Since replacing the increasingly wayward Melanie “not just Barking but halfway to Upminster” Phillips as the Daily Mail’s Monday pundit of choice, Dominic Lawson has not stirred quite the same level of controversy. But he is more than capable of cobbling together his columns from the lamest of material, and supported by the flimsiest of arguments, as he has done today.
“Never mind Dave's Etonians. Labour's ruling dynasties are just as privileged” he begins, pitching a false equivalence, as the Etonians are not part of any dynasty – they just went to the same school as one another (apart of course from Jo Johnson, whose brother makes an occasional stab at being Mayor of London). And at least he admits that Young Dave does have his critics.
“One of the most acerbic of those critics is the former director of the Conservative Research Department (and later speech writer for Margaret Thatcher) Robin Harris, who revealed in a television documentary called Toff At The Top that the young Cameron got his job there following a phone call from a Buckingham Palace equerry” he tells, not mentioning that the caller did not seek to influence matters.
But Lawson’s real target is the Labour Party: “During the Crewe and Nantwich by-election in the last parliament” he starts, in order to have a go at those who choose the same occupation as one of their forebears. Like, oh I dunno, Nicholas Soames, Winston Churchill (that’s the grandson of Winshton, who followed his dad into Parliament), Maurice Macmillan and Gwilym Lloyd George.
Of course all of those were Tories, so they don’t get a mention. Instead, Lawson cadges much of his column from the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, and goes after the children of “Shagger” Prescott, Tone, Jack Straw, Tony Benn, and Neil Kinnock. Plus the Milibands get it in the neck, in accordance with the dictates of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre.
He even uses the same term as The Great Guido, calling this new generation “Red Princes”. But, by his own admission, he is the last one to call out anyone for dynastic leanings, although he tries to pretend that dad Nigel, being a politician, was in a different line of business. This is the most flagrant bullshit: as any fule kno, Nigel Lawson was first and foremost a journalist.
Moreover, both father and son spent some years as editor of the Spectator, Nigel from 1966 to 1970 and Dominic from 1990 to 1995. That would qualify as another of those dynastic feats that the younger Lawson is railing against in his column – so it’s little wonder that he manages not to tell his readers about it. So I will.