Idiot or incompetent?

29 Jul 2008

Hugh Muir
Tuesday 29th July

We get mail from Daniel Kawczynski, the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, whose contribution to the national debate has thus been such that the Spectator asked: "Idiot or incompetent?". The conclusion from columnist Stephen Pollard was "No doubt about it. He's an idiot." We are still not sure, for the distinction is a fine one and if he is an idiot, there are so many others we could damn also. But still, here is his letter:

"My office phoned Trevor Phillips of the Commission for Racial Equality to ask for a meeting," he says. "I wanted to discuss some concerns I have about his handling of various issues. We were told he would be off on holiday until September! Nice work if you can get it!"

As we too rang Mr Phillips's office, there are some things we might tell the honourable member, but of course parliament is in recess until October. He will, of course, be working in his constituency prior to that; but then Mr Phillips will be in his office before September, for we understand he has many priorities. It is just that meeting Mr Kawczynski isn't one of them. But the point we would most like to drive home is the fact that the Commission for Racial Equality was wound up last September and this is annoying because we did tip the MP the wink about this when he started blathering on about the CRE in the Commons last month. How to say it? "It's passed on! This commission is no more! It has ceased to be! It's expired and gone to meet its maker! This is a late commission." Are we getting through?

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