The Real Vote

As the tabloids salivate over the prospect of an election, the DM (less sure of the need for a test of Brown's mandate now the Tories are in disarray) the DM has the answer. A poll over whether the girl in the photo is Madeleine! truly a Littlejohn 'you could not make it up' moment! Next week - Does God exist?, Is this the Loch Ness Monster?, and Did the man on the grassy knoll kill JFK?

At the time of writing 55% say YES. The other 45% believe Tony Blair abducted her no doubt.

Then, breaking news...what do we have here? Journalists seem to manage to track down the alleged girl. I wonder why Team McCann did not fly over to Morocco?

Still, there are remaining experts:

  • I have my doubt that the little girl pictured is Bushra, because her hair is parted on the opposite side, the hair consistency is different, and it appears shorter than in the picture taken by the spanish woman. I can't say if it is Madeline or not, although the similarites are certainly there, so I think it needs to be investigated thoroughly.- Sue, Harrisburg, USA

  • Hopefully someone from Interpol has actually located this family and seen the child for himself to judge the truth of her origins.- Dawn, England

The story seems to have died a death. This does not stop the DM continuing to run a scare story about travellers. Is this a start of a renewed attack on Romany folk, travellers, gypsies? I await stories of litter caused on common ground. What an evil bunch of bastards the DM staff are. How do you sleep?

Oh, and Kerry Katona isn't pregnant anymore as it is reported that she lost the alleged 6 week old foetus. I'm not plaing down the trauma of miscarriage but I am more than a little sceptical of KK's rush to share every minute of her life with us. More publicity though, so she and Max Clifford haven't lost their fertile grasp on the media. Mum of the Year and Spokesperson are said to be doing fine.


As predicted above, the backlash against travellers has begun. The DM has another story here.
I'm not commenting on the veracity of the story itself or the legitimacy of the candidate's stance ("I'm not a racist....") without further information but the fact remains that a pattern is emerging. As I tire of saying, individual stories may be justifiable but set against the agenda of the DM and the constant tide, it becomes victimisation. The reader is invited to make the necessary conclusions without looking at the content too much.

In Defence of Victoria

I never thought I'd say that volume 341

The DM loves celebrity even if it is just so they can hoist them up to pull them down; clay pigeon shooting for the hard of thinking. But today, they have gone too far! They print 2 pictures of Victoria Beckham and try to draw the conclusion that she has taken fashion trips from friend Tom Cruise because he has recently filmed a Nazi themed work.

Exhibit A

Remind me..............Daily Mail supported whom pre-war? Oswald Moseley? You couldn't make it up. Next week, The Sun tells us how it pointed out the LIES about Liverpool all along. I'm always worried about putting a pic of a Nazi on the blog as the BNP bots are trawling. But, I don't give a shit about you racist twats. I've visited a concentration camp; no further questions your honour. The prosecution rests!
This might pass for journalism in the DM but it is vile.
BTW if Victoria's PR people are watching, my friend in Japan has loved the Beckhams ever since the World Cup was held there. Autographs appreciated. Also, Tranmere may need a midfielder in the next few years. I am going to Milan this week but it cannot compare to the catwalk of Birkenhead. Sporty knows the score; final Spice Girls concert at the local British Legion. This would kill off any accusations of siding with the enemy

McCann photo Update

Minutes after completing the previous post, the BBC TV news and Guardian led on a possible photograph being found in Morocco. The photos are not clear but it seems to show a fair haired girl. Coincidence? Or genuine breakthrough?


There is something not right about the photo. Seems too clear of child but not of others. Photoshop experts may be able to confirm/dismiss this. Why is a (now) 4 yr old girl being carried?

Why is this being released now, just after supposed Morocco sightings in May? Clarence Mitchell is quick to say he won't comment on these matters but he is there for a purpose: Brian Clough used to say that defence was the best form of attack. For Mitchell, attack is the best form of defence.

Kate McCann and the Muslims

More misleading headlines. I admit mine may sound like a new folk/pop indie group, but the DM is a past master at this fine art.
The daily mail has, like most of the terrible tabloids, been obsessed with the McCann story. They have had several (sometimes contradictory) stories each day. They know tht it sells papers and have tried to cover all bases in the are they guilty/innocent/suspects saga. Today's story plumbs new depths even allowing for the paper's (not so) hidden agenda.

'Stop the car, there's Madeleine': Witness sees her dragged by Muslim woman

Bingo! Buy one get one free! As well as the deluge of immigration/race/Islam scaremongering, we now have these gutter journos linking unrelated topics to the general hatred.

  • A Spanish mother told today how she is convinced she saw Madeleine McCann being dragged across a street in Morocco.
    The potential witness believes she spotted the missing girl with a woman in a headscarf crossing a road in the northern town of Zaio in May.

Note the date of the alleged sighting. This will become relevant when considering the comments of the faithful DM cadre. The woman had a headscarf. Ipso fact she is a Muslim. This could well be the case but again the Mail is quick to let its disciples read between the lines. It could also be argued that merely seeing a child dragged across the road is not tantamount to abduction. Remember the 100% sighting in Belgium? Have you ever seen a child cting distressed state when with parents. If only all children behaved properly when out. The Spanish woman may have legitimate concerns so let us proceed.

  • She said she told her husband to stop the car. "I shouted 'Stop! It's Madeleine, the missing girl.' But by the time we pulled over and ran back to where she had crossed, they had both vanished."

The reported conversation seems a bit contrived. Rather like the dialogue in the Daily Mirror's Scorer cartoon ("I must get on the end of this cross because our result last week left us in 5th place"), it does not seem right. Maybe it was lost in translation and I am being too picky. I notice that the much-denied 'they've taken her!' cry of Kate McCann has now resurfaced. The relevant part is in the second sentence. They did not have the opportunity to photograph, question, or contact the Daily Mail. I know this crossed my mind with the Belgian sighting as most people have camera phones these days and it is relatively easy to get some evidence - we're all photo-journalists or detectives now (see the increased use of viewers footage on 24 hours news channels). However, if the DM commenters had actually read the story they would not have made such moronic claims. Nobody knows what they would do in a given situation, though plenty of people seem to think they would be heroes if they thought someone was drowning in a lake.

I wonder if there is a price to be paid for such a high profile campaign. I'm not criticising the couple for that alone, but there may be drawbacks. If everyone is looking for a blonde girl of her description, isn't there a risk of inadvertently producing these false sightings. I have heard somewhere there is a psychological phenonemen whereby thinking intently about a person recently lost (e.g. dead relative or even estranged partner) can result in false apparitions. I'm not sure of the name of this but maybe someone out there does.

  • "The girl was wearing a skirt and short-sleeved top, with hat on and her hair tied up. A gust of wind blew up the hat and I saw that it was Madeleine McCann."

If her hair was tied up how could she be certain it was Madeleine? Unless you were close and could see the tell-tale eye, how can you be 100%. I hope if she is my phone-a-friend on Millionaire she is not in the habit iof making hyperbolic claims. That is why I don't speak to my previous phone-a-friend in Belgium.

Without getting into OJ Simpson territory....if I did it.....I'd dye the child's hair, cut it and give her sunglasses.

  • She added [that the Portuguese police] told her they believed Madeleine was already dead.

I've no idea about the veracity of this claim. So much has been said about the PJ which has ranged from the sneering to the outright racist. There are aspects of the investigation that seem strange to an outsider and maybe criticism can be levelled at the apparent leaks. Maybe the same can be levelled at the McCann camp. If true, it is insensitive to say the least. It is unlikely that she spoke to anyone at a high level. It does not make clear when she spoke to the police in Portugal, but it is only recently that the PJ have said that they thought the child may be dead.

  • Her revelations are certain to be studied by the McCanns' legal team, and private-investigators who they have engaged.

I still cannot understand the need for high profile legal team at this stage. Putting aside the funding situation, they have not been charged with anything. If they had been then one could understand it more, but this is not a red herring because it stinks too much.

The DM have, as I have said, kept their options open. They have printed fawning pro-McCann gush but also (occasionally) pieces wondering about the case. They let their headlines tell the story.

When I was at Uni, there was the old trick plyed on the smartarses by lecturers. The written test where the top of the page has the rubric: read all questions before starting writing. Most would plough on and answer complex posers before arriving at Question 20 which said, "Do not write answers to the questions until Lecturer X performs a handstand" or similar.

(Can I just say that I didn't fall for it because I like to read the small print - a lawyer in the making one day!)

But I digress.........................

This particular story is intersting in DM terms as it does not attract one-side comments. There are two distinct camps.

And now for the unthinking comments:

  • If these people think it's Madaleine why don't they do something about it?- John Salkeld, Sheffield, England read the words John, don't just hum the tune.
  • Do the people who reported these sightings not carry a mobile phone that can take pictures for crying out loud?- Lawrence, London because it is compulsory to have one.
  • It is apparent that the Portuguese police, with little or no training in true law enforcement, decided that the McCanns did it, regardless of the lack of evidence and testimony. From day two, the Portuguese police were not interested in investigative work. Probably because they have never had the background, education or training that US and UK police go through. Britain is a thriving democracy, with strong democratic traditions. - Marlene, Alexandria, VA we will never take lectures from the US about democracy. I think Kate in Exeter has your number................
  • Indeed Marlene, Alexandria, VA. Thank goodness all crime in Britain and the States is solved within minutes of it happening...- Kate, Exeter [chuckle]
  • Why the hell do all these people not take photos? And why does it take them almost 5 months to tell the police? Why do they not just shout Madeleine's name and see if she turns around?- Sophie, Cornwall
  • If all the people that say they have spotted Madeleine, would have tailed the people, that have the little girl, then gone straight to the police with a address where she is held, this case would have been solved months ago. Don't just think ACT ON YOUR HUNCH. As Charles Laughton did in the film version of Hugo's novel. Think how the parents must feel with all these sightings.- Steve R, Manchester England
  • It is sad but true, anyone who dare say they have seen Madeleine or are acquainted with the McCann's no matter how vague that acquaintance is, are immediately accused of being associated with her abduction.It is therefore of little wonder the witnesses are wary of coming forward.- Kerrie St John, USA Name one person sighting Madeleine who is a suspect? You win my monthly award for thickest American.
  • The false Belgium sighting should serve as caution - many eye-witness reports are unreliable. What is apparent however is the quite blatantly racist attitude of many commentators (example: Marlene of Alexandria, VA) towards the Portugese police, now culminating in an attack on their education and society as a whole. Ridiculous.- David, London, England Well done David, but be ready for the flak from Derek below. I think he mistakes you with John.
  • John, London - You have not been to Morocco recently, there are very few blond children to be seen now the European tourists with children have gone home.- Derek Small, Tangier, Maroc Small by name...........May, Derek, May!
  • So get the expert team over to Morocco then and lets end this soon for Madeleine's sake! All that matters is finding this child -and for Pete's sake anyone who believes they have sighted her must NOT call her name or photograph her -they will be placing her in further danger if her captors realise they have been spotted. Stop reporting on sightings and let the specialist team get on with bringing her home safely. She only stands a chance of being returned home if the spotlight is removed for a while so her captors can feel safer and relax more allowing more definitive sightings.- Dawn, England This is very sensible actually. It i possible to do more harm than good in such situations. I would even question the publicising of these sightings. I also question why the McCanns don't go to scenes of sightings. Do they know something?
  • Please God, let Maddy be in Morocco, alive and well, and waiting to be returned home to her loving family.- Sara, Leicester Lovingly to be left alone while we go to the Tapas Bar.
  • How did this woman know that the other was Muslim? Can you tell a Muslim just by looking at them? Smells fishy...- Carys Mathews, Chester, UK Not only from these here parts but a great point and uses my fish motif! I like Catatonia but that was Cerys!
  • At least twice in the past couple of months I've seen a girl that is the spitting image of my daughter. At one time I was behind in the street and was going to ask the girl I thought was my daughter what she was doing as I knew she should be elsewhere. This proves we all have doubles sometimes more than one including poor Madeleine.- Pen, Durham Another spooky point as I'd written my bit about this before seeing his comment. We all have doppelgaenger. Mine is the guy that gets drunk sometimes and talks bollocks whilst I am doing my aerobics classes.
  • Do you really think that if she has been abducted that her kidnappers are going to parade her in public view? For a start if they did they would probably cut her hair dye it change her appearance. How many times have people said they're 100% sure they have seen her and it turns out not to be true?- Natasha, Stafford, England Again, I didn't copy Natasha's idea but it's nice to know there is a part of me in the Potteries.


Mother of the Year Again?

Pregnant Kerry Katona fears for baby

The shy and retiring Warrington lass, Kerry Katona has announced her latest pregnancy:

Despite the scare, she decided to announce her pregnancy early partly due to fears the story would leak to a newspaper. We can all identify with this. The press are always after a story even if there isn't one. So what's a girl to do? The answer, maybe, lies in the name of the person in the next sentence,

  • Her spokesperson Max Clifford explained: "She was driving to London and fell ill. She was losing blood. They took her to hospital and found she was pregnant. She is at home and has been told to rest."

And of course the ubiquitous deal with the quality magazine,

She told OK! magazine: "It's early days which is why I'm so nervous about announcing it.

Perhaps the reason she recently criticised Kate and Gery McCann over their child care is that she's worried they may be rivals for the title of Mum of the Year. Maybe she can have another wedding once the baby is born.

Social Services, get your arses into gear! Whilst searching for an appropriate pic to accompany this, I came across one of her topless. I will now be celibate for the est of my life!

The question to be asked is, who is responsible for the continued interest in KK and her celebrity non-entities: the media, herself, or us? Suffice to say I know more people will visit this post searching for KK (or even the McCanns) than if it were about a serious issue.

Lazy Littlejohn

The latest Littlejohn column is lazy even by his standards. Throughout the 1980s there were various rentaquote figures wheeled out to wade into the latest outrageous film/book/beat combo. Most of these self-appointed guardians of the public decency had never even seen or heard the offending item. At least mad old Mary Whitehouse sat through countless hours of filth so that we wouldn't need to/be allowed to. It all reminds me of the Father Ted episode where the hapless heroes of the cloth campaign about a film on the island and increase attendance tenfold. Life of Brian? Relax and Mike 'Feasible' Read?

Anyway, Littlejohn joins that motley crew by talking about Gordon Brown whilst admitting,
  • I decided not to bother watching New Gordon's first speech to the Labour Conference as Prime Minister.
    Life's too short. Besides, I have to be awake to write this column.
    If I had to sit through 60 minutes of Gordon's patronising, disingenuous, self-aggrandising garbage, I'm afraid I might lose the will to live.
This is exactly how I feel when reading his wit and wisdom. I am not, though, always awake after reading it.
  • For better or worse, most people seem to have accepted the coup which brought Brown to power and are happy to let him play with his new train set for the time being.
Littlejohn knows quite well that it wasn't a coup. Moreover, why didn't he call for Major or Callaghan to call a snap election?
  • The only punters who want an election are Labour politicians and political reporters, because it brings a bit of excitement into their otherwise dull lives.
This would be the same RLJ who said on 3rd May 2007 (covered in my post of 19th September)in his internet chat,
  • Pieter: And should we be allowed by right to have an election when Gordon Brown takes over? In other words he should be forced by law to hold an election.

  • Richard_Littlejohn Within, say three months - YES
There's nothing lie consistency, is there Richard? What has changed? The Daily Mail are scared that the Tories have no chance of winning. Perhaps the constant undermining of CMD Cameron has something to do with this.

Even by his standards, this offering is poor. It's not even fitting of 'Britain's most outspoken columnist'. However, Team Littlejohn are out in force:
  • You are so right again, be at the ready you may only have 4 weeks campaigning left...Mr Prime Minister.- David Challis, Philadelphia, USA

  • I agree with you Richard Littlejohn, and I keep thinking if only you would run for PM! Look at the mess the country is in thanks to Tony's cronies, and Gordon Brun is the worst of them! Is the UK even a sovereign nation anymore given that people can just drift in and out unchecked, because we have become borderless? We don't have to attack anyone if we have strong borders and ban those who want to kill us from entering this country.- S.C., Manchester, England

  • Littlejohn for PM.- Donald Dehaviland, Fleet Hampshire ,England.

  • And again you hit the nail on the head Richard!- C Swingler, Birmingham

  • Not only do I agree with every word you said, but I am writing to ask if you will please put yourself forward as the next PM!- Steve Jones, Stockport, UK

  • Richard,A motto suggestion, how about Pink Floyd's immortal line:"Hanging on in quite desperation is the English way."- Dave, Sidcup, Kent
I don't think the last letter is from Dave Gilmour but I like the use of Pink Floyd as a national anthem cum motto. I'll even forgive the typo of 'quiet'. Here's an excerpt from an interview between a bored Roger Waters and a German newspaper journalist in 2003.

SZ: There’s a part in the record where it says laconically “hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way.” Do you still make the same diagnosis today?

RW: What I diagnose in England is pure pragmatism and this pragmatism will ruin us. Out of pragmatism all social acquisitions are being risked, acquisitions which we fought for for many years after the war. Out of pragmatism Blair marched along this insane war, it is about cold and materialistic things, nothing else.

SZ: Yet Blair and Bush are known to be very religious.

RW: Which makes it even worse, but that’s not the decisive point. This war was a huge mistake, regardless. We will see that in the future.

SZ: You are very disappointed in Labour.

RW: There’s no Labour Party anymore. There are the Tories and there are the other Tories.The one Tories are called Tories, the others are called New Labour. What ever that is about.

I think maybe that I am jealous of his adulation! Eric The Fish for P.M. You know it makes sense.

Next week I shall talk about RLJ without bothering to read his wafflings!
(top pic coutesty of t'internet....hope the author doesn't mind)

More Recycled Immigrant Crime Figures

There was so much else I wanted to write about today - Tranmere and Hertha Berlin are both second in their respective league tables, I've got a trip to the San Siro lined up for next week, and Joni Mitchell has a new album out.

However, the Mail continues to play the immigration card as election fever hots up. To be fair, the story was also covered in other papers, notably the Telegraph but I want to kick the DM/Mail on Sunday because like Mount Everest, it is there.

Today's piece of dodgy statistics centres on the figures for crime in London. Again, their use of these figures is carefully crafted to extract maximum fear and loathing. It does not matter that the figures actually tell a different story. Again Iwould recommend the analysis of 5 Chinese Crackers here and in other earlier posts on that blog.

The story can be found here.

I covered the misuse of stats in earlier rantings. This latest story refers to the Cambridgeshire story and in my post of 14th August I picked apart a similar scare story about foreigners committing crime in the capital. As I said then, when looking at the ethnicity of London:

  • Wikipedia quotes the last Census of 2001 thus:In the 2001 census, 71.15% of these seven and a half million people classed their ethnic group as white (classified as White British (59.79%), White Irish (3.07%) or "Other White" (8.29%, mostly Polish, Greek Cypriot, Italian and French)), 12.09% as Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or "Other Asian" (mostly Sri Lankan, Arab and other South Asian ethnicities), 10.91% as Black (around 7% as Black African, 4.79% as Black Caribbean, 0.84% as "Other Black"), 3.15% as mixed race, 1.12% as Chinese and 1.58% as other (mostly Filipino, Japanese, and Vietnamese). 21.8% of inhabitants were born outside the European Union. The Irish, from both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, number approximately 200,000, as do the Scots and Welsh combined. Although, Wikipedia can sometimes be less than accurate, it is clear that, allowing for an increase in the last 6 years after the entry of other countries into the EU, the figure of 30% is a good starting point.
This does not take into account the increase in migration (as we are constantly hectored about by the DM and allies) and the number of people visiting the city from overseas. I remember my last visit to London and it took about 10 attempts before I managed to collar a native Londoner for directions. All other inquiries were met with a sheepish, 'I'm lost too!' or 'I'm from Country X'.
Therefore the figures are blatantly being exploited to pander to the readership. Theheadline about Poles is not even an accurate reading of the figures. Do Mail journalists understand mathematics? As I have said before, I do not believe that playing the race card will reap dividends as seen with the terrible trio of Hague, Howard and Duncan-Smith. I do hope this is the case, and that they will merely preach to the converted, or drive them into the arms of the UKIP or BNP.

The Telegraph helpfully publishes a league table for the crimes! This was not the kind of table I had in mind this morning! The DM at the time of writing had not conjured up any reaction from its readers, but the DT did have the usual predictable comments. However, hats off to Dr. Keith Anderson of Durham Business School for his pertinent point,

  • The article contains a statistical oversight, and a deliberate misrepresentation of the facts by the Conservatives. The statistical oversight is to take no account of the base-line figure. From my (mercifully rare) travels on the Tube, I would guess that at least half the people in London at any one time are foreigners. If the true proportion is anything more than 20%, then the foreigners are actually more law-abiding than Londoners are. The rather more sinister misrepresentation of the facts by the shadow immigration minister is to describe people from Eastern Europe as immigrants. These people have the right to live and work here, just as we have the right to go and live in Poland if we want. They have effectively been redefined as not really immigrants at all. Like it or not, this is part and parcel of belonging to the EU. Damian Green implies that we can somehow control EU 'immigration' without leaving the EU. But this is a bullet his party is not prepared to bite.Posted by Dr. Keith Anderson
The unpalatable fact for many is that these figures mean that most crime is committed by the good old British citizens. Of course, most of those reading and commenting on these devious outpourings by James Slack and his ilk, will have no regard for the truth. Like privately funded researchers their conclusions have been made before the facts are known, and the story modelled to suit the intended outcome.

The depressing thing is that this is not the first such example and it will not be the last. To Mr Slack and his fellow writers I refer you to John Lennon's question, 'How do you sleep at night?'

The Mail's website has now amended the headline to 'immigrants' in place of 'Poles' as they've suddenly realised it was total crap.
UPDATE: The Sequel (24th September)
some of the comments that have now appeared are most encouraging. See what happens when you allow free speech, moderators of the DM? Even the normally strange Mark, Poplar makes a good point, and doesn't mention his religious school education.

  • Presumably the term foreigner in this context doesn't include immigrants who have since been naturalised. I am not sure what percentage people living in London is non-British. These figures can only indicate whether foreigners commit more or less crime than the British if appropriate comparisons are made.- Mark, Poplar London England
  • I can see how you mention the Poles in this article because they are the number one offenders. It stands to reason that the number one offender is going to be mentioned. That makes sense. But why is it always that Romanians get pegged. They are mentioned as fifth. What happened to 2nd, 3rd, and 4th?- Rick, UK
  • Nice job with the numbers there... 1/5 of crimes are committed by foreign nationals... out of those, 10 percent could be Poles. But don't let the facts get in the way of a sensational headline.- Statistician, Upper Uncton

The completely suspicious self-appointed vigilante, Albert also spews forth:

  • They might "seek to deport Foreign Nationals" but NuLabs own laws make it impossible, and the Home Office is fully aware of that fact!- Albert Hurwood, National Vigilante Organisation., Corby, Northants, UK

His website (Navigor) is very interesting and if you google him you will see allegations of links to the BNP.

  • They are not criminals, according to our Marxist government, they are victims of society who can be cured. It is the honest law abiding people that are to blame.- Douglas, Swansea

This is just insane. Has this man ever read Karl Marx. answer begins with 'N' and ends with 'O'.

FINALLY, the great Polish polymath, Franciszek makes his debut in the Mail:

  • Again, the figures back up the fact that foreigners are more law abiding than the indigenous population.- Franciscek Weems,, Lodz, Poland

His newly found relative Jacqui, known in Poland as osioł, must be very proud.

The Hate Machine Gets A Crank Up.

The Mail is predicting there may be an election in October. It is piling on the pressure in its crusade to feed the bigotry of its readership. There have been stories about Poles claiming Child Benefit, amnesties for illegal immigrants and French action on migrants.

What about our own kids that are trained, speak the language? They can't get jobs.- Jacqui Weems, Southampton

This woman should have her own column. There is no beginning to her in depth analysis of the political issues of the day. She doesn't like foreign people. Immigration is her favourite subject.
There is an argument to be had as the use of Zimbabwean nurses. The article, to be fair, points out that it is contrary to supposed Government policy. Also, one can understand anyone wanting to flee the evil Mugabe regime.

However, this does not excuse the Weems woman. At least she managed to use the apostrophe in this post but her first sentence is hardly perfect English. The hatred in her comment beams out; she does not think that the nurses will speak English with no evidence for this assertion.

In the story about French riot police dealing with people 'intent on entering the UK', she throws her hat into the ring:

Surely its time for us to close our doors to all these immigrants. It does not surprise me that we are the problem, we are too tolerant and generous for our own good. Time to say enough is enough.- Jacqui Weems, Southampton

Funny that there were no comments on the story that Britain is the fifth favourite destination for asylum seekers (behind the USA, Greece, Sweden and FRANCE). It doesn't quite back up the claims of those that say that we are the soft touch of Europe.
Notice too that the report by UNHCR - the United Nations refugee agency makes the valid point that Iraq is a major reason for an increase. There is a correlation between the actions of this country in foreign policy and the number of refugees. In the same way, our colonial policy has had repercussions in the past.

Oh, but our heroine is not finished. In the story about a man convicted for assisting fraudulent passport applications she dips her big(oted) toe in the water:

So US throw them out of their country, what are we going to do? Housing and benefits come to mind.- Jacqui Weems, Southampton

Fortunately, Weems is not representative of Southampton people. I came cross this site which has an interesting section on immigration in the city. After all, Southampton has a tradition of being the first port of call for those making a new life here. It is also historically a port of embarkation for those seeking a new life away from these shores. The Titanic sailed from there and I was reminded of the city when the QE2 (registered there) docked in Liverpool yesterday.


Rather strangely, the Mail is serialising Tony Benn's latest diaries and there seems to be an absence of comments saying what a barking mad danger he is (copyright Littlejohn).

QE2 Visit to Liverpool 2007

Hoodie or Goodie?

You have to be in it to win it, unless you receive an email from the Nacionale Lotto de Tritan de Cunha saying you've won $60,000,000 and you just need to send your bank details, a Western Union payment of £1,245 and stand in WH Smith window shouting, 'I'm completely mad and greedy'.

There was an interesting story unfolding in the Mirror and Mail about a new lottery winner. It seems an attempt to conjure up the ghost of Michael Carroll.

Compare and contrast. No further comment is needed. The two stories can be found here and here

One paper reports it as :

Hoodie bags £700,000 lottery win 19th September 2007
A hoodie who claims to be part of a street gang has won more than £700,000 on the lottery.
Ollie Kennedy, 18, won £716,766 in last Saturday's £3.5 million Lotto draw, which was split between five tickets.
The teenager is set to share the winnings with girlfriend, Kelly Lucas, also 18.

The lucky couple, from Folkestone, Kent, who have a seven-month-old son called Danny together, have already claimed their prize.
On social networking website Bebo, Ollie boasts of being part of a street gang in Folkestone called the FDP gangsters.
His page on the website lists his interests as "goin on the raz wit the lads" and "gettin p****d up".
Some of his friends have been posted messages on the web to congratulate him on the windfall.

One wrote: "Can't believe you've won the lottery - £700,000 innit. Congratulations, enjoy the money."
The page also reveals Kelly had hoped to be a hairdresser and football mad Ollie likes hitting the gym.
A lottery spokesman said: "We look forward to welcoming Ollie and Kellly to the Lotto winners club.
"This is a substantial win and will change their lives. I'm sure they will enjoy spending their prize."

The other newspaper states:

Two jobless young sweethearts yesterday toast the £700,000 lotto win that will allow them and their baby to live together at last.
Ollie Kennedy, 18, lives with his parents and four brothers while Kelly Lucas, also 18, and seven-month Danny live in a council flat as they cannot afford a family home.
But the life-changing fortune means they can finally settle down properly.
The couple, engaged in summer, now also plan a fairytale wedding.

Ollie said: "It hasn't sunk in yet. But we're going to buy a house together so we can live as a family. And we're going to put money away for Danny so he doesn't have to worry when he grows up."
The pair, of Folkestone, Kent, are determined their new riches will not go to their heads. Two days after the win, Ollie had an interview for an Asda shelf-stacking job. He said: "Even though I won the money, I want to work and be a good dad."
Kelly is thrilled the win will let her fulfil her modest dreams of being a hairdresser and buying a pink Peugeot. She beamed: "It won't change us, it will just make our lives easier."
The kind-hearted youngsters will also ensure close relatives share in their good fortune - which came as they and four other winners shared Saturday's £3.5million jackpot.
Ollie's mum Louise, 46, said: "Life's been a struggle at times for our family.
"Now Oliver and Kelly don't have to struggle any more. He's a caring, down-to-earth boy who will do right by his family."
The last house to be sold on the street in Folkestone where Ollie's parents live went for £119,000 in February.
With their £716,000 win they could buy SIX - with no mortgage.

Our friend, the sadly departed (from our shores) Karen, ex-pat, USA is back on the prowl in the Mail:

Well that should stop his benefits!-

I would like to add my congratulations. All donations can be sent to ericthefish!

Reade All About It

I find that the Brian Reade column in the Daily Mirror is a wry antidote to the sneering of Tony Parsons. He was a great read in the Liverpool Echo and I always look forward to Thursday. He doesn't always hit the target but neither does Michael Owen.

His column today has its moments but has one fatal flaw.

Maybe I'm biased but his comments on Richard Branson's funding of some of the McCann's legal costs is a bit lame.

  • Right to back McCanns
    Brian Reade 20/09/2007

    I've always seen Richard Branson as a human advertising hoarding whose gleaming gnashers are a neon sign screaming "ME, ME, ME". But I applaud him for giving £100,000 to kick-start a legal fund to clear Kate and Gerry McCann's names
    And I don't question his motives for a second. What I do question is why, when funds are set up to pay legal teams £700 an hour, you never hear a single top solicitor offering their services for free, despite being among the richest people in the land. I'd raise an objection m'lud, but I'm sure they'd find a loophole.

I realise it's not a serious piece, but let me make the following points:

  1. The McCanns do not have to instruct such high cost lawyers at this stage. They have not been charged. They have every right to want Pinochet's lawyer but should be ready for the flak over extradition claims.
  2. Many members of the legal profession do pro bono work. This can be representing people on death row or dealing with non-funded areas.
  3. Counsel's fees can be negotiated with his/her clerk prior to work being carried out.
  4. Richard Branson may be genuinely interested in the case but he never fails to use an opportunity to plug his brand. He is the man Max Clifford turns to for advice on publicity!

Stigmata in Cambridgeshire

Whilst I was composing a piece on the recent statements about the effect of the increase in immigration on public resources, I was drawn to the picture caption on the Daily Mail story about Peterborough. The caption was : Struggling to cope: Peterborough looks pretty, but bears the scars of immigration.

This is because immigration doesn't destroy historic buildings in the same way as say Luftwaffe bombs.

They quote a source close to the problem:

One 82-year-old who refused to give his name for fear of reprisals said he would no longer go into the city centre after nightfall.
He added: "It's changed beyond recognition.
"The system has definitely been overloaded.
"Now I won't go out at night because of the violence and the rowdiness."

This is not to play down the perception the elderly person has; many younger people would have similar fears about town centres. The dishonesty is that there is nothing in the statement that refers to overseas people contributing to this fear. Also, statistics (ahem) show that the most vulnerable to attacks are in much younger categories. This has been the case for decades. Granted, we do feel susceptible to harm in the cities but this is largely irrational. Again, I make it clear that I am not saying that this is to be mocked; it can happen to us all. However, we need to take a step back when reporting such matters. Scaremongering without facts merely nurtures the fears.

The Mail then tells us of the cost.

Cambridgeshire Police spent a record £800,000 on translators between March 2005 and April last year. A spokesman said its 130 civilian workers spoke 236 languages between them and arrivals are given welcome packs written in 15 languages, explaining laws, traffic regulations and important contact numbers.

Of course when we are abroad, living or visiting, we wouldn't expect a translator if we had to deal with the police. Did Mr and Mrs McCann understand their Portuguese inquisitors?

Then there is the usual moronic, semi-literate comment:

So basically this 10% growth of the economy that migrants bring to us is actually worthless for none of us see a 10% benefit in our daily affairs but most of us see more than a 10% reduction in our standard of living due to too many people been here.And still it goes on.- Ibbo, Leeds, UK

There is a debate to be had over the effect of immigration on certain areas. It is also right to debate the level of funding of police forces.

The Guardian's Leader today is sensible. It is to be expected that there will be increased demands on public services if there is a sudden influx in people, whether it be the seasonal deluge of tourists or American P.R. visits.

All police forces seek more funding. This is nothing new. All public bodies do the same. Indeed, witness the regular jockeying for position in the Cabinet over slices of cake. The public, not unnaturally, and not unrelated to our 82 year old friend above, also demand a greater police presence. Regardless of the flaws in the 'more bobbies on the beat' argument, it is clear that public perception of crime is affected by this. In this sense, Cambridgeshire Police are pushing at an open door.

Labour has consistently tried to counter accusations of being soft on immigration. Yesterday's comment by Immigration Minister Liam Byrne hardly helped, asserting that those in the UK "illegally should go home - not go to the front of the queue for jobs and benefits".
This could have come frsh from the comments section of my favourite toilet newspaper or a BNP (hello googlers!) hate sheet. It is dangerous to pander to an audience that will never entertain the notion of voting for you. If Brown truly has the convictions of Thatcher then he will take the golden leaf from her book, and follow his Party's traditional core values.
I'm still worried about Paddington Bear's recent U-turn in advertising marmite rather than marmalade. His guardians, a certain Mr and Mrs Brown must be concerned. Bloody Peruvians!

Finally, the pic of agricultural workers was captioned, "Rural attraction: Immigrant's are attracted to Peterborough because of nearby agricultural work"

I know it's petty but I take delight in misuse of the apostrophe in this paper, whether by accident or design.

Richard The Turd

I told myself off for wasting time on Richard Littlejohn's column. I like to think it is just a bad dream, or like the falling tree in the deserted forest, I'm not really sure if he can be heard.
Anyway, I'd forgotten about an online chat he had with the people on 3rd May 2007. This was the day Madeleine McCann went missing so he wasn't able to give us his incisive view of Portuguese policing.

However, it is another example of the censorship of the DM and the protection afforded to Britain's most outspoken columnist. Whilst it is understandable that there should be a filter to prevent abusive comments and allow for constructive debate, the questions that were selected were completely sycophantic and an insult to any loyal reader of the paper who doesn't hold exactly the same views. They might as well have got Ferne Cotton to grill him about his favourite colour and what amazing bands he liked. Most of the questions posed are so loaded as to preclude a need for an answer. My childish sarcasm is in blue!

How Richard Littlejohn answered your webchat questions

Britain's most outspoken columnist Richard Littlejohn joined us for an exclusive webchat. See how the man who politicians fear most, who has the courage to write what you think, answered your questions:

admin: Good Afternoon, welcome to the chat. Richard is now here to answer your questions.

admin: Hello Richard
Richard_Littlejohn Hi everybody, thanks for joining me this afternoon.
Peter: What's your view on the United Kingdom as it stands? Does it need serious reforming or should it be dissolved and each member part be allowed to go its own way?
Richard_Littlejohn Peter, I think the Union is in a precarious state because of the cavalier policies of the past 10 years. (yes everything went wrong after May 1st 1997) Those of us who warned that devolution would lead to the break-up of the kingdom were shouted down, but we look like being proved right. I'm a unionist but I don't think you can coerce people into staying together.
Richard_Littlejohn What is outrageous is that the English, 90 per cent of the UK, are never consulted. We can't continue with a situation where Scottish and Welsh MPs get to vote on policies which affect the English but not their own constituents.
ken: There's been a lot of comment about apathy in UK politics, that there's not much between Labour and Conservative. Don't you think the media are to blame for this perception of not enough scope between the political parties? Richard_Littlejohn The broadcast media, maybe. not the Daily Mail. He who pays the piper?
jackie: Many of us in the UK despair of the politicians we have. Can you name a politician who in your opinion, is real. Not self serving, and genuinely in the job because he/she believes in what they are doing?

Richard_Littlejohn Not one who is ever likely to achieve high office, no. that's why you should stand Richard...oh you don't reside in the UK, do you?
markwilliams: I'm in the process of emmigrating - or at least kicking the process off. Can you think of any reason why I should stay?

Richard_Littlejohn Depends who old you are, Mark. What depresses me is that so many young people no longer see a future in Britain.
caribbean: Do you think Gordon Brown will make a better PM than Tony Blair? Richard_Littlejohn NO.

Jim: Richard, why are the Government so keen on such high levels of immigration? I live in the South East and it's clear that the last thing we need are more people.
Richard_Littlejohn After the Tories won their third victory in 1987, Labour decided it could no longer rely on the working class - so it set about importing a new one. There's a chapter on this - and emigration - in Littlejohn's Britain. So, 10 years before they formed a government, when the Tories controlled immigration policy Labour smuggled in all these foreign potential voters. Brilliant!
bob: Richard. Did you see Channel Four's "The great global warming scam"? Has this been blown out of all proportion for the sake of "new taxes"? like the balanced question here!

Richard_Littlejohn Partly, but it's also about control, bullying, punishment and showing us who's boss. you forgot taxation you fool. can't you read a script.
Mike_in_Letcombe: Do you think that 'Call Me Dave' can win the next election bearing in mind that he seems hell bent on alienating the majority of Conservative supporters?clever use of CMD phrase of RLJ's

Richard_Littlejohn I think it's going to be difficult for CMD because the Tories are virtually non-existent in the North of England and parts of the Midlands. While CMD sets about winning them over, he's in danger of alienating natural Tory supporters. who will vote for UKIP or BNP?
gregor: Do you agree that lawyers are overpowerful in their influence in British politics? I'm thinking of their numbers in government and the way they seem to enact laws that serve only to drum up work for themselves, not look after the interests of the victim.

Richard_Littlejohn YES - as Hal said to Dick in Shakespeare: First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers. I know a lot more lawyer jokes than you'll ever do, RLJ.
bob: Have you ever thought of running for the government? After all you make more sense than they do. About time someone said this.

Richard_Littlejohn Once, a long time a go, but I went away and lay down in a dark room until the urge passed. this is what I do after reading his column.Great minds!
susan: The only thing I'd like to ask is why does the Wicked Witch not like anyone?Another clever use of RLJspeak = Cherie Blair

Richard_Littlejohn She certainly doesn't like me. I think it's because people who love 'human rights' don't actually like human beings. evidence?
Paul: Do you think the police will ever get back to sensible policing? Richard_Littlejohn Not unless there's a sea change and we get directly-elected chief constables and get the politicians and lawyers and 'human rights' specialists off their back. Mind how you go! so we'll have execution festivals near to elections like in the USA.
Who: Who would you like to see as Lord Mayor of London?

Richard_Littlejohn Dick Whittington - anyone but Red Ken. Is RLJ the only person who still uses this moniker?
Pieter: What do you think of the re-opening of the Sangatte refugee camp? Richard_Littlejohn It was inevitable as long as Labour refuses to police our borders.
Richard: Richard, where do you see this country's future? With closer integration with Europe, or closer to the US or neither?

Richard_Littlejohn I think we have a future as a strong independent state with links to the whole world, but if I had to choose between the EU and the US, Uncle Sam would get my vote every time. This served us so well pre-1942 and post 11/9.
Paul: Do you think proportional representation is a better way to go in politics?Richard_Littlejohn NO - you end up with a parliament of nutters and party placemen.
Andy: Do you think that the damage done to the UK can be repaired? Richard_Littlejohn Some but not all, even if the Tories won on a radical platform. Life's a ratchet, not a pendulum.
martin: You're known as a straight-talker on a number of issues. Which is the one issue that really gets your goat?

Richard_Littlejohn Big government.
brian: Any chance of you hosting another TV show like the one you used to have on SKY? We need more of your acerbic wit and analysis of public life. How about something on the internet?

Richard_Littlejohn You never know - I'm making a film for Channel 4 right now and talking to other TV companies about a possible new series. How about Big Brother?
john: Why as Brits are we so futile in protesting about all these stupid people, in authority, blighting our lives?

Richard_Littlejohn The silent majority is just that - silent. That's why we're governed by noisy minorities.
Jim: Do you think Blair believes that he has been a success over the past 10 years ? Richard_Littlejohn Undoubtedly - but then he probably also believes he's brought stability to Iraq, peace to Africa and a invented a cure for cancer.
llamedos: If you found yourself as PM, what would be your first act? Richard_Littlejohn To do what Ronald Reagn did in the US: call in all his ministers and civil servants and tell them "Don't just do something - stand there!"

then fall asleep and forget names
Paul: Should we go the way of Australia and make not voting an offence?Richard_Littlejohn No, the right to vote must include the right not to vote. you can offer "none of the above"
Pieter: Bank charges. Legitimate service charge, or more cream for the fat cats? Richard_Littlejohn Miaaaooooww
Pieter: And should we be allowed by right to have an election when Gordon Brown takes over? In other words he should be forced by law to hold an election. Richard_Littlejohn Within, say three months - YES Fine as long as you asked for one when Major took over. We elect a party to govern, not a PM. Do you understand constitutional matters, Richard?
Blackshirt: Interesting name given the Mail's support of Moseley. Thought it may be a wind up but the question doesn't point to this.Where I live, politicians are united in their message: vote for anyone tomorrow, but not the BNP. Why are politicians so afraid of the BNP? Richard_Littlejohn It's not fear, it's because although many decent people are tempted to vote for the BNP because they think all the main parties are equally useless. Underneath the BNP leadership are the same bunch of racist, anti-Semitic neanderthals they've always been.

To be fair to RLJ he has been outspoken and consistent on this much to the chagrin of BNP groups. However, it is interesting that his views are lapped up by the BNP. You only have to google for RLJ articles and you'll see them quoting him as a source whilst being baffled that he doesn't join them. His recent documentary on anti-Semitism may give a clue as to RLJ's stance. It does not fit in with his usual M.O. though.
gregor: How can we break the stranglehold of the BBC by your old friends the Guardianistas and get some reporting of the concerns of the majority of working, tax-paying people? Another RLJ term. bonus points for attacking the Guardian and BBC in one sentence.

Richard_Littlejohn Difficult, it's cultural - it won't stop until the BBC is broken up.
Petal: In reality what can we the general public do to remove this Labour Government before the next General Election especially as in my constituency we have a Liberal Democrat MP? I consider a vote for her would be a wasted vote as the Lib Dems seem to have no influence on how Parliament works. Richard_Littlejohn Difficult before the next election. When that comes, the only way is to hold your nose and vote Tory. The Lib Dems aren't a serious political party - they're a bunch of oddballs and chancers.
Scott: I tragically missed today's appearance on Loose Women, Richard. I'm looking forward to your new book, what other appearances are due? Richard_Littlejohn I'm doing Steve Wright, Ian Wright (everyone else called Wright, probably) Question Time next week (provisionally) and there are a few others lined up, too.
gregor: I take it that like me, you'll continue to live in this country, for all its faults. But if you had to, which country would you move to and why? Richard_Littlejohn The USA, which for all its faults, takes the idea of individual liberty and democracy much more seriously than we do. someone tell gregor where RLJ send his time
Mike_in_Letcombe: Do you believe that this country is producing well educated young people? From my own experience, I am finding an awful lot of the 'yoof' incapable of adding 2 and 2 together.

Richard_Littlejohn Mike, I think your experience is widespread. The State system seems to see schools as warehouses for children and factories for social engineering, rather than somewhere they go to expand their minds and actually learn to read, write and add up.
Blackshirt: Would you let David Cameron hug you?

Richard_Littlejohn Only if I could wear a hoodie.
Paul: Do you think we should keep the monarchy and Lords or go republic with two elected houses?

Richard_Littlejohn Until about 10 years ago I was a Republican. But since then, the thought of the WW lording it in Buck House has made me think again. We do need a revising second chamber.
Brian: Following on from Petal, how close are we to the situation where so many people are employed by the Govt that they will never vote against it? Richard_Littlejohn We're there already in many parts of Britain. That's why the Tories are stuffed in the North and in Scotland.
Jim: Do you think history will be kind to Blair and Brown ?

Richard_Littlejohn Not if I have anything to do with it.
Doc: Do you really believe that labour will get another term of office after all their mismanagement of this country?

Richard_Littlejohn I hope not, but the electoral system is still rigged against the Tories and don't bet against Gordon trying to cut a deal with his fellow Scot Ming Campbell.
Pete: Who do you think should have become Tory leader? CMD or David Davis? Richard_Littlejohn People seem to like CMD, especially young people and women with families. If only he'd embrace a few more of Davis's policies instead of banging on about windmills.
alfie: Will you offset your carbon footprint everytime you go abroad? Richard_Littlejohn No - actually, I'm thinking of buying a wood-burning Winnebago.
Paul: Should local government go back to not being paid just reasonable expenses?

Richard_Littlejohn Absolutely - I wouldn't even pay their exes. Make them sit once a month, in the evening.
Simon: 85 per cent of the French electorate voted in the recent Presidential election, a fantastic turnout I'm sure you'd agree. How can we reach a similar level when, in your words, you'd only vote Tory while holding your nose? Richard_Littlejohn By offering people a real choice, like they have in France.
gregor: Are we ever likely to get a leader who's a genuine conviction politician again (like Mrs T) or are we doomed to be ruled over by self-serving soundbite-merchants?

Richard_Littlejohn If Yates of the Yard had a bit more evidence, we might have had a PM with a REAL conviction.
wishwitch: How many of your predictions came true about the state of the country?

Richard_Littlejohn Sadly, far too many - and most of them were supposed to be a joke!
shirley: Will we ever get rid of this elf 'n' safety/PC mentality?

Richard_Littlejohn See previous answer about killing all the lawyers!
trilby: Do you think Livingstone could ever be PM?

Richard_Littlejohn Aaaargghhh, I hope not.
do: Do you think trident should be based in England?

Richard_Littlejohn If the Scots don't want it - and all the subsidy which goes with it - I don't see why not.
admin: Time for a few last questions now.
shirley: What's your view of Tony Benn?

Richard_Littlejohn Mad, bad and barking.
Pieter: Should asylum seekers/political refugees who committ an offence automatically be expelled?

Richard_Littlejohn Yes.
Simon: Who do you want to become the next US President?

Richard_Littlejohn Fred Thompson from Law & Order! The last time America elected a real actor, it didn't do too badly!
admin: Thankyou very much to Richard and we hope you enjoyed your chat today.

Richard_Littlejohn It's been my pleasure. Thanks to you all and let's do it again soon.
One of the comments after the event:

So sorry I missed your online chat Richard. However, it seems the questions asked were pretty representative of what most people feel about this government and how the country is being run. Mary, Totnes

This touches on the central proble of censorship and effect on DM readers' perceptions of what the public are thinking.

I wondered if this was the same cross-section of the population interviewed in the paper's Citizens' Jury. (see here)

I wonder why if such peole are truly representative if the Brown Bounce is continuing. Notwithstanding the break with Blair, an opposition hoping to win an election should be leading the polls. Given the early problems faced by Brown in his premiership (floods, foot and mouth, banking, terrorism), the Tories must be worried. Whilst even some DM readers don't like Cameron surely he would be the lesser of two evils if these views were an accurate depiction of the vox populi.

I cannot be bothered criticising all of the questions. Suffice to say, there is little surprising in the results. Some percentages are perhaps lower than expected but not much. Will the DM publish details of how people were selected? Any study or research needs to show this to be taken seriously. How many were asked 10, 10,000?

  • A couple of gems from the survey need further discussion:

Some people say there are too many people migrating into Britain. Do you agree or disagree?
Agree: 75 % Disagree 22 % Don't Know: 3 %

Kenneth Mason, 38, of Dunston, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, is a £17,000 a year finance officer, married to 30-year-old shop manager Deborah. He said:
"You feel a stranger in your own home if you walk down the street and hear all the different accents, languages, and see people dressed completely differently. It marks them out as not having integrated into our society. People feel immigrants get breaks British people do not."

  • I must admit, last time I was in Gateshead, everyone seemed to be dressed in Newcastle United football shirts. Maybe Ken feels a bit out of it down the Quayside at night with his coat on.

Would you be in favour or against the re-introduction of the death penalty for terrorist murder?
In favour: 58 pc Against: 38 pc Don't know: 3

Nicola Vasey, 21, of East Sheen in south west London, said:
"I think the U.S. has the right idea. In America the death penalty acts as a deterrent to terrorists and it would do the same here."

  • See what Nicola did there? Made a completely muddled argument. Suicide bombers? Deterrent? Death Row?

It is sometimes easy to fall into the trap of spending too much time on Planet Daily mail. Most of the contributors to their comments section appear to fall for the same. They speak on behalf of the silent majority and must wrack their brains as to who is voting Labour.

The conservatives made the mistake of playing the immigration card under Hague and Howard (ironic given his ancestry) and did not win. They also played the anti-Euro card. Again it had no impact on floating voters. Cameron seems to drift on the wind. Brown wa quite cunning to invite Thatcher to No.10 as it underlined his assertion that he was a conviction politician, unlike Cameron (and Blair?). Thatcher likes the idea of still influencing opinion.

I have to reiterate my potion. It is not that I merely disagree with the Mail's politics, its repugnant reporting, or twisting of facts to suit its agend -it is its lack of integrity.

It claims it wants free speech and carries stories about how political correctness was preventing it (Jim Davidson, Bernard Manning, DC Thorley) yet it gags its readership despite claims to the contrary:-

"Please be assured that there is no editorial policy in place that would seek to prevent the discussion of both sides of the story and we value comments from both perspectives. "

Tessa B*************Senior Communities Editor

This was the response I got to an email expressing concern at not getting posts published whilst the usual suspects are on every day. I made the point that the paper was shooting itself in the foot. If they allowed the odd 'loony lefty' view, it would inevitably lead to more people jumping in to defend the original aticle. A case in point was when, about 10 months ago, I managed to get one through. The post castigated ex-pats for having a go at companies for deserting this country by using Indian call centres and denigrating immigration. Pots and kettles. This resulted in a deluge of comments from overseas attacking me. Voila! QED.

In a corner of some foreign field.....

The xenophobes at The Daily Mail are usually best ignored. Its chief stirrer of anti-foreigner bile is the ex-pats' pin-up, Richard Littlejohn. He may make Jeremy Clarkeson look erudite and incisive, but this is the 'belle' of the DM columnists' ball, and he attracts a massive salary to toss off (make your own jokes here) a few hundred words of regurgitated twaddle. What is amazing is that he always brings out comments from his acolytes, most of whom seem to think he should be Prime Minister. Either he writes the comments himself, or there are some serious flaws in our policy of allowing the mentally ill access to the web.

The actual columns themselves are irrelevant; they are all much of a muchness. He appears to google for a story of 'political correctness gone mad' and then uses it to pad out his templated stock phrases and themes. 'Foreigners bad, EU badder, PC thought police, 'elf and safety', stealth taxes on poor motorists, Guardianistas, Tony Bliar (sic), Call Me Dave Cameron.' A monkey could do it. Maybe that's George Bush's next assignment when he leaves office.

Today's masterpiece manages to combine this mistrust of foreigners with an attack on British policing. Sort of PCs being too PC. 'If you think Portuguese police are bad.......' etc

Take this tasteful gem on the McCann investigation:

"Imagine if Maddie had gone missing from a seaside boarding house in Llandudno.
By now the McCanns would have been subjected to random breath tests and their hire car would have been clamped.
After being forced to fill in a 20-page questionnaire about their ethnicity and sexuality, Brunstrom would be offering them counselling, free heroin and suntan lotion.
The only way a kidnapper would have been caught was if he'd been nicked for speeding or pulled over for eating an apple at the wheel. "

This in a newspaper that has lambasted other reports in the media as disgusting. Littlejohn (a favourite of far-right groups) is said to have distanced himself from the BNP by describing them as 'knuckle craping Neanderthals'. If the cap fits.......

Then there is the twisted story of a hospital banning knitting needles. Except that they haven't. They have put them behind a reception area where people can ask for them. Sensible?

What about his loyal band of cult followers:

Those mischievous elves from 'Elfin Safety' are at it again! I can appreciate their concern, because a knitting needle could impale a little elf! Ban wool as well, a wee elf could choke on it! While we are at it, ban pens, pencils, forks, knives, spoons and sniffer dogs, which could swallow a tiny elf whole! I sure am glad I no longer live in the United Kingdom of Elves!- A.M., Australia

Our friend in Oz tries to curry favour by chanting the RL mantra......Elfin safety...ommmmm. I'm sure glad you're not in the UK too, A.M.

A good yarn, Richard, unlike that from the nits at Elf 'n' Leprechauns 'n' Safety! It is almost as funny as Firefighters in Lancashire being given free Polish classes and issued with Polish phrase cards! - Charlotte Browning, Bolton, Lancashire, England

What a wit! Are you related to Robert and Elizabeth perchance? Maybe next time she will give her full address....England, Great Britain, The World, etc...Just reminded me of that Hugh Grant film.

You are 100% correct, Richard! The police cannot find Madeleine, yet they can spot somebody doing one mile over the speed limit! The HELF 'House-Elf Liberation Front'(Harry Potter) brigade really needled me by banning purling, yet MRSA is a politically correct condition! It's a pity the NHS staff don't wash their hands like the politicians, who washed their hands of the people long ago!- Sam, Manchester, UK

I'm not sure this makes any sense at all......which police Sam?

Richard,I am a serving soldier and everytime I return home to Britain, I see the changes that are ruining so called Gt Britain. Many of the soldiers I know have had enough and are doing what your police friend is doing and that is emigrating. The Guardinistas will only be happy when the only group of people left in the land are the ones who believe in their ideology! Going to hell in a handcart? Only if you live in Britain! Keep up the good work, even though they couldn't give a monkeys.- Steve Brown, Ashford, England.

This is one of those posts that makes me think they are not genuine. Too many phrases there...Guardianistas....Hell in a handcart (RL's book of excrement)...Great? Britain. Migration is only OK if British people do it.

I find it so depressing that what you write is true! As one who has left the country largely because of government policies, the waste of tax pounds, the sheer lack of common sense applied by various institutions, I am glad to be out of it.Don't get me wrong, Spain has its faults but it would be hard to imagine it getting away with the kinds of things all three parties seem to want to impose on the British. As for the EU it appears to take the bits it wants and forgets the rest, unlike the UK which adheres slavishly to every new dictat!- Sandra, Spain

Sandra left the country because of Government policy affecting the weather and Sangria prices. At least in Spain you can read the Daily Mail, see Premiership football, have an all day breakfast, drink in the John Bull pub and not have to speak to foreigners.

Spot on as usual Richard. As for global warming, bring it on, we may get a decent summer.- John Phillips, Derby

John thinks he is the first person to make this joke. He is probably the one in the Brunswick Inn pub in Derby who makes the same comment when they have brews from the Titanic Brewery. 'Bet this one goes down well!' Maybe you should move to Sandra's place.

Every day more and more British people are arriving in the region where I now live. All of them cite the same reasons for leaving - the education system, the NHS, crime and multiculturalism. We no longer feel at home in our own country. It has been taken over by unrepresentative and undemocratic politicians and their "placemen".The writing is on the wall. Within 20 years there will be such a change in the UK that it will no longer be our country. Just take a trip into London or central Birmingham and you will see what I mean.I fear for the younger genrations of British kids. They are being dispossessed of their birthright.- Geoff M, Brittany, France.
What a nasty piece of filth. This is a thinly veiled racist attack. We all know what is meant by the comments about Brmingham and London. Then there is the delicious irony of him writing from Brittany! You couldn't make it up.

Bloody immigrants coming to France, drinking our wine....etc. If anyone knows Geoff M in Brittany, please try not to point at him in the rue. He does not realise how pathetic he is.

At last, it's taken someone like RL to put the record straight on this one. Whatever the Portuguese police may or may not have done in this case, you can be certain that unlike the UK plod, they are on the streets dealing with day to day crime in an efficient manner. In fact in most EU countries the Local Police are employed and run by the elected party residing at the town hall and are accountable to the local people. In this manner, police are a common sight on the streets rather than the endangered species that we don't see in England.
Mike, Alicante, Spain

What will they ban next? Will they ban us eating with knives and forks? Perhaps chop-sticks will have to go too! We could all eat Indian style,with our hands; then they'd worry about the china plates, so it would be over to paper plates etc. Where is all this politically correct nonsense going to end? Richard Littlejohn is a breath of fresh air - he is my favourite columnist by far!- Wendy, Alicante, Spain

On behalf of decent Brits I apologise to anyone from Alicante. You seem to attract our bigoted peasants. Wasn't the comment about eating with hands reminiscent of the dim-wit Danielle's snide remarks about Shilpa Shetty in Big Brother? Beware of any bars named Mike and Wendy's when on holiday in Alicante!

The DM was not the only paper to twist this non-story. I was upset with the Mirror over this too.

The problem is that these stories become fact. Nobody seems to read beyond the headline. It is part of the old adage of not letting the facts get in the way of a good story.

Finally, the article does have a serious error (apart from the content) in that the final story about the knitting needles has had the wrong paragraph added to it. It doesn't make sense as it refers to the earlier attack on car taxes. None of his fans have commented. Either they are too thick to see it, or they just post regardless of what the little man writes.