This week the British press has been alight with the news that Top Gear presenter and all round geriatric Right Wing half-wit Jeremy Clarkson had said a big bad on telly, of all places.
On November 30th, a large proportion of the public sector went on strike in protest of the government's changes in their pension scheme. I won't go into the already well-documented technicalities of it; that's really not the point of this blog.
On the same day, Jeremy Clarkson was due to appear on the live, prime-time, three-legged donkey that is 'The One Show' on BBC1 to plug some DVD or other which will be going on sale at Christmas. I've no idea what it's about, but it probably involves cars & saying out loud what some people only think quietly to themselves, normally in a quite non-politically correct manner. This is what he does year after tired, formulaic year, much like a drunk uncle at the family Christmas party once the only booze left in sight is what mouthfuls that people have abandoned in their glasses on the buffet table next to the stale quiche.
Bearing in mind Clarkson's already proven track record for foot-to-mouth related comments, The One Show presenters (no idea what their names are, which speaks volumes about the show) asked his views of the public sector strike.
Probably quite predictably, he said:
"I'd have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families. I mean, how dare they go on strike when they've got these gilt-edged pensions that are going to be guaranteed while the rest of us have to work for a living?"
Now, bearing in mind his idea of having to 'work for a living' involves driving around in expensive cars and commenting on them in print, this wasn't going to come across well, even if he was renowned as the UK's most productive coal miner, midwife and part time lion tamer. Predictably again, around 4000 complaints lit up the BBC's phones like petrol had been poured on them and ignited by Clarkson's smouldering cigar stub being tossed out of his car window as he left the studio.
The union body Unison wanted to see him hung from the highest tree by his gonads for these understandably offensive comments, to have him sacked from the BBC and were actively consulting legal advice on how to have this outspoken, offensive character out on his arse at the soonest convenience. In short, it was going off like a good 'un in the media; news websites headlined with it, social networks were coated in layers of thick witch-huntery, and I watched all its activity with a curious eye...
Yesterday I undertook an act remotely akin to placing my testicles on a table already occupied by a precariously stacked pile of housebricks. The act? Speaking my mind out loud. Or 'lighting the blue touchpaper and standing well back'. Either way, it was going to be either of the two.
Based on the previous evening's events, I proposed the following three theories on Twitter, having not seen them proposed anywhere else online at the time (I was at work and had to be seen as actually 'doing' some work-that's my excuse anyway):
1. "The One Show producers knew what they were doing last night. No other explanation for putting Clarkson on a dying format prime time show."
2. "J. Clarkson=21st Century Alf Garnett. A 'fictional' character who no more believes what he says on screen than Warren Mitchell."
3. "Sorry Unison; I imagine your members would like to see you spend their money on s'thing more practical than a tv witch hunt. Move on."
My justifications for the above comments are as follows:
1. The One Show is a renowned failure in programming for the BBC which despite their best efforts, ought to be taken out side and sh...oooh, better not, eh?
Anyway, for a prime-time current affairs show, it's haemorrhaging viewer numbers horribly and desperately requires something to help boost its ratings. Producers probably sit dejectedly round a table every week, frustratedly discussing what to do to inject some interest, like changes in presenters, more interesting features. Maybe even the rabid spoutings of a right wing geriatr...-hang on. I know EXACTLY where we can get hold of one! AND he's got a DVD coming out! That's the perfect excuse-get Jeremy on the blower right now!
2. It is quite possible that 'Jeremy Clarkson at home' might not actually resemble 'Jeremy Clarkson on the telly'. It's just a theory I'm throwing out to you here. It's been known to happen, and I don't believe that anyone can be that hot-headed & bloody-minded full time without actually dying of a self-induced heart attack before they reach 50 years old. Of course, if Clarkson DOES believe what he said on screen, then off to the lions with him deservedly, but I have a theory, albeit just 'a hunch', that his comments were just for the camera and the benefit of the programme producer's wishes for a brief peak in ratings. I also equate him to Alf Garnett, a popular BBC sitcom character played by Warren Mitchell. You can read about Alf, and draw your own conclusions to my theory here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alf_Garnett (I'm sorry it's a Wiki page but I can't find a better reference anywhere else).
3. Kind of self explanatory. I'm not a union member but if I was, I'd want my fee to be put to good use as a basic requirement of my membership. I don't see a pricey over-reaction by someone who is supposed to represent me as being 'responsible expenditure'.
As normal, my postings were mostly met with thin air, as I would have expected at any other time. Even when I'm at my most ranty, I can muster little more than a witty one liner from my usual suspects, and that's normally good enough for me. However, I was interested in the reaction of one person, who within five minutes or less, encapsulated every bad quality contained within the stereotype of 'hard-left rabid keyboard warrior with very little positive to say about anything'.
Cue Roger O'Donnell, a Twitter follower and probably better known as keyboardist for The Cure.
He wrote; "@CruelBritannia Stop trvialising it... You are becoming part of the problem. His attitudes are ingrained into the mindless masses who follow".
Now, I'd have replied to Roger, but by the time I'd drafted him a message to engage in some debate about the subject and discuss my theory, he'd not only unfollowed me, but to ensure I was not able to 'have a voice on the subject', he also blocked me! On Twitter, and everything!!!
Needless to say, I was heart-wrenchingly unphased beyond belief. So I scratched my bum a bit, then got a cup of tea from the machine & read a copy of The Metro.
Now, if you know Roger at all or read his tweets, you'll know that he can be a little hot-headed himself, especially when it comes to the subject of bankers, online piracy and anything at all to do with pollitics. I'd understand anyone 'unfollowing' me on Twitter due to the sheer amount of rubbish I spout on a daily basis, but for him to feel he needed to 'block' me as though I were likely to be camping outside his house, waiting to attack him with a pointy wooden stick or something seemed a bit harsh.
Or you could read it that he spat his dummy out & didn't want to see anyone else's theory. Defying this rule would result in a blocking and while he's at it, he's got his fingers in his ears, singing "La la la la la I can't hear yooou!" very loudly. Apparently I'm 'taking one for Team Clarkson' in the eyes of a musican who's band charges £150 per ticket for a gig.
I think not.
I think I'm injecting some much needed perspective into the matter. It would be interesting to see what Roger's reaction would have been if Jeremy Clarkson had said "Margaret Thatcher should be taken outside and executed in front of her family". As I've already stated on Twitter, I have no time for close-minded people who find what I post offensive to them. Followers are free to come and go, that is the good thing about Twitter. The very people who choose to hang around and read my often absurd ramblings are the sort of people I would rather be associated with; open minded, in full possession of a sense of humour and when required, diagnosed with some degree of clinical insanity.
At the end of the day, nobody can entirely excuse Clarkson's comments. He was a total idiot (not for the first time) on telly, and has predictably, apologised for his monumental gaffe on the front of every British paper gracing tables around the country. This goes some way to proving my theory that he no more believes what he says on screen than Warren Mitchell believed when playing Alf Garnett. Or if he does believe it, lacks the stones to back up his comments with any further debate.
But whatever the truth be, the world will still keep turning. Just the way I like it.
Right, I need to go off and keep the fire going with something; it's bloody cold for December. Where are my Cure Albums? ;-)