Features, Opinion, Politics

Xenophobia in the British press

Xenophobia is rampant in the British press, and particularly in the Daily Mail.

I have always refrained from writing about Richard Littlejohn basically because I don’t know where to start. I tend to try and avoid his awful column because for one thing, I like to look after my blood pressure, and for another thing I am never quite sure if he is real. I mean, is he not some sick parody the Daily Mail have concocted for us to make us froth at the mouth?

 

But there comes a point when even sticking both fingers in my ears and shouting “la la la” isn’t enough to help me switch off from something he has written.

Will just go back a step.

The Daily Mail is well known for being phobic about most things:Richard Littlejohn writes for the Daily Mail about how frustrated he is.  Y'know, with women and lefties and that.

-pretty much anything that a woman does;

-muslims;

-socialists and communists and anything else that can be construed as being slightly left wing;

-people who make use of the welfare state and claim benefits of almost any kind;

-Europe;

…should I go on?

The Express is similar – I smiled to see that they believe themselves to be leading a “crusade” against the EU.   I wonder if they would be so willing to use this word so lightly if they revised their history.

The Daily Mail hates France, unless they are talking about the parts the middle class expats enjoy.  Its columnists like to refer to Sarkozy as a dwarf like Napoleon and they like to go on, and on, about how the French surrendered during the war.   No, not the recent wars.   We’re talking about the one which finished well over 60 years ago.   They have recently taken up German bashing too.

Stupid rant, song or poem by Richard Littlejohn from the Daily Mail

DailyMail.co.uk

But on the 18th November Richard Littlejohn surpassed himself, writing a very bad rhyme about both the French and Germans, but mainly the Germans.   Here it is if you can stomach it.   It is accompanied by a shocking cartoon, depicting Merkel among others goose-stepping.   Basically inferring, under a veil of humour, that the Germans and EU are akin to the Nazis.

I have had to re-read it several times, which has been so painful on very many levels.   I don’t understand how people can agree with him, and I don’t understand how he got paid to write such inflammatory crap.  Although it’s supposed to be humour there is a very nasty undertone.   Glee at economic worries?   Veiled references to the war?   Incitement of hatred, and fear of our neighbours?   Tick tick tick.

I am actually full of admiration for Germany.   Not at all for what happened during the war, of course, but how they have rebuilt themselves since.   I was in Frankfurt recently – stayed overnight, had dinner at a restaurant and used the airport.   I was so impressed, once again, with the people and the efficiency.   They are so welcoming, so kind.   One bloke on the bus appointed himself our tourist guide,  although he didn’t speak brilliant English – he just wanted to point out the things he was proud of.   Isn’t that great?

Another guy struck up conversation in the restaurant – he was stuck overnight with his tour group as his flight was cancelled.   Did he complain?   No, he just took it in his stride.   No-one else in the group was heard to complain either.   They just raised their eyebrows and laughed it off.   It was refreshing.   Can you imagine the grumps in a British airport hotel if a large group of people were stuck there when they wanted to be in Cuba?

So why is the press so anxious to stir up not so recent history and encourage its readers to hate, or be fearful, of our nearest neighbours?   What is the point?   Who does it help?   And why oh why are they allowed to print such inflammatory stuff?   Free press yes.   Racist press, no thanks.   The same article adapted to be about a minority group would be quite rightly slammed across the board.

So why is it still acceptable to be racist against the Germans and French?   Covering up racism with a light sheen of humour (though if anyone really finds it funny then I will despair of my mother country) is wrong.
Living in France as I do, it is when articles like this come out that I am ashamed to be British, because thanks to the world wide web these types of articles are picked up on and translated, and even in France when journalists mention the Daily Mail they do so with a sneer.   The fact that it is such a popular website does nothing for our already pretty tarnished reputation abroad – they are starting to believe that we are all like that, but last time I looked Britain and its people are tolerant and welcoming.

The Daily Mail likes to huff and puff about ‘political correctness gone mad’.   Their recent articles on Europe show that they believe that vile rants about our allies are acceptable and to be encouraged.   I hope the rest of the country isn’t listening to them,  because articles such as this one by Richard Littlejohn aren’t politically incorrect (said with a smile and a wink).   They are inflammatory, racist and bigoted.

We have a lot to learn from our European neighbours.   It appears that tolerance is one thing.   And, if this is considered humour, I would say that Richard Littlejohn could learn something about sense of humour from the Germans.

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Xenophobia in the British press

  1. The Littlejohn bashing starts about 4m50s in

    Posted by nickduffy | November 26, 2011, 1:13 pm
  2. Thank you thank you thank you!! Please keep trying to expose the disgusting xenophobia of large sections of the UK press. Personally, I feel physically sick whenever I see copies of the Daily Mail and Express (in particular).
    My girlfriend has recently been refused a visa to visit the UK as a tourist on the ground that the UK authorities do not believe that our relationship is ‘genuine’! She had no problem obtaining a Schengen visa valid throughout most of Europe for a year: I do not see how this distinction in approach can be objectively justified other than on the ground that the UK authorities have a strong tendency towards xenophobia. I currently feel utterly embarrassed and ashamed to be British. Keep up the good work!

    Posted by Matthew Downey | November 14, 2012, 2:56 am

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