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Sunday 13 May 2012

Dick And A Spanish Lie

One nail in the coffin of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), and a clear demonstration of its sheer uselessness, was the case of Stable versus Associated Newspapers, on which the Commission ruled in late 2010. Blogger Primly Stable had complained about a blatant whopper trotted out by the Daily Mail’s unfunny and tedious churnalist Richard Littlejohn.

Spanish, Guv? They're all waiters, innit?!?

Dick had asserted that “any Afghan climbing off the back of a lorry in Dover goes automatically to the top of the housing list”. As well as being untrue, this was also a deliberate attempt to demonise asylum seekers – a favourite pastime for the obedient hackery of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre – but the PCC declined to even consider any kind of reprimand.

This was because, well, anyone could see that it was only an opinion column, and therefore it was fine for its author to have his trousers well and truly alight. So the terminally useless PCC, as Primly Stable put it, “says it’s OK to lie”. And having been given the green light, Dick has been at it again, in a nasty – and flagrantly dishonest – kick at the Spanish.

I’m no economist, but 18 months ago I predicted that Spain’s banks would go the way of those in Iceland and Ireland. The Spanish had been on a spending spree in Britain, buying up everything from the British Airports Authority to three of our leading building societies” he told, with characteristic lack of accuracy (BAA is owned by a consortium which is Spanish led, not quite what he claims).

And then comes the whopper: “But it’s always been a mystery to me where they got the money from. Apart from a couple of factories screwing together Volkswagens and a dodgy time-share industry, Spain is essentially a peasant economy dependent on EU largesse”. Really? So Spain’s manufacturing industry, for instance, must be rather smaller than that of the UK, yes?

After all, we’ve got rather more than a couple of car plants, haven’t we? Well, thanks to Eurostat, we can compare the numbers – the ones shown being for 2005 – for “Value added and employment in manufacturing”. Spain (ES) has 25% in the Value added category and 19% manufacturing employment, while the numbers for the UK are 21% and 17% respectively.

And before someone says Maddie and “Portugal equals third world”, they do better than Spain at 27% and 26%. Germany, Finland, Italy, and – yes – France all do better than that. So, Dicky boy, if Spain is “essentially a peasant economy dependent on EU largesse” and has better manufacturing numbers than the UK, where exactly does that put us (and remember, our banks needed bailing out, too)?

Dick, you’re a dick. Try doing some research and adding facts to your rantings.

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