Oliver Letwin is in a hole. Typically of his kind of politician (consider Lucy Allan), he is still digging.
But his apparent belief that his discussion of an “underclass”, in his until-now-unseen book The Purpose of Politics, shows his long-held belief in “equality of opportunity” suggests that either he is delusional, or he thinks we are.
As shown below, his words relate to “a drugged adolescent in a modern inner city” whose loyalties lie only in “his gang”.
How many of these individuals existed in 1999, when he wrote the book? How many exist now?
Not many at all.
But this Tory wanted people to think that the UK was riddled with them, in the same way Tories have been making extravagant claims ever since they returned to office in 2010. The most obvious are the claims that Labour wrecked the economy, that austerity was necessary, and ‘There Is No Alternative’.
Letwin says his words demonstrate his dedication to social reform.
In fact, they show that he is a fantasist and a bigot.
Oliver Letwin insisted on Saturday that his political career had been driven by a quest to achieve equality of opportunity for the most needy, after more evidence emerged of his thinking about people living in impoverished urban communities.
The cabinet member and confidant of David Cameron has come under scrutiny after the release of a memo he wrote for Margaret Thatcher in 1985 that expressed controversial opinions about black communities in London.
Research by the Observer has shown that in a 1999 book, Letwin identified an “underclass” who he said represented “an extreme failure to contribute to the advance of beauty, truth and prosperity”.
In The Purpose of Politics, a book of political philosophy published two years after he became an MP and a year before he joined the shadow cabinet, Letwin made comparisons between “a drugged adolescent in a modern inner city” and a medieval serf.
Letwin argued that the former “shares only the values of his gang or if, as sometimes, deprived even of that solicitude, no identifiable values at all”.
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