This is odd. Littlejohn's columns are mainly reheated Mail stories with 'hilarious' catchphrases added, and his columns are then reheated into his books, so the Mail is actually re-publishing stuff it's already published twice before.
And how's this for a very resistable trail on the front of today's paper:
Many of Littlejohn's health and safety stories are made up, or at least wildly exaggerated or nothing to do with health and safety anyway.
The section of his book published today goes through dozens of 'examples'. He very often doesn't mention the place where these things are (supposed to be) happening, so it's hard to check the veracity. Indeed, a couple I have just tried to investigate via Google just brought me back to Littlejohn...
The headline of the extract today is:
I never imagined the town hall Nazis would go quite so mad
The intro says:
Here, he explains how the diversity Nazis have ruined our town halls ...
And in his actual text:
In Britain, the elf 'n' safety nazis are banning dancing because it's dangerous.
The Mail and Littlejohn like to pretend there's a new intolerance - on health and safety, the environment and diversity, among others - and yet dismiss these people as 'Nazis'. So where's the intolerance, really?
But back to the focus of his column and here's an example of Littlejohn absolutely, positively not making it up:
I thought ministers had repented when it was announced that councils were being encouraged to hire 'street football coordinators' but I was wrong.
Turns out the real purpose of these new jobsworths was not to encourage kids to play football, but to ban it.
The Communities Department sent out a 53-page memo, which included a warning that 'if not planned properly, football can be divisive and trigger conflict. Passions can get high and physical contact can easily lead to confrontations'.
'Street football coordinators' appears to be one 'street football coordinator' highlighted by the TaxPayers' Alliance in 2008 as an example of jobs of 'dubious value'.
Here's how the Mail reported it at the time:
An advert for a 'Street Football Coordinator' at Moray Council in Scotland calls for someone to 'assist in the planning, planning promotion and delivery of the street football project'.
So assisting in the planning and promotion of a street football project is actually, according to Littlejohn, banning it?
Here's how Moray Council themselves describe the project, which is still going:
Moray’s Street Football project has proved to be a tremendous success since its launch in September 2006. The project aims to provide young people with the opportunity to participate in sporting activities inside a portable pitch that is quick and easy to assemble.
Traditional coaching methods are removed to provide players freedom of expression, try new skills and ultimately become better players and people.
Street Sports is fast-paced, energetic and a lot of fun.
That doesn't sound like banning it either. Indeed, that sounds like a perfectly good project for young people.
The Street Football Coordinator job in Moray had a salary of under £20,000. Yes, it's public money, but it's still sickening to hear someone who reportedly earns over £700,000 a year complaining about it. Especially when 're-writing Daily Mail stories to add more inaccuracies and smugness' is as big a non-job as any.
And using this as an example of Labour waste seems a little odd since Moray Council has been run by an Independent/Conservative coalition since 2007.
And then there's the Communities Department's 53-page memo. His wording makes it sound as if the whole document is about the 'banning' of street football.
That's not true.
The document was called 'Guidance on meaningful interaction - How encouraging positive relationships between people can help build community cohesion' and was :
an attempt to set out what we know about meaningful interaction, based on research findings and the views of expert practitioners. It is aimed at local cohesion practitioners and policy planners and includes some good practice.
Hardly essential reading.
But there's no mention of 'Street Football Coordinators' or 'street football' in the whole document. Indeed, there's only five mentions of 'football' in total.
And the quote he uses was actually a comment from a youth worker involved in community cohesion projects about things that can go wrong:
'[Football can bring people together, but if not planned/organised properly can also be very divisive and trigger conflict; ie passions can get high during [the] game and physical contact/altercations during [the] game can easily lead to confrontations and fists [which] could increase the ‘them and us’ divide. Done properly, [this needs: an] assessment whether the two groups are ready to compete, ie no recent scores to settle; preparation work with both groups; [seeing] football [as] part of a wider intervention; staff/volunteers/spectators who support teams [and] encourage positive attitudes, not just about thrashing your opponent on the pitch.' (Youth Worker, written comment)
But Littejohn never makes this stuff up. Oh no:
Already some seaside councils have scrapped donkey rides on the grounds of animal cruelty and Punch and Judy because it glorifies domestic violence.
According to the Mail, People over 8st [were] banned from seaside donkey rides under animal cruelty rides - which is not the same as banning the rides altogether.
As for the Punch and Judy claim, well, that's also nonsense. A silly Lib Dem Councillor in Colchester tried to get a Punch and Judy performer to tone down the slapstick. When he included a likeness of her in his show, she went on a personal mission to try to ban Punch and Judy.
But when Colchester's:
Arts & Leisure Committee voted on the motion to put Mr. Punch on the banned list the Chair of the committee drew one supporting vote, the oppostion parties united to oppose it and - most tellingly - Councillor Jenny Stevens own political colleagues abstained leaving her embarrassingly exposed.
Nevertheless the myth that Mr. Punch had been 'banned' by the authorities for not being politically correct duly entered contemporary folklore.
Indeed, it has.
If there are any other examples of Littlejohn 'making it up' in today's article, please do leave details in the comments.