Say what you want about Julian Lewis, but Boris Johnson’s overreaction proves the senior backbencher is no stooge

Conservative MP Julian Lewis: PA
Conservative MP Julian Lewis: PA

Surely, it is indicative of how quickly we are falling to our political nadir in this country, when I feel compelled to write a letter expressing my delight at the appointment of an ardent Brexit supporter to the chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

In normal times, Julian Lewis – once described as one of the most vigorous right-wingers in the Commons – would be the last person to get my support on virtually any issue. However, on a purely pragmatic stance, I must congratulate him on usurping Chris Grayling to the post and ensuring that the committee is not reduced to a laughing stock.

Further, looking at the overreaction from our woeful prime minister and his puppet master – by removing the whip from Lewis – it is now confirmed that he is no stooge and it is all but certain that Chris Grayling was preferred purely on the basis that he would act as a Downing Street lackey.

Robert Boston
Kingshill, Kent

BLM means no OBE

One central issue tied to Black Lives Matter is the challenge against the acceptance of established norms, such as awards like OBEs. Benjamin Zephaniah rejected his nomination because, “It reminds me of slavery, it reminds me of thousands of years of brutality …” Other members of the Bame community to reject these nominations were footballer Howard Gayle, who turned down an MBE, saying his “ancestors would be turning in their graves after how empire and colonialism had enslaved them”.

Flooding in Sunamganj. Almost four million people have been hit by monsoon floods in South Asia, with a third of Bangladesh already underwater from some of the heaviest rains in a decade

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Tengger tribe people make their way to the summit of Mount Bromo volcano to make offerings in Probolinggo, as part of the Yadnya Kasada Festival. The Tenggerese climb the active volcano to seek the blessing from the main deity by presenting offerings of rice, fruit, livestock and other items

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A healthcare worker checks the temperature of residents during a check-up campaign in Mumbai, India

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People wearing protective face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus sit at a bus stop in the city of Zanjan, Iran

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A member of the Israeli border police jumps during a Palestinian protest against Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank, in Kafr Qaddum near Nablus

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A man smokes a pipe while wearing a face mask during a demonstration in Nantes, as part of a nationwide day of protests to demand better working conditions for health workers in France

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Protester holds crosses during a demonstration in honour of the victims of coronavirus in front of Brazil’s National Congress

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A demonstrator wearing a face mask holds a sign during a protest against police brutality and racial inequality in the aftermath of the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, at the Victory column in Berlin

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Hygienists inside a decontamination area in a coronavirus treatment centre that cares for positive patients that show little or no symptoms in Dakar

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A seagull snatches a croissant from a buffet during a press conference at the headquarters of AP Moeller – Maersk in Copenhagen, Denmark

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A volunteer receives an injection from a medical worker during the country’s first human clinical trial for a potential vaccine against coronavirus, at the Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, South Africa

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Swiss acrobat Ramon Kathriner performs during the “Glacier 3000” Air show, an event marking the reopening of the Alpine facilities above Les Diablerets

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Aerial view of a burial at the Vila Formosa cemetery during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on June 21, 2020. – The novel coronavirus has killed at least 464,423 people worldwide since the outbreak began in China last December, being Brazil Latin America’s worsthit country with 49,976 deaths from 1,067,579 cases.

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National Guards form a line in front of “Black Lives Matter” protestors in Tulsa, Oklahoma where Donald Trump was holding a campaign rally

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Nurses, doctors, midwives and health care workers attend the fourth Zumba dance session organised by the Nursing Council of Kenya at Kenyatta stadium where screening booths and an isolation field hospital have been installed. The dance sessions have been organised to re-energise and uplift health care providers sprits during this pandemic

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Alpha jets from the French Air Force Patrouille de France and the Royal Air Force Red Arrows perform a flypast over the statue of Charles de Gaulle on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris to celebrate the 80th anniversary of wartime leader’s appeal to the French people to resist the Nazi occupation, broadcast from London

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Activists from the Extinction Rebellion movement block a street outside the German Automobile industry association during a protest in Berlin

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Barbers wearing protective suits and face masks inside a salon in Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Siegfried White raises his hand as he protests outside a burned Wendy’s restaurant on the third day following Rayshard Brooks death. The black man was shot by police in the car park in Atlanta. The mayor ordered immediate police reforms on Monday after the fatal shooting by a white officer

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People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest march in central Tokyo

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Protesters raise their fists during a demonstration against police brutality and racism in Paris, France. The march was organised by supporters of Assa Traore, whose brother Adama died in police custody in 2016, in circumstances that remain unclear

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A pro-democracy supporter shouts at riot police during an anti-national security law rally in Mongkok district in Hong Kong, China. Protesters heeded online calls to gather as the city marks the one-year anniversary of the major clashes between police and pro-democracy demonstrators over the controversial extradition bill

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A section of the River Spree next to the Reichstag building coloured green by activists from “Extinction Rebellion” to protest the German government’s coal policies in Berlin

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A woman poses in front of a decapitated statue of Christopher Columbus at Christopher Columbus Park in Boston Massachusetts. The statue’s head, damaged overnight, was recovered by the Boston Police Department, as a movement to remove statues commemorating slavers and colonisers continues to sweep across the US

