“JUST as it was impossible to look away, so it is hard to see how the Prime Minister can come back easily from this” (“What a not so swell party that was”, The Herald, October 5). Quite right, Alison Rowat. Never has “this” been endowed with so much political weight and significance.

Theresa May’s extensive symptoms of political weakness were dramatically brought centre stage in Manchester through her vocal cords dysfunction. The loss of voice was brought on by vocal tension (muscle tension dysphonia) and laryngeal strain.

Tension was evident throughout the Conservative conference and Mrs May personified that critical level of anxiety and apprehension in her delivery of the speech. Tension is a common factor in voice loss and was very evident in the tightness around the thorax, the home of her vocal cords. But it was the vocal strain of undergoing more than 40 interviews the day before her major speech (a devastating error of judgment) that ultimately created her vocal demise. And why did she feel it was necessary to take on all of these public speaking engagements on that day? Because she needed to create distraction flak in a vain attempt to reduce the media/political dynamic and threat from Boris Johnston. She recognised her weakness and attempted to “speak” her way out of them.

The vocal cords are the vital communication instruments situated between heart and head and they can sensitively sign human failure and success. The Prime Minister of Britain offered the world vivid signs of her own weakened political status and perhaps signified Britain’s “loss of voice” in the wider European world.

Thom Cross,

18 Needle Green,


THERESA May should actually be very grateful to the prankster who grabbed all the headlines with his delivery of a P45 from Boris, although the security arrangements were appalling to let him get anywhere near the platform and the Prime Minister ("Security probe after prankster interrupts May speech", The Herald, October 5). Her heavy cold and voice problems also gained her sympathy and praise for struggling on to the end of a very long and rambling speech.

But she should also be glad that these incidents have diverted proper analysis of what was in fact a very dull and uninspiring Prime Ministerial address, with little in the way of new initiatives or inspiration for the post-Brexit future. It was just the same old repetition of old policies that never quite seem to come to fruition, and vague promises of a bright and prosperous future which we all know is going to be a long way away after Brexit.

The only new commitment was that “the Government would build thousands of new houses” (in England), to enable young couples to get their foot on the housing ladder as they did in previous generations. But the Government does not build houses, local authorities do, and even with more public cash flung at them where are they going to put them? Most towns and cities have little or no remaining space so the only way is to build is upwards or outwards. After Grenfell Tower and the numerous revelations of deadly cladding who will want to buy or rent a flat in a new tower block?

And if the new housing is to be on spare land outside the present city limits, most of that space is either restricted green belt or privately-owned property that will have to be bought or taken by compulsory purchase at great expense and much delay. And does a Tory Government really want to be blamed for finally destroying “England’s green and pleasant land”? So I suspect that Mrs May’s great idea is doomed to ultimate failure, just like most headline-grabbing government policy initiatives which eventually wither away.

Iain A D Mann,

7 Kelvin Court,


I WATCHED Mrs May's conference speech and admired her determination to battle through the difficulties she faced with her voice and the pathetic intervention of the so-called comedian, all of which would have silenced a lesser person. As for the ungentlemanly and mocking comments of your correspondent Mark Boyle Letters , October 5 ), his general contempt for Mrs May is as obvious as his description of her as a nonentity is ridiculous and makes me wonder why he was watching the speech at all.

Alan Fitzpatrick,

10 Solomon's View,


IN light of events at the Conservative Party conference on Wednesday (October 4), can the country expect a ministerial statement from the Conservative Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, on the country’s security?

Catriona C Clark,

52 Hawthorn Drive,



I WAS not surprised to hear Theresa May's very strong endorsement of "the free market". I was surprised that in the same speech, she revealed that she intends to limit energy prices.

David Hay,

12 Victoria Park,



WITH the Conservative Party conference having fizzled to a close and Boris Johnson's rallying call on a post-Brexit Britain to "let the lion roar" rings round Westminster, how long before this is perceived by some as coded invitation to "let's lie some more"?

R Russell Smith,

96 Milton Road,


ADDRESSING the Tory Party conference, Brexit Secretary David Davis described our exit from the EU as a “one-off, time-limited, extraordinary opportunity” – he cannot be serious. The daunting backdrop of this year’s conference has been that our economy is already being damaged because of uncertainties arising from our departure from the EU.

The slowdown is affecting households as well as companies. Figures this week from the Office for National Statistics showed that real disposable incomes have now fallen for four quarters in succession. This is the “austerity” that impacts on voters: not levels of public spending or share of national income, but measurable living standards.

Brexiters see nothing amiss with the economy or in the divorce process but they are in denial. The fact is that trade with partners who are big and close matters more than with those who are small and distant. Our EU trading partners are crucial to our economic success but there’s no sign our forlorn bunch of negotiators has taken this on board.

Rev Dr John Cameron,

10 Howard Place,

St Andrews.