In December 2006 Richard Littlejohn wrote his now infamous piece on the murder of five Ipswich women who happened to work as prostitutes. He argued that in their field of work ‘death by strangulation is an occupational hazard’ and that:
in the scheme of things the deaths of these five women is no great loss.
They weren’t going to discover a cure for cancer or embark on missionary work in Darfur. The only kind of missionary position they undertook was in the back seat of a car.
Littlejohn’s angry misogyny required him to pin all the blame on the female victims:
Frankly, I’m tired of the lame excuses about how they all fell victim to ruthless pimps who plied them with drugs. These women were on the streets because they wanted to be…
hese five women were on the streets because even the filthiest, most disreputable back-alley “sauna” above a kebab shop wouldn’t give them house room.
The men who used them were either too mean to fork out whatever a massage parlour charges, or simply weren’t fussy. Some men are actually turned on by disgusting, drug-addled street whores.
Littlejohn is always keen to tear away any sense that the people he writes about in such terms are human beings, which is why he so painfully and repetitively points out that these victims were not women or even human beings, but instead ‘disgusting, drug-addled street whores’. Littlejohn spends so much time and energy dehumanising his victims because it makes it easier for him to attack them, it is the direct result of his cowardly personality.
When the recent Bradford murders took place most people who are familiar with Littlejohn’s body of ‘writing’ fully expected a repeat, for repetition is as much a feature of Littlejohn’s columns as his wanton misogyny, homophobia and racism. We were not surprised, therefore, when he reprised the same theme in a short piece about the Bradford victims:
All these women lived wretched lives, selling sex on the streets to feed their drug and alcohol addictions…
They are described not as prostitutes, but as ‘women who worked as prostitutes’.
Again, what angers Littlejohn is that people he thinks to be outside humanity are treated with humanity, sympathy and dignity. Littlejohn does not care about the murders or the muderer (all of his invective is aimed at the victims, rather than the perpetrator), he is merely concerned that the ‘prostitutes’ should be labelled correctly as non-human scum and we should all stop what he labels the ‘hysteria’ of dealing with such murders in ‘reverential tones’. Littlejohn does not just dehumanise women, he also dehumanises men when it suits him. Today’s column on the Cumbria shootings is bizarre at best; he seems to be vaguely flailing to make some kind of political point in a situation that deserves no such opportunistic twisting from a tabloid hack.
He returns, once again, to the theme of what do we call people whom Littlejohn no longer considers human. This time it is the Police who have upset him, because they referred to Derrick Bird as ‘Mister’:
I was surprised by the tone of the press conference given by Cumbria’s Deputy Chief Constable, Stuart Hyde, at tea-time on Wednesday, in which he kept referring to the man who had just killed 12 people and wounded another 25 as ‘Mister’ Bird.
He is upset that the Police still used the human ‘Mister’ to refer to Derrick Bird. 12 people are dead, 25 wounded and Littlejohn obsesses over the labelling of another dead person. I wonder quite what labels Littlejohn would have preferred the Police to have used, given that they are supposed to remain impartial and merely seek to establish what happened and who was to blame? Should they have referred to him as an ‘aminal’ or ‘psychopath’, terms which hardly seem suitable for a man who we know so little about and who had lived 99% of his life in quiet obscurity?
I can only imagine that the families of the five victims of this horrific event are grateful that none of the dead worked as prostitutes, otherwise they might be waking up to a Littlejohn column in which their loved-ones were referred to as ‘disgusting, drug-addled street whores’ and that they were – ‘in the scheme of things’ - ‘no great loss’. I wonder why Littlejohn does not repeat some of his old arguments here, because I wonder just how many of the victims here were ‘going to discover a cure for cancer or embark on missionary work in Darfur’?
Littlejohn would never dare repeat such arguments if the victims were in his eyes ‘innocent’, the prostitutes were dehumanised and abused because to Littlejohn their line of work removed any barriers to what he could and could not write – he reduced them to animals and wrote about them as such. Littlejohn splits people into those deserving sympathy and those that do not. It is something that Will Self commented on during their infamous Five Live radio spot together in which Nicky Campbell reads out Littlejohn’s description of John Prescott:
CAMPBELL: Is what you wrote about the man who called Two Jags, that’s a name you coined: “He’s a chimp, a pustulating boil of resentment and class hatred, a chippy, thin-skinned puffed up laughing stock, an ocean-going tub of lard, groaning with arrogance, ego, hypocrisy, and inferiority, he’s an inadequate, inarticulate embarrassment, a disgrace to Britain at home and abroad.” …Do you sometimes think that this is a human being you’re talking about?
SELF: Well he doesn’t say he’s a human being, does he? He uses the classic form of demonisation which is to say he’s a chimp, in other words he’s bestial. So he’s actually dehumanised the subject of his abuse before he even moves on to piling on the pejoratives, and I think that’s very psychologically interesting, of course we’re all familiar with the kind of people who demonise other human beings by turning them into bestiary…we all know who does that.