A bit of a furore has been stirred up today by the news that Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin has been seen throwing away documents in St James’s Park.
Letwin is MP for West Dorset, a particularly beautiful constituency, that is not far from Poole, and I find it rather endearing that Letwin chooses to do some of his work in the park rather than in the office – clearly he feels the need for green space. For the short time I worked in central London I would often disappear to the park (in this case Hyde rather than St James’s) at lunchtime and find a bench to sit and read on in relative tranquillity. But the idea of a very senior politician using a bench as his office is a rather surprising one.
Probably the best known Psalm is the twenty-third:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
I imagine the average day in the life of a cabinet minister is fairly turbulent and the desire to find some still water must be strong. Perhaps, amongst the ducks and pelicans in St James’s Park, Mr Letwin found some of that peace. I hope he isn’t now hounded out of it by the outraged squeals of the media and Opposition. So I hope that all those papers Letwin threw into the park bin were merely low-interest, low-security mailbag filler.
In a year when we have seen our cities rocked by civil unrest I find it somehow reassuring to know that one of our senior leaders is quietly sitting in a London park, reading – and discarding – his papers.