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Tristram Hunt and nuns: an anti-Catholic snob lets his guard slip

6 February 2015

11:53 AM

6 February 2015

11:53 AM

Question Time last night. My colleague Cristina Odone of the Legatum Institute  is explaining that ‘some of the most inspiring teachers who taught me were not out of teacher training college… they taught real values’.

And a snooty, taunting voice interrupts her. ‘But these were nuns. They were nuns, weren’t they?’ That word ‘nun’ was larded with contempt.

The voice belonged to the Honourable Tristram Hunt, the square-jawed narcissist who serves Ed Miliband as shadow education secretary and cannot conceal his desire to succeed him.

This is the same Dr Hunt who wants to clamp down on five-year-olds using the word ‘gay’ inappropriately. Presumably he’s also opposed, quite rightly, to talking sneeringly about Muslim women wearing the hijab.

But there’s another group of women wearing a veil who are fair game because… well, I think being Roman Catholics might have something to do with it.

I’ve heard that sardonic tone before. It’s not the voice of the PC finger-wagger, not quite: it’s that of Oxbridge-educated public schoolboys for whom Catholicism, especially in its traditional incarnations, is an irresistible source of sniggers.

Catholics are used to it and usually shrug it off. But when the sniggerer is a Labour politician who encourages offence-taking by every other minority, it’s a bit rich. Which, by the way, Dr Hunt is. Rich, that is. Jolly well-heeled. Unlike nuns.

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