First published by Independent Voices on Thursday 26th March

The long overdue dismissal from the BBC might be the best thing to happen to Jeremy Clarkson. He’s finally become a martyr, sacrificed on the altar of political correctness by the “knit your own yoghurt types” at the sandal-wearing, lefty BBC. They’ve got no sense of humour about openly racist jokes or the physical assault of colleagues. It’s like you can’t do or say anything anymore.

Let’s not feel too sorry for Clarkson. He’ll go home with £74,000 of license fee payer’s money between the latest incident and when his contract expires, his hangers-on May and Hammond (sorry, ‘the lads’) may storm out with him, and I don’t doubt that ITV or even Netflix will snap him up.
All those bemoaning Clarkson’s sacking as the end of the Top Gear magic seem to forget that no matter how well-liked someone is, there are certain standards of behaviour that everyone must abide by. One of those is ‘don’t punch people in the mouth’.Although a million people signed a petition calling for Clarkson’s reinstatement, a YouGov poll found 45 per cent believed he should lose his job, with only 36 per cent thinking that the BBC should keep him on. I wonder if the Top Gear fans now threatening not to pay their licensing fees would be happy if a colleague who had attacked them was allowed to remain at work.I for one am not going to miss Clarkson swinging his weight around on national television, mumbling the n word, referring to Asian people as ‘slopes’ and insulting politicians based on their nationality and disabilities. Clarkson represents an outdated mode humour that punches downwards, appealing to the lowest common denominator and allowing people to snigger at racist, bullying jokes that we should really be over hearing by now.

Top Gear is the BBC’s biggest export, and this is embarrassing to Britain. Can’t we do better than a man who mocks ‘foreigners’ and makes comments about murdering prostitutes? That last one is particularly hilarious, as women who work in the sex industry are 18 times more likely to be murdered than the general population.

Lord Hall, Director General of the BBC, maintained a sense of diplomacy when making his statement and thanked Clarkson for the “extraordinary contribution” he made to the BBC. Hall referred to Clarkson as a “huge talent”, and many people agree that he is talented. But talent doesn’t make you untouchable.

I don’t doubt the BBC will have trouble finding another overbearing, middle aged white bloke to replace Clarkson, but hopefully they can do better. We should demand more of our broadcasters, instead of celebrating bully boys and babies who throw tantrums because they can’t have what they want for tea.

Bye Jeremy, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Posted by:harrietpwilliamson