Friday, 2 October 2009

Quite possibly the laziest Richard Littlejohn column ever

I've been a bit quiet recently, since I haven't really been in the mood to depress myself with a trawl through the papers, and the stories I have followed, like the abortive attempt by several papers to whip up an HPV vaccine scare only to be cruelly thwarted by the actual evidence, (although many of them did gamely try to cling on to the 'well, we should still be concerned' angle even after their initial reactions proved unfounded), have been pretty well covered elsewhere.

So I figured I'd ease myself back in with another lazy run through Dicky Littlejohn's latest knockabout romp. Today's, though, is quite bizarre. In it, Littlejohn complains that his council are too damn reasonable about recycling and helpful with the bins. He ponders aloud how he's supposed to run off one of his ironically recycled rants about the Bin Nazis, displayed a hitherto undiscovered sense of self-awareness. You can see that he's suddenly struggling with his conscience; there's just a glimmer of a hint of a thought there that maybe, just maybe, the world isn't entirely run by morons without a shred of 'common sense', that maybe all these little pathetic one-off anecdotes he repeats about some unreasonable council official aren't actually a fair representation of the world. That in some cases these stories aren't even true, or that they're exaggerated, or that even when they're true they're only newsworthy because they're isolated incidents which you can't extrapolate from. As I read it, I almost started rooting for him. "He's about to get it! He's finally fucking getting it! Go on Richard my son!".

Of course, he hasn't learned a fucking thing, or if he has, he's clearly about to repress it, as the final piece of his column today demonstrates. Still, before that, he has time for a couple of other segments, like a whole section which is designed to justify yet another pointless, smirking reference to Peter Mandelson's (gay!!!!) partner. It's actually quite a neat little bit of baiting; the section is headed "Thank God it was Sarah and not Reinaldo", and after a perfunctory complaint about Sarah Brown introducing Gordon Brown at the Labour conference (© all newspapers this week), he drifts into one of his merry little daydreams:
Still, at least we were spared Reinaldo's version of how Mandy makes a mess in the bathroom when he's dyeing his hair. Or Jack Dromey on how Harriet went mental when she discovered he had a Page 3 calendar up in his office.
The Dromey/Harman bit has the feel of something tacked on just in case someone makes a joke about his continuing obsession with Mandelson's gay relationship, so it wouldn't surprise me to see him making that defence of himself next week.

The next two sections aren't really worth talking about, just a strained dig at Gordon Brown and then a bit of fluff about how we're being turned into a federal superstate. Yawn.

Still, you know it wouldn't be a proper Littlejohn column without one of his trademark misleading anecdotes about politcal correctness gone mad, and today's comes in the form of this closing belch:
When the North Wales Traffic Taliban decided to muzzle all their police dogs and train them how to headbutt suspects instead of biting them, I thought I'd heard it all.

As usual, I should have known better. The increasingly absurd Devon and Cornwall force has started replacing their German shepherds with springer spaniels, which are said to be 'less frightening'.

Isn't frightening the whole point of police dogs?

Perhaps they should go still further and start recruiting labradors. Our old lab, Ossie, would have enjoyed being a police dog.

Trouble is, he wouldn't have been able to decide between licking suspects into submission or humping them to the ground.
Hmm, that seems odd. Attack dogs reduced in size to avoid hurting the nasty rapists and armed robbers? Must be human rights gone mad! So, donning my Sherlock Holmes hat, off I bravely go to Google to put in "springer spaniels" along with "Devon" and "Cornwall" to see if I can't get my massive detective brain around it and try to get to the bottom of it. It's amazing I go to this level of trouble unpaid, but what can I say, when duty calls I guess you gotta pick up that phone. And so, after upwards of 26 seconds of reading the BBC's less rabid account, I finally get a glimpse of the truth...

They're rescue dogs. No, genuinely, it's literally as straightforward and almost insultingly simple as that. They've trained them to be rescue dogs, for rescuing people. People who probably haven't done anything wrong and need rescuing. Devon and Cornwall police force have trained three (3!) springer spaniels and a Brittany to rescue people. So when Littlejohn asks "Isn't frightening the whole point of police dogs?", he means "Isn't frightening the whole point of police rescue dogs?". To which the answer, I would think most reasonable people would agree, is "no".
The force dog inspector said: "Our existing general purpose dogs are fantastic at what they do but vulnerable people are often scared when confronted by a German shepherd dog.

"These lost person search dogs have no other skills and are pure specialists in finding people who are lost."
So, these dogs will literally only be used to rescue people and find people who have gone missing, like for example lost children, with the old big dogs used for everything else. Meaning that they're not being 'replaced' either. This BBC story, which completely renders Littlejohn's argument massively wrong IN THE VERY FIRST SENTENCE, has been up since Tuesday. If you Google News search for "springer spaniels", you get it as the second result, with the Telegraph's Springer spaniels recruited as rescue dogs by police the main result. Indeed, do any kind of search for any news story about this, and it becomes painfully clearly that Richard Littlejohn is possibly the only person in the world who thinks these dogs are supposed to be hunting down criminals and giving them a playful lick on the face because political correctness gone mad says we can't frighten the bastards. I don't want to accuse him of being deliberately misleading, but I genuinely cannot conceive of a way he could have found out about this story without being told that these dogs are purely for rescuing people, unless he just half-heard it on the telly while he was doing something else and didn't bother his arse to do even the most basic Google-powered research of the kind a tiny child would be able to do.


  1. Excellent column - yours not his. I will link to this later. I think, however, you are being a tad generous - I think you can very easily accuse him of being deliberately misleading.

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  3. Excellent post and blog. I really don't know how you have the stamina to do this. Everytime I attempt to sift through the splenetic bile of the likes of Littlejohn, I get very depressed and have to beat a hasty retreat.
    Of course what is worrying are there are so many out there who do not question what these hate-filled columnists spout...