Sir: It is typical of the sloppy zealotry of your Australian edition, which is so at odds with the tone of the mother newspaper, that you would be persuaded to print a letter as stupid, not to mention linguistically spastic, as that written by G. J. May, in which that individual speculates about the question to be asked in the forthcoming ersatz plebiscite. Had G. J. May, or even better, your Australian editorial staff, bothered to check the Australian Bureau of Statistics website, they would have seen that the exact text of the question has been there for some weeks. And no, I’m not going to set it out here because the odious Mr Dean and his minions need to learn some basic research skills, starting now.
Sir: Hal Colebatch writes (Spectator 26.08) of “the chasm that has opened” between sections of the Liberal Party. We’re perhaps not all as stereotyped as he suggests. As a lifelong Liberal I’m not opposed to SSM and as well I’m pro choice on abortion and euthanasia. At the same time I’m for equality of opportunity, absolute freedom of speech, free trade and balanced budgets. Debate in the USA seems to thrive without a s18C. Even freedom to wear that symbol of repression, the burqa, if any are so little self regarding. Its freedom that is the key. Individual freedom to do any of the above or none at all. Its taken us centuries to evolve to this point. Thats our heritage and its under constant encroachment.
But theres one area where I’m opposed to freedom and thats freedom of entry to Australia. Arrogant minorities call the shots today. Islam is completely at odds with the concept of personal freedom. Theirs is a culture of coercion. Its incontrovertible that in over one thousand years Islam has not evolved. Its beliefs remain frozen in the ninth century. Why will it change here? How can the disparity of values ever reconcile? If we dont reconcile Muslim migration with our hard won values sooner rather than later our heritage of freedom will become something only old people remember.
How to repel snowflakes
Sir: I strongly object to Rod Liddle’s description of Cherie Blair as a Scouse besom. She was born in Bury.
It’s almost as bad as stating our deputy PM is a Kiwi.
Spring Hill, Qld
The future of Lord’s
Sir: Roger Alton (Sport, 2 September) has hit the spot and no doubt touched a nerve or two at the MCC. The club thinks it has been fair to all members in giving them a say in the future development of Lord’s, but it has sent out in an email to members a video which presents only the case for the committee’s preferred masterplan. Every respected speaker on that video, including my former captains Mike Brearley and Mike Gatting, are ‘pro’ the masterplan. Although some objections to it are raised, not one speaker is featured to endorse the aesthetic and financial benefits of the alternative Rifkind-Morley plan — which would have a completely different effect on the Nursery End of the ground.
The MCC urges its members to vote as a matter of supreme importance, but they have shown those members a very one-sided view. I for one will not be voting in favour of their masterplan, but I suspect it will make little difference, since the membership normally prefers to follow the committee’s chosen path.
Sea walls won’t save us
Sir: Fraser Nelson and Rupert Darwall are right to argue that the tragic fallout from Hurricane Harvey highlights the importance of resilience (‘Lessons from Houston’, 2 September). But to suggest that we can always adapt to climate change and should prioritise resilience over emission reductions is a leap that could spell disaster.
The ‘let’s just adapt to climate change’ hypothesis is based on an outdated understanding of clean technologies and climate policies. To suggest adaptation is cheaper than mitigation ignores the fact that clean energy is already the most cost-effective energy source in many countries. No country is being ‘forced… to adopt expensive energy policies’. They are embracing decarbonisation because it offers the most attractive development path. That is why China is the world’s largest cleantech investor.
The IPCC says that over 4˚C of warming this century is possible. To argue that economic growth will automatically protect us is to put all our eggs in one very rickety basket. That is why virtually every government on the planet (with the notable exception of Trump’s) has concluded that it is better to hedge bets and invest in climate resilience and mitigation. Sea walls alone are unlikely to be enough.
Missing the point
Sir: Judging le Carré novels by their politics as Toby Young does (Status Anxiety, 2 September) is missing the point. In Absolute Friends, it is an ‘unsavoury…agent provocateur’ (not a ‘sympathetic’ character) who reels off the list of right-on thinkers while the ideologically confused hero can only reflect: ‘I love them all, but I can’t remember a word any of them said.’
Le Carré does indeed write a great ‘airport thriller’, drawing you into exciting, unfamiliar worlds and keeping the pages turning, but his appeal lies as much in the elegance and wit of his language, his ear for dialogue and his meditations on loyalty. Condemning an author because his ‘novels gave succour to the enemy’ is the kind of literary criticism one would expect from the Soviet Writers’ Guild.
Queen Camel, Somerset
Subscribe to The Spectator Australia today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator Australia for less – just $20 for 10 issues