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A pompous Green sees red

I occasionally watch the Top Gear motoring-lads-having-a-laugh show on a Sunday evening, fronted by the bumptious Jeremy Clarkson. Clarkson is a sort of British version of P.J. O’Rourke, (although O’Rourke is at his best in print, rather than on the box) in that he loves to mock cyclists, Greens, do-gooders and other earnest protectors of our public welfare. Excellent. It is amazing really that his show has run on the BBC for so long. His mails must include a fair share of rudeness from those he mocks and it looks like he has really got up the nose of veteran Green campaigner Jonathan Porritt, a person who at one stage was very much the “reasonable” face of environmentalism.

Porritt misses the point completely. He is part of a puritanical new establishment dedicated to the removal of fun, or at least that of those other than themselves. We have had more than a decade of this, and Clarkson is rather like a shot of brandy to the half-drowned. He may be overly laddish for some people’s tastes, but he acts as handy counterweight to the scolds. Long may he sing the praises of Ferraris, supersonic jet aircraft and other fast machines.

(I have classified this post under “Arts and Entertainment” since Top Gear is purely entertainment. Do not expect to learn a lot about practical car maintenance.)

18 comments to A pompous Green sees red

  • Jonathan – yes Jeremy Clarkson is one of the few at the Beeb who hasn’t bought into the political credo of the institution. This takes balls and independence of thought. I ENJOY that!

    There were people who wouldn’t speak to me after I posted on my blog how I thought the SUV was the superior means of transport for the 21st century. Ahhh. Clarkson’s my kind of guy.

  • Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke… puritan scum and luddites in equal measure. I always liked Clarkson but now that I know he pisses these people off, the man is a God :-)

  • Andrew Milner

    Clarkson is essentially a little Englander racist that never misses an opportunity to make “who won the war” type snide remarks at the expense of the French, Germans, Italians, etc. Makes you wonder just what British auto industry he thinks he’s supporting. And the level of adoration from his two stooges is truly nauseating. Plus that hanger full of “I was on TV” losers, what’s that all about? We used to get him on cable here in Japan, but fortunately his programme has faded away of late. True to BBC policy, he never misses an opportunity to bad mouth Japanese grey imports. I visit the Japanese auctions frequently, and trust me Japanese used cars are better condition, better spec., more reliable history, lower “mileage” and far cheaper than the equivlant in UK, aka Treasure Island. Ask yourselves, how can you buy at auction in Japan, ship to UK, pay some 30% (CIF) in UK VAT and import tax, get it through the SVA (expensive version of MOT), plus obstacles the government are constantly adding, register and tax, and still sell at a profit? Easy: Cars are far too expensive in UK.
    I used to live near JC in Oxfordshire, and he’s a crap driver. Fast down the straights, slow through the corners. All mouth and trousers, and those trousers.

  • how can you buy at auction in Japan, ship to UK, pay some 30% (CIF) in UK VAT and import tax, get it through the SVA (expensive version of MOT), plus obstacles the government are constantly adding, register and tax, and still sell at a profit? Easy

    Easy, alright. In Japan when a car has been on the road for (I think) seven years, taxes on it become prohibitively high, meaning that very very few people keep their cars past that age. This is ostensibly done to protect the environment and keep the roads safe, but it’s actually a way the government supports the auto industry. That’s why grey imports are so cheap – we’re buying their cast-offs.

    And a lot of the time the “low mileage” figures of grey imports prove dubious.

  • CFM

    Clarkson is essentially a little Englander racist that never misses an opportunity to make “who won the war” type snide remarks at the expense of the French, Germans, Italians, etc.”

    Let me get this straight – English, Germans, French, and Italians are separate races now??

    CFM

  • The Last Toryboy

    So among other things he’s a nationalist as well.

    Excellent. :D

  • Pete_London

    From the link:

    Sir Jonathon Porritt, whose feud with Mr Clarkson dates back several years, has launched his most scathing attack yet on the presenter of the BBC2 motoring show Top Gear, branding him an “outstandingly bigoted petrolhead”.

    It won’t cross that dullard Marxist head of Porrit’s that Clarkson will take that as praise. I regard myself as a bigoted petrolhead too, to be regarded as an outstanding one by this lentil-wearer would make my day.

    Andrew Milner -

    Clarkson is essentially a little Englander racist that never misses an opportunity to make “who won the war” type snide remarks at the expense of the French, Germans, Italians, etc.

    And what good fun it is too, eh? My grandad didn’t spend four years in the jungle strangling Japs so the rest of us would have to be polite to the buggers.

  • Julian Taylor

    Clarkson is essentially a little Englander racist that never misses an opportunity to make “who won the war” type snide remarks at the expense of the French, Germans, Italians, etc.

