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Jeremy Clarkson – my thoughts

Following Clarkson’s recent outburst much Sturm und Drang has followed.

I have just one thing to say on it (I should have said this earlier perhaps but I was curious to see if I’d read it elsewhere…)

I haven’t so here goes.

Jeremy Clarkson is a very wealthy man who writes books and newspaper columns so fair play to him but not only is he paid a small fortune by the BBC to host Top Gear but all the other pies he has fingered as a professional gobshite have piggy-backed on that fame. Well, OK, fine he’s capitalised on his celebrity/notoriety/whatever and again fair play to him for that but the simple fact remains over the years the BBC has paid him an awful lot of money. By almost any realistic metric Jeremy Clarkson is one of the highest paid public-sector workers in the land! And as to his line about public sector workers being idle and needing to get a proper job then what exactly is wearing ridiculously tight trousers for a man of his age, driving the latest supercar (badly) round a track and saying things like, “Just listen to that, it sounds like a tiger passing a kidney stone!!!”. I reckon I could do that (except I wouldn’t dress like that – I value having genitals too much) and I bet so could you. It’s Advent and the shops and ‘net are full of “experience days” like driving a Ferrari round Silverstone for which people are prepared to pay good money for the privilege. And why not? “Due to the unique way the BBC is extorted” they’ve already paid for Jezza to do it.

Some public sector workers co-ordinate and outreach less than zero and some work very hard and some loaf but Jezza is about the only one I can think of paid to have fun.

Anyway, if any of our readers are mad and (seriously) rich enough to decide my own drivel here is worth a prezzie then I wasn’t angling for a track-day because any car is utterly gay compared to this.

20 Comments

  1. john in cheshire says:

    I’m not sure that he is directly employed by the bbc. Of course, they buy his programmes.

  2. NickM says:

    john,
    He is not exactly directly employed by the BBC in the sense of being a salaried worker. It’s complicated but essentially he is still paid a lot of money by them and his career owes everything to them which means you and me paid and still do.

  3. Rob says:

    Clarkson – Like Unison only funnier:

  4. RAB says:

    So the crux of your arguement is that Clarkson is paid shedloads to have fun? Shit! wish I’d known that was bad earlier. I’ve just spent a lifetime getting paid for having fun ;-)

    Clarkeson is as Clarkeson does, he is our middle class bloke surrogate as far as the Beeb is concerned. The token right wing buffoon, for balance like, against all the Hardy’s and the Brigstocks etc etc.

    The remarks were actually scripted and approved, now the Beeb has the neck to admonish him for doing what they asked of him.

    It wasn’t a particularly funny remark, merely something that folk say down the pub on all sorts of topics and miscreants- They should be taken out and shot, merely a figure of speech really.

    How many times did Wolfie Smith utter his other catchphrase, “Come the revolution, you will be the first one up against the wall comrade!” ?

    The real ribtickler has been the reaction of Union Leaders and those leftie fellow travellers at the Beeb and Guardian, who have so completely lost the plot and whatever they have ever possessed labelled a sense of humour over this complete non story.

    It’s actually beginning to scare me. If people get something as trivial as this so very
    very very wrong and twisted, what are they going to be like when something serious happens?

  5. Kevin B says:

    Deller’s theory is that it was all set up to divert attention from the fact that the day out Christmas shopping up West Great General Strike and Jarrow March 2011 was a dismal failure both in bringing the country to it’s knees and getting the workers onside in paying for the public sector;s pensions.

    “Jezza darling, we need you to come on the Wank Show say and something provocative to drum up some sympathy for the poor public sector chappies.”

    “What, “Take ‘em out and shoot ‘em” sort of thing.”

    “Perfect.”

  6. Kevin B says:

    Sorry, the ‘day out xmas shopping’ bit was supposed to be struck through but striking don’t seem to be working too well this week.

