Alastair Campbell is right (With so many coronavirus deaths, Labour should not be holding back, 22 April). When a Labour opposition was faced with the government’s handling of that other great crisis, the second world war, Arthur Greenwood, the deputy Labour leader, directly challenged Neville Chamberlain in the Commons and was encouraged to “Speak for England, Arthur” – by Leo Amery, a Tory backbencher. Speak for the dying and living, Keir Starmer.
John M Phillips
o Old CDs hung from branches make good bird-scarers to protect the fruit on our cherry tree (Letters, 21 April). Which music works best? After years of research, I’ve found that birds keep well away from others of their own kind. These have been particularly effective: Sheryl Crow, Hawkwind, A Flock of Seagulls, Nick Drake, the Eagles, Taylor Swift, John Martyn. When all else fails, the ultimate deterrent is anything by Cat Stevens.
o Starting Nutmeg’s cryptic crossword (23 April), my partner and I initially thought the answer to 16 down, “We put in hardened seed to produce plant (5,3)”, might be “prick out”, in anticipation of World Naked Gardening Day on 2 May.
o I have spent much lockdown time in the garden, but the ground is very dry and hard. Is this because the only showers that we see appear daily in Downing Street?
o Polly Toynbee was the right woman in the right job at the right time: to the point, uncompromising, and it needed saying (Boris Johnson is the wrong man in the wrong job at the wrong time, 20 April).
o Would it be going too far to describe Dominic Raab’s approach as ultracrepidarian (The Guardian view on following viral science: why did we go it alone?, 23 April)?