Spectator letters: The modern equivalents of Unity Mitford

Plus: How to refer to Hitler's wife (if she's the daughter of a baron), vacancies for vicars, and a tipster's protest

4 April 2015

9:00 AM

4 April 2015

9:00 AM

Unity’s modern equivalents

Sir: I don’t understand why David Pryce-Jones is still banging on about the Mitfords (‘You are always close to me’, 28 March). Of course my great-aunt Unity was misguided and wrong to adore Adolf Hitler. She was not alone, though. In the 1930s millions of Germans and many non-Germans were equally in thrall to the new National Socialist government. A lot of people were taken in by the propaganda.

Perhaps Mr Pryce-Jones could more usefully get his few hundred quid fee from The Spectator by writing an article about Unity’s modern equivalents — the idiotic British girls who are travelling to Syria to help Isis, the Nazis of our own era.
Valentine Guinness
London W2

Bobo Hitler

Sir: David Pryce-Jones is wrong to postulate that Unity Mitford might have become the Hon. Mrs Adolf Hitler. She would, as an Hon. in her own right, have become the Hon. Mrs Hitler.
Christopher Bellew
London W6

The art of the job ad

Sir: I was amused by Quentin Letts’s story about lefty waffle used for job ads in the Church Times (‘How to pick a vicar’, 21 March). G.K. Chesterton understood the art, saying: ‘If I choose to head an article “An inquiry into the conditions of Mycenaean civilisation, with special reference to the economic and domestic functions of women before and after the conjectural date of the Argive expedition against Troy”, I really have no right to complain if (when I send it to the Chicago Daily Scoop) they alter the title to “How Helen of Troy did the housekeeping”.’
Greg Waggett
Clare, Suffolk

Wanted: parish priest

Sir: Quentin Letts could be voicing the problem we have in our group of parishes (four churches). There hasn’t been a vicar for 18 months. We have done very well, with all manner of folk taking the services, and in one of the smallest we manage three Book of Common Prayer evensongs a month. At the last parochial church council meeting I suggested we advertise in something other than the Church Times for a change. I thought the Horse and Hound, The Spectator, the Lady and our local newspaper might bring forth someone of note. My idea went down like a lead balloon.
Anne Fisher
Basingstoke, Hants

Sympathetic development

Sir: Simon Jenkins might need to check the files that he claims ‘burst’ with reports of a large-scale ‘systematic assault on the appearance of rural England’ (‘The war on rural England’, 28 February). In Penshurst, West Kent Housing Association has proposed a development of a grand total of six sympathetically designed affordable houses that will enable local families to live in their own village — hardly the ‘hundreds of uniform properties’ that he predicts.

Perhaps Sir Simon would like to visit Penshurst and see for himself how a sympathetic small development can benefit the local community?
Ben Thomas
Penshurst, Kent

Meals on wheels

Sir: Theodore Dalrymple states that an Englishman’s street has become his dining room (‘I blame the parents’, 21 March) and he is right, but only up to a point. Cycling, in my ponderous fashion, the highways and byways of my corner of Somerset, it is evident that an Englishman’s car is his dining room, too, and also his café/bar. Not a square yard of the winter-bare hedgerows and ditches is unadorned with beer cans, paper cups and takeaway packaging of all kinds — what I have taken to calling ‘McRubbish’.

If the authorities cannot or will not tackle this problem then what is the solution? ‘Komm lieber Mai’ and cover it all up with new green growth I suppose.
John Nankervis
Martock, Somerset

Kitchen sink drama

Sir: There is nothing new in redoing kitchens, as Ysenda Maxtone Graham implies (‘Cold heart of the home’, 28 March). In 1984, a chum of mine insisted on stripping out a perfectly acceptable one — about five years old. I said that, if she was serious, could I have the double drainer for my utility room? She was, and 30 years later I still use her sink daily.
William Thomas
Fulmodeston, Norfolk

Take a tip from me

Sir: It is a shame that Jeremy Clarke backed Black Hercules rather than the horse I recommended in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle, and that he lost 50 euros (Low life, 21 March). My Gold Cup day email said: ‘I am happy to take on Black Hercules in an open-looking Albert Bartlett and Martello Tower looks fairly priced’. Martello Tower won at 15.1/1, and Jezza would have been 755 euros better off.
‘Soapy Joe’
London WC1

Hard to love

Sir: Lucy Beresford offers me a charming invitation to overcome my Stephen Sondheim allergy and ‘fall in love’ with him (Letters, 28 March). I accept. But I should let her know that nothing less than a complete mind-wipe will serve her purpose, and since I’m also a lapsed Catholic she’s unlikely to succeed in performing the operation twice.
Lloyd Evans
London E3

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Show comments
  • Malus Pudor

    Valentine Guinness must still be smarting over another Mitford gel abandoning a Guinness to shack up with a fascist cartoon character, Oswald Mosley.

  • Fred Collier

    I am fairly sure that Unity’s behaviour far exceeded simply adoring Hitler. I remember reading of her inspecting the apartment she had been gifted in Berlin, as mentioned in the article (and commenting on what she would like to keep and what should be thrown out), whilst the Jewish owners looked on, helpless and weeping before being thrown out, and no doubt gassed, themselves.