Letters: Conservatives shouldn’t be forcing drivers to switch to electric cars

an electric car charging up
Credit: ap/kirsty wigglesworth

SIR – A few years ago politicians were asking us to buy diesel vehicles. Now they are going to compel us to buy electric ones.

Well insulated from real life – and equally entranced by such ridiculous projects as HS2 – the Government’s green-agenda proponents appear arrogant and undemocratic.

I voted Conservative at the last election. Not next time.

Allan Crossley
Stafford

 

SIR – There are several problems with the Government’s plan to ban new fossil fuel vehicles from 2030.

For a start, the country will not 
have the electricity-generating capacity required to achieve this unless quick decisions are made about building the next generation of nuclear power stations.

The present electric vehicles do not have the range necessary to be useful for long journeys. Motorway service stations would need a charging point at every parking space. In addition, millions of motorists live in terraced houses without off-road parking where charging can take place. Are they expected to leave cables running across the pavement?

I certainly wouldn’t change to an electric car at the moment. For now, they are mostly playthings – second or third cars for the very wealthy.

Andrew Leeder
Liverpool

SIR – My Nissan Leaf – three years old when I bought it in 2015 – is being let down by a tired battery, the range of which has dropped from 70 to 40 miles in the time I have owned it.

When, a year ago, the Portsmouth dealer quoted £7,500 for a new battery, I declined. This proved unwise: this month, the dealer in Gateshead told me that Nissan UK no longer exchanges batteries, and the price of a new one would be £19,000. Meanwhile, the dealer in Swindon quoted £22,500.

With this pricing, I wonder how many good Nissan Leafs with tired batteries are going to be scrapped prematurely.

Norman Pasley
Southampton

 

SIR – I have owned a BMW i3 for two years and could never go back. It’s a smooth ride, extremely quiet and great in stop-start traffic. Its acceleration is thrilling, and very useful when overtaking cyclists. It doesn’t frighten many horses, either.

As things stand, a home charger is helpful, but the charging network is improving all the time. The car is cheap to run, with free charging when I shop at our local retail park and go to the gym. Plus I feel so virtuous: it is made almost entirely from recyclable items. Fabulous.

Barbara Marshall
Helmdon, Northamptonshire

 

SIR – Once we are all driving electric cars, how will boy racers cope without the roar of their car exhausts?

Phillip Wade
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

 

Lockdown longueurs

SIR – I am a recent retiree, and, having read the latest list of permitted reasons for leaving the house, find that I have only two: essential shopping and exercise. Both must be done as quickly as possible.

My phone has become an ankle tag, and a strict solitary-confinement regime results if I come into contact with anyone I’m not supposed to. Visitor rights are almost non-existent, travel anywhere is forbidden and good behaviour makes no difference to the length of my sentence, which is indeterminate.

I have not been given the opportunity to complete a virus-awareness course or pay a fine in order to avoid a custodial term (although I suspect a fine will be coming in the form of large tax rises).

The vast majority of those infected with Covid-19 do not become seriously ill, and the average mortality age attributed to the virus is 82.4 years old. How much do these things need to change before the Government decides that we can permanently regain our freedom?

James Martin
Farnham, Surrey

 

SIR – The Government cannot please all the people all the time. Whatever decision it makes, it will be badly received in some quarters.

If the Government really is going to follow the scientific advice, then non-bubble groups should not be allowed to mingle for 15 minutes, let alone several days.

The reported reductions in cases and the R number are small, and should hardly be regarded as stable. Why, then, is the Government even dangling this idea in front of the population?

I write as a grandparent who hasn’t seen his family since late February. We keep in touch by phone, Zoom and even letters. It’s not perfect but at least it isn’t hazardous for us – or them.

Bill Halkett
Ormskirk, Lancashire

 

SIR – I am selling a property and have been sent papers to sign in front of an independent witness.

Given that we are not allowed to see anyone from outside our household, how exactly should I do this? Employ a plumber?

Colin Halliday
Leeds, West Yorkshire

 

Bonuses for success

SIR – With regard to James Frayne’s article, when Theresa May stood in front of Number 10 at the beginning of her premiership, she promised to do something about company directors who took huge bonuses while allowing their businesses to lose enormous sums of money.

If the Government were to pass legislation requiring the payment of bonuses to be linked to company success, in order to reward bosses who had brought wealth to their companies and employees, this would no doubt appeal to working-class voters – and, indeed, everyone else.

