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Tuesday 3 February 2015

Letts Envy Faisal Islam

Those who invest in the routinely selective and slanted journalism offered to readers by the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre may be unaware of a significant character flaw bedevilling one of the Daily Mail’s most regular of pundits. Yes, lurking behind the urbane and witty facade of the odious Quentin Letts (let’s not) is a deep and burning jealousy at his having missed the televisual boat.
Harry Potter and the Gobshite of Arslikhan

Quent may seem the last one to covet his fellow journalists’ patch, having secured himself a well-remunerated berth at Northcliffe House in exchange for the expenditure of surprisingly little effort - the highbrow reviews allow him to see events for free, and the parliamentary sketches are all variations on the “Young Dave and his jolly good chaps are incredibly wonderful and they always win” theme - but yesterday the mask slipped.

The event was part of Stand Up Be Counted, hosted by Sky News and Media Trust, “an ambitious new campaign that aims to amplify the voices of young people ahead of the General Election on 7th May 2015”. Quent didn’t like this at all: for him, it was nothing more than “a creepy Sky News-Facebook TV show that forced party leaders to matey up to selected yoofs”. Quent is 52 on Friday. He sounds much older.

It got worse, as Letts had trouble even getting the name of the show right. “Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg, David Cameron and that Aussie from the Greens took turns to be quizzed. The programme, Stand Up And Be Counted (did they mean the ratings figures?), was all about ‘young people’ and their alleged indifference to electoral politics. The camera angles were look-at-me edgy, all wobbly with up-the-nose shots. Oh, please”.
Quent's hero loses it under no pressure at all

The extracts I’ve seen (Sky News has lots of clips HERE; be warned the response on the fastest of laptops is abysmal) are not, but if it’s his usual standard, Quent won’t have bothered taking notes. Still, he managed “Normal 20-somethings would have treated this lame answer to hog-whimpering derision and armfarts. The political trainspotters recruited by Sky heard it in respectful silence”. Shout “trainspotter” at anyone with brain engaged.

And then the mask slips: “The show was fronted by Sky’s political editor, one Faisal Islam. Amazing to think this chump is successor to the serious, worldly Adam Boulton. In his shiny suit, the twinkly-eyed Islam could have been an under-manager at a boutique hotel. He kept mewing about what ‘young people’ were interested in”. Adam Boulton? The “Don’t-You-Know-Who-I-Am” merchant who lost it with Big Al after the last election?

I never knew that Quent was so jealous of Faisal Islam. Did he send his CV to Sky News in the hope of succeeding Boulton? Ron Hopeful indeed. Letts wouldn’t know Ofcom compliant journalism if it jumped up and fly-hacked him in the undercarriage. He couldn’t even describe Faisal Islam’s suit accurately (clue, Quent, it wasn’t shiny). And his sneering at young people is all too typical of Daily Mail hacks and pundits.

Young people matter to us; they are the country’s future. Quentin Letts doesn’t, because he isn’t. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Quent.

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