Saturday, May 11, 2013

Quentin Letts calls Miriam Gonzalez Durantez a "castanet clacker"

You expect Quentin Letts to be unpleasant and spit bile at Nick Clegg at every opportunity. It's not nice and almost never accurate, but it's what passes for right wing political commentary in this country.

His frequent attacks on Nick's wife, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, are also umpleasant and unjustified. But today's was actually racist. He referred to Nick's "castanet clacker" Spanish wife.

Article 12 of the Editors' Code of Practice is pretty clear on discrimination:


i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.
ii) Details of an individual's race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental illness or disability must be avoided unless genuinely relevant to the story.

It's clear to me that Letts' description of Miriam falls foul of both points. And, frankly, I'm not just going to stand by and let him racially abuse anybody. I am shocked that this got past the editorial team at the Mail, too.

I won't be holding my breath for anything to come of this, but it's such a clear example of racism that it cannot go unchallenged. So, I have complained to the Press Complaints Commission. 

There is much that is objectionable in Quentin Letts' article. That's just Quentin Letts. If you read something he's written and don't feel like you need a shower afterwards, then there's something wrong.  But this crossed a line. 

You'll note I haven't linked to it. You can find it yourself if you wish, but I'm not going to spend the currency of the internet on this disgraceful piece. 

He also, by the way, has a go at Nick Clegg for being an atheist, saying he "is not a man troubled by fears of how he may some day be judged." Is facing the electorate in 2015 not judgement enough?

Anyway, if you agree with me that Letts' comments about Miriam were racist, please feel free to complain to the PCC too. I can't see any wiggle room for the Mail here and I'm not going to stand by and let them away with it.


Jennie Rigg said...

The wiggle room, sadly, is that you are not personally affected, not being Miriam, and therefore your complaint is invalid.

oneexwidow said...


The line about not fearing Judgement puts me in mind of Niall Ferguson's percent comments allegending Keynes was gay and, consequently, cared nothing for future generations.

In addition to the contravention of the PCC code detailed - the term "Castinet Clacker" is disparaging both of Miriam Gonzalez Duarantez' position as a top lawyer and of skilled flamenco dancers.



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