – in contrast to some of his predecessors. We should give him a chance.

Brian Farmer
Braintree, Essex

SIR – While Labour enjoys a clear lead in recent polling, it is worth remembering that in June 2017, when Theresa May went to the country, she did so with a 20-point lead – which was then lost during the campaign. 

I am sure that neither Rishi Sunak nor Sir Keir Starmer has forgotten this.

Richard Coulson
Gillingham, Kent

Red Sea attacks

SIR – I was a chief engineer officer in the Merchant Navy and spent 15 years serving under the Red Ensign. I am horrified by the outrage expressed about the military action being taken to ensure the safety of civilian ships going about their lawful – and necessary – business in the Red Sea (report, January 16).

For people of an island nation, we are amazingly ignorant about life at sea. Without those professionals who take up the challenge, our standard of living would be sorely tested. Truly they deserve all the protection available. They are not a hidden luxury; they are an absolute necessity.

Paul Hancock

SIR – Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary, continues to refer to “our deterrent” and “military assets” (“Our ‘can-do’ Army will deal with troop cuts, says Shapps”, report, January 16). 

I joined the Army in 1974 and was sent to Northern Ireland, Belize, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, the Congo and Afghanistan. Colleagues fought in the Falklands, Iraq, East Timor and plenty of other places. 

In that time we have deterred precisely nothing. As for our “military assets”, they can best be summed up by the two aircraft carriers sitting idle in Portsmouth Harbour while we face a maritime crisis in the Red Sea that affects our security and economy.

The greatest deterrent we have is the sight of British troops on the ground, backed up by appropriate maritime and air assets, clearly ready to go. Sadly, that aspect of our Armed Forces is suffering due to misguided priorities, under-funding, dreadful procurement and the failure to invest in personnel. 

If Mr Shapps is not careful he will soon find “can-do” replaced by “used-to-be-able-to-do”.

Col Mark Rayner (retd)
Eastbourne, East Sussex

SIR – I am well aware that our Servicemen and women have a “can-do” attitude, but I do not believe it is right, moral or responsible of politicians to put our military in a position where they are deployed to defend our country with that attitude to rely on and precious little of anything else.

Lady Dutton
Sherborne, Dorset

Cut to the music

SIR – Will Rudge’s use of Nellie the Elephant in resuscitation is fine (Letters, January 15), but I moved up a stage or two culturally by wielding a skin grafting knife (like a cut-throat razor with a roller on the front) to the Scherzo movement from Beethoven’s Eroica symphony, at one stroke to the bar. 

At least the process didn’t last as long as the music.

Dr K Nesbitt
Ramsey, Isle of Man

SIR – Music has uses beyond structuring typing lessons or providing a tempo for resuscitation. It can also help calibrate the duration of car journeys. 

The time taken to travel from my home to Cambridge is the same as the span of the first movement of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony. From my previous home, in Shepperton, to Twickenham equated to the Allegro of Schubert’s Piano Trio No 2 in E-flat major – albeit in rush hour.

Dr Millan Sachania
Chertsey, Surrey

SIR – When my mother was learning to play golf she was told to hum The Blue Danube as she swung the club. She never became a very good golfer but still loved the game.

Patricia Essex
Hedge End, Hampshire

University’s purpose

SIR – I agree with Michael Deacon (Comment, January 16) that it would be useful to redetermine what our universities are for. They were founded as centres for research, but now a common view is that they are simply expensive educational luxuries, irrelevant to the real world.

Mr Deacon suggests university courses should prepare students for the world of work. Here he is wrong. Universities should remain primarily centres of research. They should not be vocational training facilities. Thirty years ago, the UK had excellent institutions, whose aim was to prepare students for work: polytechnics. In 1992 these were redesignated as universities for reasons that were unclear. Their reintroduction would be a welcome initiative.

My own institution was once Thames Polytechnic. It trained teachers, nurses, librarians and offered other professional courses – making graduates highly employable – but undertook little research. Everyone knew what their institution was for.

Dr Mark Betteney
University of Greenwich
London SE9

SIR – Foreign students paying £30,000 each keep the university gravy train going. My son-in-law, while helping my granddaughter with her final project, advised her to seek assistance from her tutor. She replied that she didn’t know who her tutor was. 
Richard May
East Grinstead, West Sussex

Amazon health service

SIR – My husband was discharged from the NHS with two different-sized crutches. After hours of trying to rectify this and getting nowhere, I reluctantly turned to Amazon. 

Within five minutes the crutches were ordered. They arrived the next morning. I’ve often been heard since saying that Amazon should run the NHS (Comment, January 16). 

My husband had paid National Insurance contributions for 47 years.

Margaret O’Connell
Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire

Flash infliction

SIR – Another annoyance, especially at night, is the habit of many motorists to flash their full beam as a thank you for letting them come through in a congested area (Letters, January 16). Many older drivers say this causes them momentary degraded vision.

Keith Hewitt
Bollington, Cheshire

Let shoppers buy beautiful British tomatoes

Pineapple and Tomato by the English painter William Nicholson (1872-1949)
Pineapple and Tomato by the English painter William Nicholson (1872-1949) - www.bridgemanimages.com

SIR  – I recently bought some beautiful, ripe tomatoes on the vine that came from Holland. 

Since the climate there is similar to Britain’s, why can’t the same be grown in this country to save shipping?

Judy Williams
Lydeard St Lawrence, Somerset

SIR – The article about nutrients in foods (Saturday, January 13) cites several cases of fortified products as sources. These are therefore processed, which we are told is not good for our health.

I agree with the sentiment of the article on moving to a healthy diet – but it also shows you can’t beat the real thing.

Rob Williamson
Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire

SIR – New Year is flooded with good intentions and diet books. Yet experts never seem to be aware that the simplest way to lose weight and keep it off is to chew food thoroughly.

Mark Macauley
Heytesbury, Wiltshire

SIR – I believe we should stop eating meat, dairy, fish and eggs to prevent animal suffering and death. That is why I am vegan.

In the meantime, MPs will ban live animal exports (Week in Westminster, January 16), but this will not apply to Northern Ireland, as MPs have conspired to keep it effectively in the EU. That’s why I’ll vote Reform – to restore sovereignty.

Mark Richards
Brighton, East Sussex

A history of prejudice against Jews in cricket

SIR – Cricket South Africa has relieved the Jewish cricketer, David Teeger, of the captaincy of the under-19 team (Sport, January 13) on the purported basis that his position on Israel could “result in conflict or even violence, including between rival groups of protesters”.

We are the co-curators of an exhibition on the Jewish community and cricket, on display at Marylebone Cricket Club Museum. It documents historic instances of anti-Semitism in the sport, and the adverse impact that such prejudice had on the careers of Jewish cricketers and also, as in the case of Percy Fender, cricketers erroneously thought to be Jewish. Regrettably, by its treatment of David Teeger, Cricket South Africa appears to have provided a modern-day instance.

Just as the MCC cancelled its tour of South Africa in 1968-9 in light of the D’Oliveira affair, so should the England and Wales Cricket Board now take a moral stand regarding the upcoming Under-19 Cricket World Cup.

Zaki Cooper
Daniel Lightman KC
London W1

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