Letters: the misleading and titled rule policy | Rishi Sunak
If, as your editorial suggests, we feel “that we are governed by ministers who consider the rules to be for others” (“The Chancellor has undermined faith in democracy”, Commentary), it is that they operate with the complacent condescension of Roman patricians. , a group ruled by birthright and within which Boris Johnson behaves like Caesar.
This helps explain what Andrew Rawnsley calls “The stench of entitlement now seeping from Rishi Sunak’s house as well as Mr. Johnson’s” (Commentary). Rawnsley questions whether Sunak was ‘naive, silly, complacent, cavalier or arrogant’ over his wife’s tax affairs, but once we recognize that Tory ministers do not see themselves as a class but as a political caste, it all becomes clear.
Only those who believe governing is their inherited prerogative could display the indifference, deceit and hypocrisy shown by ministers over the past two years, to which Mr Sunak added his outraged sense of privilege. They see no harm in confining wealth amid massive economic inequality. They are indifferent to criticism unless it is recorded in an urn uncomfortably close to home. They recognize no allegiance to the public they belittle, until it periodically gathers into an electorate.
Your view that people at Rishi Sunak’s headquarters (Richmond, Yorkshire) can forgive his latest mistakes is interesting but decidedly partial (“Sunak’s stunts and mistakes reveal lack of political savvy”, News). Many of his constituents have long noted that our local MP rarely misses an opportunity for self-publicity or situations that lend themselves to his seemingly insatiable need to perfect the Rishi brand.
Our local weekly newspaper invariably contains two or three “news” with photos of the MP. These are reinforced by his occasionally self-funded glossy brochure. This latest publication has a rare and idiosyncratic style (no doubt crafted by its private publicist) of using 30-40 self-references to “Rishi” on a few sides. The locals are not stupid; they acknowledge that the spin is masquerading as “news”. Northallerton Burgers may wish to keep calm, but many of us in the wider constituency are tired of our MP’s relentless thirst for publicity. Indeed, many of us think it would do well to adopt the Kingsley Friends posture of believing that less equals more.
Stokesley, North Yorkshire
The silence of solar energy
Your claim (“Three-quarters of Britons support wind power expansion”, News) has raised howls of protest in North Devon, where many hills are marred by the noise and shimmer of these giant prominences .
The countryside should not be industrialized in this hideous way. If instead every new build, supermarket, parking lot, barn, shed and factory were to be mandatorily fitted with solar panels – quiet, unobtrusive and relatively cheap – that would be much better, alongside the expansion of wind power. offshore which, as an island, we have in abundance. We must reach net zero quickly, but not by destroying our earth and our sky.
Prevent more Grenfells
You report (“Ministers admit ignoring repeated warnings in years before Grenfell”, News) that Eric Pickles, Gavin Barwell and Stephen Williams, then government ministers, failed to heed inquiry recommendations on the Lakanal House fire.
I was the attorney for the families of the three women and three children who died in that fire. Will the Grenfell Tower Inquiry consider stating that a duty should be imposed on the government to at least provide a reasoned response to recommendations made by coroners on safety to prevent future deaths?
Flexible hours at Stone Age
Reading Sonia Sodha on work schedules and the value of free time (“Covid has shown that flexible working is only a benefit for a select few”, Commentary) got me thinking about trying the anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, The Original Affluent Society, published over 50 years ago in which he demonstrated that for most of history, our hunter-gatherer ancestors devoted three hours a day to meeting their basic needs, leaving the rest of the time free for social and cultural activities. Other studies indicate that medieval peasants probably enjoyed more free time than those of us who lived in modern industrial societies.
Will Douglas Mann
Heroes of Operation Mincemeat
Given the renewed interest in Operation Mincemeat, now both film and musical (“The Legend of War Takes on a New Identity for Our Time”, Focus), it seems important to be specific about the nature of the company and its cultural representation.
One of the most remarkable theatrical works I have seen is the 2009 production Minced meat, by Adrian Jackson and Farhana Sheikh of Cardboard Citizens. He particularly focused on the homeless man – Glyndwr Michael – whose corpse made the adventure possible. Despite his pivotal role, he was described by Ewen Montagu, who concocted the plan, as “a bit of a scoundrel”.
History may be written by the victors, but it’s important not to forget those whose bodies – literally – made it possible. Fully acknowledging those who came before us would surely make our “finest hour” something to revisit.
Gareth Evans, Whitechapel Gallery
Rethink the thought of the day
On behalf of what I suspect are a number of your faith-based readers, I welcome Catherine Bennett’s justified criticism of recent contributions to Thought for the Day Radio 4 Today program (“I pray in vain for wisdom amid the platitudes of the Thought of the Day”, Commentary). A number have been downright embarrassing and only serve to discredit a faith-based worldview.
Assuming it is to continue to air, it’s time it was open to contributions from those who espouse a non-religious approach. It would more accurately reflect the society we live in, give voice to currently unrecognized ideas, and refresh a tired formula.
Reverend Stephen John Terry
Ottomans, West Sussex