Letters: Tory futures

'Nasty' Toryism won't woo voters

Share

David Cameron will only come further unstuck if he listens to the reactionary voices from the Tory backwaters urging a return to the days of the "Nasty Party". Former Conservative leaders William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard all took the Tories sharply to the right and all three were total failures at the ballot box.

If anything, Mr Cameron should take the Conservatives' local election disaster as a signal to build a broader cross-party coalition to create a grand alliance to address Britain's grave financial and social ills. Pandering to the dead wood on his back benches will only see his project for modern Conservatism land up on the scrapheap alongside the Big Society and Plan A. Further, deeper cuts to public services and rowing back on social policy reform will only set the Conservatives back by a decade.

The people of France have just rejected a "nasty" president along with his draconian austerity plan. The British electorate will follow and consign the Conservatives to another 20 years without a majority if the Nasty Party returns.

Anthony Rodriguez

Staines, Middlesex

 

As David Cameron ponders government for the second half of the current parliament and his relationship with the Lib Dems, instead of listening to the Tory clamour for pushing away his partners, he ought to consider listening to them more closely.

If he had listened to Vince Cable's views on Rupert Murdoch, much political damage would have been avoided. Perhaps he should now take greater notice of Mr Cable's approach to the economy before it is too late.

Chris Evans

Teddington, Middlesex

 

George Osborne tells Andrew Marr that he hears what the electorate is saying, but he is not prepared to review his austerity measures. Now, even his own backbenchers are saying that the Posh Boys are arrogant and out of touch. How right they are.

Gordon Wilde

Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire

Why Ofsted is no help to schools

 

I did a double-take when I read your leader backing no-notice school inspections by Ofsted (4 May). You claim that when the day of an inspection is known "duff teachers" are told not to come in and pupils are primed to be on their best behaviour. That reads like someone who hasn't the faintest idea how schools work.

Believe me, if you have a class of disruptive pupils, priming them to behave when an inspector is due is like asking Boris Johnson to talk about policy – not a hope.

I write as an ex-teacher – still a volunteer in two schools – and vice-chairman of a first school, due to become a primary, which has received Outstanding at its last two inspections.

Ofsted is essentially a bully. How it continues to survive in a world where workplace bullying is no longer tolerated I cannot understand.

As the head of the school of which I am vice-chairman said at a conference for outstanding school leaders: "Ofsted told me nothing about my school which my governors and I didn't already know."

I can only wholeheartedly endorse everything in David Saunders' letter (4 May) about the destructive effect, both before and after, of an Ofsted inspection on a school. I too have known Ofsted inspectors who feel very uneasy about what they have to do and do it because they need the work.

Far and away the best form of inspection would be for the inspectors to stay on and support, guide and encourage a school where they perceive improvements are needed. It's called living in the real world.

Michael H C Baker

Wareham, Dorset

 

Trying to hoodwink school inspectors is nothing new. One of our teachers (in the 1960s) told us how his own teacher (in the 1930s) devised the following protocol for his class to follow whenever an inspector was present: "If I ask you a question and you know the answer, raise your right hand. But if you don't know the answer, raise your left hand."

Ron Paterson

Sheepscombe, Gloucestershire

 

The dead hand of Ofsted is partly responsible for the near-demise of adult community education.

About 20 years ago, adult education caught the management virus and the ratio of administrators to tutors rocketed. Ofsted soon muscled in, though there was no need for inspections as students treated the classes like any other service they bought, voting with their feet and thus settling the matter of success or failure.

Many tutors, reluctant to spend unpaid hours with the new corporate stationery, left the system and often took their class with them to a church hall or their own home, where they could pursue the subject in peace. It is small consolation that the management junkies have virtually destroyed their own golden-egg-laying goose.

S Lawton

Kirklington, Oxfordshire

 

Olympic follies and vanities

 

It was rather mean-spirited of Ian McNicholas (letters, 1 May) to seek to place the blame for the increasing fiasco that is the Olympic Games on to poor Dwain Chambers. Perhaps he might consider the contributions made by the death of the old amateur spirit where sport was enjoyed for sport's sake, the surreal absurdity of East End residential blocks having surface-to-air missiles on their roofs, and the preening vanity of the men who run our country and London, and who spend extravagant sums on this circus while neglecting health, housing and transport needs.

Instead, Mr McNicholas seeks to put all the blame on one young inner-city black man trying to make something of his life, who once, a long time ago, did something foolish. Even murderers don't get real life imprisonment. Chambers has paid a huge price for what he did and deserves to rehabilitate himself.

