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Letters: The rise of unelected power poses a grave threat to Britain’s democracy

The Union flag flies above the Supreme Court flag
The Union flag flies above the Supreme Court flag Credit: paul grover

SIR – The new Government needs to take urgent action over the concerns raised by Charles Moore三级成人视频 and others about the rampant growth in unelected power within the “establishment”.

Mr Moore correctly focuses most of his fire on the judiciary because it is undeniable, except by the wilfully obtuse, that many senior judges have become increasingly – and, on the matter of Brexit, brazenly – political (although not party-political).

Also of concern are the attempts to shut down criticism of bias displayed by senior legal figures, Whitehall mandarins or BBC presenters. Yes, these people should be independent. But they must also be accountable.

Terry Smith
三级成人视频 London NW11

 

SIR – Charles Moore outlines a very important issue. No one – whether a civil servant, a judge or an economist – is truly independent. We all bring our personal beliefs and prejudices to our daily activities. His prescription is therefore correct: we elect politicians to make decisions, despite their flaws, because we can hold them to account.

All others are immune from our displeasure, and it is time to acknowledge this and roll back some of the constitutional changes of the past 15 years.

Tony Narula FRCS
三级成人视频 Wargrave, Berkshire

SIR – Nick Timothy advocates replacing the House of Lords with an elected chamber. Certainly some reform is needed, as the House itself has recognised in a number of voluntary changes it has introduced. But before wholesale reform is considered, there needs to be a clear understanding of the functions of the second chamber.

The Lords is a revising chamber that scrutinises legislation to improve it, ensure that it is fair, workable and proportionate, and minimise the risk of unintended consequences. It is fair to ask whether an elected chamber would provide the breadth and depth of experience and expertise currently present in the appointed one. Would elections provide a body of people who “know stuff”, or would they result in a duplicate of the Commons, which would claim an equivalent mandate and confront the Commons rather than accept its primacy?

By all means let’s have reform. But let there be clear agreement on the functions of a second chamber so that any future form is fit for purpose.

Lord Trees (Crossbench)
London SW1

 

SIR – Boris Johnson should beware of enlarging an already bloated House of Lords. There is no need to ennoble Zac Goldsmith in order to make use of his environmental knowledge.

三级成人视频Ennobling Jo Swinson, meanwhile, after she decided to ignore the Leave vote and then lost her seat, would be an insult to democracy and further undermine what little confidence we have in the second chamber.

Richard English
三级成人视频 Poundbury, Dorset

 

Taking on the SNP

三级成人视频SIR – The United Kingdom is precious, and Unionists must fight to protect it.

First, Ruth Davidson must be persuaded out of retirement to coordinate a serious opposition to the SNP. Secondly, it is time to start publishing figures on Government spending per head by region. I suspect Scotland receives rather more than Yorkshire, the North East and the North West under the Barnett formula.

Mike Metcalfe
三级成人视频 Glastonbury, Somerset

 

三级成人视频SIR – In Parliament last week, the SNP’s Ian Blackford kept saying that Scotland voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum.

Someone needs to remind him that it was not a regional referendum. Scotland has had two referendums. In the first, it voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. In the second, the United Kingdom – to which Scotland belongs – voted to leave the EU.

Richard Acland
Chepstow, Monmouthshire

SIR – Douglas Chapman MP (Letters, December 20) says SNP voters “would have their numbers expanded in a future referendum by European citizens and 16- and 17-year-olds. The writing is on the wall for the Union.”

He appears to be acknowledging that the SNP would once again stack the cards in its favour. This comes as no surprise from a party which, at the last referendum, denied a vote to expatriate Scots. What a way to finagle independence: rob nearly a million Scottish-born people of their birthright, give the vote to nearly 240,000 non-Scots, and then march the country away from a newly sovereign United Kingdom.

Victor Launert
Matlock Bath, Derbyshire

 

SIR – Chris Heard (Letters, December 21) is correct that, before any second referendum, the SNP should have to wait until the future of our long-term relationship with the EU is known.

三级成人视频It must also define its terms of entry into the EU as an independent nation. As the EU has indicated that Scotland would not be wanted, these would probably be quite onerous.

Alan Belk
三级成人视频 Leatherhead, Surrey

 

Another country

SIR – I agree with almost everything Sherelle Jacobs says about the BBC’s metropolitan slant, but she is wrong when she imagines a “Black Country drama with dodgy Brummie accents”.

I grew up and went to school in Handsworth, that part of north-west Birmingham closest to the Black Country. After medical school, also in Birmingham, I spent a year as a junior hospital doctor in West Bromwich, that part of the Black Country nearest to Birmingham. The school and hospital were two or three miles apart.

I struggled to understand some of the good folk of the hospital catchment area, so different were their accents. The vocabulary differed, too.

