Two hot days with utilities shut down, leaving us to live our lives as best we can


MR – Covid? Work at home. Train strikes? FMH. Wet weather warnings? FMH. Hot weather warnings? FMH.

WTF is happening?

Nick Smith
London SW6

SIR – Yesterday morning BBC Breakfast presenter Jon Kay was dispatched to Cambridge to warn us of the apocalyptic conditions we were to face.

Watching the program at home, we enjoyed our cup of tea in a pleasant 23C, with a light cloud. Since then the dog has been walked and two loads of laundry uploaded. The sheets have been changed and we are going to have our coffee in the garden.

The Met Office is a 10 minute drive from our house. Why on earth does he think it’s necessary to warn the whole country to take precautions against a threat that really isn’t that serious?

Angela White
Exeter, Devon

SIR – The temperature in our living room hasn’t dropped below 29°C for two weeks, and not until September. No one is issuing serious health warnings here; we use our common sense.

Jane Eyles
Mahon, Menorca

SIR – Anyone struggling to stay cool might find relief at a nearby church. There are thousands across the country, admission is free and if ours is to be believed, complaints about the temperature are never about excessive heat.

Catriona Chase
Cookley, Suffolk

Would-be Tory PMs line up to make empty promises on TV

SIR – What did the Tory candidates think they would gain from the TV circus? I refused to watch such nonsense, because absolutely nothing could be learned about what they would achieve by becoming Prime Minister. Once in power, they would be, like all MPs, devoured by events and all these promises made to their supporters would be forgotten.

Philip Room
Petersfield, Hampshire

SIR – What bright spark thought it would be a good idea for the prime minister candidates to broadcast it on national television for everyone to see?

It was an internal decision, but the Conservative Party opened the door for Labour, the Lib Dems, the SNP, the Greens and, oh yes, Vladimir Putin, to revel in this sheer stupidity.

Doug Morisson
Cranbrook, Kent

SIR – It’s striking how many times Penny Mordaunt has dismissed discussions of awkward topics as ‘unedifying’ when, after a long period of herding politics, it is truly refreshing to hear debates on topics such as taxation and trans issues.

A few days ago, the consensus was that Ms. Mordaunt performs best in front of the cameras and Liz Truss is the worst. After the ITV debate, it could be the other way around.

Tim Cole
Carlton, Bedfordshire

SIR – Only once before has a Mordaunt made the headlines.

In February 1870, the country was fascinated by details of Lady Harriet Mordaunt’s scandalous life exposed in court when her husband filed for divorce. Among her many lovers were the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, who gave her two white ponies, which her husband shot in front of her.

In court, the heir to the throne denied “any inappropriate familiarity or foul play” with her. Few believed him. Sir Charles Mordaunt did not get his divorce. “The unfortunate and mad Lady Mordaunt”, in the words of Queen Victoria, has been found unfit to give evidence in her defence. She spent the rest of her life in confinement like crazy.

The Conservative leadership candidate does not appear to be related to him.

Lord Lexden (cunt)
London SW1

SIR – This country is facing political challenges on several fronts: inflation, energy, climate and others. As these have developed over time, it is clear that the fault lies with policy makers at the highest levels of government and the civil service.

It is therefore very strange to suggest that some candidates for the leadership of the Conservative Party should be excluded because they lack experience in senior positions. One would have thought, in the current circumstances, that this could be an advantage.

Kenneth Jones

SIR – Rishi Sunak says he is the only candidate to tell the truth about the seriousness of the economic situation, yet he has been chancellor for two and a half years.

He threw tens of billions at Covid, much of it wasted, useless or fraudulently claimed. He did not blame the Bank of England for its dismal inflation forecast and failure to raise rates in a timely manner. Moreover, he failed to take advantage of historically low interest rates – below half of 1% – 18 months ago to raise funds to fund massive Covid spending. Today it would cost closer to 3 percent.

It is strange that he based his campaign on this record and even stranger that he got so much support from his fellow Tory MPs.

Frances Dobson
London SW3

SIR – I was a member of the Conservative Party from 1995, when I was 14, until 2019.

I had served two terms as a councilor and one term as vice-president of the association. However, the party I left was so far from the one I joined. In the 2019 election, I messed up my ballot.

I want to see a leader who embraces conservative values: patriotism, not the nationalism that has infected the party lately; respect for the rule of law and human rights, both ignored or torn; pragmatism, which has been completely set aside in our crude dealings with other countries; and responsible economics – recently abandoned in favor of opinion poll trends.

I hope one comes out so that I can, politically, go home.

Cody McCormick
Cheshunt, Hertfordshire

SIR – For all his faults and flaws, I would rather have Boris as Prime Minister than any of the candidates currently vying for the job. None of them inspired me in any way.

Interestingly, Boris has yet to tender his resignation to the Queen and will be Prime Minister until September.

Perhaps he could be persuaded to continue in the national interest.

Wishful thinking, I’m afraid – what a shame.

Barry Gregoire
Mickleover, Derbyshire

Opera makeup

SIR – American soprano Angel Blue quit her role in Verdi’s La Traviata at the Arena di Verona to protest the use of black makeup for Anna Netrebko’s performance as Aida (report, July 18) . It’s unclear whether she objects to casting a white singer per se to play an Ethiopian princess, or the use of black makeup to lend artistic verisimilitude to the portrayal.

If the former, it’s hypocritical, as Mrs. Blue was to play a white character. If the latter, we are led down a slippery path. What other forms of make-up or prosthesis become unacceptable? Is it “downright offensive”, as Ms Blue puts it, for obese people to use padding in a performance of Verdi’s Falstaff, or for older people to use make-up to age a performer?

The most relevant fact is not that Ms. Blue is black or that Ms. Netrebko is white, but that Ms. Blue is American. These questions take on a particular sensitivity in America, which is wracked by identity wars and the far-reaching repercussions of its 19th-century civil war. Americans shouldn’t impose their angst-ridden psychodramas on the rest of the world.

Michael Norris

parking nest

SIR – Frank Bond was surprised by a roadside nesting oystercatcher (Letters, July 18).

At a Lake District golf club we had an oystercatcher nesting in the car park. The nest was gravel and sitting birds were hard to spot. We put cones around as the birds landed on their eggs in the middle of traffic.

Barbara Cartwright
Crosby, Lancashire

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