Please can someone tell me that I’m not mad, and that this really is happening (Boris Johnson elected new Tory leader, theguardian.com, 23 July). The UK claims to be a democracy. Our next prime minister has just been chosen by the 92,153 members of the Conservative and Unionist party, who voted for Boris Johnson. The UK electorate numbers 45,775,800 voters. The UK population stands at 66,961,230. So about 0.001% of the population have, in effect, selected Johnson. In other words, 99.999% of the population had no say whatsoever in this matter. That, apparently, is how our democracy works. I’ve just one question: how different would the process have been if the UK weren’t a democracy?
Emeritus Professor Chris Walsh
• We seem to have moved from the ridiculous to the malign; from wheat fields and egoic rigidity to thuggery, serial public infidelity and pathological dishonesty. Much is made of a dubious “cleverness” or intelligence, but it is wisdom that leadership depends on. Aside from his politics, instinctively to the right of the Conservative party and without conviction, and appearing to represent little more than the self-justification of privilege, Mr Johnson is not suitable for high office.
Dr Franz Schembri Wismayer
• On the morning of the result of the Brexit vote three years ago, the French newspaper Libération, published a full front page showing the familiar photo of Boris Johnson dangling helplessly from a zipwire waving two union flags, under the headline “Good luck”. With Johnson, as ensconced in No 10, Britain is going to need a lot more than luck.
• Family members and close friends refer to our next prime minister as Al for the simple reason that his first name is Alexander and Boris is a persona he has adopted for public consumption. I wonder if he will be tempted to extend the hand of friendship to the Queen when they meet at the palace: “I can call you Betty. And Betty, when you call me, you can call me Al.” (With apologies to Paul Simon.)
• I have just been to the newsagent’s where I read the Daily Telegraph’s headline, “Fantasist whose lies should never have been believed”, and for one delirious moment I thought the paper had had a last-minute conversion to sanity on Boris Johnson’s unicorn world. Of course, it referred to the other damaged fantasist in the news.
King’s Lynn, Norfolk
• We should spare a sympathetic thought for the talented and honourable officials in No 10 and the Cabinet Office who now find themselves obliged to work for Johnson (Tory rebels warn Johnson: ditch no deal or face fight for survival, 23 July). They may have dealt before with egocentricity, mendacity or unreliability as one-offs, but never when all three are characteristic of the same prime minister.
• As a teacher of history I have always tried to show my pupils that in all leaders and historical figures there is a balance of good and less good qualities in all of them. Are there any qualities that Mr Johnson displays that I should urge my grandchildren to emulate?
Haxby, North Yorkshire
• May I remind Mr Johnson that all political careers end in failure and that he should consider resigning while he is ahead.
• To paraphrase Shakespeare’s Malvolio: “Some have idiots thrust upon them.” At least the American electorate voted in their own idiot.
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