Two weeks ago, I looked at the way that media outlets on both sides of the north Atlantic were trying to ridicule the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests, which are still in progress, have spread to dozens of towns and cities across the USA, and are now finding echoes in Europe, a common chord being sounded with movements such as the one in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol.
Given the hostile and dismissive attitude towards OWS, particularly from the right, it should come as no surprise to see protests in the City of London, mainly around St Paul’s Cathedral, also being rubbished by the usual suspects in the Fourth Estate. The problem for those doing the rubbishing is that their formulaic and unresearched knocking copy bears no relation to reality.
Protests, guv? It's just layabouts, innit?!?
And the conjunction of hackery with lack of reality means one name, and that name is Richard Littlejohn. Dick has to produce something to satisfy his legendarily foul mouthed editor’s agenda, can’t be arsed with fact checking, and hasn’t been anywhere near the protest. So he just engages quotation autopilot: “gormless rent-a-mob ... Toytown Trots from Mickey Mouse universities”.
There’s more: “social workers [demonisation: check!], lecturers [ditto], full-time mature students [ditto] and Swampy wannabes”. Very good, Dicky boy, but that last one only proves that you’ve not even bothered to watch a news report on the protest. But someone has told him that there was a priest involved, so Dick then lays into Dr Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s.
“None of these demos is ever complete without a daft vicar from central casting” observes Dick, once again not having bothered to do a few minutes’ Googling: Dr Fraser is a seasoned broadcaster, lectures on moral leadership for the Army at Shrivenham, is responsible for the Church’s engagement with the City of London, and has written for the Daily Mail. That’s your paper, Dick.
But, as so often, Dick is off and running, impervious to comment: “demonstrators appear to belong to ‘The Revolution starts when the Special Brew runs out’ school of political thought ... those with jobs are likely to be in some kind of State-sponsored sinecure [demonisation: check!]. The rest are in never-ending education [ditto] or living on benefits [ditto]”. I almost expected a Motability reference.
The real jaw-dropper, though, is where Littlejohn tells his readers “It’s a fair bet that very few of them have ever contributed anything to the real economy”.
You need to wrap up warm in Winter when you live in such a draughty glasshouse. Mind how you go, Dicky boy.