A couple of weeks ago, a Daily Mail story got commenters all sweaty-palmed over Spotted Dick. Implying a local council had banned the ‘offensive’ phrase, it invited a woefully predictable chorus of ‘PC’ complaints. Except – and as I argued at the time – it wasn’t actually true.
It was such a Mail cliché that Richard Littlejohn’s byline was the only glaring omission. But sure enough, Littlejohn guffawed at his Spotted namesake just a few days later. (And as Richard means Dick which means dick, and Richard in rhyming slang is shit, I’ll let some other people point out this sweet irony.)
So all in all, it was a non-story about some catering staff changing the name of Spotted Dick, likely bored of incessant and unfunny 'dick' jokes. Nothing to do with council policy, nothing to do with political correctness, and certainly nothing of national interest. But now?
According to the BBC:
Council chiefs have reversed a decision to rename the pudding Spotted Dick after receiving "abusive letters" and accusations of political correctness.
Who’s betting that some of these letters were a direct result of the Mail article, complaining about something that wasn’t real? It’s a fairly stark example of a non-story becoming a real story, and having a real-life effect – even if it is only pudding.