Letters: The Labour manifesto does nothing to earn the support of voters

Sir Keir Starmer holds a copy of the Labour manifesto while campaigning in the West Midlands
Sir Keir Starmer holds a copy of the Labour manifesto while campaigning in the West Midlands

SIR – There is absolutely nothing new or substantial in Labour’s manifesto (report, telegraph.co.uk, June 13). It proclaims there will be “change”, but where is the evidence?

The document is simply a continuation of the dishonesty, flummery and puffery that have discredited Westminster politicians in the eyes of the public since the Brexit vote.

Keith Phair
Felixstowe, Suffolk

SIR – Was Sir Keir Starmer surrounded by placards demanding “change” at the Labour manifesto launch to remind him to keep changing his mind?

George Bastin
Stroud, Gloucestershire

SIR – So Sir Keir Starmer backed the hard-Left, socialist manifesto of Jeremy Corbyn because he thought Labour would lose the 2019 general election (report, June 13). He has now moved, and the 2024 manifesto is what one might expect from Tony Blair, who was effectively disowned by the Labour Left.

Perhaps he is a typical lawyer who simply changes his argument to win the case. But this is hardly reassuring.

Eric Morgan
Ponteland, Northumberland

SIR – Whenever I hear members of the Labour Party talk about “working people”, I wonder who they are referring to. It would be helpful to know if the phrase simply means everybody who is in work. But I suspect it is not such an inclusive term.

James Charrington
Stamford, Lincolnshire

SIR – Sir Keir Starmer has promised that there will be no tax rises for “working people”. As a working person, I would be affected by a hike in fuel duty, council tax or even capital gains tax. Do I not count?

Jonathan Mann
Gunnislake, Cornwall

SIR – A week ago, as I was finding the general election campaign dull and predictable, I decided to make it more interesting by allowing myself an alcoholic drink each time I heard or saw the following: “Liz Truss’s mini-Budget”; “Fully funded, fully costed”: “Toolmaker”; “We have a plan”; or Sir Ed Davey in a life jacket and/or safety helmet.

I haven’t got a lot done since, but it has made watching political interviews much more enjoyable.

James Sneath
Eastbourne, East Sussex

SIR – The day after the last Labour landslide, I was so depressed that I asked my then girlfriend to marry me.

Many years of happy marriage and two children later, I can say unequivocally that it was the best decision I have ever made.

Now, I must decide what to do on July 5. Any suggestions?

Philip Usherwood
Elvetham, Hampshire

Building ugly houses

SIR – Tim Baker (Letters, June 10) asks why Poundbury’s attention to vernacular detail is not more widespread.

One reason lies in the difference between what is put forward in outline planning and what is approved in the reserved matters stage. This allows developers to promise beautiful schemes, respectful of historic styles and traditional materials, only to alter these in reserved matters, or even later.

Council planners are motivated by quotas and getting their hands on the Community Infrastructure Levy, and committees often approve schemes in good faith, ignorant of the changes to come, which almost never go back to committee for details.

A scheme near me, visible for miles around, promised a woodland setting and red tiles to reduce visibility in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. But we ended up with standard boxes, clad in white PVC, with almost every tree removed. The buildings are visible, ugly – and yet approved.

What is needed is a change in planning law, with all modifications to schemes requiring a return to outline consent. This would flush out disingenuous developers and feeble, overstretched planning departments.

Marie-Louise Neill
Battle, East Sussex

SIR – As the owner of a large buy-to-let portfolio of terraced properties in Lancashire, I’ve been subjected to the Government’s onslaught against landlords, which has included the reduction of tax relief, extra charges, and various other hostile changes.

I held my nerve as other landlords got out of the market, and have been rewarded with virtually 100 per cent occupancy, greatly increased rentals, and a rise in property values.

I would like to thank the Tories for my good fortune and look forward to the incoming Labour government trying to bash landlords with the probable introduction of rent controls – which have always failed when tried.

I don’t doubt that this will, by the law of unintended consequences, make me even wealthier.

Dr David Parkinson
Warrington, Cheshire

Eating animals

SIR – Animal Rising’s peaceful protest rightly highlights the suffering imposed on animals at the RSPCA’s Assured Farms (report, June 12).

Furthermore, it is a myth that animal slaughter is “humane”. The most “humane” slaughter involves terrible fear, suffering and distress, not to mention the misery that the animal has endured from birth.

All slaughter involves taking the life of an innocent being for the sake of palate pleasure. Only by going vegan can we stop this unnecessary pain.

