These are unusually busy times for the Daily Mail’s unfunny and tedious churnalist Richard Littlejohn: yesterday he produced a one-off rant smearing Barack Obama’s re-election to the US Presidency as a “victory for fear and loathing”, tried to equate the aftermath of “Superstorm” Sandy with that of Hurricane Katrina, and blubbered that it was all the fault of a compliant news media.
Paedophiles, Guv? Bit of a big word, innit?!?
And today, Dick’s penchant for reinvention and whataboutery has homed in on the fall-out from the North Wales child abuse scandal and its possible revisiting, following the recent intervention by Labour MP Tom Watson. The unsubtle headline – “Run for your life – it’s the Nonce Finder General!” – tells anyone who still needs to know that this will not be an exercise in intellectual enlightenment.
Dick is, for once in his life, very worried about witch hunts, despite his enthusiastic participation in routine demonisation of the disabled over the Motability scheme, and his joining in the campaign against two elderly and less than totally mobile pensioners from somewhere in Nottinghamshire because they had a lottery win but carried on claiming universal benefits (because they were universal).
He begins by excoriating Phillip Schofield for “a three-minute ‘cursory glance’ at the internet”, and rightly so too: in the world of Richard Littlejohn, not even one second of looking at the web is permissible. Dick just shoots from the hip because he knows it all already, for instance where the blame lies. This is the fault of Watson, and to a lesser extent Channel 4 News and its presenter Cathy Newman.
Moreover, he’s seen how dangerous Watson is: “Following his success in bringing down the News of the World over phone-hacking, Watson now has appointed himself Nonce Finder General”. Superb slipping in of a blatant whopper there – what brought down the Screws was its owner closing it. But Dick’s attempt to blame Tom Watson is at least a change from blaming the Guardian.
And in any case, the witnesses are unreliable, says Dick: they’re all in it for “com-pen-say-shun”. “There’s a suspicion that many of them are motivated by the prospect of a fat cheque for damages, currently being dangled in front of them by opportunist lawyers” he bleats. So those lawyers must be very different to the not at all opportunist ones the Mail uses to fob off anyone they’ve libelled, then.
But he is taking the subject seriously: “I’m not trying to make light of child abuse” he protests, before the inevitable “But ...” follows. “The febrile hunt for ‘peed-io-files’ has become all-consuming in some quarters” warns Dick, although he stops short of asking whether the Police could be better employed chasing the kind of suspects favoured by him and his legendarily foul mouthed editor.
That, though, will probably come next. No surprise there, then.