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Letters: Labour’s win can’t come soon enough

The beleaguered British public deserve better than this morally impoverished Tory government

Sunak’s exit from No 10 is long overdue. Photo: Henry Nicholls/WPA Pool/Getty

I read Patience Wheatcroft’s prescient “Demonising a Labour moderate” (TNE #389) with interest, and now, with an election at last in view, the government is fast tanking on an industrial scale.

The end of the Tories is like the end of the Birling family in that perennial classic An Inspector Calls. Rishi Sunak ditches his legacy legislation. Tory MPs vote early with their feet on a scorched earth of political expediency.

Labour are on the verge of a great win, and it can’t come soon enough for this morally impoverished government and the beleaguered public, who deserve better.
Judith A Daniels 
Cobholm, Norfolk

I wonder if many of your readers feel as I do about the forthcoming election? I have made an election grocery list:

Fiscal fudge 
Breaded populism 
Refugee stir fry
Whip’s dreams
Pilau of platitudes
Pickled smiles
GD Peas (frozen)
Economic yeast 
Westminster Bubble tea (bottomless cup)
Fresh-cut hubris
Rainbow lanyard fluff
Sticky data pudding
Quantitative icing
Trussed lettuce
Rishi Sumac (small jar) 
Question thyme
Smoked kippers
Statutory instrumints
Vennell’s Pork Pies
Sourdough futures
Free port
Line-caught integrity (out of season?)
650 ‘First Past the Toasties’ 
A case of disproportionate misrepresentation
Eton Mess
James Thellusson

My copy of the New European #389 popped through the letterbox on the same day Rishi Sunak stood outside in torrential rain to announce the general election. I didn’t rush to open it, thinking maybe the content would be last week’s news. Not a bit of it!

The cover story “What if Starmer is actually quite good?” with a three-page article by James Ball, articles on Ukraine, Slovakia and IS were all excellent. Liz Gerard’s piece on who ruined the country hit the spot perfectly as all the parties started campaigning.

It’s almost as if you knew the election was going to be announced, even though clearly the Tory Party hadn’t got a clue. I can’t wait for this week’s paper!
Helen Rushby 
Newark (we MUST get Robert Jenrick out!)

“What if Starmer is actually quite good?” asks TNE #389. He may well be. We’ve had enough of so-called charisma.

Starmer is intelligent, competent, meticulous, hardworking and determined. Those are the qualities that make a difference, not barefaced lies and gales of waffle.
Trevor Jarman

Being leader of the opposition is the worst job in politics. After the disaster of the last election, Starmer has handled it well.
Anne Gill

A pragmatic politician who can actually see the big picture is what the country needs right now. Starmer is a realist, not a fantasist.

Will he sweep to power with the goodwill of the nation and bring in a positive mood like we saw in 1997? Probably not.

However, I think by the time the 2028-29 election rolls round, he’ll actually be a figure who people appreciate for the improvements he’s made to the country.
Jonathan Polley

I think we all agree that Keir Starmer can’t be worse than the Tories. However, he is my MP and I’ve never seen him in the constituency. Jeremy Corbyn, if nothing else, is devoted to his constituents in a way that Starmer never will be.

He has changed his position on the issues he stood on, including Brexit. He did nothing to support the health workers and rail workers when they were picketing, and many of his constituents work in these sectors.

He says he won’t drop the two-child cap to benefits, which only hurts the children. For a human rights lawyer he has a very flexible view on human rights, defending the indefensible in Gaza, then denying what he said.

This is not what I voted for and I won’t vote for him again.
Jim Corr

Monster mash-up 
Alastair Campbell’s mention of the American tourists off to Loch Ness (Diary, TNE #389) reminds me of a story. Another group of tourists hired a taxi for a sightseeing trip around Inverness, with a stop at Moray Firth. As they wandered on the banks, a pod of dolphins cruised by in the distance.

“What are they?” asked one tourist. “Baby Loch Ness monsters,” came the taxi driver’s reply. 
Henrick Hauptmann

Re: “Triumph of the Wilders” (TNE #389). I give the new Dutch government a year. They will have to negotiate with the EU if they want to restrict immigration or to swerve nitrogen emissions restrictions. The EU will say no; Wilders will then dissolve the coalition, screwing his partners, and go back to the voters, hoping for a sympathy vote to get him a bigger majority next time. 
Rob Cherry

Geert Wilders will be constrained by the Dutch system, which is rather different from ours. In an uneasy coalition of four parties, he will have to negotiate to get what he wants. Let us not forget he got the most votes in the election, but his actual popular support was not much more than 20%.

Populists in government must either trim their sails, thus disappointing the people who put them there, or knuckle down and compromise. If they storm out in a huff and take their chances, the voters may not be impressed.

Wilders should enjoy the illusion of power while it lasts. The only way from the top is down.
David Rolfe

Lost Time
Damn you, Multicultural Man! I have been becalmed in volume four of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time for years now, and have been thinking I really must start again from the beginning, but have put it off.

