Letters: In defence of Boris Johnson

16 July 2022

9:00 AM

16 July 2022

9:00 AM

Boris’s legacy

Sir: It is grossly unfair to assert that Boris Johnson’s legacy was the lockdown (Leading article, 9 July). His chief legacy was, of course, Brexit, followed by the crushing of Corbynism, the world-beating vaccine rollout, and his leading role in supporting Ukraine against the Russian invaders. Not a bad tally.

Most European countries, though not Sweden, imposed lockdowns of varying lengths and severity, on the advice of scientists and with overwhelming public support. Governments were on a learning curve when the vicious virus struck. Johnson’s government made mistakes, but got most of the big decisions right. We all know about Johnson’s flaws, but he was a remarkable prime minister. He deserves more credit than you give him.

Andrew Hughes


We want Conservatism

Sir: The transgressions by this Tory government are plain to see. Yes, the public are disgusted at the sleaze of MPs, they are furious at the lies from No. 10, and at the sheer audacity of those in power to impose lockdown on the country while partying like it was going out of style. However, the biggest problem is they are unable to perceive any identifiable Conservative policy actioned since leaving the European Union. Nowhere in the 2019 manifesto did it mention the highest taxes in 50 years or the wokery that has been allowed to infest public services. Tory voters want to see genuine Conservative policies in place. That is why Boris had to go. No matter who succeeds him, if he or she can restore true Conservative values to government, the party will win the 2024 general election.

George Kelly



Sir: Charles Moore, in writing that Boris Johnson’s departure will be seen ‘as confirmation that Remainers, whatever the voters decided, still have the power behind the scenes’ (Notes, 9 July), indulges in a classic bit of Remainer-blaming. There probably are people who will see it that way, but they are the sort who imagine Remainers plotting everywhere. The truth is that Boris was undone by a charge of Brexiteers, with Dominic Cummings chief among them, but with Michael Gove, Lord Frost, Oliver Dowden, Rishi Sunak, Nadhim Zahawi and many others playing a part. Do the Brexiteer backstabbers plan to rescue Brexit from the taint of Johnson – or are they hoping he will absorb all the blame for its less advantageous outcomes?

Jane Street


State and schools

Sir: It was a relief to finally see mention of Nadhim Zahawi’s atrocious Schools Bill in your magazine last week in James Forsyth’s piece (‘The contenders’, 9 July). Yet he only cites the bill’s faults regarding academy freedoms, not the way in which it removes the civil liberties of all parents by stealth. In proposing a register of all children not in school, and by allowing local authorities to ask homeschooling parents for any information they desire, the bill shifts the duty to provide an adequate education from parents to the state, and opens the door for invasive restrictions on anyone who ever wants to home educate. The Spectator has admirably and vigilantly criticised Boris Johnson’s thoroughly unconservative expansion of the state, but seems to have let this pernicious instance pass by.

Rhys Laverty

Chessington, Greater London

Jesus in Cornwall

Sir: As a former Cornish vicar, I know precisely what ‘Jerusalem’ is about (‘What bow – and why is it burning?’, 9 July). It refers to the legend of Joseph of Arimathea visiting Cornwall with a young Jesus at his side on a trading mission. Therefore those feet did walk and Countenance Divine shine forth upon England’s green and pleasant land. The legend has no historic veracity, but the Cornish will not be dissuaded from claiming the Lamb of God set foot in Cornwall long before the Church appeared.

The Revd Larry Wright


Grinding away

Sir: My understanding is that in his phrase ‘dark satanic mills’, Blake was referring to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

The Revd Dr Peter Mullen

Eastbourne, East Sussex

Thoughts on beans

Sir: I am with Henry Jeffreys on the subject of baked beans (Books, 9 July) with the Full English. Put simply, they are too runny. I follow my late father’s lead and stir in Marmite and a small knob of butter, and cook them down to the thick consistency I prefer. Alternatively, I mash them till they absorb the sauce, eating them straight away with brown sauce and some sausage or black pudding, a bit like Bengalis who eat their dahl first. Best of all was prep school’s long-cooked, almost encrusted beans, served on richly larded fried bread.

John Van der Gucht

Keighley, W. Yorkshire

To the grave

Sir: Hannah Tomes’s delightful piece on pathways (‘Notes on desire paths’, 9 July) reminds me that here in our Essex village, the old footpaths around the churchyard were called ‘coffin paths’.

Carl Stalker

Canewdon, Essex

Route cause

Sir: Regarding the article about desire paths, round these parts we have many tracks coming out of the woods and hedgerows, which we call ‘fox trots’.

Deborah Swaine

East Sussex

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