Sunday, April 29, 2007

Respect to Peter Hitchens

Regular readers will know that I have taken issue with Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens from time to time, but I have to give him credit for something he has written in his column today.

How do I put this? The chapter about David Cameron's son Ivan, in the new biography of the Tory leader, is intensely moving and very painful to read. His parents' patient, unsentimental devotion to this gravely disabled boy, lost in some unknowable world and without any hope of improvement or recovery, is much to their credit. I once wrote that Mr Cameron had never really been put through any major test in life. It is clear that I was quite wrong. There can be few harder trials than to watch a child suffer in this way. I am sorry I said it.

My point is that this has nothing to do with politics. It would be true whatever Mr Cameron's political position was, whatever party he led. It wouldn't - and shouldn't - make me or you vote for him. And, now that we know about it, I think it would be better if it was left at that. However, I fear that some of Mr Cameron's advisers may be under the misguided impression that some political use might be made of this sadness. Hostile interviewers are not allowed to question Mr Cameron. Friendly ones are invited to one of his three houses and introduced to Ivan. Mr Cameron should ignore these advisers. We know everything we are entitled to know about this private matter.


It's rare for a national columnist to admit they are wrong or say sorry. Credit to Peter Hitchens for doing so.

15 comments:

Steve said...

I admire Peter Hitchens for being one of the first people in the media to take a highly principled stance against the BNP.

The Hitch said...

He is a thoroughly decent man , I wish he would stand somewhere as an independant and light the torch for this new political movement he knows is both desired and necessary.
Then the next time I spot him cycling up my path it will be to ask for my vote rather than cosh me about the head with his bicycle pump.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Yes, credit to him for admitting he was wrong and I agree with the rest of what he says here.

verity said...

A true heir to Blair. All gesture; no substance. What a stupid,vacuous little woman.

verity said...

Sorry about posting on the wrong thread, but I posted on the Blears thread, which then disappeared off the screen.

When I clicked Refresh a couple of times, it came back up but my comment appeared on the Peter Hitchens thread, in which I have no interest and whose correspondence I had never clicked on.

Apologies.

Anonymous said...

The point Hitchens makes is nevertheless valid.None of it could happen without Dave agreeing to it in the first place.
Please don't blame his advisers-it just makes Dave look such a weak inneffectual tool!

Anonymous said...

I felt David Cameron was a natural for the leadership of the Conservative party from the day he spoke so movingly about Ivan in his maiden speech. He so obviously adores Ivan and spoke from the heart of the joys and sadness of being the parent of a child wih such a severe disability.

I was stunned by such rare honesty and decency in a politician. Cameron seemed head and shoulders above the Commons pack.

Then the spin doctor got to him and began alienating his supporters - me among them - by persuading Cameron to rely on all manner of phoney devices.

I believe that Cameron is a fundamentally decent man and that he has what it takes to win the election - without spin doctors, who in any case just damage his credentials. I want to support Cameron and add my vote to nulab's trouncing at the next election. But I can't do that while he relies on this arrogant spin doctor in chief, Steven Hilton, and the utopian stunts he persuades Cameron to engage in.

That 'little Englanders' insult, for example, was pure Hilton - and plain stupid. Does Hilton even want Cameron to win the next election, he's a Green, isn't he?

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

Well said, Cameron is a good leader, a decent person and has the right instincts. He needs to listen to himself more than his spin doctors,

Matt

Leo said...

I think that, regardless of what one's views on Cameron's policies or ideals may be, it's pretty safe to say that political debate in this country would be greatly aided by the removal of the malign influence of ALL spin doctors, not just Cameron's.

However, we must look at why these spin doctors have arisen. I would say the answer to that lies in slightly unrealistic expectations of politicians by the electorate.

It would seem that, on average, voters want it both ways - lower taxes, better public services - as well as expecting politicians to be friendly, personable, easy on the eye and utterly, completely honest.

This is probably what has necessitated the arrival of and dependence on spin doctors in British political culture. I simply do not believe that the blame for their introduction lies solely with politicians on this one.

jaq said...

Well it's a start..

Anonymous said...

Hitch is wasted ats a columnist, he should walk the walk as a doer.

P.S He is wrong on waste and talks holistic garbage

Cllr Keith Standring said...

This section is surely about Peter Hitchens apology, not about Dave's child and whether or not that should be used for "political propaganda".

I have total admiration for Peter Hitchens courage in making a very public apology to DC. Would that our politicians should make such apologies - perish the thought - their snouts are extending proportionate to the depth of the trough!

plankton said...

It takes a BIG man to admit publicly that he was wrong.

wonderfulforhisage said...

Rise again Hitchens Mayor of London?

Electro Kevin said...

There are a few columnists I would like to see standing for government - Peter Hitchens is one of them. Alas, though they speak for so many, membership of any of the mainstream parties would compromise their ideals and those of the people who agree with them.

The majority of people in our country are effectively disenfranchised - no wonder so many Brits are quitting the country.