Friday, 15 June 2012

Peter Hitchens: a talent to provoke

Peter Hitchens, The Mail on Sunday columnist, was trending on Twitter long after the close of BBC 1's Question Time last night.
Hitchens had lived up to his ultra conservative reputation and attracted a shower of liberal criticism.
The tweets backed fellow-panellist Emily Thornberry, Labour's shadow Attorney General, who accused Hitchens of suggesting single parent families on benefit were synonymous with problem families.
He denied the charge. Judge for yourself on this link.
I have seen Hitchens close up having worked on the same newspaper as him nearly 15 years ago*.
Back then he was honing his talent for controversy, as you'd expect from a reformed Trotskyist, who, having welcomed the Church of England into his life, became a cheerleader for 'family values'.
But you can't double-guess how Hitchens will think. Last night, for example, he blasted the Tories for not being Conservative enough yet he was adamant that Home Secretary Theresa May's moves to erode internet privacy should be vigorously resisted.
You can't brand him a libertarian; he doesn't think the police are tough enough, for example, combating drugs.
In his time Hitchens opposed Britain's intervention in Kosova - and that in Iraq and Afghanistan with equal passion.

*My little story about Hitchens illustrates what a frustrating individual he can be. There was a strongly supported move to introduce a smoking ban throughout our newspaper. Hitchens, a non-smoker, campaigned fiercely against the ban, in the cause of freedom of the individual.
He couldn't see that the eyes, lungs, and clothes of non-smokers had rights too and he was out-voted.


  1. An enigma. Far too stuborn and paralysed in some of his views. Thinks he is the only game in town and tries to talk all the time when in group/panel discussion.

  2. Chris Palmer19/06/2012, 10:11

    Hi, why did you remove my comment ask why you thought "moves to erode internet privacy should be vigorously resisted" was not conservative? Thanks.

  3. Sorry Chris I didn't receive your original comment. Most calls to tinker with the internet come from the Right with the notable exception of the Chinese government. GC


What do you think? GC