David Stubbings
Poole, Dorset

 

Beyond Amazon

SIR – I see that Amazon is advising shoppers to buy their gifts early in order to avoid chaos this Christmas.

I would like to propose another solution. Avoid Amazon and use your local shops, which have suffered so much this year.

John Castley
Peterborough

 

Sailors fighting ashore

SIR – The organisers of events associated with Remembrance this year have done the nation proud.

However, reporting the centenary 
of the burial of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey, some referred to “the unknown soldier”. But “warrior” is right, for the Unknown Warrior may be a Royal Navy sailor or a Royal Marine – and, whoever he was, his body was brought across the English Channel in the destroyer HMS Verdun.

Sailors and Royal Marines not required for service at sea in the first years of the Great War formed the Royal Naval Division, fighting in Belgium and Gallipoli. In 1916, what was left of the RND helped form the 63rd (Royal Naval) Division which, under Army command, fought on the Western Front.

Sailors fighting ashore was not new. A naval brigade was at Bunker Hill in 1774, and brigades were common in the 19th century – notably in the Crimean, Zulu and Boer Wars, and the Boxer Rebellion.

Sub-Lieutenant A P Herbert was a naval officer with the 63rd. Later an MP, he penned an amusing poem about General Shute’s disapprobation of the Royal Naval Division, its naval humour perhaps too risqué for modern times.

Lt-Cdr Lester May RN (retd)
London NW1

 

Mask hostility

SIR – If I wear a mask, I rapidly overheat and then faint.

Like Kevin Frost (Letters, November 15) I have noticed an unfortunate aggressiveness in some shops and other outlets.

It is often said that situations like the current one bring out the best in people but also the worst. I have certainly encountered a lack of understanding.

Joan Manning
Barton on Sea, Hampshire

 

Silly cycleways

SIR – I enjoyed Tom Welsh’s article on cycleways.

In this town, they are unused because they are unusable. They were obviously laid out by somebody who never left their car.

That said, our council is fairly even-handed. Stafford’s traffic-calming measures could only have been laid out by a militant cyclist.

W G Sellwood
Stafford

 

How to get Supreme Court reform right

Henry III grants a charter to Westminster Abbey in a relief outside the Supreme Court Credit: alamy

SIR – Edward Malnick’s report that the Government is to prioritise reform of the Supreme Court is excellent news.

Tackling judicial activism – and the related issue of human rights – is central to delivering the Government’s agenda. It is not only important for rebuilding law and order, and re-establishing control of our borders, but also for disparate other issues, from addressing illegal incursions by travellers to shielding our service personnel from vexatious litigation.

The success of such reform is likely to be determined by a factor outside the legislative design of the new structure: the selection of the court’s permanent members.

Nearly all the existing members collaborated in the politicised ruling on prorogation, quoting a judgment of 1611 which preceded the Bill of Rights. The foundation of their claim was “that the limits of prerogative powers were set by 
law and were determined by the courts”. Yet the Bill of Rights – which says no such thing – is the cornerstone of our uncodified constitution.

By taking this position, members of this court traduced the settled position of the Crown in Parliament, thereby undermining confidence in the law. If their membership simply rolls over into the new structure, the law may change but the constitutional mindset won’t.

Sir Julian Brazier
Canterbury, Kent

 

SIR – Jane Smith (Letters, November 15) does well to remind us of Liversidge v Anderson, the 1941 decision of what was then the highest court, the House of Lords. For me, too, over a long legal career, it has been a decision of indelible and unforgettable impact.

It was a split decision in which a majority held that, under emergency legislation, the wartime government could detain persons whom the home secretary had reasonable cause to believe were dangerous to the war effort.

A court was unable to challenge the government’s stated belief in the existence of such cause. Yet it is the powerful and eloquent dissent by the Australian-born Lord Atkin for which that wartime case is now remembered: “Amidst the clash of arms, the laws are not silent. They may be changed, but they speak the same language in war as in peace. It has always been one of the pillars of freedom, one of the principles of liberty for which … we are now fighting, that the judges … stand between the subject and any attempted encroachments on his liberty… alert to see that any coercive act is justified in law”.

It was that Atkinian dissent that heralded the doctrine of judicial review of government decisions, which some now claim has gone too far and threatens judges’ traditional interpretative, rather than law-making, role.

John Kidd
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia