"When the Government announced plans to encourage people to abandon their cars and walk to work, I predicted that it would spawn a whole new job creation scheme. Within weeks, the Guardian was running adverts for 'community walking coordinators'."11 months later he managed to come up with:
"When the last Labour government unveiled an initiative designed to encourage parents to walk their children to school rather than use their cars, I joked that within days councils would be hiring legions of ‘walking to school’ officers on thirty grand and a Mondeo. Yet again, I should have known better. The ink was barely dry on that column when dozens of councils did just that. The following week’s Guardian was full of adverts for ‘community walking co-ordinators’ to organise what they dubbed ‘walking buses'."Original stuff, Dicky. There was also this from last March:
"the old breed of town clerk with a sense of duty has been replaced by 'chief executives' who pretend they are employed to run major commercial organisations and expect to be paid accordingly."After 11 months of careful pondering, he managed this:
"...town clerks restyled themselves ‘chief executives’ and demanded private sector rewards."And the self-plagiarism didn't stop there. The March 2010 column had this:
"There was the great AIDS scare, when no self-respecting council could bear to be without an army of HIV prevention workers. At one stage, I worked out there were more people in Britain earning a good living from AIDS than were actually dying from it."So what has he turned out to justify his wages this week? Gosh:
"In the 1990s we were all going to die of Aids, so no council was complete without a dedicated HIV unit ... At one stage, I worked out there were more people in Britain earning a living from Aids than actually dying from it."Last March:
"Take the council threatening to close down burger vans, which don't offer 'healthy options'. What gives them the right to do that? It's none of their business what people eat."This February:
"There was the ‘healthy options’ officer in Guildford, who tried to ban hamburger vans from plying their trade in the name of fighting obesity ... Where the hell did local authorities get the idea that it was any of their damn business to tell people what to eat? "And so it goes on. There is one original thought in the piece, where he claims that Haringey Council advertised someone to "teach Asian women how to play hopscotch", something that, despite being utterly bonkers-sounding - has never been reported anywhere else, not even in the Daily Mail. Nowhere on the internet is there any mention of hopscotch lessons for Asian women in Haringey, or of anyone being employed to provide them.
However, in the neighbouring borough of Camden there IS the Hopscotch Asian Women's Centre, which provides support and advice on issues such as domestic violence. Surely even Littlejohn couldn't be stupid enough to think the Hopscotch Asian Women's Centre provided hopscotch lessons to Asian women? Could he? Oh my...
Macguffin from TabloidWatch flagged this post on the Mailwatch forum, where someone suggested that the "hopscotch for Asian women" story first cropped up in a speech by former top Tory Brian Mawhinney back in the mid-90s.
It seems that in a speech to the 1995 Conservative conference, the party's then-chairman entertained the crowd by reeling off a list of "loony left" council policies including, oh the hilarity, the Camden Hopscotch Asian Women's Group. Seems HE thought it was all about teaching Asian women how to play hopscotch too. Littlejohn remembered the sneering attack but didn't bother to find out the truth about what Hopscotch actually does, nor could he be arsed to check which borough the centre was in.