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Letters: Downing Street was wrong to keep unseaworthy Sir Kim Darroch afloat

Matt scores another bullseye
Matt scores another bullseye Credit: Matt Pritchett/Matt Cartoon

SIR – It is unclear why Sir Kim Darroch was not immediately recalled as British ambassador to Washington by No 10 and the Foreign Office, being holed below the waterline through no fault of his own. What admiral would keep a ship at sea in such a state?

Boris Johnson was quite right not to underwrite his seaworthiness, unlike No 10 and the Foreign Office.

Andrew Payne
Horton-cum-Studley, Oxfordshire

 

SIR – How can it reasonably be argued that the debate on British television late on Tuesday evening caused our ambassador to resign the following day? His position was undermined by the US President, which made his job impossible, well before that debate.

The former was the causa causans, the latter at most a causa sine qua non. Theresa May, as Prime Minister, must now appoint a replacement, but only after a private consultation with Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt. All three should agree on who that should be.

However, we should also look at the reasons for all the fuss. To describe any government as “inept” and “incompetent” is hardly a resigning offence. Donald Trump’s overreaction is, if anything is, what justified that.

This whole affair has only served to further muddy the already cloudy waters of the Brexit debate, which hardly needed any more of that.

David Crawford
Llandudno, Conwy

 

SIR – Both Boris Johnson and Sir Kim Darroch have acted in the national interest, as one would expect. If only Mr Johnson’s critics could act in the same way. The fault lies with whoever leaked this story.

Mr Johnson has shown statesmanship. His critics, pique.

Dr Gerald Edwards
Glasgow

 

SIR – Sir Alan Duncan is prepared to put petty spite before national interest in advocating an unethical fast-track appointment of the next ambassador to the United States by the May administration.

Rodney G James
Brasschaat, Antwerp, Belgium

 

SIR – Whoever appoints our new ambassador to Washington, would it be too much to ask that an Atlanticist is appointed to this most important post, rather than a Europhile?

Mark Robbins
Bruton, Somerset

 

SIR – Boris Johnson should appoint Nigel Farage as ambassador to Washington. It would please Donald Trump and kill the Brexit Party.

Don Cowie
Poole, Dorset

 

Port in Porthcawl

SIR – It is worth drawing attention to the fact that, according to BBC Wales, the introduction of a minimum unit price for alcohol in Wales – which ministers believe could contribute to saving a life every week – is currently being delayed because of objections raised by Portugal under EU rules.

Karen McMillan
Llandudno, Conwy

 

Doubles secrets

Andy Murray of Britain and Serena Williams of the US during their third round mixed doubles match Credit: Will Oliver/Rex

SIR – Wimbledon doubles matches are being ruined by the constant touching of hands after every point and the hidden chatter behind cupped hands.

I wonder what gems of tactical advice are being offered? Perhaps: “Hit the ball over the net.”. The Murray brothers are the biggest culprits.

Steve Eades
Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex

 

SIR – I am puzzled by the apparent lack of attention to the appearance of the female line judges at Wimbledon. A good proportion of them wear a skirt which, even if the wearer is not “well built”, is remarkably unflattering.

Would it be beyond the resources of the budget to find someone to design a more stylish and suitable outfit for these women?

Alison Syner
Macclesfield, Cheshire

SIR – Today at Wimbledon is surely intended to enable those not able to watch during the day to have a comprehensive view of play – play being the key element.

So the BBC might consider doing away with post-match interviews with players, who are exhausted and rarely have anything original or of interest to say. I might then see as much tennis as possible, which is surely the aim.

Charles Holden
Micheldever, Hampshire

 

Pocket or two

Princess Anne, here in 1973, has the same habit as her brother Prince Charles Credit: Tim Graham Photo Library/Tim Graham Photo Library

SIR – Mark Anderton (Letters, July 11) observes that Boris Johnson always has his hands in his pockets, and remembers being told that this is “a sign of a slovenly and disorganised mind”. The Prince of Wales has the same habit, so I think not.

Anthony Shorter
Trowbridge, Wiltshire

 

SIR – At Malvern College it was a sign of seniority: one hand in pocket was allowed after the first year and two after the next year. The school also had a reputation for sartorial excellence.

Jeremy M J Havard
Chichester, West Sussex     

Call me Madam

British transvestite artist and potter Grayson Perry poses with his work after winning the Turner Prize Credit: Ian Hodgson/Reuters

SIR – Dr David Mackereth (report, July 11) refused to call a 6ft bearded man Madam and lost his job. If he had called him Madam he would have lost his marbles.

