Letters: The Tories need a period out of power to decide what kind of party they are

Suella Braverman and Robert Jenrick leaving Downing Street during their time as ministers
Suella Braverman and Robert Jenrick leaving Downing Street during their time as ministers - Eddie Mulholland/Eddie Mulholland

SIR – I do not often disagree with David Frost, but I must take issue with the premise of his article, “A Labour win will be a disaster. Too many Tories don’t care” (Comment, December 8).

It is not that Tories do not care; it is that too many in the Conservative parliamentary party are not true Conservatives.

The parliamentary party is completely disconnected from ordinary party members and those who would normally vote Tory. I agree that a Labour win will be a disaster – but so would another term in power for the current Conservative Government.

At least if we remove this Government, the party will have a chance to start again. It would be forced to reconnect with the electorate and might be worth voting for in subsequent elections.

Phil Coutie
Exeter, Devon

SIR – I am not opposed to Robert Jenrick’s position on immigration (report, December 7), but how can any minister resign at such a desperate time for the Government, and with an election coming?

He may be a good politician but he certainly lacks common sense, as do any other Tory ministers or MPs who arE considering a rebellion against the Prime Minister.

All Labour has to do now is keep quiet and watch the Tories self-destruct.

Alan Belk
Leatherhead, Surrey

SIR – It is time to stop wasting taxpayers’ money on the Rwanda scheme (“UK hands Rwanda extra £100m this year on top of £140m”, report, December 8).

The Prime Minister and his Cabinet are taking the public for fools. There must be better solutions. Increasing the Border Force budget would surely help.

Nick Smith 
Penarth, Glamorgan

The law on dying

SIR – Accounts of suffering experienced by terminally ill patients and those close to them are deeply moving, as I know, having been a volunteer hospice chaplain. But hard cases really do make bad law.

Apart from the philosophical arguments and the urgent priority of making good palliative care generally available, there is, as John O’Donnell suggests (Letters, December 8), the profound difficulty of putting in place effective safeguards. In this respect, the Assisted Dying Bill, which had its second reading in the House of Lords in 2021, may be said to be a triumph of form over substance.

The Bill – which, if enacted, would enable terminally ill adults to request specified assistance to end their own life – puts a great deal of trust in doctors, some of whom are strongly in favour of assisted suicide. But the certifying doctors, who may never have met the patient, simply cannot carry out the inquiries necessary to establish that a patient’s decision to end their life has been made “without coercion or duress”: such issues are not primarily medical. Doctors do not have the resources or expertise to conduct forensic investigations. Where, for example, is the border between a decision made under “duress” and one made under “influence”?

As a protection, the consent of the High Court is a chimera. The courts are already overburdened. Applications could become one-sided, box-ticking procedures. Even if there were some sort of formal, live hearing, who would be present and what would happen? The Bill does not allow for the involvement, at any stage, of the patient’s loved ones. No provision is made for opposition, nor even for entitling anyone (who?) to give notice of an application. Unless there were some obvious procedural flaw, in reality applications would be granted as a matter of course.

His Honour Charles Wide KC

SIR – In the early 1990s, for the law and medical ethics part of my degree, I had to write a dissertation on assisted death.

While gathering material, I came across a letter in the press from a retired GP. He stated that, for the whole of his career, he was resolutely against any form of intervention in end-of-life cases. Then his wife died of cancer, and he changed his mind.

Jack Crawford

Campus anti-Semitism

SIR – I could not agree more with both Douglas Murray (Comment, December 8) and your Leading Article on the same day regarding anti-Semitism on campus.

It is extremely alarming, though equally unsurprising, that the presidents of three top American universities – MIT, Harvard and UPenn – joined forces in their refusal to condemn students calling for a genocide of Jews.

As Mr Murray points out, elite American universities are far from alone in their ability to strike fear into the hearts of their Jewish students – and care not a jot about doing so. This sorry situation underlines the glaring truth behind the notion that Jews don’t count. Jews and Jews alone are – time and time again – fair game for all sorts of racist abuse and reprehensible bigotry. This is the mentality of the modern Left, and it is truly reprehensible.

Sebastian Monblat
Surbiton, Surrey

Boris in the dock

SIR – You published a letter (December 8) very hostile to Boris Johnson’s performance at the Covid Inquiry, between others more sympathetic to the enormous task he faced.

I very much incline to the latter view. It is clear that his critics have no conception of either the pressures on a head of government in ordinary circumstances or the impossible challenges of dealing with a pandemic that no one understood. 
It is also clear that, unlike those who took and take a simplistic view of what needed to be done, Mr Johnson was trying to balance the competing claims of public health, public finances and public liberties.

