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Thursday 15 November 2012

Letts Get Belatedly Principled

A champion of decent investigative journalism has emerged from the most unlikely source: that of the beings who obediently serve the dictates of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre at the Mail. Yes, in the Press Gazette on Monday, the odious Quentin Letts (let’s not) has burst forth with a rallying cry to his fellow hacks, and not an outburst of Leveson bashing, which of course would never do.

Harry Potter and the Gobshite of Arslikhan

We must restate our intention, as a Street, to chase and harry and expose the liars in every corner of British public life” he thunders, managing not to notice that neither his paper, nor any other, still forms part of Fleet Street. The clue, Quent, is something to do with your office now being in Kensington. And your pals are over in Canary Wharf and Wapping. Whatever.

So let’s take him at his word: “every corner of public life”. That would include places like those that provide entertainment, no? So someone carrying out a campaign to close down a theatre for putting on a play he doesn’t like should be high on the Letts list – after all, this is an attempt to curtail freedom of expression. And not being open about such behaviour would mean that L-word, wouldn’t it?

Those corners of public life would also include Parliament, and being honest and open about reporting what goes on there. So anyone who pretends that debates, and especially Prime Minister’s Questions, don’t go the way that more or less every other commentator says they do, while showing clear bias towards one party and deliberately smearing others, would be in the firing line.

The Letts inquisition would surely also find adversely upon those who defame and smear ministers in order to pursue a partisan religious agenda, while totally misrepresenting the facts to meet his editor’s agenda. He would not be at all happy at anyone calling a senior Westminster official’s wife a prostitute as part of yet another smear campaign.

And Quent, as a Commons regular, would be most unhappy about anyone so devoid of knowledge about the place that they called it “England’s great House of Commons”. He’d be incensed at anyone so devoid of knowledge that they claimed the city of Cairo had rickshaws driven by people known locally as “wallahs”. Such ignorance and dishonesty would have him on the case in short order.

Well, Quent, I have news for you: all those whoppers, howlers and smears are the work of one person, so your mission to “chase and harry and expose” is a particularly straightforward one, so straightforward in fact that you don’t even need to leave the house to accomplish it. All you need to do to identify the culprit is to nip to the bathroom and take a look in the mirror.

Because all of that, Quentin Letts, came from you. Another stinking hypocrite.

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