No, Stephen Tall, I’m certainly NOT Daily Mail!

In his latest blog, Stephen Tall argues that byseeing Jeremy Clarkson as un-beneficial to a modern society makes me somehow a right-wing *insert your own adjective for the Daily Mail here*.

Not in the slightest. I’m left-wing (so David Cameron doesn’t like me either, boo-hoo) and totally a liberal. I’ve never ever claimed Clarkson should not be allowed to speak, as that would be illiberal. I simply say that he is a loud-mouth oxygen thief (I use the same freedom of speech against him, that he should rightly be granted).

He’s claimed to be attention-seeking, I agree. And before you say it, I accept that by writing this blog it could be argued I’m feeding his attention-whoring, however this blog is in response to a blog about the same issue….. He is claimed to not really believe the things he says, as he is acting out a part. Well, I disagree there. If someone really didn’t believe anything he says, then they wouldn’t create the smoke that suspects one of fire. He is in a well-paid, highly visible (internationally so) job, and thus gets paid for the kind of bile he spits. I’m not Daily Mail to suggest that even if he is pretending, the things he says can still influence other people, and possibly incite further behaviours. That isn’t being right-wing, it’s asking someone to have a bit of decency and respect.

We say it’s wrong (and rightly so) for someone to steal a TV from a broken shop window in the riots of August this year, but somehow someone stating on national TV (even as a “joke”) that strikers should not on be shot but “executed in front of their family” is somehow acceptable and I should just get a sense of humour. I’m on no high-horse about this, as I stated above I wouldn’t ask to silence him, just ask (foolishly) that he thinks before activating his over-used jaw. So please, I’d ask that no-one be on a high-horse with me either if your view is everything he says is either funny, perfectly fine or both.

A further point here – I DO have a sense of humour, and in context, by listening to the whole conversation, I do actually get the humorous aspect. I just find that he often has a diatribe against the rest of society, yet he feels he can wander through and spout out whatever he likes without ever being questioned. Did he really mean what he said? I doubt it, but his oft-written speeches in The Sun or on TV show that he isn’t exactly what I’d call a live-and-let-live kinda guy. It’s live my way, or you’re rubbish for him.

I’ve been trying to think what car Jeremy Clarkson’s morals would be. I can’t think of a make or model, but simply a description that he might use. (Read this in his voice) That moral car would haaaaandle….like a SHOpping trolley.

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Mark Inskip 4th Dec '11 - 10:19am

    I’ve really struggling to understand what particular point you are trying to argue.

    And the contradictions don’t help;
    “He is claimed to not really believe the things he says, as he is acting out a part. Well, I disagree there. If someone really didn’t believe anything he says, then they wouldn’t create the smoke that suspects one of fire.”
    but then later;
    “Did he really mean what he said? I doubt it”

    Surely in the end though aren’t there far more important topics to be concerned about than the odd throw-away comment from Clarkson?

  • We say it’s wrong (and rightly so) for someone to steal a TV from a broken shop window in the riots of August this year, but somehow someone stating on national TV (even as a “joke”) that strikers should not on be shot but “executed in front of their family” is somehow acceptable […]

    Yes, that’s the difference. One would have been an act of looting in the context of the biggest public order disturbances Great Britain had seen in decades, even a century. The other was a quip from a prat on television which, as poorly conceived and executed (hoho) and boorish as it was, was manifestly not serious and in no danger whatsoever of being realized.

    Nor did Stephen Tall consider it “acceptable”. He said it should be _tolerated_.

    Furthermore, there’s no need to explain which political party the LibDems now are in partnership with. That supporters of the former should label himself as leftwing with, by extension, rightwingedness being a pejorative shows how meaningless both have become.


  • Leviticus18_23 4th Dec '11 - 10:36am

    Stewart Lee has it covered…

  • Old Codger Chris 4th Dec '11 - 12:29pm

    Clarkson started his remarks on the strikes by saying they were great because the roads etc were clear. Then he said that the BBC has to give a balanced view so he thought the strikers should be shot.

    It’s a joke! The man’s a comedian! We rarely know whether he means what he is saying and frankly I don’t care. Lighten up!

  • I can’t stand the man, but this particular little controversy is completely absurd and contrived. I can’t believe anyone who has seen the actual clip or read the transcript of the entire exchange could possibly maintain their outrage, so I have to conclude that those who are still expressing such outrage simply haven’t bothered to do so.

  • The biggest irony about this whole affair is that Clarkson was taking the piss out of the BBC’s editorial guidelines that mean it often gives lunatics with fringe views equal time to mainstream views. Clarkson then proceeds to show that he’s one of those lunatics.

    The antidote to free speech is always more free speech. The moment we start prosecuting (as was suggested by Unison) people for holding a view we don’t agree with it or find offensive we’re doomed as a society.

    No one should ever have the right to “not be offended”.

  • Simon Bamonte 4th Dec '11 - 4:59pm

    As far as I am concerned, Clarkson is a typical right-wing, disappointed middle aged man who thinks the entire world is out to get him and his right to pollute the environment as he pleases. His remarks were silly and unfunny. However, the worry with Clarkson is that he is very influential with a certain kind of person.

    We must remember that Anders Brevik was a fan of Clarkson and quoted several of Clarkson’s articles in his “manifesto”. What if, during the next strike, some deranged right-winger takes his words to heart and goes shooting some trade unionists?

    People like Clarkson should not be silenced, but they should also think before they make such unfunny and cold-hearted statements. Those “greedy” public sector workers in the NHS saved his friend Hammond’s life in Leeds after his horrific accident. And *those* are the people Clarkson wants shot? Sad..

  • Lee is right. Because someone is making a joke doesn’t mean they’re not being objectionable and should be given a hard time about it. That’s not the same as silencing someone. Sure, saying strikers should be shot in the context quoted is easily recognised as a joke. Is it equally a joke when Clarkson suggests stringing wire across paths to stop bicyclists? Yes, he has done that. And it has been done. And people have been injured. Is this cause and effect? Probably not. Does it create an atmosphere of acceptance? Maybe. Comedy sometimes, deliberately or carelessly, segues into hate speech. If we don’t want censorship then we have to rely on the pressure of public opinion to stop it. If that means no sense of humour, so be it.

  • Not sure this article is really as antagonistic towards Stephen Tall as the headline implies. You both seem agreed that free speech is important, and that Jeremy Clarkson was a bit of an idiot to make an inappropriate joke on The One Show.

    Unless, Lee, you think Clarkson should be sacked for his comments or any of the other illiberal responses bandied around on Twitter and so on (and by the unions, who apparently agree with Beecroft when it comes to overpaid BBC employees), then I don’t really see why this article was necessary…

  • Matthew Huntbach 7th Dec '11 - 2:21pm

    It was the “in front of their families” bit which turned this from a joke in questionable taste to a thoroughly nasty piece of sadism. Somehow this seemed to be rubbing in the nastiness and taking it further to where it conjured up unpleasant images rather than just stayed as “oh, obviously he doesn’t really mean that”. The idea of children watching their parents being killed? Is that something to joke about? What if he had instead said “their children should be raped in front of them”? Still funny, or at least excusable? No, because it steps over the bounds of acceptability by the nastiness of the image used even if it wasn’t meant to be taken seriously.

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