This seems to me entirely admirable in a prime minister, whatever other mistakes he may in hindsight have made.

Roger White
Sherborne, Dorset

SIR – David Harris (Letters, December 8) cannot understand why some people dislike Boris Johnson so much.

Perhaps they cannot forget his dishonesty, hypocrisy and incompetence. A few tears of self-pity at the Covid Inquiry are unlikely to erase the memory of lies to the Commons, parties in Downing Street and so many broken promises.

Adrian Charles
Enfield, Middlesex 
Francis Bown
London E3

Value of the BBC

SIR – The BBC (Letters, December 8) is a beacon of quality, professionalism and trustworthiness.

It is also tremendous value for money, with a weekly cost equivalent to one shop-bought cup of coffee. We meddle with this world-beating service at our peril.

Kevin Liles

SIR – If the BBC had advertised Young Chorister of the Year more widely, it would have won many plaudits. The choristers and music were excellent.

Fiona Davies
Tenterden, Kent

Sir Galahad’s fate

SIR – Jeremy Larken (Comment, November 3) is wrong about the destination of the Sir Galahad, sunk during the Falklands War. Its captain sent a signal at 12.15 on the night of June 7-8 1982, saying that he wasn’t sailing until the following night because of delays in loading equipment.

Here is what the official inquiry says in Annex E5 about the orders issued to him 37 minutes later: “This was discussed by the staffs of both Commanders [General Moore’s and Commodore Clapp’s] and [name redacted under FoI Section 40] advised the Duty Officer that Sir Galahad be instructed to sail in accordance with earlier instructions; by this he meant to Bluff Cove.

“There appears to have been considerable confusion over the destination of Sir Galahad and this is covered in Annex E8. The result, however, was that Sir Galahad was instructed to sail to Fitzroy.”

This shows the error made that night by Commodore Clapp’s staff in the signal’s transmission. Unarguably, Sir Galahad was sent to Port Pleasant (the harbour off Fitzroy Settlement) when it should have been sent to Bluff Cove (the next bay along, closer to Port Stanley), where the first half of the Welsh Guards had been dropped the previous day.

Crispin Black
Shaftesbury, Dorset

What would Napoleon snack on at the cinema?

General consumption: Napoleon on the label of “le Briennois” cheese, France (1950)
General consumption: Napoleon on the label of “le Briennois” cheese, France (1950) - Bridgeman Images/Bridgeman Images

SIR – Would it be apt if, during cinema screenings of the new Napoleon film, Époisses cheese snacks were served instead of sweets and popcorn? This was Napoleon’s favourite cheese.

The stench would certainly give an authentic atmosphere, as it is one of the smelliest cheeses France has to offer.

Tony Hall
Oulton, Norfolk

Talking turkey

SIR – Having cooked the main Christmas meal for many years, I have found that the perfect turkey (Letters, December 8) is one where you gently loosen the skin on the breast, then slide a good sausage meat stuffing in, being careful not to tear the skin. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly beforehand and remove any rings.

Put the turkey, turned upside down and with a glass of wine poured into the tin, into a very hot oven for 30 minutes. Then – if, like me, you have an Aga – place it at the bottom and leave overnight. If you don’t have an Aga, turn the oven down low.

In the morning, when the aroma of turkey permeates the house, remove it, turn the turkey over and lay streaky bacon over the breast. Then put it in the top Aga oven, or turn up the heat on a regular one, and cook until the bacon is ready to put between slices of a good white loaf. One beautifully cooked turkey – plus breakfast.

Strain out the majority of the fat, which makes for perfect roast potatoes. To the liquid left behind add pepper, a tablespoon of flour, a dollop of redcurrant sauce and a small glass of port, stirring over heat until it boils. There’s your gravy.

After the turkey has rested for an hour or two, carve it and put what is required for the day on a platter.

Sandra Crawley
Shanklin, Isle of Wight

SIR – Why do so many people persist in trying to find ways to make this most miserable of foods vaguely edible, when so many wonderful alternatives are readily available?

If turkey was any good, it would appear on tables all year round.

Vincent Hearne
Chinon, Indre-et-Loire, France

SIR – What is happening to retail? Where has all the stock gone? Time and again, when trying to buy Christmas presents, I have been told: “No, we don’t have it in store, but you can do it online.” I want it now. I am shopping in a physical store so I can see it, buy it and take it away.

I did order one present online from a chain store. It was click-and-collect, with next day delivery. A customer ahead of me in the collections queue was given two large bags. She said she would be opening them in the store as she would be returning most of the items. What a costly exercise.

Sue Flack

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