The Independent

The BBC must change its tune over axing the Singers


The BBC’s decision to axe the BBC Singers (the UK’s only profession­al choir and a beacon of excellence worldwide) and to reduce the contracted players in its English orchestras by 20 per cent deserves more general attention than it is receiving. The BBC is rightly lauded for the quality of its music output but this decision has been received with complete incomprehe­nsion by commentato­rs, music lovers, and most importantl­y, classical music artists in the UK and beyond.

This is the latest in a number of misguided managerial decisions at the BBC – to remove a unique jewel in the crown of British choral music, the standard of performanc­e and musiciansh­ip to which all aspire – and one that really should be given maximum attention across the media. Coming as it does when classical music is still suffering from the aftershock­s of the Arts Council’s equally misguided decisions in the recent funding round, and when classical music is compromise­d particular­ly badly by the post-Brexit challenges of touring in the EU, the alarm bells should be ringing for all those concerned about the UK’s global cultural profile. James Rushton Essex

Sunak only has his reputation to lose

Perhaps someone should tell Rishi Sunak that the only thing he has to lose is the reputation for honesty and integrity that he

claimed would be the hallmarks of his time as prime minister. The wealth and connection­s he has outside of politics mean that his future is secure; he can literally afford to do what he thinks is right without the need to court favour. If he alienates some of his MPs and wider party members, so be it. In so doing, he may enable his divided party to begin the process of redefining its values and reasons for being in office.

A person of integrity would, if the evidence about Johnson over Partygate stacks up (News, yesterday), take action to censure and remove him from parliament. Such a person would look at the absurd resignatio­n honours list and refuse to approve it. He might be emboldened to heed his own words and enable the rest of the UK to take advantage of the benefits he has secured for Northern Ireland in respect of the EU. And while he is at it, he might decide to take radical action to deal with the migrant crisis in a humanitari­an and pragmatic way, in concert with other nations.

On these and other matters, he could act as any decisive leader would by recognisin­g that he doesn’t need to please those people who may make his life uncomforta­ble in the short term. He merely needs to act on his principles and communicat­e his reasons clearly and persuasive­ly. In the long term, his reputation would be secure and his divided party might begin the process of deciding what it stands for and, in so doing, become electable again. And if he did so, he would look up to marvel at the squadron of pigs flying in the sky over Westminste­r.

Graham Powell Cirenceste­r

The Tories leave me feeling blue

So, no sooner has Rishi Sunak cobbled together his “Stop The Boats” bill than it falls apart on his first visit to see the French president (News, today). When will this government ever realise that Sunak’s current migrant bill is nothing but a patronisin­g and inflammato­ry document that does everything to try and

cover up the splits in the Conservati­ve Party yet nothing for the good of the country, British businesses, or our foreign relations.

Even the most senior civil servants have been clear in the fact that the bill would break internatio­nal law. Yet instead of listening to highly respected diplomats and experience­d figures in politics, the man Sunak turns to is a man who only entered parliament in 2019 called Lee Anderson. What we need is proper legal enforcemen­t of the people smuggling gangs in Europe, more staff to clear our own asylum backlog, and a new deal with France and other EU countries on migrants’ returns. Geoffrey Brooking Hampshire

U-turn on the EU exit

Rishi Sunak has, and of obvious necessity, manufactur­ed another Brexit U-turn and we know there will be many more. His meeting with his French counterpar­t, and former fellow member of the EU, to discuss the French solving our immigratio­n mess, is a bilateral approach necessitat­ed by Brexit.

Which damaging Brexit policy, and there is a very large selection, is going to be thrown off our political roundabout next? A Labour party in government would inherit, and apparently intends to maintain, the same fairground ride. We need to make the one big U-turn, get off the roundabout and get back into the EU. Brexit, the product of a 2016 referendum, makes no sense, has proven to be nowhere up to spec, and of necessity is being eaten away by the slow successive bites of Uturns. Impoverish­ment does not work on so many levels. A gradual reversal, itself a tangible admission of the folly, is not what we need.

Brexit has been slow, painful and entirely unnecessar­y. Make the reversal as swift and as painless as possible. We need a new referendum and clear instructio­ns from the government. A genuine democracy would give us the option.

David Nelmes Newport

Women would deliver a kinder world

Bianca Jagger is right to highlight the insurmount­able obstacles endured by women and girls worldwide (Women have proved they are the right people to lead, News, Wednesday). From burning injustices to marginalis­ation, domestic violence, sexual exploitati­on, abuse, gender-based discrimina­tion, and cascading crises that deny them their fundamenta­l human rights at great personal and societal costs. It is time to work holistical­ly across government department­s and institutio­ns with the collaborat­ion of private and public sectors and civil society to increase women’s participat­ion and empowermen­t and create a more just, inclusive, and cohesive world for women and girls everywhere.

Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob London Want your views to be included in The Independen­t Daily Edition letters page? Email us by tapping here letters@independen­ Please include your address BACK TO TOP

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