Boris Johnson has had a blazing row with a Tory Cabinet minister who privately told the London Mayor that the Government doesn’t want people flying abroad on holiday.
Johnson told a "People's Question Time" event: "I was absolutely scandalised the other day to hear a government minister tell me he did not want to see more families in Sheffield able to afford cheap holidays.
"Absolutely disgraceful, a bourgeois repression of people’s ability to take a holiday. It is a matter of social justice."
Who was the Tory minister concerned? Impeccable sources tell me it was Oliver Letwin, the Hampstead-born minister of state at the Cabinet Office, 'leading Cameroon thinker' and former investment banker.
One can only speculate on the motives of Boris Johnson having revealed this embarrassing exchange, as James Delingpole did in the Telegraph on 2nd April here. A small extract:
Once again we see Boris positioning himself as the ideological conscience of the Conservative party. I’m not suggesting he doesn’t also believe this stuff: I’m sure he does, with a passion. But politically it makes sense too for Boris understands clearly, as his party leadership apparently does not, the Conservative party in Britain is in dire, dire trouble. And the root of this malaise is precisely this mix of snooty remoteness, intellectual woolliness and odious wetness exhibited by senior party figures like Oliver Wetwin.
Wetwin, let it not be forgotten, is not some random pillock on the fringes of the Tory party. He is the Prime Minister’s key policy adviser. If somebody that influential cannot understand why trying to clamp down on cheap holiday flights (as indeed the government is doing: through the swingeing eco-taxes imposed on air travel) is inimical to Conservatism, then truly the Tory party is doomed.
- the whole article is worth reading.
I suppose the only crumb of comfort to draw from this debacle for the Conservative Party is that there does not seem to be a video-clip or voice-recording of Letwin dropping these pearls of wisdom (and amazingly-outdated snobbishness) on a breathless British public. The fact that LibDem Coalition partner and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg is the MP for a Sheffield constituency only adds to the excruciating nature of Letwin's wrong-thinking and mis-analysis of what Conservatism should be all about - personal freedom and individual liberty - not some Conservative 'grandee' trying to dictate the lives of masses of his fellow citizens. He really needs to get out more - and remember that even folks in Sheffield and other northern cities have a vote and that their votes will play a part in determining the electoral future of the Conservative Party.