    Yes, and just I bet you must regret your licence fee payments for this ‘drivel’ that the extreme rightwing racist anti-Muslim and anti-Labour BBC puts out, eh? The clue is in the title “Top Gear” it has sweet fanny adams to do with torque readings, bhp differentials or all that stuff that the French, Germans, Japanese and Italians no doubt find absolutely fascinating. It’s about driving the sort of cars that the vast majority of us will never be able to afford, destroying caravans and dreadful Japanese imports in ever more inventive ways and finding new, sillier and fun ways to demonstrate how fast a car is – my endearing favourites are still the one where they persuaded the army to lend them an Apache gunship for the day, to test against a car and the race to Monaco in a DB9 against the TGV. Perhaps you might prefer watching Channel 5′s Fifth Gear instead- they are far more into fractions of mph differences between various Honda models and average slip differentials.

  • Johnathan

    Milner, who sounds a rather aggressive individual, does has half a decent point: Clarkson can be over-the-top in some of his comments. I am not denying that, but the advantages of a cheeky chappie like that outweighs the minuses. He seems to annoy the sort of folk who generally should be annoyed.

    Anyway, that is all from me for 2 weeks. I am getting married and will be avoiding the Web and all its works, apart from holiday destination sites, from now on. Keep well everyone.

  • Paul Marks

    Mr Clarkson slags off everyone (the British included).

    “Little Englander racist” – actually “little Englanders” were people who were both against Imperial expansion and against getting involved in European balance of power games.

    Clarkson also praises people like the Germans and the French (he had a whole television series going round Europe gushing about almost everything – he especially loved the lack of a “Health and Safety Executive” in France, unlike degenerate Britain).

    By the way the people he slags off most are the Americans – which is perhaps why he survives on the B.B.C.

  • Simon Jester

    Congratulations to (previous poster) Johnathan.

    I thought Mr. Milner’s most bizarre comment was to imply that “Fast down the straights, slow through the corners” means that JC is a bad driver. What would he expect on public roads – 70mph round a blind bend?

  • Nick M

    Looks like Jonathan is already under the thumb of the missus. “… and none of that interweb thing either…”

    I envy him, two weeks sans-net… Two days and I’m in a cold sweat.

    Back OT. Clarkson’s manner is designed to be abrasive – to evoke a love/hate response. And while Top Gear is pure entertainment but is incredibly refreshing to see him on the BBC, especially during their “climate chaos” season which appears to be swallowing the entire green angle on Global Warming hook, line and David Cameron…

    Clarkson, especially in his other shows, has a boyish enthusiasm for engineering which I hope is infectious to at least some of the youth of today. Afterall, the last thing we need is more media studies grads environmentally scare-mongering at the BBC, though we could probably do with more engineers.

  • Brendan Halfweeg

    Top Gear is a great show, but my only gripe with it is that it is produced by the BBC. The need for the BBC is irrelevent, it’s assets should be sold and redistributed to British taxpayers.

    There is absolutely no reason why JC couldn’t find a platform to drool over speed machines on a privately owned TV station.

    Why should greenies and their ilk pay for a show they disagree with? The same reason we shouldn’t have to pay for the leftist crap that comes out of most of the beeb. Talking of the state supporting a balanced state owned media is not a sound argument, not that it is going to stop me from enjoying the boys race each other across Europe in some new contrived way.

  • JT

    Clarkson’s Top Gear on BBC 2 does put a small dent in the attraction of the libertarian argument against state-funded TV.

    I say this as someone who is generally well-disposed to most of the arguments advanced by those in the libertarian camp.

    Clarkson said once that he has appeared on US TV but because the channel he appeared on was funded commercially, the producers were too sensitive to their advertisers’ interests to allow him to let rip at the big motor manufacturers as he is prone to here.

    So in the UK we have the position where freedom of speech and criticism of the products of large companies are arguably enhanced because of a non-market based TV system.

    Whilst it could be argued that in a free market an alternative funding mechanism (subscription) could to some extent circumvent the need to rely on TV advertising for a program such as Top Gear, the channel screening it is still likely to be vulnerable to pressure (at least more vulnerable to pressure than the BBC) from big companies not to host it at all.

    I’m not saying that overall the BBC and the licence fee are a good thing, just that on occasions the actual results are ones that I would have though libertarians would cheer, rather than chide.

    Am I missing something crucial, or is this just an example of the fact that not even the best way of “organising society” is perfect?

  • Pete_London

    Am I missing something crucial ….. ?

    Yeah, viewing figures. Top Gear is broadcast because it pulls the punters in. A commercial channel would love to get it’s hands on Top Gear right now.

  • JT

    Pete_London:

    But in the beginning Top Gear wouldn’t have had that audience; it has built it up over time perhaps partly as a result of its freedom from the pressures of large commercial interests. Could it have done that if BBC2 had had to rely for a significant chunk of its advertising revenue on car companies who got slagged off by Clarkson?

  • Paul Marks

    H.B.O. puts on shows that stir up opposition (indeed that increased ratings).

    However, who says that a non goverment station as to be a for-profit corporation.

    If tax law and regulations did not favour corporations there would be more companies owned by individuals (a single rich man is more likely to take risks than a board that is responsible to shareholders – and quite right to).

    And charitiable trusts could be set up.

  • Andrew Milner

    Pompous self-justifying post deleted