Andy Beckett is right to say the “media’s impulse to take incoming Tory premiers at their word” is echoed by the “inclination of many voters to trust Tory governments”, but this is hardly a surprising phenomenon (Incompetent Tories are kept in power by our deference, Journal, 26 December). In fact, the deference for Tory governments is stimulated by a myopic media that refuses to study the relevant evidence. Theresa May’s first speech as prime minister, for example, was heralded by many in the media as, in Beckett’s words, “a new Conservatism crystallising”, but nothing in our history supports the notion of Tories ever fighting against “burning injustices”, doing anything to prevent white working-class boys being “less likely than anybody else … to go to university” or, when it comes to taxation, “prioritis[ing] not the wealthy” but ordinary people.
Beckett is rare among journalists, even those “left of centre” ones, in admitting that there is plenty of “evidence to the contrary”. May escaped censure in the media for what were outrageous promises, and so does the serial liar now in Downing Street. His repeated claim to be a “one-nation Conservative” was challenged in the Guardian by Michael Heseltine (Boris Johnson has no right to call himself a one-nation Conservative, 12 September), but it constantly escapes media attention that Heseltine’s definition of the concept, “governing for the whole country – rich and poor, young and old, black and white, north and south”, excludes all Tory administrations, even the one led by the originator of the term in the 1870s.
Britain might be “mesmerised” by the Tories, but there is an obvious reason for it!
• Andy Beckett’s conclusion that the Tories are kept in power by our deference is misplaced. Rather, they are kept in power by our anti-democratic first-past-the-post electoral system. The Conservatives under Boris Johnson got barely any more votes than under Theresa May in 2017, just a 1% increase. From this, our democratic lottery handed them an extra 47 seats, which is then portrayed as a handsome victory. What we deserve is not mesmerising Tory rule, whether enabled by deference or not, but a functioning, proportional democracy that allows everybody to vote for the party they think best represents them.
Hereford and South Herefordshire Green party
• I agree that the Tories are kept in power by our deference, and the best way to resist that collective mindset is to hold Boris Johnson to account. I have downloaded all 64 pages of the Tory manifesto and intend to measure Johnson’s achievements against the promises and six personal guarantees in it. I plan to share my findings on a regular basis with my (Labour) MP and ask her to raise issues, where appropriate, in the House of Commons. By the next general election, I expect to have a long list of broken promises and unfulfilled guarantees, which should help inform Labour’s campaign and end Johnson’s premiership.
• The end of Andy Beckett’s article says it all: “But if we don’t stop being mesmerised by them, they will carry on ruling us most of the time. And perhaps we’ll deserve it”. The Tories understand that being “ruled” is part of our heritage. We are taught about it with scant mention of the negative impact on the peoples and lands we colonised. As long as we have a monarchy and aristocracy, we might as well accept that we will be governed by the toffs to their advantage.
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