Letter: Ships of state

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Ships of state

Sir: Edward Heath is not the only former premier to whom a nautical simile has been applied ("After 46 years in Parliament, `old Dreadnought' sets sail for one more battle with the young guns", 1 February). Gladstone, referring to Peel, said that "former prime ministers are like great rafts floating untethered in a harbour".

There are many who think that every harbour needs elderly vessels, whether seaworthy or derelict. They are picturesque, lend dignity and keep pilots alert.

JOHN MITCHELL

London SE13

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