Thursday 18 June 2009

Littlejohn and the BNP

Richard Littlejohn has read his copy of yesterday's Mail and churned out a so-expected-it's-untrue diatribe against the NHS document on health provision for Gypsies and Travellers. It reads much like the the Mail article, with a few 'you couldn't make it up' and 'Guardianista' phrases chucked in.

But the BNP have read their copy of the Mail too, and have also issued a press release. The differences in the three articles are minimal.

Littlejohn: Fast-tracking the Tarmacing community on the NHS
Mail: Want to see a GP? Gipsies come first as NHS tells doctors that travellers must be seen at once
BNP: Romany Gypsies in Britain Given Better NHS Service than British People

As the Mail article was discussed here previously, here's some of the points Littlejohn and the BNP make.


the NHS has decided to give priority to gipsies in hospitals and GP surgeries.

At least half of all Gypsies and Travellers in Britain are Romany in origin and are officially placed above indigenous British people in a range of National Health Services.

gipsies will be allocated a full 20 minutes with a doctor and allowed to bring their extended family into the waiting room. The average length of a normal appointment, always assuming you can get one, is between five and ten minutes.

Gypsies must be given 20 minute consultations (in comparison to native British peoples’ five or ten minutes) and must be allowed to bring relatives into the consulting rooms;

A Department of Health statement said it was 'fast-tracking' what it calls 'members of the mobile community' because they have difficulty accessing services.

Gypsies must be “fast tracked” when being provided with NHS services.
Littlejohn (in relating the story of an correspondent who apparently had to wait for an appointment):

a gipsy...would have been ushered to the top of the list.

[Gypsies] must be seen before any other patients, even if the indigenous patients have been there earlier or have prior appointments;

Now, I can understand that this policy may have arisen from the most noble of intentions. But this has nothing to do with the milk of human kindness and owes everything to the venomous bile of the 'diversity' industry, which takes sadistic pleasure in persecuting the taxpaying majority.

The NHS document tries to justify this blatant anti-British policy by claiming that Gypsies suffer from greater health problems than indigenous British people.
Spot the difference? It's not the first time in the past week a Mail columnist and the BNP seem to be in agreement. And given events in Belfast it's really hard to see what the Mail hopes to achieve by stoking anti-Gypsy sentiment by misrepresenting these guidelines in the way it has.

Incidentally, the only mention Littlejohn gives to the racist attacks on the Romaian families in Belfast is as an aside in a piece attacking Martin McGuinness.


  1. Keep up the excellent work comparing these columns with the BNP. I only wish I had the stomach to do the same.

  2. I have a horrible feeling that we are seeing the start of the "normalisation" of the BNP. It will soon be acceptable to talk about them openly. I am amazed at how many BNP blogs there are on this site.

  3. Thanks 5CC, as ever.

    Aspidistra - Are you suggesting that the BNP should not be mentioned? In fact, the point I am making is not really about the BNP per se, but about how certain papers help lay the groundwork for the party by publishing false, exaggerated and misleading articles about minority groups that become ingrained in public thought. In any case, the BNP is only tagged in 7 of over 200 posts on this blog.

  4. I'm sorry but apart from the last one all the other comparisons look like they're just describing the facts about government policy. In the last comparison the BNP makes a racial point about gypsies that Littlejohn doesn't. He makes some kind of hysterical claim about a diversity industry I've never heard of instead. Don't get me wrong, it's an offensive article by Littlejohn especially taken together with the cartoon, but I think it's important not to associate people with the BNP (and by implication fascism and rascism) just because they say something similar to each other. After all a statement on the BNP website says The sickening wave of racist violence directed at the newly arrived Romanian Gypsy migrants in Belfast has drawn universal condemnation from all quarters, including the British National Party, said party leader Nick Griffin in a special mass email sent out last night. Of course you can be cynical about that statement (and for the record of course I am) but you can see my point. The BNP will campaign on any number of issues and some of them will be fairly reasonable and popular. Condemning everything they come out with may end up creating more sympathy for their party. Do gypsies deserve preferential NHS treatment because of their lifestyle choice? Maybe not actually. Is that an inherently racist position? I don't think so. Should they be denied because they're not indigenous British people? Of course not, because no such people exist. I think these articles approach the subject in an irresponsible and insulting (Littlejohn) and racist (BNP) way but both of them setting out the policy they disagree with doesn't make them of one mind.

  5. I should probably add that I think the cartoon is reminiscent of Nazi propaganda and that the Mail's decision to publish it together with the article lends a really unpleasant subtext to the whole piece. So I agree with your basic point about the Mail but not about the similarity between the two texts. Maybe I'm being contradictory but it's late, I'm tired and probably shouldn't be posting in this state :) This is a quote from Goebbels about the jews:

    They despise our culture and learning, which they perceive as towering over their nomadic worldview. They fear our economic and social standards, which leave no room for their parasitic drives. They are the enemy of our domestic order, which has excluded their anarchistic tendencies.

