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Saturday 7 April 2012

Quentin Letts – Pants On Fire

Despite all his appearances on the TV – mostly on the BBC, which he then ritually slags off to show his true gratitude for all that extra beer money – the deeply unpleasant Quentin Letts (let’s not) is one of the most loyal retainers of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre. If there is a hatchet job to be written, then the Vagina Monologue knows Letts will deliver the goods.

Harry Potter and the Gobshite of Misogyny

And, in true Daily Mail fashion, if a little corner cutting is required to make the facts fit the agenda, then so be it. On occasion, there may be a requirement to make those facts up on the fly: this, too, is permissible for those in receipt of More And Bigger Paycheques For Themselves Personally Now. Letts was caught recently making those facts up by Labour MP Jamie Reed. And now he’s done it again.

Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone, who has responsibility for equality as a minister at the Home Office, is the latest target for Letts’ inventiveness, as the headline tells “The achingly right-on Equalities Minister Ms Featherstone is so lightweight even some in her own party dub her Lynne Featherbrain!” which I’m sure Quent thinks is ever so funny. But there is a problem with the characterisation.

And that, sadly, is that it is not true, as a party source has confirmed to me. Not even slightly true. It’s a whopper. A fib of non-trivial proportions. Pure invention. And not only is it untrue, it’s also malicious, unnecessary, sexist and yes, misogynistic, but then, that’s Quent for you. As Derek and Clive might have said, What A Quent. But there is an underlying reason for this singularly nasty hatchet job.

And that is the defence of Quent’s chosen faith. Remember, he’s a “Middle Stump Anglican”. That means he’s an upstanding, sincere, God-fearing Christian. And such people are, as seasoned observers will know well, the Daily Mail’s kind of people. They are the kind of people, indeed, who will not only pay good money for the paper, but truly believe whatever Dacre and his hacks tell them.

Moreover, they are under attack, as Letts goes on to tell them. Ms Featherstone’s ultimate crime is not defending the right of the BA check-in worker to wear a cross at work, and the nurse who wore a cross on a necklace. Except that Ms Featherstone is not banning anything, and nor is she seeking to. The BA worker was told that she could wear her cross, but inside her uniform.

And the nurse was not banned from wearing her cross either: hospitals ban wearing them on necklaces because they can be targeted and grabbed, not least by late night arrivals in A&E. But rather than consider the fact of the matter, the singularly unsavoury Letts puts the boot into Lynne Featherstone, who has nothing to do with either case. He really is full of it.

But he gets a nice big wedge to count and bank, so that’s all right, then.

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