There can be no more unappealing combination of poor journalistic standards, flagrant dishonesty, and a routinely demeaning attitude to women than that served up by the odious Quentin Letts (let’s not), the Daily Mail’s supposedly hilariously witty Parliamentary sketchwriter, but in reality just another of those obedient attack doggies grovelling at the feet of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre.
Harry Potter and the Gobshite of Arslikhan
The poor standards, as I noted at the Leveson presentation, extended to not bothering to take notes, nor to paying attention: Quent can always make it up afterwards. And the other two notable attributes can be seen as he retells the weekly Commons joust that is Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs). Here, his talent for misogyny is given free rein, yielding maximum repulsiveness.
Thus it was that he insulted Harriet Harman this week, asserting “Miss Harman is another politician who could do with a tickle under the armpits ... How remorselessly whiny she so often sounds”. But then, he has previous with Ms Harman: last December he called her “Britain’s most ear-drillingly insistent feminist ... she has been round the block a few times”. And, as the man said, there’s more.
“Miss Harman has been in the Commons since 1982. She was one of the first Cabinet ministers to be sacked by Tony Blair (he may have thought her thick) ... So socialist yet so posh, so demotic yet so confused, so fragrant yet such a stinker ... the Gromyko of Camberwell”. As Sir Sean nearly said, I think we got the point. And this unpleasant attitude towards Labour women is not confined to Ms Harman.
Of Yvette Cooper, he told “Just looking at Ms Cooper is enough to make your bones ache ... grimly serious ... poor thing ... you needed a heart of gristle not to feel for the poor ewe”. With Maria Eagle, it got yet nastier: “a hardline socialist and a pinstripe-suit-wearing lesbian ... our Angela was yelling ... like a tattoed stevedore ... Are Labour women never to have their moustachings tweaked?”
And on top of the misogyny comes the fantasy: after a particularly difficult PMQs for Young Dave – you can see my sketch, with some of the exchanges verbatim, HERE – it became “Miliboob bogged it big-time with his puerile attack: QUENTIN LETTS sees Cameron wipe the floor with Ed at PM's Questions”. The inhabitants of the Northcliffe House bunker do seem to inhabit a strange version of reality.
What is worse, they think there are folks out there who aspire to do the same. I don’t think so, Quent. Now go and say sorry to Ms Harman.