  7. NickM says:

    RAB,
    That was not the crux of my argument. The crux of my argument was that Clarkson is ultimately largely paid from the public purse. So his comment was hypocritical. As to Wolfie Smith – that was in the context of a sit-com, not an interview. You can ascribe to someone what they think from an interview but not from acting. Anyway, Clarkson would have got away with it but for the rather grotesque addition of, “In front of their families”. Yes, it’s been over-reacted too not least because Clarkson over the last few years has descended into self-parody. Why do you think the BBC have kept him? Like what Kevin says – sort of.

  8. Sam Duncan says:

    Well said, RAB. His comment was arguably hypocritical, but it was also true (if not exactly for Clarkson himself), and I’m 99% certain that’s what’s really bugging the Lefties. They have a zero-tolerance policy towards dissenting voices in the mainstream of the mainstream media. It’s okay to have Farage come on and get boo-ed at on Question Time or sneered at on Newsnight, quite another to have Clarkson express an opinion about something other than expensive motors on the One Show. Can’t have that. People might think it’s okay. In neopuritan terminology, “right-wing” opinion is being denormalized.

    I’ve heard far, far stronger stuff from the likes of Jeremy Hardy and Marcus Brigstocke, and nobody bats an eylid. But stray from the politically “correct” line and all hell breaks loose.

    Kevin, you have a devious mind. Which isn’t to say you’re wrong.

  9. PJH says:

    A point made elsewhere is that JC’s output can be sold elsewhere, thus generating (potentially, mind you) more income that he’s being paid.

    Said point continues to wonder where the lesbian outreach workers for Barking, or the ‘I’m a minority, get me out of here’ social workers are actually worth their salt.

    Where this leaves, say, nurses who now require degrees to work and see themselves above the need to, for example, look after patients, is left unsaid.

    In other news I do note that there was an increase in footfall at some major shopping centres on the day of the strike – just what the economy needs.

    Perhaps such strikes should be a more regular occurance to get the economy going? Though given that the public sector is paid out of tax, I’m not sure that churning tax is the way to go….

  10. RAB says:

    No he wasn’t being hypocritical. Like most television today, Clarkeson works for a private company that sells it’s product to whoever they can get the best deal with. At the moment it seems to be the Beeb. But then Johnathan Woss managed to move channels with not to much bother didn’t he?

    It’s like any other private contractor to a taxpayer funded organisation isn’t it? They get their paperclips and pencil sharpeners somewhere don’t they?

    What I’m saying is – they provide goods and services which could be provided to both or either of the Private and Public sectors, end of.

    Like Johnny Rotten, when you invite Clarkson onto a programme, you already know the effect you want to create. To wring your hands about it later, well that’s the real hypocracy.

  11. NickM says:

    OK, RAB…
    I appreciate your point but he is still essentially a public employee in a contract rather more complicated than a private business providing X,Y.Z. He started Top Gear as a BBC employee. He then managed to leverage a percentage and stuff. It is not the same thing as selling pencil-sharpeners. He fronts BBC2s top show. Obviously a show like Top Gear could be made and broadcast independently but it isn’t.

  12. CountingCats says:

    For what it’s worth, it’s been in the news here on Queensland’s sunny Gold Coast as well. Radio, television and print……

    Sheesh, buying that level of publicity for the BBC, Clarkson and Top Gear, simultaneously, couldn’t be done.

  13. Bill Sticker says:

    Followed your link to the Thunder City site. Makes even a Bugatti Veryon seem tame. Yo.

    Although the last press release was over two years ago concerning the death of their lead pilot, and the site seems to be partially inoperative.

    Oh well, there’s always Soyuz.

  14. Talwin says:

    Clarkson saying someone should be taken out and shot? Pah! No big deal.

    As I’ve also written elsewhere, on this week’s ‘Panorama’, dealing with the so-called ‘Private Finance Initiative’, a chap called Andy Black, a former advisor at the Department of Health, offered a solution to the PFI rip-off: he said they should “Drop a Hydrogen Bomb on the NHS PFI Unit”.

    Presumably the PFI Unit’s staff (or some of them, at least) will be members of a Union. Can we expect Serwotka (or whoever) to be posturing and bleating about this? And if not, why not? ‘Cos H-Bombs are serious shit.

  15. mike says:

    “…his career owes everything to them…”

    If, five or six years ago, Clarkson had taken Top Gear off BBC and hosted it on ITV or some other channel, I bet it’d still have got high ratings.

    “…any car is utterly gay compared to this.”

    That’s only true because they don’t have any F-14s for you to “buzz the tower” with!

    Frankly, I’d be over the moon with a helicopter.

  16. NickM says:

    mike,

    On June 21, 1972, Jean Boulet of France piloted an Aérospatiale Lama helicopter to an absolute altitude record of 12,442 meters (40,814 ft). At the extreme altitude the engine flamed out and the helicopter had to be (safely) landed via another record breaker — the longest-ever autorotation in history. The helicopter had been stripped of all unnecessary equipment prior to the flight to minimize its weight and the pilot was breathing supplemental oxygen.

    So hardly over the moon! Well unless there was an astrophysical catastrophe of the form that would mean we were all well deaded. Run to the hills! You will get a better view of the three horsemen and one pedestrian of the apocalypse that way.

    But that auto rotation must have been – zut alors! – somewhat emotional. Now a Lightning has an initial climb rate of 50,000ft/minute so put that in your pipe and smoke it gyro-captain! I hate helicopters. Deeply inelegant. They only persist int the attack role due to the Key West Agreement. This almost totally bared the US Army from fixed wing aviation. The new USAF would provide CAS – yeah, right. So why aren’t Super Tuccanos (or similar – AT-6) in the ‘stan after 10 years? And the Douglas A-1 Skyraider proved to be such a duffer in Korea and also ‘nam didn’t it? I despair. We are using supersonic hammers to drive rusty nails. The USAAF is finally (just now!) thinking a small cheap turboprop might just do the job better, cheaper (that means more of them) with better loiter time 9and that means a lot) to suppoert the troops but then that was never wat the USAF was about.

    And the F-14 – great radar, great missiles (Phoenix) but under-powered. The USN/Congress failed to heed Grumman’s advice to fit F-110s until 11:59. Anyway, too hulking big for a true fighter.

  17. mike says:

    Ha!

    “Deeply inelegant.”

    Ugly in fact – which is precisely what death should look like on approach. But I could put down my helo in plenty of iffy places whilst you’re turboprop is “elegantly” slaved to a safe, clean runway miles away from combat.

    Which is the real value – the transport and utility functions. Though I’ll grant you that turboprops could do many aspects of CAS better and cheaper than AHs. All you need is a screwdriver and some bits and pieces and you’re back in the air while the helo is still being worked on.

  18. NickM says:

    mike,
    I was thinking of something like the OV-10 Bronco which can fly out of a dirt track. Indeed Boeing had a paper out a few years back reckoning a OV-10 redux was the way forward. Yes, a Vietnam-era ‘plane. Well I know it sounds backward but I recall ten years ago when we first got kicking off in the ‘stan the BBC interviewed some beardy fucker massing in the “tribal area” on the Af/Pak border and he said he wanted to kill Americans and he’d brought his “little mashie”. Yeah, right. The Americans were in the Indian Ocean firing Tomahawks from Nuclear subs or “commuting” from Whiteman in B-2 Spirits worth more than their weight in gold. So fuck you beardy-man. We never learn. For much of the Vietnam war the USAF flew utterly unsuitable but brilliant jets like the F-105 Thunderchief designed to tac-nuke the Warsaw Pact (ironically named considering how much the Poles fucking hate Russia with very good reason) armoured columns.

    Now the key point here is that from Whiteman to the ‘stan and back was a 36hr slog with multiple A2A refuelings and the B-2 costs $2 billion a throw (and God knows what an hour) but guess what they didn’t fit – a bed! That’s the sort of “silly little things” people forget about in state of the art weapon systems. But have no fear for there are crew chiefs and they managed to shoe-horn in a chaisse longue so one of the pilots could have a kip. Hi-tech is cool. Hi-tech is needed but sometimes the simple stuff matters too and is easily forgotten. Basically a twin-turbo with propellers on the front and some armour and all the rest would be more helpful than fielding Typhoons or Strike Eagles in the circs. But the airforces of the world are run by fighter jocks who couldn’t give a toss about boots on the ground and only care for “jousting at Mach 2″.

    Fair enough but not when the real battle is against beardy Abdul and his “little mashie” and the real test is not strategic air-power or fielding C21st Spitfires but providing timely and appropriate help to the lads and lasses at the sharp-end.

    mike, I appreciate the AH-64 Apache is wonderfully ugly. It looks like The God of All Angry Wasps. It’s a hell of a thing (Hell, I played Microprose’s “Gunship” to death as a kid on the Speccy) and I Hellfired more T-72s than the Warsaw Pact could ever have gathered to say nothing of the multiple hecatombs I caused in the Middle East… I devasted the pixellated but… Still, the Apache and even the Warthog were not designed for CAS as such. They were built to win a “heavy metal” war.

    We need a two-crewed fixed-wing STOL platform that goes low and slow and can carry a large quantity and variety of ordnance (including guns – infantry hates strafing) and we’ve only had ten frigging years to field it despite the likes of the Super Tuccano being available like then. And the related Tucc is the RAF’s standard intermediate trainer so pilot training is hardly an issue. The problem ultimately is that airforces are divorced from the ground. Abolish the airforces and give it all too the Army and Navy.

    Yes, I know that is a Hell of a thing for me to say but the way we are…

    “C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre.”

  19. mike says:

    Oh no, Nick – don’t get me wrong – I appreciate your point about turboprops for CAS. There was a paper a few months back by a USMC chap calling for a mix of Super Tuccanos and F-22s instead of the Bravo (what with the cost and overruns and them getting sick and tired of waiting around for it). That might make some sense if it was a transfer of assets from the Air Force to the Marines, rather than a new order of yet more F-22s. But still… the point about supersonic hammers springs to mind. Essentially, as beautiful a plane as it is, the F-22 is just waiting around for a scrap with the PLA.

    “Abolish the airforces and give it all too the Army and Navy.”

    I’ve seen that argument made elsewhere… what with the never-ending F-35 fiasco and AF Secretary Wynne’s blunders about China and shipping Minutemen fuses to Taiwan instead of helicopter batteries and so on. I’m sympathetic. Although here in Taiwan I’ve often made the reverse argument – the ROC should abolish the Army and transfer what useful functions and assets it has to the Airforce, Navy or Marine Corps.

    Lately I’ve been driving around the farms at the weekends on my way down south to one of the old reservoirs in Kaohsiung (I’ve promised an old Taiwanese expat in the States I’d write something up about the civil engineering history – the reservoir has a pilot training base nearby where they fly T-34s)… on my way through the farms I always take longer than I should because I end up waiting around at certain spots to shoot the helos on their routine flight exercises. The ROC is still flying the AH-1W, but they’ve already ordered the AH-64s which are due to arrive next year… and yes, I love these things aesthetically – that ugly/sublime thing – but they’re just not a serious aspect of Taiwan’s military defense against any putative PLA attack. Aside from the PAC-2 and PAC-3 missile defense systems, and some other bits of kit (principally their own indigenous cruise missiles), the ROC Army is a waste of space in defence terms – they get used for cleaning up after typhoons, ffs (and I’m not just talking about Chinooks and the like lifting people out of the mountains – we have compulsory military service here where the lads get made to sweep the friggin roads and stuff). It’s beyond a joke: I few years ago I was talking to some of the students at the officers training college in Kaohsiung (for the Army) and at one point I asked them about their firearms training. Now I can put the questions in decent enough Mandarin, but as they wanted to practice their English on me, I asked the question in English. Their answer? Twice. So I asked a bit more – twice a week, twice a month? No – twice a year. I was speechless.

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