Daily Mail sketch writer Quentin Letts has found himself the subject of ridicule after penning a book attacking Britain’s elite, after mysteriously failing to include his boss, newspaper editor Paul Dacre.
The journalist and author recently published a book titled ‘Patronising Bastards: How The Elites Betrayed Britain’ - a “sustained vituperative honk of horror against our new establishment”.
In a high-spirited interview on the Radio 4 Today programme this morning, Letts said: “It strikes me that there is now this elite which has been preaching equality, but is no more faithful to the idea of equality than the medieval abbots and friars were to the virtues of chastity and poverty.”
He continued: “I’m attacking this big mass of people who are finger-waggers, who are telling hoi polloi how to lead their lives and hoi polloi are fed up.”
But listeners were quick to point out that there is one very significant figure missing from the Daily Mail journalist’s list of elites, which includes Theresa May and Ian McEwan.
When asked why his media mogul boss Dacre, who is the editor-in-chief of one of Britain’s most-read newspapers, was so noticeably absent from his book, Letts coyly replied: “He’s escaped somehow, I don’t know how...”, before adding: “I’m not a suicide bomber, for God’s sake.”
But Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, who found herself described in Letts’ book as a “la-di-da leftist with the most perfect villa in Italy”, refused to let the 54-year-old off the hook.
Also speaking on the Today programme, she described the situation as “very odd”, claiming that Letts was set to give a “peal of praise to his beloved editor” as Dacre celebrates 25 years as editor.
Describing the speech as “the wonders of Paul Dacre”, Toynbee levelled that Letts’ boss not only owns a grouse moor, but a large arable farm in Sussex “for which he gets huge amounts of EU funding”.
Denying claims that she owns property abroad, she told Letts: “We are equally la-di-da. Quentin, from public school?
“It’s not where you’re from, it’s who you’re for - it’s who you stand for.”
She added: “There’s a whole world in which he [Letts] thinks the establishment is of the left or liberal, which is weird, because for most of our lifetimes, the Tories have been in power.
“They are the captains of industry, they run the commanding house - possibly not of the arts, but of almost everything else.”
Responding to Toynbee’s comments, Letts said later in the interview: “I wish I could pin her to the ground and tickle her under the armpits to make you smile, my dear.”