Richard Littlejohn: Character Assassin

Former Labour leader Michael Foot, socialist and conscientious objector, died four days ago. Tributes abound, from figures such as Neil Kinnock and most of the newspapers as well.

Over at the Daily Mail, with the little obstacle of self-defence out of his way, everyone’s favourite criminal Floridian Richard Littlejohn leapt on the offensive in a truly bilious piece from March 5th. There are quite a few elements of Littlejohn’s vomitous article that I’d like to take issue with.

The first is the broad basis of Littlejohn’s vitriol: Michael Foot never fought in the Second World War. For over half the article Littlejohn is talking about military service almost as if he served. He cries that Foot should have joined the RAF, Army and Navy. He whines that Foot should have joined the home guard. He spouts that Foot should have become a medic on a flotilla at Dunkirk.

He even goes so far as to invoke other Left-Wing contemporaries for comparison, including Politician Tony Benn and Russian Spy Jack Jones, who both fought in one way or another. Littlejohn says:

“We still don’t know the real reason Michael Foot managed to avoid military service. Some put it down to his pious Quaker pacifism qualifying him for a free pass.”

The idea that conscientious objection can be compared to a “free pass” is odious in itself. The amazing bravery often required to be a conscientious objector is thankfully receiving more attention recently, though Littlejohn apparently regards military service as the only form courage can take. Brainless machismo is far from dead at the Daily Mail.

But Littlejohn’s all-time greatest line is the following:

“Foot preferred to sneer from the safety of the sidelines, even publishing a book attacking far better men than he”

…After reading this, I had to read it again to make sure Littlejohn had written what I thought he’d written. This can, quite obviously, be applied perfectly to the author himself!! It is at this point that I realised Littlejohn was engaging in some classic psychological projection, transferring his own insecurities onto others. Littlejohn is, after all, an expat who hates expats, a non-Brit who despises anything un-British.

Outside of the section on Michael Foot, Littlejohn talks about Ashcroft and Belize, as well as Ashley Cole. There are one or two more hateful humdingers before the writer hangs up his quick-quotes-quill, such as the following;

“He [Ashley Cole] should lose the beard he’s grown since his troubles with Cheryl began.

It makes him look as if he’s stepped straight out of an Alky Ada martyrdom video.”

That’s right. Littlejohn just went right ahead and admitted that short, stubbly beards, when combined with a dark complexion, make him think immediately of Al Qaida. How forward he is about this is astounding.

All in all, I feel that there’s some interesting psychological insight to be gained from Littlejohn’s most recent pile of bile. Perhaps writing such nonsense is Littlejohn’s own cry for help.

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