Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Littlejohn plagiarises self, still gets things wrong

Economic migrant and convicted criminal Richard Littlejohn once again "justifies" his enormous Daily Mail salary by listing a bunch of HILARIOUS "non-jobs" he claims to have found in the Guardian over the past 20 years. But it's eerily similar to the column that he churned out on 28 March last year. For example, last March he wrote:

"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"the old breed of town clerk with a sense of duty has been replaced by 'chief executives' who pretend they are employed to run major commercial organisations and expect to be paid accordingly."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.


Five Chinese Crackers said...

This stuff all pops up in his books. The walking to school officers, the AIDS stuff, the burger vans baloney is all in one or other of the collections of articles he wrote years ago.

That would make it at least the fourth time its been published. Nice work if you can get it.

Pete said...

Do you think Dacre just doesn't care that he is regurgitating the same shit week in, week out? Seems odd that he lets him get away with it.

P. Stable said...

The 28 March 2010 column was actually an extended extract from his latest book.

So he wrote it for the book, copied and pasted it for the promotional column and then copied and pasted that 11 months later.

You couldn't make it up.

plentyofants said...

I think we are dealing with an automated Littlejohn generator. After the original Littlejohn had spewed out a sufficient volume of 'writing' for the program, he was fed to alligators, saving the newspaper the burden of his further salary.

Five Chinese Crackers said...

Another mention of walking co-ordinators from 2009:

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.

Needless to say, within weeks The Guardian was running advertisements for 'community walking co-ordinators'.

Unknown said...

Perhaps I can fill in the detail about Mawhinney’s 1995 Hopscotch debacle?

In 1995, I was a local government officer at Labour Party HQ. The Tories had established a practice, in the run-up to local elections, of publishing dossiers of ‘Loony Labour council policies’. The stories were then reproduced ad nauseam in the Tory tabloid press. The vast majority of attacks were either totally untrue or a huge perversion or distortion of the truth, but Labour councils and the Labour Party nationally had been hopeless at rebutting this rubbish.

I established a rapid rebuttal system for dealing with these attacks. The objective was to have a rebuttal within 1 hour of the attack appearing. Labour council leaders were asked to prepare rebuttals for every one of these silly stories and have them available for use 24/7. I wasn’t always popular with some council leaders who got a call from me sometime after 23.00 hours when the first editions of the tabloids appeared.

Importantly, tabloid journalists who had previously just reproduced whatever the Tories gave them started to be more cautious – often checking the story first. Even most of them didn’t want to be held up to ridicule by writing stories that were revealed to be junk. Although, of course, it never stopped the bunch of bigots like Littlewilly.

The rebuttal of Mawhinney’s Camden Asian Women Hopscotch attack was my favourite.

Keeping an eye on the TV coverage of the 1995 Conservative Party Conference whilst working at my desk in Millbank, I stopped to listen to Mawhinney’s speech. As he made his Hopscotch attack – getting big cheers in the hall – I was on the phone to the Camden Leader.

Far from the scheme being about teaching hopscotch to asian women, it was a work training scheme, part-funded by the Conservative government and had only just been visited and praised by Princess Anne.

With Mawhinney still on his feet, I phoned the information and rebuttal through to Adrian McMenemy – then a young Labour Party Press Officer who was at the Conference. He provided a comprehensive and withering brief to all the journalists at the Conference.

Mawhinney left the stage, basking in the applause of his adoring audience, only to be met by journalists demanding why he’d been attacking Conservative government-funded schemes and the Royal Family.

From then, it all went pear-shaped for him. The media had a field-day with this Tory incompetence. For the next 10 years, Tory ‘Loony Labour council’ dossiers were just treated with disdain.

Howard Knight

Luke Temple said...

Thanks for the information Howard, doesn't sound much fun working in the bowels of government though.

On LJ, am I right in thinking he has just made reference to something 15 years out of date?

P. Stable said...

That's fascinating stuff, Howard, thanks ever so much.

The idea of tabloid journalists checking facts prior to publication seems like a quaint hangover from a bygone era...