There is a dividing line between being a cheeky chap who pokes fun at those in power, puncturing their air of self-importance and exposing pretentiousness, and an interfering pain in the neck who makes very little sense once the schoolboy sniggering has been stripped away. And the odious Quentin Letts (let’s not), youngest of the Dacre dinosaurs, is firmly in the latter category.
Harry Potter and the sneerfest of Kensington
He crossed the line with the kind of formula hackery that brought Mail readers the substantially fabricated story trashing the memory of Coronation Street star Pat Phoenix, written only to put the boot in on Cherie Blair by association. He has continued in that vein with his unfunny and less than impartial Commons “sketches” and their convenient re-shaping of reality.
And he established himself as a professional pain par excellence after he tried to interfere in the running of Hammersmith’s Lyric Theatre because it put on a play of which he disapproved. Clearly, free speech is only good enough when it coincides with Quent’s “middle-stump Anglican” view of the world. Then he decided that he should be given a shot at running the BBC.
Dare we enquire what he would do to the Corporation? “My first act would be to announce that the BBC is to forgo populism”. So no more ratings bankers, then? “I would keep Strictly”. Er, maybe not. What else? “A Saturday night on BBC1 would have some kind of drama serial, or some form of family entertainment”. Quent, a word in your shell-like: Strictly is family entertainment.
And he’d close the operation at Media City, or as he calls it, Salford. One can almost see him looking down his nose at the thought of that city to the west of Manchester. Economics is clearly not Quent’s strong suit: the Television Centre site will make the Beeb a shed load of cash, even if the main building retains its Grade II listed status. Think of all those upmarket apartments.
But Quent is a clever bloke, whatever his shortcomings on mere money matters. Clever enough to sneer at one senior figure at the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), a body that Paul Dacre disapproves of, saying his “intelligence must be open to question”, which probably means he trousers more than Quent extracts from the service of the Vagina Monologue.
The last is part of Quent’s tirade against a body that majors in those detested “Yuman Rights”. These are clearly A Very Bad Thing, unless it’s about someone being extradited from the UK to the USA, at which point they become Very Wonderful Indeed. In the world of the Mail, it shows what happens when you prostitute yourself shamelessly before the editor.
And with so few friends on the outside, that will have to continue.