Writing about spineless cabinet ministers, Polly Toynbee calls them yellow bellies (This revenge reshuffle shows absolute power resides in No 10, Journal, 14 February), thereby risking offence to all the countless Guardian readers from Lincolnshire. Perhaps she doesn’t realise that “yellowbelly” is a title that some Lincolnshire people wear with pride, deriving, so it is claimed, either from the yellow waistcoats of a Lincolnshire regiment or from the underparts of the frogs that were native to the Lincolnshire Fens. It certainly isn’t synonymous with cowardice.

I imagine that Polly Toynbee may have been thinking of yellow-livered. This certainly would apply to any cabinet minister who knuckled under to Dominic Cummings’ say so.
Ian Beckwith
Church Stretton, Shropshire

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