A three step guide to writing a Simon Heffer column

Alex Hern runs over the “best” of Simon Heffer’s columns, and details how to write one yourself, so you don’t have to read his.

Eight months ago, Left Foot Forward brought you the definitive guide on How to Write a Richard Littlejohn Column. Now, in our ongoing quest to ensure that no-one need read Right Minds again, we bring you number two in an infrequent series, a three step guide to writing a Simon Heffer Column.

1. Never mention Germany without bringing up Hitler

Angela Merkel doesn’t communicate using phones, email or post; when referring to her correspondance, the correct terminology is “a Führergram from Berlin.”

Don’t actually use the name Germany, instead refer to the “Fourth Reich”, and when discussing politicians who agree with the European consensus, like Lukas Papademos, their rank is “gaulieter”.

Whenever Germany is exercising power, don’t forget to refer to the 1930s:

“Indeed, never has there been a better time since the 1930s for an aggressor to challenge the supposedly civilised world.”

2. Inflammatory militarist analogies make your piece seem more interesting.

If your piece is about economics, the Daily Mail audience may get bored. If you pretend you’re writing about war, everyone will get very excited!

Try referring to jackboots:

“Any fiscal union would comprise only a few countries — those whose economies are strong enough to withstand Germany having to tell them how to run their own affairs — unless joined by other masochistic nations that relish the  occasional kick from the jackboot.”

Or equating economic pressure to warfare:

Once, it would have taken an invading military force to topple the leadership of a European nation. Today, it can be done through sheer economic pressure: it might be that within a few days the Germans — along with their French allies — will have secured regime change in the two most tiresome countries in the eurozone.”

3. Ignore inconvenient facts

If there’s a point you want to make, make it! Don’t worry about what’s true – it’s not as if the Mail has fact-checkers, after all.

So if you want to write this:

And if marriages are not to be arranged – and of course they should not be – what effect would a change of dynasty have on the subjects of the Crown? Suppose the Prince of Wales’s elder child had been a girl. Suppose she had married the male equivalent of Kate Middleton.

This would mean that for several generations the Royal Family would take its name and pedigree from a pair of party planners.

Or this:

But if a royal princess marries into a foreign royal family, unions of Crowns are still possible, with all that entails.

Then write it! So long as you don’t remind people that we’ve actually already had one Queen marry a German prince, and another Queen marry a Greek prince, and that we are not, to the best of my knowledge, part of a Graeco-Germanic empire, you’ll be fine.

And although some people might argue that reasoning that with cognatic succession in 1901:

“We might have ended up twenty-one years later as one of Hitler’s provinces.”

is reasoning in bad faith, those people don’t have a Daily Mail column. Which means they basically don’t exist, right?

See also:

Mail and Telegraph plea for racist Tintin book even Hergé disownedAlex Hern, November 4th 2011

How to create a Telegraph migration scare storyMatt Cavanagh, September 9th 2011

Express and Mail fail the migration stats testSunder Katwala, August 26th 2011

Telegraph’s “£500,000 teachers’ pension pot” claim is wrongShamik Das, June 30th 2011

How to write a Richard Littlejohn columnDominic Browne, March 22nd 2011

14 Responses to “A three step guide to writing a Simon Heffer column”

  1. Alison Klose

    A three step guide to writing a Simon Heffer column, by @AlexHern: http://t.co/b52didZC #DailyFail

  2. Political Scrapbook

    This is brilliant. A three step guide to writing a Simon Heffer column. http://t.co/PyMwsvRN (by @AlexHern)

  3. Matthew Goodwin

    This is brilliant. A three step guide to writing a Simon Heffer column. http://t.co/PyMwsvRN (by @AlexHern)

  4. Political Animal

    This is brilliant. A three step guide to writing a Simon Heffer column. http://t.co/PyMwsvRN (by @AlexHern)

  5. Caitlin S-C

    This is brilliant. A three step guide to writing a Simon Heffer column. http://t.co/PyMwsvRN (by @AlexHern)

  6. c c

    This is brilliant. A three step guide to writing a Simon Heffer column. http://t.co/PyMwsvRN (by @AlexHern)

  7. Colin Smith

    This is brilliant. A three step guide to writing a Simon Heffer column. http://t.co/PyMwsvRN (by @AlexHern)

  8. Nina-Maria Potts

    What do #Greeks and #Germans make of this anti-German piece by Simon Heffer? http://t.co/MR8sld8p -worth also reading http://t.co/wx2cE6ck

  9. Nick Ryan

    RT @leftfootfwd: A three step guide to writing a Simon Heffer column http://t.co/iQtDFD8C

  10. Anti-Cuts Alliance

    This is brilliant. A three step guide to writing a Simon Heffer column. http://t.co/PyMwsvRN (by @AlexHern)

  11. Residents of Worthing hold war memorial service for pigeons | Political Scrapbook

    […] sound was terrible for them, but they did their jobs.”With the ongoing Eurozone crisis bringing wartime metaphors back to the pages of our middle market tabloids, how long before (in the imaginations of Express […]

  12. If the right cares about sovereignty, why the silence on credit agencies? | Left Foot Forward

    […] the king of the genre, Simon Heffer in the Mail: Once, it would have taken an invading military force to topple the […]

  13. How to be Jeremy Clarkson | Left Foot Forward

    […] Foot Forward has previously brought you how to write a Richard Littlejohn column and a three step guide to writing a Simon Heffer column. Now, in our ongoing quest to ensure that no-one need read these people ever again, we present […]

  14. Ignore the Mail’s distortions, here’s what Goldsmith actually said | Left Foot Forward

    […] also: • A three step guide to writing a Simon Heffer column – Alex Hern, November 8th […]

Leave a Reply