I used to have a fair regard for Chris Patten. In the '80s, when I was quite active in politics, he seemed a very necessary antibody in the Conservative physiognomy, a brave and intelligent voice at the court of the increasingly irrational post-1987 Thatcher. In the 90's as 'Fatty Pang', he conducted the withdrawal from Hong Kong (an operation which I know something about) in a sensible and subtle manner, playing a weak hand very cleverly with - so far as can be judged today - lasting all-round benefits.
But for a good few years now, I have become utterly sick of the man. On a trivial (but telling) level his pompous, arch conduct of the Oxford Chancellorship, replete with smug, sophistic speeches and complacency, (and endless, shameless book-promotions) make him a very worthy successor to the equally stomach-turning Roy Jenkins. I never really followed his career at the EC, but no doubt someone will enlighten us; and intuitively it seems unlikely he covered himself with any glory there either.
But it is his conduct at the head of the BBC that makes this more than a matter of personal taste. How someone of any judgement or rectitude whatever can have allowed that bunch of wasters to award themselves hundreds of meaningless jobs at surreal salaries, whilst outrageously pursuing an illegitimate, self-appointed, partisan political mission, is beyond me.
Manifestly, as more and more evidence piles up of misconduct of many kinds at the BBC, the man at the top should have been busying himself with a purposeful cleansing of the grotesquely luxurious stables. But none of that: he has instead taken every opportunity to defend these baleful and monstrous developments in his repulsive, arrogant, bullying manner across the committee table, not even scrupling to issue softly-spoken threats to his inquisitors.
I wish heart by-pass surgery on no-one. At the same time, I could wish he hadn't taken the triple judgement by-pass a decade or more ago.