    I think this is the subtext to several articles that are published in the Mail.

  6. Duncan, while accepting you were posting late, I should point out that the problem with both articles is that they are not 'describing the facts about government policy'. Which is why I suggested neither Littlejohn nor the BNP has read the actual document.

    Take the 20 minute consultation. Littlejohn says 'will be given', BNP says 'must be given', the document says: 'Practices should allow up to 20 minutes'. 'Allow up to 20' is significantly different to 'must be given 20'.

    On the point about priority, the impression given by both is that as soon as a Gypsy walks through the surgery door everything will stop to see them. In fact, the document says Gypsies should 'not be turned away' which again is significantly different.

    Both Littlejohn and the BNP are in fact twisting the facts, not reporting them, in order to misrepresent what is going on. And that is to imply - 'look how this country isn't 'ours' anymore' (which is what the diversity industry term is all about too).

    And I entirely agree about not associating people just on what they say, but recent articles in the Mail, such as this one, the Max Hastings one and the about the Belfast Roma and crime, say it with the same tone and intent. By appearing in the Mail, it gives such views a veil of repectability and thus allows the BNP to flourish.

  7. Actually I disagree about the misrepresentations you mention. I think there's a negligible semantic difference between must be given and should be allowed up to. If you say a football team should be allowed up to 3 substitutions per match it's basically the same as saying they must be given 3 substitutions per match.

    The policy document says that Practices should adopt a policy of not turning away any gypsy/traveller who attends without an agreed appointment, even if all the appointments for that day are full.

    That seems pretty clear to me. By just saying that they shouldn't be turned away you implied that gypsies/travellers shouldn't be refused NHS services whereas the rest of the sentence indicates that they are, in fact, to be given priority. Although it doesn't specifically say that they should be moved to the top of the list for that day I think that practically, if a surgery is compelled to see them, it wouldn't be sensible to keep them waiting for too long.

  8. I think what you describe as negligible semantics is far more important than that. The impression given by the Mail and the BNP is that when a Gypsy walks into a surgery they will be rushed to the front of the queue for an appointment and immediately be granted a twenty minute consultation. And as you have clearly read the document, you can see it does not say that.

    I'm afraid I just do not accept that 'given a full 20 minutes' and 'should allow up to 20 minutes' are the same.

    Littlejohn says 'ushered to the top of the list'. The Mail headline said they should be seen 'at once' and that 'Gypsies come first'. The BNP says before 'any other patient'. You said yourself 'it doesn't specifically say that they should be moved to the top of the list'. So you agree that the spin they put on it is indeed, wrong.

    And you did state the cartoon accompanying the Littlejohn piece was like Nazi propaganda!

  9. Also worth noting - the Mail have withdrawn their poll on this subject because the results weren't going their way. Why would they do that?

  10. I know they withdrew the poll, I voted the wrong way on it. I have a low opinion of the Mail and I know the kind of story the were trying to create. They're trying to start a populist campaign to sell newspapers, I guess what I'm saying is that the real story isn't in the comparisons you've made here. Anyway I've made my point, no need to go over it all again. You're obviously right that the policy document doesn't explicitly state that gypsies should be moved to the top of the list but I think that the conclusion that this is in effect what will happen is a reasonable one. We disagree on some finer points, no big deal.

  11. As someone of Roma descent, I understand why this has been put in place. The fact of it is that Romani people don't get the same level of medical care as the rest of the population due to the nomadic lifestyle our culture expects - not all Roma are nomadic these days, but a large number of them are. Is it really racist to put measures in place to ensure Roma get the same level of medical attention all other ethnic groups receive? Is it truly unfair to ensure that we don't die from (and risk spreading) otherwise preventable diseases because we can't be seen by a doctor? It's unfair to suggest Roma deserve these consequences because many of us won't give up our nomadic ways - that's a little like suggesting Jehovah's Witnesses don't deserve treatment because they won't accept blood transfusions.

    I don't think we need priority attention, but I appreciate that we are being acknowledged - I don't think requesting that a Roma patient be given "up to" 20 minutes per appointment - not a mandatory appointment of 20 minutes in length - is at all unfair. The average patient will come back for several checkups, whereas a Roma patient may not be able to attend those checkups - it makes sense that the GP would take the opportunity to give Roma patients a little bit of extra time to ensure they are in full health.

    Anyway, given the private nature of many Roma people, I doubt there'll be a sudden influx of gypsies at your local GP - many will continue to ignore medical advice. It's simply so that those who do require an appointment will be sure to get one.

  12. Thanks for the comment Monkeh - your last point is a really good one. If, as the NHS document states, there are 300,000 Gypsies and Travellers in the UK at the highest estimate, that is only 0.5% of the population. As you say, an influx is highly unlikely.


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