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Tuesday 19 July 2011

Littlejohn’s Spineless Stand-In

As I noted last Friday, the Daily Mail’s obscenely overmonied and talentless churnalist Richard Littlejohn is taking a break from his twice a week dirge of unfunny and fact free ranting. So this is as good a time as any to view the calibre of talent available on the paper’s subs’ bench, as another of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre’s faithful hacks steps up to the plate.

Sadly, the initial prognosis is not good: today’s offering from Geoffrey “Lickspittle” Levy, well versed in grovelling before his hectoring and bullying editor, is a painfully thin brew, almost making one nostalgic for Fat Dick’s full throated mix of whataboutery, false equivalence, and that creative retelling of history, all generously sprinkled with a covering of generally blatant whoppers.

Levy’s subject for today’s column is Stephen Purdew, the man who runs Champneys, the “health resort” business. Purdew, we discover at the outset, swears on occasion, though not nearly as profusely as Paul Dacre, the man before whom Levy has spent much of his journalistic career obsequiously toadying. What else? Purdew is “wily”. He knows Charlie Brooks. And, so what?

Well, Champneys has a “kriotherapy” facility. It’s very cold in there. And a number of slebs and sportspeople have used it. And Purdew has a yacht. And a penthouse in the south of France. And a large house in Hertfordshire. And he supports Arsenal. Oh, and Champneys has offered special rates to some well known people. Er, hello Geoffrey? That merely shows Purdew is a good businessman.

It’s hardly any different to offering free or reduced price copies of the Daily Mail to unfortunate punters on their charter flights back from Rodos or Menorca. And what is the point of this column? Where is the nugget of information, the clinching argument, apart from mentioning Keith Vaz a lot, because he’s a Daily Mail hate figure? Ah yes: Neil “Wolfman” Wallis is Purdew’s PR man. And again I say, so what?

If Purdew had been investigating Phonehackgate, there might have been some traction to be gained in this revelation. But he isn’t, he’s running a business, who uses that business is of no relevance to current events, if he wants to hire a former Screws deputy editor is up to him, and if that’s the best you can do, Geoffrey, you’d be best advised returning to grovelling before the boss.

But Levy has done one sterling service with this column: he’s demonstrated just how miserably shallow the Daily Mail talent pool really is.

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