In recent weeks a number of blogs have consistently pointed out that Littlejohn keeps making stuff up in order to claim that something in British society has ‘gone mad’. Tabloid Watch has 27 posts on Littlejohn in 2009, most of them dealing with blatant factual inaccuracies – either because Richard Littlejohn cannot manage to use Google or attempt any research, or because he purposely skews stories to suit his own agenda, knowing his bovine readers will lap it up. Yesterday’s Littlejohn column was very interesting and although it has been covered elsewhere by No Sleep ‘Til Brooklands and Tabloid Watch I still think it’s worth covering here with a new link.
Yesterday’s column was interesting because it was given a large banner on the front page of the print edition that clearly implied that he was going to have another rant against the ‘bin police’ (in itself a completely fictitious Littlejohn organisation). This was very misleading as readers no doubt expected Richard to write yet another diatribe about councils not emptying his bin every-time he throws something in it. But it wasn’t, it was actually an column about how he had to contact the council in relation to his recycling not being collected and instead of getting the fight he wanted they arranged a special collection straight away. Richard, it turns out, has wasted columns of vitriol against ‘bin police’ that he now knows don’t exist, and that councils are there to serve the council tax payers.
So why did he still feel the need to give the column such a negative and misleading title? For me it kind of sums up the journalistic style of the Mail, the headline must be negative and attacking, even if the article demonstrates how completely false it is. As No Sleep ‘Til Brooklands puts it:
Littlejohn complains that his council are too damn reasonable about recycling and helpful with the bins. He ponders aloud how he’s supposed to run off one of his ironically recycled rants about the Bin Nazis, displayed a hitherto undiscovered sense of self-awareness. You can see that he’s suddenly struggling with his conscience; there’s just a glimmer of a hint of a thought there that maybe, just maybe, the world isn’t entirely run by morons without a shred of ‘common sense’, that maybe all these little pathetic one-off anecdotes he repeats about some unreasonable council official aren’t actually a fair representation of the world. That in some cases these stories aren’t even true, or that they’re exaggerated, or that even when they’re true they’re only newsworthy because they’re isolated incidents which you can’t extrapolate from. As I read it, I almost started rooting for him. “He’s about to get it! He’s finally fucking getting it! Go on Richard my son!”.
But of course, as No Sleep ‘Til Brooklands goes on to point out, he doesn’t get it at all and instead makes a lazy dig at Peter Mandelson for being gay before making up another non story about ‘PC gone mad’. The story is about a police force ‘replacing’ Alsatians with Springer Spaniels because Alsatians are too scary, of course the whole thing is made up as No Sleep points out:
Hmm, that seems odd. Attack dogs reduced in size to avoid hurting the nasty rapists and armed robbers? Must be human rights gone mad! So, donning my Sherlock Holmes hat, off I bravely go to Google to put in “springer spaniels” along with “Devon” and “Cornwall” to see if I can’t get my massive detective brain around it and try to get to the bottom of it. It’s amazing I go to this level of trouble unpaid, but what can I say, when duty calls I guess you gotta pick up that phone. And so, after upwards of 26 seconds of reading the BBC’s less rabid account, I finally get a glimpse of the truth…
They’re rescue dogs. No, genuinely, it’s literally as straightforward and almost insultingly simple as that. They’ve trained them to be rescue dogs, for rescuing people. People who probably haven’t done anything wrong and need rescuing. Devon and Cornwall police force have trained three (3!) springer spaniels and a Brittany to rescue people. So when Littlejohn asks “Isn’t frightening the whole point of police dogs?”, he means “Isn’t frightening the whole point of police rescue dogs?”. To which the answer, I would think most reasonable people would agree, is “no”.
So, in a column that Richard seems to face the fact that when he actually engages with reality it is very different to the fantasy world of ‘bin police’, ‘PC brigades’ etc he still cannot stop making stuff up to reinforce his skewered view of the world. The whole ‘I live in Enfield, honest guv’ repetition in the first article also seems to be an attempt to counter the many people in recent weeks that have commented on his normal residence in America – he is, allegedly not a UK tax payer – here we get a story that focuses on a run in with a real council, in England. Maybe this is really significant, maybe this is the point that readers of Littlejohn should finally have a Eureka moment: Richard Littlejohn constantly criticises Britain from a gated mansion in Florida, most of his stories turn out to be entirely fictitious and now the one time he actually spends some time in the UK and actually encounters the reality of the situation he has to write a column explaining that he wanted to complain, but he really couldn’t.
I honestly doubt any of his regular readers will be able to grasp this though, and I’m sure Richard will bugger off back to America where he can happily repeat the same lies about life in Britain without facing the awkward situation of bumping into a very different reality. Perhaps the most shameful thing about the whole piece is the fact that he still got over 900 words out of it, when will readers start to revolt against such laziness for such a salary? As Littlejohn points out in an interview:
‘I think that if people thought I was insincere, or I was making it up, or I was only writing it for effect. I’d have got found out…’
He has of course been found out by anyone with two functioning brain cells, but not his readership who can enjoy the cartoon pictures of his column with less.