Just this one article has a lot to talk about. But I’m not going to focus on the Cambridgeshire Police purchasing “Shewees”, and Littlejohn’s insistence that there’s nothing wrong with “a bucket, or squatting down in the bushes”. I’ll refrain from noting that the comment one reader left, saying that the Police themselves are denying the story, has been voted down by other readers, who presumably don’t want their indignation marred by inconvenient facts. I won’t dwell on the hysteria over the “byzantine rules” issued by binmen, who are apparently now outrageously demanding that we put our rubbish in bins and close the lids.
I’m mainly interested in the cursory few paragraphs at the end, given to the suicides at a factory in China which manufactures iPhones.
An alarmingly high number of people, working monotonous 10-hour days, not allowed to converse with their workmates, and essentially being forced into tougher working conditions every day to support their families than someone like Littlejohn could ever possibly imagine facing, are being driven to hurling themselves to their deaths from the top of their own building.
This should raise some seriously worrying questions about the manufacturer’s business practices, the general culture of the work ethic in China, and perhaps any number of factors in between which may be contributing to such widespread desperation and despair in this complex and tragic scenario.
For Richard Littlejohn, it just provides another chance for a weak joke and a cheap jibe at British health and safety standards.
Because that really would have been so terrible, wouldn’t it, if something like this had happened in the UK, and the “elf ‘n’ safety” brigade had got all over it. They’d probably have stepped in to address the problem of people killing themselves over the stress of their job by, say, giving workers counselling to help them cope with whatever pressure they’re facing. The nanny state would have shoved its nose in to see if these people are alright, or whether they’re suffering from any psychological troubles they might need help dealing with. Tsk. Yoocoodernmaykidapp!
After as many suicides as this, you might expect someone who cared about people to consider whether the conditions in such a factory really are unbearably inhumane.
But apparently just needing help is enough to earn the contempt of this cloacal void of compassion.
“Back of the net!” he chuckles, in a closing line which isn’t even a joke, or a pun, or a callback, or a clever reference to something else. It’s a meaningless, joyous, triumphant exclamation to close off a story about seriously psychologically troubled people taking their own lives.