The fact that the Coronia had helped in the evacuation of Dunkirk only added to his EU 'elf'n'safety'-gone-mad frenzy. His 30 June column included a clarification, which was made to sound like it wasn't one really:
On Friday, I brought you news of the pleasure boat Coronia, one of the small ships which evacuated the beaches at Dunkirk, which has been banned from making the 34-mile round trip from Scarborough to Whitby.Quite why he thinks rules to try and make people safe at sea are somehow problematic is puzzling, but how he must have hated to let the EU off the hook. Still, note the first line: 'I brought you news'. All hail Littlejohn for exposing this latest example of petty PC bureaucracy!
Captain Tom Machin was told that EU maritime safety rules limited him to 30 miles a day, which meant he could no longer dock at Whitby. It turns out that the EU limit is 15 miles from the nearest port. But British officials have interpreted that as 15 miles from the ship's home port, in this case Scarborough.
So what we have is, yet again, another case of home-grown jobsworths gold-plating European rules and making them ten times worse.
Except he didn't. The decision to halt the Coronia's trips was made nearly two years ago.
In the original article, he wrote:
In recent years, it has been operating a daily 34-mile round trip service between the Yorkshire resorts of Scarborough and Whitby.Four errors in two sentences is some achievement:
But now the boat's captain, Tom Machin, has been told by EU safety officials that under new rules he is limited to 30 nautical miles a day.
'In recent years, it has been operating' (no, it hasn't).
'But now' (two years ago).
'EU safety officials' (the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency).
'Limited to 30 nautical miles a day' (limited to 15 miles from the nearest port, which the ship's captain was told in 2008).
How did Littlejohn get the facts so completely wrong?
And why is he mentioning it at all, given it is such old news? Could it be he has seen remarks by a Government minister offering to help the Coronia with a compromise, for which he will then take the credit?