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Friday, 14 October 2011

Letwin in dustbin sin bin

Just what is it with politicians and parks?

This is the first post that I have attempted from my blackberry. I am also waiting for a bus. Should I therefore succeed in putting this online, boarding the bus and not leaving my briefcase on the pavement, then this will be an exciting technological breakthrough. I am now in fact on the bus (which arrived on time, although the road ahead is now blocked by a dustcart) and shall endeavour to duly get off it (still with the briefcase) at the appropriate juncture, especially as the dustcart has now moved, and we are on our way again.

Turning now to the affairs of the nation, I see that Oliver Letwin has been told off by the grown-ups (and the Daily Mirror) for putting pieces of paper in the waste-paper baskets in St James's Park. Where else was Mr Letwin supposed to put correspondence from Sir Malcolm Rifkind if he was minded to dispose of it after reading it in a royal park?

There is a pleasing insouciance to Mr Letwin's going to the park before work, reading some letters and then throwing them away after he has finished with them. We need such insouciance in our national life; it is part of who we English are. I would rather be governed by ministers like Mr Letwin, who might actually understand some of the documents that he reads before throwing them away, than be governed by some of the yawn-inducing prigs who served in the last Labour Government, many of whom reminded me of those occasional people in the workplace who are always on time, always well-preened and always devoid of original thought. Not that punctuality and imagination are mutually exclusive qualities (I often strive to be achieve both, sometimes even simultaneously), but you know what I mean.

I do understand the security issues involved; of course, there is often a need for proper filing. Mr Letwin has perhaps been a bit silly. I like people who appear to be very clever and a bit silly sometimes, in contrast to people who are simply boring. That is why I find Tories like Oliver Letwin and Boris Johnson appealing as personalities, however much I disagree with them politically.

Besides, it's not as if the documents concerned were 'sensitive', we are told. I would hate to read an 'insensitive' letter sent by Sir Malcolm Rifkind to Oliver Letwin. What would it say - "I didn't like the trousers that you wore last Wednesday"? So Mr Letwin is right to have apologised and Downing Street is right to have made a statement in which it mildly frowns upon him, I suppose. 

I secretly suspect that Oliver Letwin and Francis Maude are re-enacting Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and that this was intended to be a dead-letter drop for Mr Maude. It is only a matter of time before David Cameron and Nick Clegg are spotted bumping into each other and 'accidentally' swapping identical briefcases.

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