The pleasant and well-ordered “Middle stump Anglican” life of the Daily Mail’s toadying parliamentary sketchwriter Quentin Letts (let’s not) was yesterday subjected to the rudest of awakenings by a ruling from his bête noir, Commons Speaker John Bercow. The event was a debate during which Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was subjected to what The Italian Job’s Mr Bridger called “a good going over”.
Harry Potter and the Gobshite of Arslikhan
This moderately rigorous examination featured an intervention from Labour MP Chris Bryant, who asserted that Hunt had “lied to the House” (note that he did not in fact call the Minister a “liar”). Speaker Bercow was challenged as to whether this was allowable. He concluded that it was. Letts has been left spluttering into his King James Bible with incredulity, poor lamb.
What to do? There had to be a little of that staggeringly witty “character defenestration” for which Letts is so famous, even if this quality is only present in his own retelling. And so it came to pass: Bryant only got away with it because he is Mr Speaker’s “friend”. And in the world of Quentin Letts, to say that, when Bryant is openly homosexual, is the height of sophisticated put-down.
But for anyone else, it comes over as a particularly nasty and cheap smear. It is, though, typical of the desperation to which Letts is all too ready to sink as his attempt to single-handedly get rid of Bercow moves forward not a millimetre. Poor Quent has, over the course of this Parliament, been fed the line by Tory MPs willing to tell him what he wants to hear that the Speaker is not long for that chair.
Sadly, though, there are very few of them, and their number does not include anyone in Government whose opinion matters to their respective party leaderships. This awkward squad comprises such luminaries as (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries, and we all know just how seriously Young Dave takes her: “the Hon Lady is extremely frustrated”. So not very seriously at all.
And Letts is no stranger to dishing out less than civil language himself, especially in his tirades against Speaker Bercow and wife Sally, whose clear ability to enjoy life irks the Dacre yes-man intensely. The litany of abuse directed at her thus far includes “Hooray Henrietta”, “trashy bint”, and “slapper”, and on one occasion he called the Speaker’s wife a “scuttle-jawed doxy”.
What that? Well, “doxy” is Old English slang – for prostitute. Yes, the appallingly righteous Letts is having a hissy fit over “lied to the House”, but is more than happy to call the wife of someone he doesn’t like a prostitute. And so another of Dacre’s toadies is found to be standing in a very draughty glasshouse. Quent, you’re not just a complete shit, but a complete hypocrite to boot.
Still, the pay’s good at the Mail. Mustn’t grumble, eh?