Letters - Victorian qualities

Niall Ferguson ("A Victorian idealist in the White House", 17 February) compares Bush's America to Victorian Britain and describes George Bush as "a clever man motivated by righteousness". He should recall a great critic of Victorian Britain, Matthew Arnold, and his division of British society into Barbarians, Philistines and Populace. Bush is a Philistine. He displays all the qualities of the Victorian bourgeois - overbearing self-satisfaction, hypocritical religiosity and a worship of Mammon.

Richard Douglas
London SE1

This article first appeared in the 24 February 2003 issue of the New Statesman, Can Blair survive?