Dr Charles Rees
Christchurch, Dorset

 

SIR – One need not be a Christian to applaud Dr Mackereth’s observation: “If you believe in gender fluidity, gender is no more than one’s own fantasy about oneself.”

Charles Lewis
London N2

 

SIR – Healthcare becomes even harder as people deny scientific facts. If I “identify” as a hippopotamus, would my GP refer me to the RSPCA?

Tim Bradbury
Northwich, Cheshire

 

SIR – If I were in a ladies’ loo and a tall, bearded bloke came in, would I scream in fright or ask him if he wanted to borrow my lipstick?

Marianne Stevens
Halls Head, Western Australia

 

Votes in anti-Semitism

Jeremy Corbyn the leader of the Labour Party Credit: Aaron Chown/PA

SIR – Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, is an enemy, inter alia, of the United States, Israel and Nato, and he sides with enemies of his own country. His chosen allies are Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Hiezbollah and Hamas. So it is no surprise that he appeals to anti-Semites.     

Anti-Semitism in the extreme- Left finds comfort in his Labour Party, not only because Corbyn tolerates it but also because there are votes in it.

By declaring his hatred of Israel - the kind of hatred that can overspill into hatred of Jews (a concept Corbyn has neither the will nor intellect to analyse) - he attracts votes from the myriad factions where anti-Semites reside.

These far outweigh any votes lost from Jewish factions or sympathisers. Observe the recent Peterborough by-election where the (successful) Labour candidate had endorsed an anti-Semitic Facebook post.

David Crigman QC
Birmingham

 

Abortion and rights

SIR – The Commons debate on abortion in Northern Ireland (report, July 11) covered the consequences of adopting recommendations on the optional protocol of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

These include repeal of sections 58 and 59 of the Offences against the Person Act, which would have the effect of decriminalising abortion in England as well as in Northern Ireland – leading to relaxation of the safeguards in the 1967 Abortion Act.

During the debate it was repeatedly emphasised that the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women does not have the status of the European Convention on Human Rights, which does not require decriminalisation and, indeed, does not include a “right” to termination of an unborn life. Such a clause would go against the “right to life” assigned to every human being.

Only about half of Conservative MPs were available on Tuesday to stand up on these fundamental ethical issues.

Colin Peachey
Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex

 

A green thought

Like many others, William Sitwell loves old lawnmowers Credit: Andrew Crowley

SIR – The great benefit of a noisy petrol lawnmower (Letters, July 11) is the chance to escape interruption and enjoy one’s own thoughts.

Edward Church
Selling, Kent    

 

Fishermen mustn’t be caught again after Brexit

A Folkstone fisherman checks his nets after a 12-hour shift trawling in the Channel Credit: Andrew Aitchison/In Pictures

SIR  – The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations is seeking a firm commitment from the next leader of the Conservative Party that he will not allow fishing to become a bargaining chip in Brexit renegotiations with the EU.

We represent the fishing industry in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and we exist to provide a voice for fishermen and seek policies that will benefit the whole British fishing industry.     

More than 40 years ago, when Britain joined the European Economic Community, fishing rights were traded away and fishing communities were devastated. The unfair Common Fisheries Policy that resulted means that we give away about 60 per cent of our natural fish resources. Thus, British fishermen are limited to catching only 9 per cent of cod in the English Channel, while French fishermen have an 84 per cent share.

We were pleased by promises made to us by Theresa May that, after leaving the EU, Britain will become an independent coastal state. Brexit presents a real opportunity for British fisheries. We are already world leaders in sustainability and innovation, and our industry can – and will – thrive after Brexit, but it is essential that our fishing rights are not traded away as they were 46 years ago.

This betrayal is still felt among our industry, and a new prime minister that sacrifices fishermen will not be forgiven.

Barrie Deas
CEO, National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations
York 

 

Philby father and son: both bad eggs 

A decoration awarded by the KGB to Kim Philby for his contribution to the national security of the USSR Credit: Alexander Shalgin/Alexander Shalgin

SIR – Charlotte Philby (Features, July 8) condones her grandfather Kim’s treason on the grounds that he was a Communist rather than “a Nazi apologist”.

She may not be aware that her great-grandfather, St John Philby, was incarcerated under the Defence of the Realm Act, section 18Bb, in October 1940 for his anti-British propaganda at a critical time for the country in the Second World War. During his time in prison, he read Hitler’s Mein Kampf and wrote his own political tract, Philosophus Carcere.

It would seem that the Philbys, father and son, played both sides of the fence during the war.

Saul Kelly
Bridgwater, Somerset