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Ivy McGregor, left, reads a resolution during the funeral for George Floyd at The Fountain of Praise church in Houston. George Floyd is being laid to rest in his hometown, the culmination of a long farewell to the 46-year-old African American whose death in custody ignited global protests against police brutality and racism

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People raise their fist and stand on their knees as they demonstrate in Nantes, during a Black Lives Matter protest

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A woman looks on during a protest against the killing of George Floyd in Osaka city, western Japan

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Demonstrator raise their fists at the Lincoln Memorial during a protest against police brutality and racism in Washington, DC. Demonstrations are being held across the US following the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, while being arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota

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A handout photo made available by 2020 Planet Labs shows an aerial view of the large diesel spill in the Ambarnaya River outside Norilsk in the Arctic. Russia has managed to contain a massive diesel spill into a river in the Arctic, a spokeswoman for the emergencies ministry told AFP. Environmentalists said the oil spill, which took place last May 29, was the worst such accident ever in the Arctic region

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Activists hold a candlelit remembrance outside Victoria Park in Hong Kong, after the annual vigil, that traditionally takes place in the park to mark the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown, was banned on public health grounds because coronavirus

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A visitor walks in Odaiba as the sun sets in Tokyo

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Activists of the Socialist Unity Centre of India shout slogans in Ahmedabad in solidarity with protests against the recent killing of George Floyd

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Activists take part in a Black Lives Matter protest in Zurich after the recent death of George Floyd

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A black man and a white woman hold their hands up in front of police officers in downtown Long Beach during a protest against the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while being arrested and pinned to the ground by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer. Protests sweeping the United States over the death of George Floyd reverberated on the other side of the globe when thousands marched in solidarity on the streets of New Zealand

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Police officers are seen amid tear gas as protesters continue to rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota

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A boy holds a sign as refugees protest outside the UNHCR offices against a government decision that they should leave their accommodation provided through European Union and UNHCR funds by the end of May, in Athens, Greece

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Cloud iridescence, an optical phenomenon where light is diffracted through water droplets, is pictured at the edge of some clouds before a summer thunderstorm over Bangkok

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Riot police try to control pro-democracy supporters at a rally in Causeway Bay district, Hong Kong

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No care for carers

I read with great interest the details of the chancellor’s recent mini-budget. It certainly had some good and innovative ideas. This is, however, tinged with a great deal of disappointment that there has been no consideration given to the many carers in the UK.

I have cared for my disabled son for many years. Since lockdown, we have not been able to access respite or day services. He is severely autistic and epileptic. Becoming overheated can trigger a seizure and in addition to this our son is not able to grasp the concept of social distancing.

The effect of the lockdown has been a lot of anxiety and extra costs in trying to keep difficult behaviours to a minimum, not to mention a lot of extra work.

In stark contrast, the carers allowance is a very meagre sum. It is based on a minimum of 35 hours per week. (In reality most carers invest considerably more hours than that, both day and night).

The 2020/21 carers allowance is £67.25 per week. This works out at £1.92 per hour. If you work, you can’t earn more than £128 per week and the icing on the cake is that when you receive your state pension your carers allowance stops.

Statistically, there is a growing trend for carers to continue their role into their old age.

Come on Sunak and Johnson, please consider the amount we save the UK in residential care fees compared to the plight myself and other carers find themselves in.

Juliet N F Gregory
Address supplied

Wildlife appeal

Evgeny Lebedev’s report on the increase in wildlife slaughter during the pandemic, and the loss of income for wildlife protection agencies during the same period, was heartbreaking. Those of us who are absolutely devastated by the ongoing carnage inflicted on the natural world look on in horror and disbelief at the lack of world action to crack down hard on the markets for animal parts that drive this dreadful slaughter, which is literally destroying our planet’s ecosystem, as well as causing unspeakable agony for millions of animals.

A suggestion for one source of funding for depleted wildlife protection funds: our own fantastically wealthy royal family could make some amends for their past enthusiastic killing of such animals as tigers and elephants by donating chunks of their riches. I include a young “royal” couple in America who live in utter luxury, who could also donate some of their wealth, instead of constantly preaching to the rest of us while costing a fortune to be supported in the style to which they are accustomed.

A more realistic hope, if I may, is to ask the Independent to dedicate its Christmas fundraising appeal to help victims of the cruel wildlife trade, such as the poor bears trapped in pain, filth and misery in Asia’s bear bile hellholes, and also the dedicated agencies in the field who risk their own lives, in the face of global indifference, to try and protect the animals.

Penny Little
Great Haseley, Oxfordshire

Unpleasantly divisive

Catherine Lux’s article was the laziest piece of journalism I’ve had the misfortune to read in a long time. She took a few buzz words (eg. boomers, snowflakes, generation Z) and shoehorned a couple of behaviours into each category to suit her argument. The thoughtful approach is the opposite: what behaviours can I observe and which social cohorts – if, indeed, any – strongly display those behaviours? Rarely, if ever, is there such a broad generational sweep as she attempted to present. In fact, I found her article not just misguided but unpleasantly divisive.

Beryl Wall
London

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