Now I read that Will Self has reread the first six volumes prior to reading the seventh, despite his current ill health (TNE #389). He has shamed me into going back to the start now, too. I’m off to buy some madeleines…
Joe McLaughlin 
Bonnyrigg, Midlothian 

May I suggest that Will Self now turn to Casanova’s Histoire de ma Vie, which weighs in at a mere 2,870 pages in the Pléiade edition? Its vivacity, pace, variety and freshness will surely outlast the ponderous outpourings of the snooty madeleine nibbler.
William Bagshaw 
London SE25

Lucky Brits
Could I add to the praise for the uplifting “An immigrant’s love letter to Britain” by Paola Totaro (TNE #389)?

With the national media concentrating on negative, disaster and antisocial news stories, it is apposite to be reminded of the wonderfully civil and socially helpful people we Brits are (queuing, holding the door, litter-picking, volunteering, giving to local charities; local pantries, local food banks, charity shops, and clubs for our children right through to volunteers at Age UK/Concern) – irrespective of our origins.

And how lucky we are to live in the UK with universal healthcare and education, and the chance to vote on our preferred choice of government. Thank you Paola for reminding us.
Anne Clarke

Healthy outlook
Like millions of others throughout the UK I’ve despaired at the Tory government doing its level best to dismantle and privatise the NHS. I’ve been very fortunate to have enjoyed 69 years of excellent health knowing that, one day, my turn would surely come.

And come it has without warning. In March I noticed a symptom, contacted my GP, and eight weeks later, to the day, I’ve had major surgery.

On the second morning of my short stay in hospital, I was visited by members of the surgical team, and I asked how many of them had been present in the operating theatre. Ten was the reply – three anaesthetists, three surgeons and four nurses. 

Afterwards the ward sister asked why I had asked the question. I told her I was keeping count of every NHS professional who’d helped me on my journey. “Oh,” she said, “what number am I?” “63”, I replied. She looked pleased but surprised. 

My list comprised GP, MRI and CT staff, colonoscopy team, blood test staff, consultant’s team, stoma nurses, HDU and general ward staff, receptionists and porters, pre-surgery and pre-op staff, the physio and the multitude of analysts, who have all taken the time and used their expertise to save the life of one man. As I type, the number has risen to 84, and will continue to increase as I face further surgery in the future. But I’m thankful that I have a future.

I’ve been treated with overwhelming kindness and compassion; those basic qualities of humanity so apparently lacking in a Tory government.

I have no idea how much my care has cost, but I know I couldn’t afford it, nor will I ever be able to repay the 84 who have looked after me so far. The notion of “free at the point of use” is more than just an argument about money, it’s about how we treat each other. We show our compassion and humanity by paying into the communal pot through our taxes, knowing that one day our turn will come. The NHS has to succeed and, in doing so, we’ll show the world and each other that we are a country that cares for all regardless of wealth.
Alan Wood 
Morden, Greater London


Comments, conversation and correspondence from our online subscribers

Re: “Joe vs the moronic inferno” by Matthew d’Ancona (TNE #389). Watching the Biden v Trump debates will no doubt feel like watching Doctor Who when I was an eight-year-old back in the 1970s. Cushion at the ready, teeth clenched, pupils fixed – all the while praying the Doctor would make it through the next 30 minutes against whatever monster came his way. Come on, Joe!
Danny Abrahams

I’ve been hooked on American politics since 2016 and am hoping they heal themselves again one day. But it is their choice. 

Joe Biden was the wrong candidate this time and Kamala Harris the wrong VP. Both are unpopular, but Trump is also unlikeable, with added crazy thrown in. The debates will be crucial.

Biden handled himself well in 2020 debates. Head shakes, smirks and small laughs before the necessary slapping down of the child Trump.

Four years on, both are more gaffe-prone than before. It won’t be great telly, but having no audience at the debates benefits Biden. Trump gets his energy from others. Without it he will look even more insane.
Denny Ford

The Dilettante column on flat hunting and dating (TNE #389) was another great article by Marie Le Conte. She’s one of my favourite panellists on the Oh God, What Now? podcast, which all sensible people should listen to.
Geoff Stevenson

Re: The debate about women and the Freemasons (Letters, TNE #389). Are Lady Masons referred to as “Masonettes”? Just wondering, like.
Steve Livesey

Re: “Next stop Europe” by James Rodgers (TNE #388). I grew up between London and Italy (Rome and Umbria, to be precise). My memories as a child are of travelling between the two by car or by train.

There was a time when we would get the underground to Victoria, catch a train to Dover, get off, walk on to a ferry, get off at Calais and then get on a train to Rome. As a child, it was a great adventure. 

The Channel Tunnel ended all the faff at la Manche, as did Eurostar. I now live between Paris and London and Eurostar is one of the reasons. However, the London end is now horrendous. It’s not fit for purpose in the new, “improved” Brexitland.
Richard Riddle


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