Siren words

The Observer - - Focus -

I was glad that I read your busi­ness leader and colum­nists in­clud­ing Wil­liam Kee­gan be­fore turn­ing to the ar­ti­cle by Theresa May (“Labour vot­ers should look again at my Tory party, here for every­one”, Com­ment, last week). With un­canny pre­science, you had pro­vided all the in­for­ma­tion needed to pro­tect Labour vot­ers from se­duc­tion by her “one na­tion” clap­trap. Any­one still in doubt should study the pho­to­graph il­lus­trat­ing her piece: the worker in the roof dormer does not ap­pear to have been pro­vided with the safe place and sys­tem of work re­quired by law. Do the Tories look af­ter him as they hack away at the bud­get of the Health and Safety Ex­ec­u­tive – or do they care more for the firms that help to bankroll the party that prom­ises them “a bon­fire of red tape”? Pa­trick Kin­ner­sly

Rom­sey, Hamp­shire

Speak­ing in 2015 as part of the 50th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions of BBC Ra­dio 4’s World at One, Alan Ben­nett said what the English ex­cel at, “bet­ter than all the rest”, is hypocrisy. There is no bet­ter ex­am­ple of hypocrisy than May’s ap­peal to Labour vot­ers or than in her po­lit­i­cal per­sona.

As the re­sult of eight years of un­nec­es­sary aus­ter­ity pol­icy, con­tem­po­rary UK so­ci­ety is one of food banks, home­less peo­ple, wel­fare and so­cial ser­vices that have been ei­ther lost or only sur­vive with vastly re­duced bud­gets, crowded and vi­o­lent pris­ons and fail­ing po­lice ser­vices. The con­tent of her ar­ti­cle is noth­ing but a gloss over these fail­ures. Dr George Hud­son Worces­ter On Sun­day morn­ing, I col­lected the har­vest gifts from the chapel I at­tend for distri­bu­tion to food banks. Col­lec­tions used to be made for Ro­ma­nia but, due to the huge need around here, this year the food was de­liv­ered lo­cally. Sto­ries abound of moth­ers who have not eaten for days in or­der to feed their chil­dren and peo­ple open­ing a tin of beans they are given and eat­ing it on the spot. I then saw May’s ar­ti­cle. Does she know she is re­spon­si­ble for the suf­fer­ing in the coun­try? Mike Hedges Swansea Theresa May seems to have no sense of shame. She is re­spon­si­ble for sup­port­ing and pro­long­ing aus­ter­ity and the dev­as­ta­tion this has wrought on mil­lions of lives. In her ar­ro­gance, she thinks that Labour vot­ers will be per­suaded to be­lieve her siren words and suc­cumb to her blan­dish­ments.

More im­me­di­ately, she’s prob­a­bly hop­ing that some rene­gade, an­tiCor­byn Labour MPs might vote in sup­port of the Brexit deal she is cook­ing up, thus sav­ing her ba­con and un­der­min­ing Labour at the same time. But one ques­tion needs to be asked: why has the Ob­server given her space to do this? Gil­lian Dal­ley

Lon­don N4

Theresa May’s ar­ti­cle in last week’s Ob­server.

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