Keith Sumner
Derby

 

Landing on its feet

三级成人视频SIR – After reading the reviews, my friend and I nearly cancelled our trip to see Cats.

三级成人视频How glad we are that we did not. After a somewhat slow start, the film proved hugely enjoyable, with great singing and dancing and outstanding performances from Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and others. At the end I sought the views of others in our row. Their verdict was: “Brilliant”.

Virginia Douglas
三级成人视频 London SW12

 

Bank’s new governor

三级成人视频SIR – Why does Andrew Bailey deserve to be appointed governor of the Bank of England?

If one reads any of the reviews about the Financial Conduct Authority under his leadership, its performance is a catalogue of obfuscation, apparent ineptitude and inability to perform its function, to put it mildly. This has been to the detriment of its reputation and the protection of the public.

三级成人视频For this Mr Bailey appears to have been paid more than £2,000 a day by members of the industry it is his remit to monitor and control. Should we be concerned for our financial future?

Simon Jeans
Sherborne, Dorset

 

Patrolling the Channel

SIR – It is correct that cross-Channel people-smuggling (Letters, December 19) will continue as long as the traffickers and those trafficked perceive it as largely successful.

A problem with a policy of extended patrolling in French waters is that the new boats on which vast amounts have pointlessly been spent are, unlike the full-size cutters, unsuitable for sustained periods at sea, especially in such inhospitable waters. Buying the small (rescue) boats gave an illusion of useful activity but was not supported by a considered, long-term strategy.

David Raynes
Bath

 

King-sized gifts

sir – Bah humbug to sensible, minimalist Christmas presents (report, December 19). One of my best ever presents was a life-size cut-out of Elvis Presley in his gold lamé suit.

Sandra Hawke
Andover, Hampshire

 

三级成人视频SIR – Already into the fifth week of the miserable business of having our kitchen renovated, I came close to screaming when our plumber cheerfully informed us that he had just smashed the special bottle of wine we had carefully hidden under the stairs.

But then I read Judith Woods’s feature (December 20), about how she was not going to be defeated by such a trivial matter as not having a kitchen over the festive season, and felt a warm surge of fellow feeling.

Thank you, Judith Woods, for sharing. We shall sit among the dust and packing cases and raise a glass of whatever is still available to toast you and your family on Christmas Day.

Diana Jones
三级成人视频 London N12

 

Bamboo lavatory paper won’t save the planet

Roll up: lavatory paper for sale in the city of Xian, in China’s Shaanxi Province Credit: tim graham/getty

SIR – The idea that bamboo lavatory paper (Letters, December 20)三级成人视频 is more “sustainable” than the standard offering is absurd. Our Swedish friends manage their trees, pulp and paper mills with ecological zeal, and British production is so efficient that water is returned to sources cleaner than it was originally. I know because I made millions of tons of the stuff.

三级成人视频Chinese pulp and paper-making processes are highly polluting, and the eco-friendliness of bamboo plantations questionable. Moreover, the notion of shipping high-cube, low-weight products half way round the world is laughable.

Frank Rooney
三级成人视频 Stocksfield, Northumberland

 

Time to listen to GPs’ complaints of stress

SIR – As a recently retired hospital consultant whose wife is a GP, I take issue with J Meirion Thomas’s claim三级成人视频 that the stresses experienced by GPs are the same as those faced by consultants.

三级成人视频GPs work in relative isolation and without the support staff available to hospital consultants, who also have immediate access to diagnostic and other services that are not so readily available in general practice. In addition, the nature of clinical problems which may be a source of stress to a hospital consultant are quite different from those faced by a GP.

三级成人视频I agree that urgent consideration should be given to restructuring primary care in the NHS, but question how realistic it is to train nurses to be clinical specialists in general practice when there are barely enough to support existing services. With regard to these nurse specialists providing support for GPs in caring for patients with chronic conditions, Mr Thomas may be interested to learn that practice nurses already do this.

If radical reforms in primary care are to take place, they should be led 
by GPs who understand the sources 
of stress that are harming recruitment.

Richard Nutton
Edinburgh

SIR – I am a GP, and have contact with many trainees, some of whom are disillusioned by their administration workload. Every day, before a patient is even seen, there are hundreds of blood results to look at, with each abnormal one requiring further assessment, as well as medication reviews and hospital letters to act on.

三级成人视频It is time to separate primary care into urgent care, seeing patients on the same day for acute ailments, and chronic disease management and elderly care. This would enable more considered consultations for complex patients, and efficient and safe consultations for acute conditions. It would also reduce the burden on A&E departments.

Overlying all this is the crisis in social care. I hope the Government starts cross-party talks with the urgency that this problem requires.

Dr Marion Latimer
St Helens, Lancashire

 

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