The Independent

‘Loose cannon’ Johnson is better than no cannon at all


Lord Dannatt describes Boris Johnson as a “loose cannon” and clearly sees him as a problem and a liability in the political circles, as someone who tinkers around the periphery of the war in Ukraine (Johnson is ‘looking for publicity’ in a war zone, News, Saturday). Johnson, in spite of his reputation as a raffish, boorish but ultimately charismati­c leader, still carries huge political weight and whether you like him or not, few would argue against his status as a “cannon” in comparison to the insipid and bloodless Rishi Sunak.

Maybe we need more cannons and less blancmange if we’re going to continue to stand up to Putin. There is no doubt that if we don’t increase the pressure on Vladimir Putin, we’re all going to see Ukraine consumed by the Russian juggernaut and the likelihood of Putin stopping at Ukraine’s borders is diminishin­g as he becomes emboldened by success.

Maybe this particular loose cannon is better than no cannon at all?

Steve Mackinder Denver

Rishi Sunak needs to remind the Ukrainians that he is the prime minister and Boris Johnson does not represent the government or the country. He should tell Johnson the same, publicly, if it looks like Johnson insists on making a trip to Ukraine. If Johnson goes, it should be without any taxpayer support. He

should have no security and no embassy assistance. He is not Churchill, but just a weak and discredite­d politician with an ego the size of the national debt.

John E Harrison Chorley, Lancashire

Mind your language

I share the fears regarding the language used by the home secretary, Suella Braverman, when discussing refugees (Braverman fails to apologise to Holocaust survivor after her immigratio­n comments, News, yesterday). It is the “othering” of those you wish to separate from any requiremen­t to show sympathy or empathy towards. What I picked up from Ms Braverman’s attempt to justify her use of terminolog­y such as “swarms” and “invasions” when discussing migrants was her assertion that she has to be honest with the British people.

She used the “you can’t accuse me of unfairness towards refugees – my family are immigrants” line, often used to silence anyone with a problem with her rhetoric. But when describing where her family fled from, surely they would now be stopped in France as, to use one of Ms Braverman’s favourite excuses for denying asylum, they travelled through many safe countries before arriving in the UK, so surely they should have ended their journey there?

How can a person whose own family has known the terror of fleeing not be touched by the plight of those who find themselves in the same situation?

Karen Brittain York

Travel insurance couldn’t be fairer

As someone who spent 10 years working for the Financial Ombudsman Service, I found James Daley’s piece on travel insurance somewhat one-sided (Travel insurance companies should put the customer first, Voices, yesterday). Insurance

companies do not expect their policyhold­ers to trawl through 20,000 words. Apart from the full contract wording, they also issue a key features document (KFD), which succinctly points out the main areas of coverage and policy limitation­s. These tend to be no longer than two to three pages of A4 paper, fairly easy to read and usually well signposted, with no “small print” anywhere.

The KFD is there because customers tend not to know where to start when looking through the full policy to see what they are insured for, so are given this simplified version. Additional­ly, limitation­s on time and when the policy begins and ends are clearly set out in a brief policy schedule of usually one page, which is also issued to the policyhold­ers with the KFD.

Anyone taking out travel insurance therefore can, within around 15-20 minutes, read through a plain English synopsis of what they are insured for and between which dates. I tended to find that disputes arose primarily because customers had never considered actually reading what they were given and therefore made false assumption­s about what they were insured for.

If there is a valid cause for complaint against an insurance company, the Financial Ombudsman Service will deal with it in a friendly and informal manner and at no cost whatsoever to the customer. If it is found that the customer ought reasonably to have been aware of the fact that they were not covered, that complaint would not be upheld. It couldn’t be fairer.

Michael Ward Chartered insurance practition­er

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