There is plenty of common ground around which Labour, the Lib Dems and Greens could unite

Please send your letters to

Sunday 16 May 2021 17:55
<p>There have been many questions for Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, about his party’s future</p>

There have been many questions for Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, about his party’s future

John Rentoul says that he can’t see a common cause around which a progressive alliance could unite.

I can see a number of eminently suitable candidates for actual policies (rather than vague promises) which continue to be ignored by the Tories: protection of the environment, social care, an end to homelessness and an integrated national transport policy all come very quickly to my mind.

But the most important and obvious cause is the reform of the electoral system. The only way to defeat the Tories under the current skewed electoral system is to have an alliance of the progressive parties committed to this reform.

Then in subsequent elections everyone can vote for whom they wish, confident that their vote will actually count.

William Barnes


Indian variant

My husband and I are in our seventies. We’ve had our second vaccine but we were still concerned as to why India was not on the red list at the same time as Pakistan and Bangladesh?

A quote: “Common sense is not so common!”

This certainly applies to Boris Johnson... he should be ashamed of himself.

Suzan Crawley

Address supplied

We think it’s ridiculous that the UK government is looking to use the Indian variant of Covid 19 as an excuse to prolong the lockdown and maybe extend the easing of all lockdown restrictions from 21 June.

We should be allowed to come out of lockdown as planned regardless of any new variant. The vaccination programme is advancing really well and we as a country should have confidence in the vaccine to allow us to push forward with lockdown easing regardless of anything else.

What is the point of being vaccinated if we are not allowed to test the effectiveness of the vaccine, which means getting back to normal life? There is risk in everything we do so let’s risk it and come out of lockdown with confidence in the vaccine and once again, instead of locking us down, lock visitors out.

Neil Griffiths and Kat Morris-Griffiths


In Tom Peck's recent article, he advocates for a delay in reopening on Monday bars, restaurant and theatre, because of the Indian variant. It is clear that this variant is more transmissible. What he forgets to remind us is the whole lockdown was about protecting the NHS from being overwhelmed and deaths to society's most vulnerable.

There is no evidence yet to say that the vaccines do not protect us or at the very least prevent serious illness and hospitalisation. If they do not, then at that point I agree lockdown will need to be reinstated.

The reality is there will be a multitude of new variants in the future, but if we reimpose lockdown on that basis we could spend the next few years under lockdown! Is that realistic or appropriate?

Mr N Smith


US diplomacy

I note that the president of the United States has called on the prime minister of Israel to protect the lives of journalists working in Gaza. How thoughtful of him.

It would be nice to think that Joe Biden would consider asking Benjamin Netanyahu to extend that protection to the thousands of innocent civilians in Gaza. They have nowhere else to go.

Richard Lander

Address supplied

Toilet habits

After reading Donnachadh McCarthy's article, in which he mentions that bidets are the preferred option in the Middle East and Asia for cleaning one’s derrière in preference to flushing toilet paper, I was completely astonished Mr McCarthy didn’t mention that most of Europe have been using bidets for years, especially the French... they are famous for them!

In Italy, when Brits arrive to renovate properties they are always informed that the installation of a bidet is essential.

Please don’t exclude Europe in your article; the use of bidets in Europe would have been an obvious and very relevant observation.

Louise Parnell

Pesaro Urbino, Italy

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments