Thursday, 26 March 2015

Farewell, Jeremy

I'm not a Top Gear fan. In fact, one of the few things that bore me more than cars is blokes talking about them. But I do like Jeremy Clarkson. He's witty, entertaining, original and writes fizzingly original journalism. I do, though, think it's right that he's been sacked. And I'm frankly baffled by the clamour of people in the media justifying what was - or what appears to have been - assault.

Here's what Louise Mensch had to say on Twitter:


And fellow-blogger Guido Fawkes on The World Tonight on BBC Radio Four yesterday gave a similarly robust defence while at the same time expertly evading the obvious question (put to him repeatedly by Ritula Shah) which is - if Clarkson gets away with it then where should the rest of us draw the line? If throwing a punch, inflicting physical injury and adding insult to it (literally) is waved away as 'banter' or just 'Jeremy' then God help the rest of us next time the boss is angry.

Someone said to me the other day that it was the same when John Prescott threw a punch many years ago. And although it may appear so, it's not. Prescott's action was instinctive, instant and - vitally - provoked. Prescott had been attacked and responded almost without thinking, I imagine. (Lord knows he didn't find it easy!) 

There are other similarities between the two incidents, of course. Both received the public support of the Prime Minister of the day. Tony Blair grinned, said 'John is John' and everyone moved on. David Cameron said lots of nice things about Jeremy Clarkson, his colleagues joined in, a petition attracted huge support and everyone... was left totally confused by the line between right and wrong.
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