Embarrassing facts about Conservative Party bigwigs should be causing red faces in the party of the blue-bloods.
Oliver Letwin and David Willetts have been revealed to have advised the Thatcher government to carry out policies that harmed black unemployed young people in Britain’s inner cities and “pampered” Scots.
Margaret Thatcher is shown to have dragged her heels over the then-Conservative government’s reaction to AIDS in the mid-1980s, in the belief that concerns about “bad taste” should “limit wider distribution of precise explanations of which sexual practices were most likely to lead to HIV infection”.
It seems likely to This Writer that the people of Scotland, at least, may soon be howling for Mr Willetts’ blood after the revelation that he told Margaret Thatcher to starve Scotland of public funding.
David Cameron’s chief policy adviser has apologised after he helped to ward off cabinet pleas for assistance for black unemployed youth following the 1985 inner-city riots with the argument that any help would only end up in the “disco and drug trade”.
Oliver Letwin, then a young adviser in Margaret Thatcher’s Downing Street policy unit, played a decisive role along with her inner cities adviser, Hartley Booth, in rejecting demands from three cabinet members that assistance schemes be introduced in the aftermath of the Tottenham and Handsworth riots in 1985. On Tuesday night he said he apologised “unreservedly” for any offence caused by his comments.
A former minister in David Cameron’s coalition government argued “pampered Scots” should face deep cuts in public spending when he advised Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.
David Willetts, who served as universities minister until the general election in May, had told the then prime minister that Scotland was the “only juicy target” that had escaped her spending axe.
“Ultimately, the question is a political one. The position of the Conservative party in Scotland is so bad that it might not deteriorate any further. And the envious north of England might even welcome an attack on the pampered Scots over the border,” [Willetts told Thatcher in a secret paper dated 8 January 1986].
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