Mark Richards
Brighton, East Sussex

Summer shelter

SIR – Nick Crean (Letters, June 13) wonders where the summer is. 
I have four tortoises, who at this time of year tend to be happily sunning themselves in the garden, munching on dandelions.

They haven’t left the warmth of the Aga since coming out of hibernation.

Alexandra Elletson
Marlborough, Wiltshire

SIR – I am on holiday in North Wales, and didn’t feel cold while riding on a windswept coastal cycle path – thanks to five layers of upper-body clothing, two pairs of trousers, two pairs of socks and thick gloves.

Margaret Reed
Trowbridge, Wiltshire

The new centre-Right

SIR – After the election, there will need to be a realignment of the centre-Right, and some sort of rapprochement between whatever is left of the Conservative Party and Reform UK.

This will be difficult if a majority of surviving Conservative MPs are social democrats rather than being in tune with party members and Red Wall voters. To that end, Conservative voters who may be tempted to back Reform should consider that it is more important to vote Conservative in those constituencies represented by MPs who share their views, such as Suella Braverman, Kemi Badenoch and Robert Jenrick.

Norman Inniss
London SE9

SIR – Sir Christopher Gent (Letters, June 12) implies that Nigel Farage somehow created antipathy to the EU to trigger Brexit. Yet had he listened to voices beyond his executive echo chamber, he would have discovered that many outside metropolitan elite circles had much to complain about.

The lesson is not that Mr Farage is some Pied Piper creating divisions, but rather that, when our elites fail to articulate widely held views, others will step into the breach.

Andrew Wauchope
London SE11

SIR – Allison Pearson encourages readers to vote for Reform UK (Features, June 12). Has she not read your report (June 11) on the Reform candidate for Bexhill and Battle, Ian Gribbin, who said that Britain should not have fought against Hitler? Is she suggesting that this is the sort of MP who is needed?

As Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, has pointed out, there have been three global shocks in the past 15 years, and while the administration has not been perfect, this does not justify jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Caroline Burke
London SW7

Turning the bus blind

SIR – The letter (June 12) about luggage compartments under the stairs of 1960s buses reminded me that, as a schoolboy, I had an inexplicable fascination with bus destination blinds.

The handle that turned the blind was adjacent to the stairs, and I couldn’t resist turning it on my way down, thus changing the destination.

On more than one occasion I was clipped around the ear by the bus conductor, but I considered this a risk worth taking.

Paul Blundell
Daventry, Northamptonshire

Two cents’ worth on Martin Amis’s finest book

the late author Martin Amis in a pub in Notting Hill, west London, in 2005
Last orders: the late author Martin Amis in a pub in Notting Hill, west London, in 2005 - Getty Images

SIR – Your article about Sir Martin Amis’s memorial (“More laughter than tears as celebrities remember literary giant Martin Amis”, June 11) tells us that his “finest book” is his novel London Fields.

Any opinion about what is an author’s best work is necessarily subjective, but I would argue that Money is much the better book.

The scene describing the odours from the protagonist John Self’s rented dinner suit rendered me helpless for some minutes.

Michael Oak

Starmer’s rotten knowledge of NHS dentistry

SIR – It appears that Sir Keir Starmer has been misinformed about the healthcare regulations of the NHS.

During the Sky leaders’ event on Wednesday, he claimed that the reason he sought private dental treatment was that he was not eligible for NHS dentistry (“Starmer says he sees private dentist after insisting he ‘doesn’t use private health’”, telegraph.co.uk, June 12).

The fact is that anyone living permanently in the UK is entitled to have NHS dental care. Sir Keir is certainly not entitled to free dental treatment because he is not pregnant, has not given birth in the past 12 months and is not under 18 (or under 19 and in full-time education). Nor, as far as we know, is he receiving low-income benefits or Jobseeker’s Allowance.

It is worrying that a person who may become the prime minister of the country should demonstrate such ignorance about the regulations.

Dr Peter Kertesz
London W1

SIR – With regard to Labour’s plan for supervised teeth cleaning for three- to five-year-olds (Letters, June 13), is the state to become responsible for parenting today’s children?

Cleaning teeth and maintaining a healthy diet are among the many responsibilities of parents. 
If this is no longer deemed to be the case, we are heading for a lost generation.

Michael Marks
Leominster, Herefordshire

SIR – Reading about Labour’s teeth-cleaning plan, I was taken back to my time at infant school in 1940.

The school dentist was visiting and the teacher said: “Hands up those who share their toothbrush with a brother or sister.”

Although I did not, I thought that the correct answer was “Yes”, so my hand went up. I was then presented with a new toothbrush.

My mother was livid when I told her how I had come by it.

Derrick G Smith
Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex

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