Telegraph letter writers, that most astute body of political commentators, are probably not alone in thinking that politics has taken some strange turns in recent years. The first coalition government since 1945 has led the country from the subprime to the ridiculous, lumbering from Leveson to Libya, riots to referendums, pasty-gate to pleb-gate, Brooks to Bercow, the Bullingdon Club to the Big Society.
Five years is a long time in politics. Fortunately for us, it has also been a most fertile period for the Telegraph's legion of witty and erudite letter writers, who have their own therapeutic way of dealing with the pain. An institution in their own right, theirs is a welcome voice of sanity in a world in which the lunatics appear finally to have taken over the asylum.
Iain Hollingshead spent two years on the Letters to the Editor desk before becoming a feature writer for the Daily Telegraph. His more serious assignments included reporting on the student riots and the Occupy movement, as well as interviewing the likes of Michael Atherton, Martin Clunes and Nicholas Parsons. For two years he wrote the satirical 'Friends' column in the Sunday Telegraph, which imagined coalition life behind the scenes with Dave and Samantha, Nick and Miriam. His less serious assignments have included taking a champagne bath in Las Vegas with six albino rabbits, spending three days behind the scenes at the Miss England competition, camping outside Westminster Abbey for the Royal Wedding, learning to dance in Mamma Mia!, training with the Royal Marines and experiencing a Brighton nudist beach first-hand. He now writes freelance for the paper, teaches Politics and History in a secondary school in London and has edited six bestselling collections of unpublished letters to The Daily Telegraph.