Friday, February 09, 2007 

Littlejohn-watch: Beyond parody.

Last time we looked in on the musings of Richard Littlejohn, the Daily Mail's star white-van-man hack, he told us that the death of 5 prostitutes was no great loss. Today he's decided to go one step further: he's justifying, or attempting to at best understand the motives of a terrorist. Not of the Islamic variety, carried out as it is by brown uppity mouth-breathers, but of the motorist kind:

Be honest, until you heard that a woman had been injured, how many of you suppressed a cheer at the news someone had sent a letter bomb to the company which runs London's congestion charge?

Or that a similar device had turned up at a firm which is involved in providing digital speed cameras to the Government and local councils?

Even after we learnt that two men were treated for blast injuries, I'll bet that there were still plenty of motorists who thought: serves the bastards right.

I was so excited that I fell out of my chair. Who wouldn't sympathise with such a worthy cause? If there's one section of society that deserves everything it gets, it's the office and council workers that sort out the incoming mail. Bastards!

Don't worry though dear reader, Littlejohn isn't suggesting that such methods are worthy of support. No, he utterly abhors what has happened:

Let me say for the record that no protest, however legitimate, which inflicts physical injury on another human being can ever be justified.

The current wave of bombs directed at a range of targets, from the DVLA in Swansea to the laboratory which controls the national DNA and fingerprint databases, is clearly the work of a madman.

That's all right then. I was worried for a second there.

Police are proceeding on the theory that whoever is responsible could be motivated by a hatred of Britain's burgeoning surveillance society, the technological manifestation of our Bully State.

They are? I thought they were working on the theory that it was a highly disgruntled motorist, possibly of the same radical bent as "Captain Gatso", the self-styled moniker of a man who probably likes to think of himself as a modern day superman. Unfortunately, we'll never discover whether he also wears his pants outside his trousers.

And this is where Littlejohn's trousers fall down. He's attempting to conflate what seems to have been the actions of a idiot angry about being caught breaking the law in his car, with the general loathing for the loss of civil liberties and the rise of the surveillance society.

I've remarked before that this column is all that keeps me from wandering the streets with a Kalashnikov, firing at random, like Michael Douglas in Falling Down.

That explains a lot. Personally, I blog to take my mind off other things, to remind myself that life isn't all just one monotonous binge of meaningless twaddle, and it's surprisingly reassuring. Littlejohn writes to stop himself from killing other people. We're kindred spirits.

Many of us fantasise about a random act of retaliation, which is why we cheer on Captain Gatso, the masked avenger who takes a chainsaw to speed cameras.

Better that he takes out his anger on inanimate objects than on others, I suppose. If Littlejohn writes to stop him from committing murder, does Gatso attack cameras for the same reason? Are Littlejohn and Gatso related? We should be told.

But we wouldn't dream of stuffing a Jiffy bag full of explosives and sending it to the headquarters of Capita, or any other organisation, where it would be opened inevitably by a young secretary or someone on work experience in the post room.

No, that would be taking things too far. Better to vent your spleen in a national newspaper about whores, Guardianistas and queers, right?

Having said all that, I don't mind admitting that I wouldn't lose much sleep if those wicked dupes, like Red Ken The Terrorist's Friend, who help glorify politically motivated murder and make common cause with killers, were to find themselves on the end of a bombing.

Completely different to cheering on the actions of a man who takes out road cameras that may well save lives and enforce speed limits on otherwise dangerous roads, or at least initially believing that sending a bomb to office workers is "serving the bastards right".

What separates us from the letter bomber is our innate respect for the law and human life.

Hello? You're the same person who wrote just a month ago that five dead prostitutes was no great loss?

But we can all empathise with what drives him over the edge.

I can empathise with a Palestinian who straps a bomb belt to himself and then explodes on a bus. I can understand that he lives under stifling occupation. I know that resisting what you believe is an oppressive state, when those around you are being killed, can lead to acts of murderous revenge. But it won't do me any good, him any good, the people he kills any good, or the Palestinians or the Israelis any good. It will only further the calls for revenge from the other side. It will only lead to a solution being even further away from being grasped.

This situation isn't even close to being comparable to such intractable and controversial issues as Israel/Palestine, Sri Lanka, Chechnya, or even Iraq. This is the petulant action of a man who thinks that sending explosives through the mail is somehow striking a blow against the wider government machine for daring to attempt to regulate the roads. I agree that some speed cameras are probably there simply to earn extra revenue. CCTV cameras on every street corner, even where crime is next to non-existent, piss me off. This government's dilution of civil liberties, the imposition of a 1km zone around parliament where protests have to be authorised, are all legitimate grievances, as it were.

The answer to this however is not to send what are essentially crude fireworks through the post. It's to protest. It's to get involved. It's to raise your voice. It's to vote against those who are enforcing these outrages. Burning some poor person's hand is only going to make you look like an lunatic, undermine the very nature of your cause, and lead to Richard Littlejohn trying desperately to come up with a way to feel your pain, while still condemning it.

Maybe the maniac who is sending out letter bombs was just like the rest of us until he snapped.

I hope they catch him soon. He's a dangerous man, who has already harmed enough innocent people. But will anyone in authority pause to consider the root cause of the grievances which drove him to this madness?

Not a cat in Hell's chance.

No, probably not. Same as the government rightly dismisses other grievances which some sections of the community might also think have driven others to madness. Motorists? Radical Islamists? They're all the same really.

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