The joys of being a female conductor | Brief letters

Greek saying | Boris Johnson and Tennyson | Tom Stoppard portrait | Female conductors | Royal expenses | Favourite headlines

The present state of the Conservative party brings to mind the Greek saying: “Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad.”
Dick Taverne
Liberal Democrats, House of Lords

• Perhaps Mr Johnson (Johnson: UK will leave EU in October ‘do or die’, 26 June) should be warned that the original quote, in Tennyson’s poem The Charge of the Light Brigade, reads “Theirs but to do and die”.
John Gill
Park West, Wirral

• Congratulations to photographer Sarah Lee for her brilliant portrait of Tom Stoppard (Report, 25 June). It is so beautifully composed and says so much about, in Sonia Freedman’s words, “our greatest living playwright”. What a relief after too much Trump and Boris.
June Mack
Oxford

• The CBSO music director says she is often asked how it is to be a female conductor (Report, 25 June). She might want to echo Marin Alsop’s response to someone expressing surprise at conducting and being female: “The baton isn’t heavy.”
John Walsh
Swindon

• Legislation ensures the monarch receives only a percentage (currently 25%) of the crown estate’s income for the civil list. Expenditure such as the Sussexes’ new home and train fares are not a cost to taxpayers (Letters, 26 June), who benefit from the remaining 75%.
Carole Pountney
Brighton

• My favourite headline (Letters, 26 June) was in a 1960s London paper, when Field Marshall Montgomery returned to Egypt to revisit the second world war battlefield: “Monty flies back to front.”
Alan Mould
Edinburgh

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