Hope and a sense of loss at Labour’s election victory | Letters

We often talked politics with our young daughter after the Tory win in 2010. She was five years old but we talked to her about it, just as my great-grandfather talked to me about the Labour party, which he had been part of in 1915 and onwards (Keir Starmer hails ‘sunlight of hope’ as Britain wakes up to Labour landslide, 5 July). His words stayed with me. I hoped our words would stay with our daughter, just as his words shaped my political views and my worldview. Words hold power and meaning.

When my wife and I approached the polling station on Thursday afternoon, she said quietly: “This would have been Abi’s first time to vote in a general election.” Those words hurt her as she spoke. I welled up, but the resolve to vote the correct way was strong; it would be in Abi’s memory. Because she died with leukaemia in September 2020 just after her 15th birthday, in a children’s hospital wing that had been built in the 1940s. It had only recently obtained some decent beds and observation machines, and it was a place desperate for funding, but with fantastic, hardworking, deeply committed staff.

We had our daughter’s funeral with a small guest list; many of her friends could not attend due to the restrictions of the day. Restrictions that we obeyed. We sat alone, my wife and I, locked down without the comfort of family or friends to help us mourn. We stared, numb, at our daughter’s photo and cried for her and our loss while Boris Johnson, a person not fit to be prime minister, partied with his Tory friends. On 4 July our crosses were placed on the ballot with conviction and a good deal of anger, and with a wish that she had been with us to vote as well.
Wayne Osborne
Beeston, Nottinghamshire

It is a statement of the obvious that the electorate expects Keir Starmer to serve as prime minister for the duration of his government, barring unforeseen events. It would be refreshing if Starmer, when announcing the members of his cabinet, made it clear that he expected these individuals to remain in post for as long as he was prime minister.

This would enable ministers to develop genuine expertise in running their departments and master their portfolios. They would have time to establish productive working relationships with officials, formulate policy and make informed decisions in the knowledge that they were in it for the long haul.

I appreciate that this approach is somewhat idealistic; a number of individuals may prove not to be up to the job and ministerial reshuffles may be necessary for other reasons.

However, to have ministerial continuity of service as a stated objective would send a clear message that Starmer was serious about governing for the good of the country, with proper accountability, and did not intend to repeat his Tory predecessors’ absurd practice of ministerial musical chairs.
Mike Pender

In her acceptance speech, Angela Rayner said that the result was a response of the electorate to 14 years of Tory failure. I don’t think the Tories failed – they have been highly successful for the elite they represent.

Since 2010, the country’s top few percent have seen their wealth quadruple, while most people have seen their real-terms income drop. Bankers enjoy unlimited bonuses, public sector pay has been substantially cut, the tax burden has been significantly switched from rich to poor, privatised utilities profiteer from monopolistic positions without hindrance, and our railways are among the worst in the developed world, while being among the most expensive.

These are all amazing achievements from a neoliberal perspective. The chief reason for their being ousted is that they didn’t persuade the electorate as successfully as Reform that immigrants were responsible for all this.
Dr Stephen Riley
Bruton, Somerset

What a happy coincidence it is that 5 July marks the first day of the National Health Service, what Nye Bevan called “a great and novel undertaking”. Now, 76 years later, let us hope that 5 July marks the beginning of similar Labour achievements in spite of the many challenges that lie ahead.
John Bailey
St Albans, Hertfordshire

Looking on my mobile phone’s small screen at your wonderful election results map, the words “Use two fingers” popped up. Congratulations on your superb coverage, especially the graphics and map.
Michael J Walsh
Glenageary, Ireland

At 80 years old, in a lifetime of voting, I’m euphoric to have elected an MP for the first time. Congleton has turned red. But it’s a sobering thought that this is due largely to the influence of Nigel Farage.
Ruth Pickles
Congleton, Cheshire

I was born in 1930 when the first Labour prime minister, Ramsay MacDonald, was in office. Today, the seventh Labour holder of this position, Keir Starmer, takes office. As a battle-hardened 94-year-old voter, I am filled with optimism. I think this feeling is justified and I’m going to hang on as long as I can to see if I’m right.
Cyril Duff

In an effort to help former Conservative MPs back to work, could the next series of Strictly Come Dancing be a Tory special?
Ian Grieve
Gordon Bennett, Llangollen canal

The Guardian

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