When the suspension of an outspoken Television presenter and celebrity causes more outrage than human suffering, know that something is very wrong. Like really wrong.
The Media madness in support of Jeremy Clarkson doesn’t always happen. When was the last time you heard of 700,000 people signing a petition on anything of real importance? Within 24 -36 hours?
Already Change.org have reported that this petition is the fastest growing in their entire history, and while writing this article, between page reloads today, I’ve seen a ~59,000 leap in the number of signatures.
It’s practically unheard of. And if we are to be honest, Clarkson has shown the misplaced priorities of the 21st Century. That an issue of a suspended violent, racist, cheating and generally unpleasant character, is taken a lot more seriously than real issues affecting humanity. Issues such as Wars, Poverty, and in the UK disability housing, violence against women and dare I say asylum seekers.
Take this petition on Sum Of Us for example, which claims that the UK government has awarded an NHS contract to a private firm linked to scandal hit MP Malcolm Rifkind. But that the winning bid will actually cost the NHS more than a bid from local NHS services! Seven million bloody pounds cheaper! (different sources: The Mirror & Buzzfeed) Why is it that for a petition that has been around for at least 14 days, only 69,787 people have signed it? Does it mean that the issue of the NHS being practically auctioned-off is of less importance? Or is it because the mainstream media doesn’t like to talk about such things? And in this context, is Clarkson’s reinstatement a greater priority than wastefulness within the NHS?
I’ll tell you what’s happening.
Last week, a report was published by a little known group of cross-party MPs and Peers outlining the ways in which foreign Nationals are treated by the Home Office and its contractors (companies like Serco) in detention centres. It coincided with Channel 4’s revealing expose, about the shocking attitudes of some of the guards at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre.
Predictably, the story received very little news coverage in the media, and appeared to have been shunned. This indifference is by now well-rehearsed. And it doesn’t matter that foreign nationals were mistreated so appallingly. The summary reaction from the media is that it’s not news, it’s not important, who cares, f*** off!
Guido Fawkes, the popular right-wing blog which in some respects is the home of political scandal , and whose author has fronted the Clarkson campaign (complete with around 10 posts on his blog about Jeremy Clarkson) didn’t even mention Channel 4’s expose, let alone the detention centre report.
What such reactions say is that it is okay to be horrible, racist, violent, an insensitive schemer, to cheat on partners. If you are skilled or have a reputation – on which millions of pounds hang, you can still receive plenty of support, and get to keep your job, your plush lifestyle the whole lot – so long as you are on the right side of the political spectrum. Imagine what young people in their teens will make of it if Clarkson returned with all his whiskers intact?
Don’t get me wrong. I watch Top gear, every season of it. I enjoy the banter on the show, and like the trio of them. I think you’d enjoy a night out with them in a social gathering. Over the years, I’ve read the magazine a couple of times and while I’m not what you would describe as a hardcore fan, I’m nevertheless a fan. Like many Top Gear fans, I’ve overlooked many of Clarkson’s silly and distasteful utterances over the years, and yes he is very funny in an ape kind of way.
I believe everyone deserves a second chance.
But Jeremy Clarkson has used up all his spare cat-lives. He’s had his second, third, fourth chances… and now he’s just having his cake and eating it because he knows he can almost always get away with it.
The Change.org petition is no more than a right-wing protest at the unlikely admonishment of their overgrown middle-aged poster child. The kind of people who would find these scantily clad Nazi Dancers funny; who attend parties hosted by rich tax-dodging non-domiciled status types concerned only about profit; people who sympathise with Farage and his racist cohorts; the kind who are accustomed to blaming Polish, Romanians, Bulgarians migrants, and ethnic minorities for every f**king problem the UK faces. It’s becoming more fashionable to be that bigoted, sexist, racist person.
What’s sad is that there are some naive people who have joined this chorus. These pawns do not know of the underground agenda at play and have not connected the dots around the narrative that the media coverage is being provided by a powerful right-wing lobby with the result that the issue is gaining unprecedented news coverage, leading to thousands of signatures. They’ve simply been blinded by their love of the fantastic show, and have jumped onto the bandwagon, proclaiming their support for Clarkson, as if he were some kind of saint. St Jeremy Clarkson of Chipping Norton. Sweet.
But what really happened?
I think someone at the BBC was trying to cover it up, obviously because of the large sums of money at stake. We wouldn’t have known had the victim,Oisin Tymon, remained silent. I suspect that it was only after Oisin threatened legal action (perhaps after a deal to keep it under the lid failed) if something wasn’t done about the ‘fracas’ by the BBC that it became apparent that it couldn’t be contained within the news corporation. That’s when the suspension came, and now we have a runaway petition.