The Daily Mail’s tedious and unfunny churnalist Richard Littlejohn has a more or less permanent grudge against a number of politicians, most of whom represent Labour and the Lib Dems, which he clearly believes to be too liberal and wishy-washy for his taste, which gives every impression of being that of an early 1980s London cabbie. And one of those he most reviles is Leicester East MP Keith Vaz.
Keith Vaz, Guv? 'E's a bleedin' foreigner, innit?!?
This should surprise no-one: Vaz was not born in the UK, he is Asian and of Indian-Portuguese heritage, he supports the wrong party, and has been criticised in the past for certain of his activities. That his constituents have returned him to parliament for the past twenty years with (since 1992) well over 50% of the popular vote is of no significance to Dick and his legendarily foul mouthed editor.
So what has Vaz done to provoke the ire of Dicky Windbag? Simples. He has become involved in representing the family of nurse Jacintha Saldanha. So, instead of asking why this might be, Littlejohn has gone off the deep end. Fortunately for him, right-wing pundit Jill Kirby had already produced a why-oh-why attack on Vaz in her weekly ConservativeHome column.
And today’s Littlejohn rant covers, to no surprise at all, much of the ground already covered by Ms Kirby, with a suitably exaggerated listing of Vaz’ supposed misdeeds inserted, together with giving the impression that he was actually there when the bereaved family appeared before the media this week, rather than the more prosaic fact – that he was behind the gates of his secure Florida compound.
So Dicky Windbag appears to have lifted his line of attack from someone else, and has, like Ms Kirby, complained that Vaz is not the family’s MP. But, as Littlejohn’s own paper has already noted, he is the family’s spokesman. Why Jacintha Saldanha’s immediate relatives would want his assistance is not considered, and yet again this shows that Dick can’t be bothered with a little research.
“The only obvious connection between the Saldanhas and Vaz is a common Indian heritage” he asserts, failing to understand that the family name is actually Barboza. He’s wrong: unlike most who live and have relatives on the Indian sub-continent, Jacintha Saldanha and her husband shared the same Christian and indeed Roman Catholic faith as Keith Vaz.
Moreover, the dead nurse also shared the same Indian-Portuguese heritage as Vaz: Saldanha (it’s pronounced Sal-Dahn-Ya) is a Portuguese name. So there is very good reason for her family to seek out Keith Vaz. Littlejohn could easily have found all of this out, but then, that would have introduced the kind of nuance that would detract from the blunt and crude objective of kicking a Labour MP.
And that, after all, is what meets the Daily Mail agenda. No change there, then.