Richard Littlejohn

Philip Hollobone – Heroic Prophet or Complete Idiot?

Brace yourself for the outrage (it’s already off to a flier in the ‘comments’ section of the Daily Mail’s online content). Philip Hollobone, the Tory MP for Kettering, has been warned that he may fall foul of the Equality Act as a result of his claim that he will refuse to meet constituents who wear a burqa or a niqab. You can be reasonably sure that the Little Englanders and self-righteous warriors against ‘political correctness’ will have a field day defending this objectionable little toad’s ‘right’ to create division and enforce lazy stereotypes in the name of protecting Britain’s national culture.

This often tends to be the culture of ‘freedom’ and ‘tolerance’ which Hollobone and his ilk like to boast about when they puff their chests out and become all dewy-eyed when the Union Flag is waved around at Tory conference time, but it appears you should only be free and tolerated if you’re white and Christian – anything that differs from the formula must be treated with suspicion and thinly-veiled (no pun intended) hate.

Tim Farron, the Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, has already voiced his concerns about breathing the same political air as the ‘toxic’ Tories, and it isn’t difficult to see why when an idiot like Hollobone crawls out of the woodwork. For all the work David Cameron has done trying to portray his party as modern and liberal, there is always the suspicion that you don’t have to look too far to find an army of Hollobones lurking on the Tory benches, foaming at the mouth about family values, tradition and ‘uncontrolled’ immigration.

And of course, immigration is what this issue is all about. Hollobone’s prejudices tap into deeply held suspicions whipped up by the tabloid press that foreigners are coming ‘over here’ and taking all our jobs while selling our British, Christian identity down the river as they ruthlessly construct their Islamic state. This analysis coveniently avoids any discussion of what the British ‘identity’ really is, of course. No mention here of the historical influx of Angles, Saxons, Vikings, Romans, Normans and the like – perhaps the BNP should persuade their friends in the press to have a crack at this ‘menace’ while they’re doing such sterling work on burkas.

Hollobone isn’t the first idiot to emerge from the Tory backbenches and he certainly won’t be the last. While some of the Conservative grassroots understand the concept of appealing to the centre ground of politics, there are just as many who believe the Richard Littlejohns of this world are the straight-talking prophets who warn of Britain’s impending doom at the hands of the foreigners and queers who secretly plot the overthrow of everything they hold dear. Now, in Philip Hollobone, it seems they may have stumbled upon a new hero.

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Gordon Brown, The Sun and THAT Letter

I have to admit that this story kind of passed me by yesterday. I heard about it on the radio, was surprised that the BBC led their bulletins on this for most of the day, but essentially dismissed it as more biased tabloid nonsense from Murdoch. When I woke up this morning to find that the Sun was still setting the BBC’s news agenda, and that they’d raised the stakes by publishing a phone conversation between Gordon Brown and Jacqui Janes, I started to become increasingly angered by the whole feeding frenzy. The icing on the cake was when I learned that the Daily Mail’s turd-in-residence Richard Littlejohn had thrown his oar in.

gordon-brownI have to ask: “What the hell is going on here?”. I’m not a Brown enthusiast and I’m not a Labour supporter (not these days, anyway) but the Sun’s nasty, exploitative coverage of this story makes me want to throw a protective arm around the Prime Minister. Yes the letter was a bit scruffy, yes there were errors in it, but let’s not forget that Gordon Brown sat down to hand-write a letter of condolence to a grieving mother. What he didn’t do was set out to find the best way to offend, upset or insult Mrs Janes, although by the tone of some of the coverage you could be forgiven for thinking that.

I don’t blame Jacqui Janes for any of this. She has lost her precious son fighting in a war that many of us are struggling to understand. Surely there can be nothing worse than burying a child. The villain of the piece has to be the Sun ‘newspaper’ for exploiting a grieving mother to give a half-blind man a kicking over his handwriting, because that’s what this boils down to. Murdoch’s agenda is clear: “Back the Tories (because it looks like they might win) and stick the knife into the one-eyed Scotsman at every opportunity”. Nothing short of disgusting.

The other question that must be asked is where are the other party leaders? Why haven’t David Cameron, Nick Clegg, Alec Salmond et al stepped forward to say that, while they may have many issues with the government’s handling of the Afghan War, this kind of personal assault on the Prime Minister is unacceptable? Cameron, of course, wants to consummate his relationship with Wapping but that is no excuse for staying silent.

What is encouraging is that it looks like this may be backfiring on the Sun. Contributors to the breakfast television and radio news programmes seemed to be broadly of the opinion that Brown’s mistake was an honest one and that the Sun’s behaviour was reprehensible, and other blog posts from people who are not natural allies of the Prime Minister (I’ve picked out Caron Lindsay and Sara Bedford, but there are many others) show that there aren’t many outside of the Murdoch empire who want to play party politics with this one.

Having said that, I don’t for one minute think that this will be the last piece of vile gutter journalism from that quarter between now and the election, and I don’t suppose this will be the last time the broadcast media lurches after Murdoch’s agenda without stopping to consider what should really be making the news. But I hope Gordon Brown is undeterred from personally writing to the bereaved and I also hope, when the tabloid vultures have stopped circling, that Jacqui Janes will come to understand that the Prime Minister made an honest, human mistake.

Richard Littlejohn – Why? Just Why?

Yet more textbook lazy journalism from Richard Littlejohn, the Daily Mail’s spleen-venter-in-chief, in today’s edition of the slyly racist Middle England comic. As the magnificent Kevin Arscott points out in his blog, today’s ‘Who do you think you’re kidding Mr Darling’ effort not only ticks all the boxes of idle formulaic tabloid journalism, it’s also a simple regurgitation of a piece he wired in from Florida two years ago. (The Mail led me to believe it was only the BBC who served us a diet of repeats.) I have no intention of writing an intelligent, nuanced piece about Littlejohn – Kevin’s already done that very well thank you – no, I’m more interested in a simple, mindless hatchet-job on the fat racist liar.

Littlejohn

Spleen-venter-in-chief

In a sense I suppose Littlejohn does his job perfectly. His sole purpose in life appears to be to induce rage in the reader, whether you share his nasty views or not, and he achieves this by endlessly railing against ‘The PC Brigade’, ‘The Feminazis’, ‘The Elf & Safety Nazis’ and so on, while at the same time effortlessly managing to incorporate the simple trick of being a complete twat. There are so many aspects to his being that cause my blood to reach boiling point: his racist idea-feed to the BNP; the hypocrisy of bemoaning immigration when he lives in Florida; the blatant fabrication of stories to fit in with his nasty, ignorant agenda; the harping on about ‘liberal media’ when most of it is bullied around by Murdoch and Dacre; the constant lazy catchphrases (‘You couldn’t make it up!’); the obsession with homosexuality (why is he so interested in something that supposedly has nothing to do with him?); the fact he made Michael Winner look like a hero when he called Littlejohn ‘an arsehole’ on London Weekend Television. But most of all I just hate his fat, stupid, racist face.

I don’t claim that this item is balanced or clever in any way. I’m not pretending to take him on, issue for issue, to point out the folly of his ways – others have done, and will continue to do that far more eloquently than I can. No, I just don’t like the nasty little worm, his poisonous views or the festering dungheap of a newspaper he writes for.

I feel slightly better now.