Friday, 18 September 2009

If it's Friday, it must be Littlejohn

Today's Richard Littlejohn column is posted in full on the Mail website for the first time in several weeks. Shame that. But it does allow us to look at it and see if there are any more errors lurking in there. And guess what?

First, it is worth noting his main rant is about how the CPS and Police were absolutely correct in bringing the case against Ross McKnight and Matthew Swift, accused of plotting a Columbine style massacre at their Manchester school.

The jury took 45 minutes to find them not guilty after a three week trial. With all the wisdom of someone who wasn't in the courtroom for any, let alone all, of the trial (and indeed, probably wasn't even in the country) he decides:

That probably says more about the members of the jury than the evidence laid before them.

Errr, well no. If a jury can dismiss a case of that (apparent) seriousness in less than an hour, that says everything about the evidence before them.

McKnight's lawyer said it was all fantasies caused by the 'frivolty of youth'. Littlejohn snorts with derision.

But then a comment from Jon in Camberley catches the eye. He wrote:

I remember when you said, in print, "Kill all the lawyers." Fantasies of mass murder, huh? Hardly the frivolity of middle age. I hope you're going to hand yourself in at your local police station at the first opportunity.

Really? Yes, indeed. During a webchat in 2007, Littlejohn was asked:

Do you agree that lawyers are overpowerful in their influence in British politics?

To which he replied:

YES - as Hal said to Dick in Shakespeare: First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

Later he is asked:

Will we ever get rid of this elf 'n' safety/PC mentality?

To which he said:

See previous answer about killing all the lawyers!

Dangerous fantasies of murder indeed.

Littlejohn moves on to the story of Sultan Kosen, recently crowned World's Tallest Man. He begins:

The world's tallest man is in London looking for a bride.

Well, not quite. He is London, promoting the launch of the 2010 Guinness Book of Records before flying off the Germany and the US. He said he'd had a tough time finding a girlfriend, so it's not quite the 'imposing foreigner stealing our women'-type situation Littlejohn first implies.

But then he comes up with a 'hilarious' solution:

A Pakistani woman was recently granted asylum in Britain on the grounds that, at 7ft 2in, she would be subject to persecution if returned home.

She was last seen living on benefits in a council house in Stockport.

This is a match made in heaven. I'm sure she'll be very happy in Turkey.

Oh, where does he come up with this stuff? Recycling his column of three years ago? But we thought Littlejohn didn't 'do' recycling?

Now, here's the first problem - the Pakistani woman in question (Zainab Bibi) appears not have been granted asylum in Britain.

On 6 January 2009, the Mail confidently stated Pakistani woman given asylum because she's 7ft 2in tall. But the decision had not been made and the Mail was pre-empting it for no reason other than to stir up anti-asylum feeling.

Four days later, it admitted her asylum claim was in fact rejected. This was echoed by a report in the Asian News.

Although both stories claimed she was looking to appeal against the decision, I can find no other news stories related to her case since then, so it appears that Littlejohn has, umm, got that wrong. Again.

What about his claim she was:

last seen living on benefits in a council house in Stockport.

Well, not quite. Again, going by the 10 January Mail report she was living:

in a council house in Stockport, Cheshire, until recently

The Asian News story confirms:

A spokeswoman from Stockport Homes confirmed that Miss Bibi was moved out of the borough by the Home Office and they are no longer supporting her.

It's perfectly possible that there have been some developments on her case that have escaped the Mail, Google, Yahoo and the BBC. But given Littlejohn's record at doing any proper research that seems highly unlikely.

Just put it down to yet another example where his 'merely reporting the facts' has let him down.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Tabloid Watch,

    I agree with anything and everything you say about Littlejohn, an odious piece of string 'em up cabbie pond-life if ever there was one. This is why on this occasion I find myself somewhat disoriented, as I agree with him.

    My reasons for doing so are the stark similarities in the recent case with two incidents that took place in Finland in the last two years.

    In the first case, which kind of automagically coincides with the launch of the two Manchester fuckwits' plans (that ought to give you a clue as to why the police and the CPS got so steamed up), a young man called Pekka-Erik Auvinen, alias Sturmgeist, took out eight of his fellow-students at a Finnish high school before topping himself. He used a Sig Mosquito .22 pistol.

    Auvinen was a Columbine wannabe, another quite smart nihilist who'd read his Nietzsche and who had attempted to impress an older woman - a rather manipulative one - whom he'd met online (you can read it all up).

    Auvinen was in turn followed by Matti Juhani Saari, yet another Columbine fan-boy with the same pre-hit M.O. - lots of bluster about how he was going to go down in history, I hate the human race, blah, blah, blah.

    Saari went two better than Auvinen in September 2008 and wasted 10 kids at his school in Kauhajoki. He used a Walther .22.

    Both of them had unblemished records. If they had not had, there is no way they would have been granted a gun licence, even for a target shooting pistol.

    Now one little incident that took place in connection with that later case is worth comment: shortly before Saari went postal on his pals, he was called in by the police over some of the "frivolous" things he'd been writing in cyberspace (you can look them up, too), but the inspector concerned decided he was pretty sane (perhaps he'd been talking to Swift and McKnight's brief), and he did not take away Saari's legally-held and recently-acquired Walther. Saari went and did his history-making thing, and the police officer is now facing charges of gross negligence, as well as a civil suit from the relatives of the victims.

    All of which leads me to believe that the authorities in this case HAD to take action - there is really no telling what wingnuts like these can do, and in their case it would only have required some fairly primitive explosive device and a bit of petrol become headlines. Getting a gun might have been a bit tricker after Dunblane, but that's another matter.

    Littlejohn is a pompous ass, but on this one, I'm afraid he's got it right. The Manchester kids were astonishingly lucky to be white, Christian, and middle-class, and to be able to "go private" and get an eloquent brief. If their names had been Khan and Hussain, they wouldn't have had a prayer-mat to piss on, regardless of the fact that their actions were not Jihadist but simple adolescent anger at the world and its creatures.

    They say they now hope to "be able to put it behind them". This is of course a bigger fantasy than their massacre plans ever were. The same Internet that nurtured their "hair-brained" schemes is going to make sure they are never forgotten. Google is your friend, but it will not be theirs: the stain will not wash out, and every prospective employer who looks them up "just on the off-chance" is going to back away real quick.

    What Littlejohn didn't realise in his puffed-up Daily Mail indignation is that these kids DID get a life sentence - only one of another kind.

    You might like to read this, by the way:

    It's quite long, but it is worth the time.


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