Ian Craine

London N15

 

I have no doubt the Olympic Games could be a target for terrorists. Even so, there appear to be two problems with the proposal to station a surface-to-air missile battery on top of an apartment block near the Olympic park.

The first is the implications of shooting down a hijacked airliner over an area as densely populated as east London. The consequences don't bear thinking about.

The second is that if the security measures on the ground are successful and terrorists find it difficult to get explosives or weapons into the park, any building where missile batteries are sited and its occupants may become targets.

Julius Marstrand

Cheltenham

 

Gold for patience at Heathrow

 

Further to Mark Steel's excellent take on the border controls at Heathrow Airport (2 May), would it not be possible to award a gold, silver and bronze medal for the longest time anyone queued at Heathrow from 1 June to 31 August. If you can get a gold medal for sliding on ice, on a tin tray, at the Winter Olympics, surely marathon queuing at Heathrow should qualify.

Incidentally, I saw Theresa May waved through border controls recently; she must be wondering what all the fuss is about.

John Humphreys

Milton Keynes

 

We have been told that the public sector had to be cut because there were too many public-sector workers and they didn't do anything. Oops! Now we find at Heathrow airport that they do actually did do something and now there are not enough of them. What a surprise.

Robert Senecal

London WC1

 

The experience of arriving in England hasn't changed for centuries, it seems. Tobias Smollett (1721-1771) wrote: "The road from Dover to London was the worst in England and must certainly impress foreigners with an unfavourable opinion of the nation in general. The chambers are generally cold and comfortless, the beds paltry, the cooking execrable, the wine poison, the attendance bad, the publicans insolent, and the bills extortionate. Kent St [Old Kent Road] is a most disgraceful entrance to such an opulent city."

Jenny Macmillan

Cambridge

 

Ukip: good cause, wrong party

 

Although I am grateful to The Independent Diary (12 April) for quoting from my letter to the Receiver General of Westminster Abbey giving the litany of political disgrace which characterised Edward Heath's life (and therefore the unsuitability of a plaque to his memory in the Abbey) I have in fact not been a member of Ukip since I resigned in 2000. I had been appalled at the shenanigans and manipulations of the party by its leadership and could see no credible party emerging so long as that leadership was in place.

Ukip has represented a worthy cause but is not a worthy party. The rise of a good body of younger braver eurosceptic Tory MPs actually in Parliament is already proving a better bet for those who seek a way out of the labyrinthine constitutional and economic disaster that is the EU.

Rodney Atkinson

Stocksfield, Northumberland

Two centuries of philosophy

 

I am writing, as President of the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society, in response to Nicholas Gough's letter (5 May), to say that the Leeds society was founded in 1819 and is still going strong, as are a number of other such societies formed in the 19th century, such as those in Manchester and Newcastle.

The scientific collections of its Victorian members formed the nucleus of the exhibits in the Leeds City Museum and, as a registered charity, the society continues to support science, literature and the arts in the Leeds area by a programme of events and by the award of grants.

Congratulations to the Swindon society for their forthcoming 50th anniversary – only seven years now to our 200th!

Anthony North

Leeds

 

No progress on the building site

 

Fiona Dunlop (2 May) comments that the Bauhaus buildings on the Torten estate were put up in six hours in the 1920s.

Almost a century later, we are still building walls by laying brick upon brick, as in the 18th century, while roofs are still being built by laying tile upon tile, as in the 19th century, and hot water is still being produced by electricity or gas, as in the 20th century.

Completion time: months. Why?

William Robert Haines

Shrewsbury

 

Neglected auteuses

 

John Walsh, (Radar, 5 May), said thank goodness for Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, adding that without them British film would "lack almost all intellectual ability" and "boast no auteurs worthy of the name".

What about Lynne Ramsay, of Ratcatcher, and Sally Potter, director of Orlando? Yes, Ken Loach and Mike Leigh are great, but they're not alone. I can't imagine how John Walsh could forget Lynne Ramsay and Sally Potter.

Henrietta Cubitt

Cambridge

 

Inexplicable French election

 

So a warm welcome awaits President Hollande in the UK, but who is going to explain to David Cameron what a Socialist is? Certainly no one currently in the Palace of Westminster.

Bob Simmonds

Stickney, Lincolnshire

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

Read Next
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012  

Vote Tory and you’re voting for the rich to get richer and the poor to get poorer

Mark Steel
 

If I were Prime Minister: I'd end the war on drugs

Patrick Hennessey
General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected