Your Editorial ("The Conservatives still have the power to keep extremists out of the party – for now") worried about the potential for the Conservative Party to be taken over by extreme right-wing elements. While I fully agree with your sentiments, I find it sad that no-one ever mentions the reality that the Conservative Party, together, perhaps to a lesser extent, with the Labour Party, has long since been taken over by other extremists. These extremists are extremely selfish, extremely stupid, extremely dishonest but are all are extremely dangerous for Great Britain’s future, and have collectively ensured that Great Britain has become less and less great for a great many decades.
The notable factor is that, since we have all ignored this unpalatable truth for so long, the scale of the extremism has been allowed to fester to the point that we have individuals like Boris Johnson who so many just see a great character of our times, instead of an individual who would not be allowed to join a self-respecting working man’s club. If there was only BoJo to worry about, it would not be so bad (letting aside the old and true adage that “birds of a feather flock together”), but it seems just so difficult currently to find a Tory politician that can be considered a trustworthy, honest and capable individual with the integrity to place the nation ahead of narrow party or self-interest.
No matter where our relationship with Europe ends up on 30 March next year, we can all be confident that we will not have a government or an opposition party with the ability and integrity to put Britain’s interests ahead of their own. That to me is the very nature of extremism.
Don’t believe the naysayers
Julian Self’s painfully laboured attempt to disparage Jeremy Corbyn will barely convince even those without a natural affinity to Corbyn’s politics (“For the sake of the country and his party, Corbyn must go”, Letters). It certainly won’t change the views of anyone who admires his many qualities.
Centre-right MP Chuka Umunna could have chosen any number of expressions in his carefully choreographed statement about Momentum and MP deselection, but he calculatingly chose to use the term “dogs” – perfect copy for the anti-Corbyn commentariat to get their vicious teeth into, and Umunna knew it.
I can assure Mr Self that Corbyn has massive support both within and beyond the Labour Party. And given the carefully manufactured media feeding-frenzy around antisemitism, what is extraordinary is that in the face of this nastiest of establishment propaganda assaults, Labour is comfortably ahead in the latest opinion polls.
Corbyn is still fully occupied with his historic task of dragging the political centre ground back from where Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher dragged it, far to the right; and by the next election, the task will have been completed in time for the return of the first genuinely progressive Labour government in many decades.
Dr Richard House
Confronting Jacob Rees-Mogg’s children is wrong
If you want to say these things to the man himself, that's your prerogative, but don't involve his children. This is way out of line.
So the two Russians were in Salisbury to look at the Cathedral. Don’t tell me. It’s got bells on!
There's nothing new about the latest iPhone
Apple has unveiled a watch that can detect heart problems – which were probably caused when people heard the price of the latest, biggest most expensive iPhone. It would be better to have a phone that can detect heart problems and then ring for help.
There seems to be no great change in the new iPhone to drive the expected demand except for the fact that it is the newest version and some people must have latest version.
Ahh, for the days when all phones came with a cable attached and it wasn't to recharge but to carry the message to the wall and onwards.
We must protect the countryside after Brexit
For too long public funding for farming has rewarded ownership, rather than stewardship, of the land. In that time stark environmental challenges have emerged. Only one in seven of our rivers is in good health. Populations of farmland birds, hedgehogs, water voles and butterflies are in serious decline. This shattered natural environment is in danger of being our generation’s legacy.
The government’s decision to put “public money for public goods” at the heart of the future farming system is therefore to be welcomed. Many farmers across the UK have thrived in running profitable businesses that enhance local wildlife and the health of soils. Rewarding sustainable farming methods in the future will encourage the production of better food, and will benefit nature, consumers and, ultimately, farmers.
There are uncertainties and limitations in the plan. There are no guarantees around maintaining current levels of funding, vital for farmers and the plan’s success. It is also important that the payments work towards legally binding targets in the forthcoming Environment Bill that are designed to reverse declines in the natural environment.
In the short term, much will depend on avoiding a no deal scenario. But for the longer term future of how we better manage our land and produce our food, this is a good ambitious start.
Shaun Spiers – Chair, Greener UK
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