Sometimes the hacks and pundits blunder around in such a witless fashion that one wonders why the subs don’t suggest to them that their copy might be fashioned so as to make them look less prone to all those own goals. Today, the Daily Mail’s unfunny and talentless churnalist Richard Littlejohn has brought a text-book example, telling his adoring readers how you couldn’t make it up (again).
Facts, guv? You're avin' a laugh, innit?!?
Dick is unhappy that the case of Azelle Rodney, a small-time crim shot dead by the Met’s finest back in 2005, has come back into view after he was judged to have been unlawfully killed. The judge is referred to as “retired”, which is code for “out of touch and losing his marbles”, and Rodney being a drug dealer who carried firearms is inferred to justify his being shot dead.
“By now you may have gathered that Azelle Rodney was black” he says. Yes Dicky boy, I got that from the extra large photo of him at the top of the page. But do go on. “In his line of work, getting shot is an occupational hazard. If it hadn’t been the Old Bill, it may well have been a Colombian hitman”. Not to settle a turf war in west London, it wouldn’t have been.
But Dick speaks from authority: “I’ve been on a police firearms course”. Not in the UK you haven’t. That’s all to do with your being a resident of a gated compound at Vero Beach in Florida, remember? Go on: “That’s not to say I want the streets of London turned into the Wild West and cowboy cops gunning down every suspected bad guy as a basis for negotiation”. Really? You just defended exactly that.
Meanwhile, Dick reminisces about Blackpool, where “They used to do a very reasonable hot beef sandwich in Yates’s Wine Lodge”. Then he’s off to Nottingham, where “the local branch of Yates’s Wine Lodge featured a Lavender Hill Mob-style string quartet”. There does seem to be a common thread here, and it was the favoured destination for every local lush and wino.
That may explain the seriously dodgy accuracy: “Thirty odd years ago, ‘Red’ Len McCluskey was one of Derek ‘Degsy’ Hatton’s bagmen in Liverpool. Lenny’s now running Unite and Degsy is a time-share estate agent somewhere in Spain”. Really, Dick? McCluskey never joined Militant, and Derek Hatton’s overseas manor is in, er, Cyprus. Still, it’s somewhere abroad, innit?
Littlejohn gets paid the thick end of a million notes a year for his two columns a week, which works out at getting on for ten thousand a throw. And he still can’t be arsed checking his facts, preferring instead to look back at a wine-drenched past and an approach to criminal justice that has all too often caused serious embarrassment to Police and politicians alike. Still, passes the time out there in Florida, dunnit?
What will he do after Dacre retires, though? Time-shares in Spain, perhaps?