The 5 most shocking quotes in Oliver Letwin’s ‘racist’ memo


A five-page letter written to then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1985 has given us insight into David Cameron’s current policy chief and key Cabinet minister Oliver Letwin.

He and fellow Tory aide Vernon Hartley Booth wrote a memo to Mrs Thatcher advising how to respond to social unrest and rioting in inner city black communities across Britain in the 1980s.

Here are the five most shocking quotes the pair used:

1. ‘Discos and drugs… vandalism and decay’

“[Lord] Young’s new entrepreneurs will set up in the disco and drug trade; Kenneth Baker’s refurbished council blocks will decay through vandalism combined with neglect; and people will graduate from temporary training or employment programmes into unemployment or crime,” the memo said.

2. ‘Bad moral attitudes’

“Riots, criminality and social disintegration are caused solely by individual characters and attitudes. So long as bad moral attitudes remain, all efforts to improve the inner cities will founder.”

3. White people don’t riot

“Lower-class, unemployed white people lived for years in appalling slums without a breakdown of public order on anything like the present scale; in the midst of the depression, people in Brixton went out, leaving their grocery money in a bag at the front door, and expecting to see groceries there when they got back.”

4. Riots are nothing to do with racism against black communities

Mr Letwin and Mr Booth also dismissed suggestions that the rioting had been caused by racism or social deprivation, despite evidence that racism in the Metropolitan Police was rampant throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

5. ‘There should be no positive discrimination’

The memo finished off by stating: “There should be no ‘positive discrimination’ in any new programmes,” and also advised Mrs Thatcher to bar her ministers from proposing any state-funded solutions.

After the documents were released on Tuesday Mr Letwin apologised “unreservedly” and admitted parts of the private memo were “badly worded and wrong”.

Source: The 5 most shocking quotes in Oliver Letwin’s ‘racist’ memo | UK Politics | News | The Independent

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11 thoughts on “The 5 most shocking quotes in Oliver Letwin’s ‘racist’ memo

  1. stephen brophy

    Tory mantra! They see people that vote for them as idiots as they’re got them to vote against their own interests! I’ve heard them speak privately!

  2. Brian F Kirkham

    People knew it at the time but still had the gall to vote the toxic tories into office…hiding behind government protocols and their pals in the press.. heaven knows what truths Cameron is hiding away as we read this…i.e. the truths behind IDS and the back to work tests for disabled people

  3. roybeiley

    I bet when he wrote those comments he never expected them to be made public in his lifetime! What a corker! He always looked. to me like a slimy creature with that ” Uriah Heep” toady sort of dedication to his work. Seems he is still serving his new master with same toady dedication and his so called “apology” after 30 years reeks with insincerety.

  4. chriskitcher

    How many of his colleagues in Government think the same way as this idiot? I don’t believe his apology as this was only done to save his position in the current government.

  5. Guy Ropes

    Somewhat ironic that Letwin is due to give “a keynote speech” at Livery Hall, EC2 later this month entitled “Opportunity for All”. Will it be quietly cancelled?

  6. casalealex

    I reiterate: I am sick to death of these constant ‘apologies’ – shamologies. MSM, MPs, and others say whatever they like in their full page propaganda fuelled utterances. When, and if, there is a public furore, they issue an ‘apology’, expecting that to end the matter. Forgetting that the harm caused by their vile irrational oleaginous words have vilified innocent people; many of whom will never see the shamology, which is usually hidden amongst inconsequential back pages, in the smallest print possible.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Because somebody said it was and the newspaper was publicising the fact that it was said by someone else.

  7. Alessandra Ferrari

    He can apologize until he chokes. He is just another puppet on a string with less than half a brain, bowing to his masters .

Comments are closed.