JUST before the beginning of the Edinburgh Festival there, too much attention and far too much of the oxygen of publicity was given to the shockingly offensive, deeply ignorant remarks of one Quentin Letts, a posho theatre critic employed by various posh right-wing newspapers.

In a review of Peter Gynt, currently up here in Festival City from London and the National Theatre, he had the nerve to write: “After so much frenzied movement and whizz-bang theatrics the fruity purr of veteran thesp Oliver Ford Davies brings a welcome calm to the proceedings and a relief at last from the whining Scottish accents.”

James McAvoy – good for him! – called him out on this, while James McArdle, the Scottish actor who stars in the play, merely dubbed Letts pathetic and treated it with the contempt it deserves.

READ MORE: James McAvoy slams Quentin Letts over Peter Gynt review

The likes of Letts despise us Scots, and not just our accents. No surprise there. But I’d bet, before sensing the inevitability of “Boris” (Boris!) becoming the Prime Minister (the Prime Minister!) and this terrifying swing to the right, Letts would have known to just think it, and how unacceptable, racist even, to commit it to print.

The National: Quentin Letts described Scottish accents as 'whining'Quentin Letts described Scottish accents as 'whining'

Our full-tilt, cut-to-the-chase, hour-long, set in a Scotch livingroom of the 1940s, shoe-string yet strangely stylish I’d say, version of Moliere’s 1664 high-comedy masterpiece, Tartuffe, would be, to Letts’s ears, utterly beyond the pale. Well, it goes beyond mere “accent” and dares to use demotic Scots language and vocabulary he’d choose to find baffling uttered in however fruity a purr.

That lovely American couple who came and talked to the cast after the show the other day had no bother, though. “Oh sure we understood it, maybe not every single word but, hey, just loved to hear it, and we sure knew exactly what was happening and it was so funny – and what an evil man that Tartuffe guy – and hilarious, couldn’t believe it when he actually …”

The real skill of the fraudster is in the selection of his mark. Boris Johnson, as we know, only had to sucker that diminutive, daffy demographic, the actual card-carrying members of the Conservative Party, to achieve what he, despite his yammering and stammering – oh, but posh, granted -- incoherence and incompetence, has been angling for all along.

Nice friendly English guy I met in the queue for drinks at the Assembly Rooms Bar just before the show the other day asked me “what’s your play?” Told him. “Wow. Old. French? You must have had to change it all?”

Well no. Exactly as in the original, it’s about a deluded fool, a man with the power and the purse-strings who, for some unknown reason, puts his faith in a total phoney called Tartuffe. And who is as deaf to the pleas of his sophisticated, worldly-wise wife as he is to the working-class, salty-tongued, scathing – in rhyming Scots in this case, in rhyming old-French in the Moliere obvs — but, nevertheless, exactly the same sound, common-sensical maid who could, given half a chance, wipe the floor with the whole damn lot of them.

Tartuffe himself? A con man. A power-crazy, sexually incontinent, apparently Teflon-coated, blatant swindler and inveterate, shameless, transparent liar who will improvise on the spot, say anything that comes up his humph and has an eye only for the main chance, which is his own self-interest alone. It’s about him and the havoc -- this being only a play and not real life -- that he only almost manages to wreak upon the world around him.

Remind you of anyone? Me too, yes, me too …

Liz Lochead's version of Meliere's Tartuffe is at Assembly Rooms, George Street, Ballroom, Venue no.20 till Aug 25 except Tuesdays