Thursday, December 01, 2011

In defence of Jeremy Clarkson

I find Top Gear irritating and the way it is relentlessly promoted by the BBC doubly so. I don't share Jeremy Clarkson's politics, though if you want to learn how to write a newspaper column, he is one of the best people to study.

But today's row over his comments on The One Show is a complete nonsense.

Read the transcript. Clarkson remarks how pleasant London was because of the strike - no traffic, empty restaurants. He then goes on to say, with slightly forced jocularity, that "we have to balance this though, because this is the BBC".

So he goes on to present a ludicrous anti-strike view - that strikers should be taken out and shot in front of their families.

Yes, it was a  joke. Maybe not a very good joke, but a joke.

The same people who were expressing outrage today would be delighted if Ian Hislop had scrunched up his face and made the same joke on Have I Got News for You.

At least this ridiculous affair has proved one thing. Those calling for Clarkson to be sacked or prosecuted have proved that, in its heart, the left still hankers after a society where the state controls the views that citizens can express.


Herbert Eppel said...

Mmmmm, how about having Clarkson shot? I enjoyed watching his documentary on Isambard Kingdom Brunel as part of the BBC's Greatest Briton series a while back, but otherwise the man is a dinosaur and a menace and gets far more publicity than he deserves.

Mark said...

He's an utter tool (and his 2 sidekicks on Top Gear are even worse) but the unions overreacted terribly on this one.

One day, though, he's going to say or do something in all seriousness that's going to be highly embarrassing for David Cameron.

Pete said...

A lot o the outrage (almost all of mine - the bloke's pillock, but the world's full of 'em) isn't about Clarkson, but injustice in comparison with the treatment of other ‘jokers’. In the context of the riots, this 21 yo Jack-the-Lad got 4yrs for setting up a Facebook site that was obviously meant to grab attention by being outrageous and thus show his mates what a ‘character’ he was.

Also, no matter that this was a joke, Brevik obviously admired and noted what Clarkson had said and what people with normal(ish) mentalities might easily dismiss, those such as Ander Brevik might well take completely differently – and the size of Clarkson’s audience compared with that of the guy in the BBC report make it a lot more likely that he will reach them. And, of course, Brevik’s trial, and therefore reminders of the atrocity he committed against Norwegian Labour party members, was on the News the day of Clarkson’s ‘joke’ and had been the day before.

Why should we expect higher standards from 22yo working class lads than we evidently do from Clarkson? And how many of those shouting 'overreaction' did so when working-class kids were getting jailed for doing the same thing?

What does justice and consistency say? 5-6 years at least I reckon - I'd laugh me socks off at that.

Andrew Hickey said...

Pete - your argument boils down to "because someone was treated wrongly in one instance, someone else must also be treated wrongly in an unrelated instance". That's no kind of justice as far as I'm concerned. Better, surely, to knock the sentence down to something more reasonable (and frankly, having lived near Northwich when I was growing up, I suspect living there is punishment enough) and to ignore Clarkson's stupid joke.

dreamingspire said...

By contrast, my city centre was exceedingly busy and very jolly, with a march of mostly smartly dressed fairly young people, lots and lots of people shopping, many children, and the Rambling Band came strolling through the crowded outdoor Farmers Market (2 sax and a red painted sousaphone - the band, I mean). Perhaps we should close down the public sector one Wednesday every month.

Anonymous said...

"I find Top Gear irritating"

Then why bother to watch it?

Pete said...

"Pete - your argument boils down to "because someone was treated wrongly ..."
No. My argument is what I said it was - serious injustice and dual standards by both the legal system and individuals claiming 'overreaction' when they didn't speak up when people were getting jailed.


Andrew Hickey said...

But you're arguing that we should harm Clarkson, rather than that we should not have harmed those people.

And certainly Jonathan spoke up against those sentences too - he said in August "I share the concern that some of the sentences being handed down after the riots are too severe. And, as I tweeted the other day, in the long run such sentences will undermine public confidence in the judicial system rather than reinforce it."

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