A seventeen your old Kurdish-Iranian asylum seeker was brutally attacked late last Friday night at a bus stop in Croydon, and was left in what has been called a “serious” condition, having suffered a fractured skull and a blood clot on the brain. Police have made several arrests and have now charged five individuals with attempted murder. The attack has shocked many in a normally tolerant part of the city.
And today, in an echo of the Stephen Lawrence murder, the Daily Mail has taken up the cudgels in outrage at the attack: “SAVAGES … Horror as 17-year old asylum seeker is chased and viciously attacked by a mob - including women - while up to 20 bystanders do nothing to help” thundered today’s front page headline.
The supporting article confirms the Lawrence connection: “In an attack with chilling echoes of the Stephen Lawrence murder, a mob of up to 30 men and woman chased the terrified 17-year-old along a South London street”.
In the aftermath of the Lawrence murder, the Mail was initially going to rubbish demands for an inquiry into what happened - until the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre discovered, in what his staff cynically termed “a near-life experience”, that the dead boy’s father was the bloke who had done some plastering for him at a previous house.
This time the Mail’s problem is rather different: as soon as observers saw that the paper had taken its stand this morning, the first question inevitably was how anyone would think that asylum seekers were such A Bad Thing. And the Mail ended up looking dead guilty.
To understand why the Mail’s hands are less than squeaky clean, we need utter only one word: Littlejohn. The Mail’s unfunny and talentless churnalist has demonised asylum seekers for years, and has been particularly severe on them recently.
In June 2015, the Mail published “Iraqi terrorists, Afghan dissidents, bogus Bosnians and Rwandan mass murderers. Border controls? Who do you think you are kidding” in which Littlejohn moaned about asylum seekers.
Incitement, Guv? Too many letters, innit?!?
By August of that year, Dicky Windbag was telling readers “It has just been revealed that the number of people who were born abroad and are now living in Britain has hit a staggering 8.3 million … This has never been about race, although it is partly about religion and culture, especially when it comes to expansionist, extremist Islam”. Which freely translated means brown people from the Middle East are Very Bad.
The following January, he was rubbishing the idea that making some asylum seekers wear wristbands could identify them as such and make them targets of attacks: “You might also have thought that some of the foreign men who have been given refuge in Cardiff would show a little more gratitude, instead of complaining loudly and enthusiastically joining the grievance culture”. Attacks? Nah, doesn’t happen, does it Guv?
By last May, we were on to “One-legged Albanian KILLER on benefits (even I couldn't make him up)” where Littlejohn concluded “This case in itself highlights the madness of Britain’s lax border controls, insane interpretation of the Yuman Rites Act and cavalier disregard for taxpayers’ money”. Asylum seekers were criminals too!
Then last November Dicky was on about those teenage asylum seekers - who weren’t really, right? “Ever since the migration crisis began, I’ve been drawing attention to the fact that most of these ‘asylum seekers’ are fit young men about whom we know nothing”. They’re brown, they’re Scary Muslims (tm) and they are Bad People, Mail readers.
And this is the same Richard Littlejohn whom Paul Dacre welcomed back to the Mail in 2005, saying the pundit was “returning to his spiritual home” despite his being censured by the Radio Authority over his LBC show, where he “had broken half a dozen rules and had incited violence”. Incited violence. That’ll come in very useful.
So when the Mail goes looking for those who produced the poisonous climate of hatred towards asylum seekers that made attacks like that in Croydon all but inevitable, they will not have far to go.
Because in this case, the message to the Vagina Monologue is “physician, heal thyself”.