The 24-hour news cycle can be an unforgiving beast: hardly have the pundits committed their wisdom – or lack of it – to print than Supermac’s “events” come round and kick them somewhere soft and painful. So it was over the last couple of days with the Daily Mail’s tedious and unfunny churnalist Richard Littlejohn, who took as the text of his latest sermon the horse meat business.
EU, Guv? It's all bleedin' foreigners, innit?!?
“Funny how the EU can enforce strict food hygiene regulations which prevent the Women’s Institute selling jam in second-hand jars but can’t stop Eastern European horsemeat being passed off as beef” spouts Dick, blaming the hated Eurocrats for horse appearing at an embarrassing frequency in ready meals, while slipping in a well-rehearsed porkie about jam jars.
For those unfamiliar with the Littlejohn jam jar whopper, this has already been picked up by the customarily excellent Tabloid Watch (see HERE). So it’s the EU in the frame, is it? Sadly, Dick’s geography is in a well dodgy state this week, so the killer follow-up to his assertion is easy to pick up. First, he engages in one of his not hilarious “spoofs”, having a go at Romanians.
But then he rambles on about Chernobyl, which when I last looked was somewhere in the Ukraine – and that’s not in the EU. Perhaps those borders are flexible in Daily Mail land? Actually, make that extremely flexible, as he then rants about “chicken shipped halfway round the world from Thailand”. Still blaming the EU, are we? But he is certain of one thing: it’s down to foreigners.
Sad to relate, though, that hardly had Dick committed his missive to print than the Food Standards Agency (FSA), accompanied by the rozzers, descended mob handed on a slaughterhouse not in Bucharest, but in Todmorden. That’s at the west end of West Yorkshire, for the uninitiated. The Peter Boddy slaughterhouse is one of a small number licensed to deal with horse carcasses.
The FSA also raided a meat processing plant near Aberystwyth, which is also not in a former Eastern Bloc country. So nothing to do with Gypsies and their selling horses to raise a few notes back in Romania. And no fog of verbiage trying to shift the subject to windfarms – magnificent non sequitur there – can mask Littlejohn having spuriously urged readers to blame foreigners.
And besides, the very latest product withdrawal has been Waitrose – a supposedly upmarket supermarket – pulling meatballs from the chilled cabinet because they’ve found pork in the things. Maybe Dick would like to explain how Gypsy horse is transformed into pork? Alternatively, he could find something factual to talk about, but that would be to break the habit of a lifetime.
Still, it keeps him out of trouble and pays well, so that’s all right, then.