I imagine a lot of people over the years have often thought about what should be done with the Daily Mail’s collection of columnists – most of the suggestions are probably not fit to print, not least because you might end up having the lawyers set on you. The Daily Mail has seemingly had the same thought and has decided that their hard-working team of opinionated, fact-free trolls deserve their own special section on the Mail website – presumably so you can completely skip past any danger of encountering any reals news and instead head straight to the blustering bullshit contained within ‘RightMinds’.
‘RightMinds’. Does this mean that they are right about everything, or that they are all right-wing, or both? How long did it take to come up with this name, and what other names were discarded along the way I wonder?
Anyway, perhaps it was launched on a Tuesday because that is the first day of the week in which Richard Littlejohn shits out a column – which is definitely right-wing, but very rarely actually ‘right’ about anything – and his effort is given pride of place in the new section. It’s almost as if the Mail website is secretly wanting to inform you that although this is indeed a brand new section, it is full of the same tired old crap you used to get dotted around the main website.
Littlejohn celebrates his new online home by writing about someone recently deceased – who, of course, can’t sue him. The headline – it seems to me – starts off on dodgy ground: ‘Mark Duggan’s funeral evoked memories of old-school gangsters, but where’s the romance in stealing charity bags from doorsteps?’. This kind of sounds like Mark Duggan was guilty of stealing charity bags, when in fact what Littlejohn does in his column is basically mourn for the loss of ‘proper’ gangsters like the Kray twins, the great train robbers and people who pulled off bank jobs with sawn-off shotguns because they had skill and guts whereas the modern criminal nicks clothes being left on doorsteps for charities to collect. There is no suggestion at any point that Mark Duggan used to steal charity bags, but this doesn’t stop the Mail Online sub of using this troubling headline anyway.
Headline aside, yes Richard really is glorifying the Great train robbers and other armed criminals – even though he claims he isn’t (the classic ‘I’m not… but’):
You can tell a great deal about a nation from the quality of its crime. Britain used to boast some of the finest armed robbers in the world.
It took a lot more bottle to go across the cobbles with a sawn-off Purdey than it does to sell crack cocaine outside the school gates.
Hijacking Securicor vans demands more courage and meticulous planning than kicking in the front of Currys and legging it with a flat‑screen TV.
This isn’t in any way to attempt to justify the activities of the old‑school crooks. But there was undeniably more romance about blagging and bank raids.
The Great Train Robbery was like a military operation, carried out with immense precision and chutzpah. The robbers may have been violent criminals but they captured the imagination.
It says an awful lot about the Daily Mail’s constant need to romanticise the past that although they constantly bemoan crime, gangs and lenient judges one of their star columnists can happily glorify armed, violent criminal gangs just because they existed in this magical age before too many immigrants arrived in the UK and political correctness had been invented. Anyway, not content with wistfully harking back to the Kray twins (who do seem to have had an awful lot of mentions in Littlejohn’s columns down the years) Richard also finds time to mock modern London and the diversity-gone-mad organisers of the Olympic Games:
What do you do if you are approached by a man in a dress, asking the way to the toilets? Apart from burst out laughing, that is.
If you are a volunteer at next year’s Olympics, you are told: ‘Do not make an assumption about their gender unless directed by their name.
‘If you are asked, provide instructions to the male/female and accessible toilets.’
Try to ignore the bit where he suggests anyone seeing a man in a dress just has to ‘burst out laughing’ and focus on the answer that the leaflet suggests the volunteer provides. OK, got that? It’s not difficult: ‘Do not make an assumption about their gender unless directed by their name. If you are asked, provide instructions to the male/female and accessible toilets’. Littlejohn continues:
The obsession with ‘diversity’ even extends to the mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, which have been designed to be ‘gender-neutral’.
So what do you do if one of them asks the way to the toilet?
Jesus, Richard! You just read the leaflet. You just ‘provide instructions to the male/female and accessible toilets’ and let them decide which is appropriate. I think the new section should be rebranded to ‘ShiteMinds’ – at least that covers the content and the writers.