Monday 21 March 2016

Clarkson’s worst year

I’ve just read this article by Douglas Murray about the interview with Jeremy Clarkson  in the Sunday Times Magazine. 

"wants a way to prevent Britain's most unpleasant souls from travelling abroad"

By coincidence I’d just finished catching up on Clarkson’s column in the Sunday Times Review - not to be confused with the aforementioned magazine interview in which he explains that he’s lost his home, his wife, his job and his mum.

The column, written in Clarkson’s colourfully OTT language, is titled: “Sober Syrians we should let in; boozy Brits are too shaming to be let out.”

The gist of the piece is that ghastly British holidaymakers represent what’s gone wrong with the present-day UK, and we’d be better off sending them off to Homs or Macedonia in exchange for those sober, God-fearing Syrians. You know, the ones that we, the bigots, selfishly reject. 
I might have caught exaggeration; it’s contagious. The strange thing is that Clarkson himself was staying in this ghastly hotel in Morocco,  “a giant concrete maze painted brown to make it look like an ancient fort”. I suppose losing all that stuff forces you to lower your standards. It’s enough to drive you to the poolside bar, where you’re bound to encounter drunken Liverpudlians. 

Poor Clarkson. He wishes we could adopt some halfway house that prevents Britain’s most unpleasant souls from travelling abroad.  Be careful what you wish for, is all I can say.

 At the beginning of his piece he said: “If you listen to the bleeding heart liberals [...] every immigrant is a hard-working soul who wants to come to England to start a nail salon.” (I thought they were supposed to be doctors and engineers) “Whereas if you listen to the Ukip types with their red trousers and their usual spot at the bar” (look who’s talking) “then they’re all terrorists etc etc.”

He then goes on to acknowledge that the truth is somewhere in the middle. There is much truth buried in his provocatively presented rhetoric but his simplistic characterisations are insulting, and the general effect is far from astute. 

He does raise some valid questions. No doubt there are plenty of drunken, ignorant, class obsessed Brits who are an absolute disgrace; no doubt  there are a few “drunken greengrocers from Luton who drone on about how Nigel Farage should be running the country and how many languages Enoch Powell could speak “,  but most people who are concerned about a mass influx of those “God-fearing” Syrians aren’t as he caricatures us. We have genuine, multifaceted concerns. That doesn’t make us ignorant racist bigots. Not all of us, at any rate. 

Incidentally I understand that Greengrocers, and citizens of Luton in general are now more likely to be of the God-fearing type, rather than the right-wing Ukip voters Clarkson lampoons.

[This is largely because] he personifies what a type of lazy leftist believes right-wingers to be like (uninterested in culture, cultivatedly thick, casually racist). But this weekend we learnt what some of us had long-suspected: that rather than being a scourge of our dishonest, molly-coddled, excuse-ridden culture, Clarkson may be one of its happiest and most comfortable creatures.
and that wasn’t even about the column I was alluding to. It was about his long interview, headed “my worst year”

If Clarkson did own just one house and lost that house then I am quite certain he would have had no trouble finding and purchasing another.  Certainly he is unlikely to have become homeless in the sense most of us would understand it (which is an implication he seems content to leave us with). It is the same with the claim that he lost his job. The loss of a presenting role on Top Gear does not mean for Clarkson what losing a job means for the rest of the population. Even after leaving the BBC he still kept his many highly-paid columns in the national papers (which helped cause the work-pressure he also cites a causal factor in his bad behaviour). It is worth realising that any of these columns on their own would have brought him an income many times the average wage in Britain. There would also have been the certainty that someone (Amazon as it turned out) would pick up Top Gear in some form. Most people unfortunate enough to lose their jobs have no such comfort.

I know Clarkson is supposed to be a bit naughty, a bit right-wing in the sense that he’s not constrained by Political Correctness. Some people regard him as 'the enemy of my enemy' because they hate the BBC.  There’s no doubt that Top Gear will never be the same without him. Sorry to say so, but the glorification of speeding cars is not my thing. It has a potentially dangerous influence on all those boy-racers that go round recklessly mowing people down and killing them.


  1. I think it's the Paddington Bear thing. He grew up surrounded by them in the family home. You can't blame him for turning into a poor man's Evan Davies. :)

  2. This is off topic, for which I apologise, but I just noticed this page on the BBC News website. Never seen it before, which may mean it's new or that I haven't been paying attention. I wonder whether it's worth joining!

    1. Yes I think I once signed up for something like that. It seemed like a good idea at the time. - I don’t remember if it’s the exact same one. It’s a kind of forum. I let my membership lapse, as the other comments I read were borderline moronic.

  3. On the subject of 'boy racers', my impression is that the number of criminally bad drivers is on the increase. I'm not talking about mistakes or errors of judgement but people who overtake stationary vehicles to run red lights or who drive over grass verges to bypass junctions and one-way roads.

  4. Re the horrific events in Brussels, I notice that BBC's Frank Gardner referred to the attackers as Jihadis. It would help a lot if that term were generally adopted by our media. On the downside we've heard a lot about "marginalised communities" and communities being "excluded". Not helpful at all. Are Congolese animists not "marginalised" in European cities? But do they strike in the name of Animism? Er no. Another explanation for the violence - a genuine one is required.

    1. Uh, oh, using the term 'jihadis' directly connects these atrocities to Islam. Can't have that.

      Good point about the Congolese animists.


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