Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

No fear

Sir: Why does Matthew Parris think I am 'secretly terrified' of having voted to leave the EU ('Brexiteers need ladders to climb down', 4 February)? Anyone over the age of 50 knew that choosing to vote Leave or Remain was not an easy decision. My own beliefs nudged me just far enough to vote Leave; my partner's beliefs nudged him just far enough to vote Remain. Mr Parris admits that he can imagine Brexit being a surprising success, and I may have to face the fact that it could be a failure. We are both reasonable people.

I was satisfied with the result, but since June I have shut up and kept my head down (I do live in Brighton!). It is largely Remain voters who have been in crisis: at having to share their country with 17 million thick racists -- people like me. I do not see enemies everywhere but I have seen a lot of wan Guardian readers having hysterics.

Sorrell Clement


Much missed

Sir: We have lost a gem with the death of Alexander Chancellor and I am sure that many other readers will, like me, sorely miss his 'Long Life' column, one of my weekly pleasures. As Charles Moore mentioned in his excellent piece on 4 February, he always appeared modest yet firm in his views, and I thank him for introducing us to the wonderful Jeffrey Bernard and for taking on Taki, whose outlandish escapades still delight. I send my condolences to his family. He was special and will be missed.

Peter Reynolds

Plettenberg Bay, South Africa

Hall things considered

Sir: Charles Moore's assertion (Notes, 28 January) that members voluntarily transfer £5 million a year to running the Royal Albert Hall is misleading. Members contribute a net £1.2 million. So, what's the balance of £3.8 million? This represents the notional value of seats surrendered by members under interim arrangements where they agree to be excluded from more events than is specified under the 1966 Royal Albert Hall Act. Most of the money from these seats goes to the promoter of shows at the hall, not to the hall itself.

A 2014 review by the eminent former judge Sir Robert Owen concluded that these 'interim arrangements are necessary, proportionate, to the benefit of the charity, and to the incidental benefit of the members'. In other words, it's a win-win situation for all stakeholders in the hall -- including the members. These interim arrangements are, however, also one reason why the hall needs a replacement for the 1966 Act.

Jon Moynihan, the current president, is correct to emphasise the strength of its member-controlled governance system when compared to publicly funded arts bodies (Letters, 4 February). But he should also recognise the Charity Commission's legitimate concerns over issues such as commercial ticket sales by trustees. …

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