Hugo Rifkind Hugo Rifkind

You don’t have to be nice to be right – but it would certainly help

But what was Oliver Letwin on about, anyway? Why doesn’t he want more people from Sheffield taking holidays? And why tell Boris Johnson this? ‘We don’t want to see more families in Sheffield being able to afford cheap holidays,’ he apparently told Boris, who told the world.

But what was Oliver Letwin on about, anyway? Why doesn’t he want more people from Sheffield taking holidays? And why tell Boris Johnson this? ‘We don’t want to see more families in Sheffield being able to afford cheap holidays,’ he apparently told Boris, who told the world.

But what was Oliver Letwin on about, anyway? Why doesn’t he want more people from Sheffield taking holidays? And why tell Boris Johnson this? ‘We don’t want to see more families in Sheffield being able to afford cheap holidays,’ he apparently told Boris, who told the world. But why? The only thing they can possibly have been discussing was airports in the south-east. Where Sheffield isn’t. It’s north-middle somewhere, I think. Isn’t it?

Most probably, Letwin didn’t mean ‘Sheffield’ when he said ‘Sheffield’, but in fact meant ‘the great amorphous mass of the poor’. This would be very bad, obviously, but is not, as it happens, what I’m about to go off on one about. No. Actually, I’m more annoyed by his environmentalism. I mean, honestly, the amount of time I’ve spent insisting to eco-sceptics that, no, environmentalists aren’t inherently lofty, debilitatingly intellectual and, at heart, anti-human. ‘Some of them are even Tories!’ I’ve often said. And now there’s Letwin, the big wizard-faced Dilbert, making them all absolutely right after all.

I can’t begin to explain how much this sort of thing irritates me. It’s like Andrew Lansley. There’s this political rap about his proposed NHS reforms doing the rounds online at the moment. That’s right. A political rap. It’s probably the future. ‘Andrew Lansley, greedy, Andrew Lansley, tosser,’ it starts. Hmm, I thought, when I heard that. Tosser, I can understand. But greedy? Clearly, I though, that’s just your typical ad hominem. It’s lazy (rapping) political theory, assuming that people who think differently must be evil.

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