I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of Jeremy Clarkson, or Top Gear. Or bullying, arrogance or violence. Or cars, for that matter.
But I’ll try really hard – as hard as Jeremy tries not to be controversial, or racist….or blokey – to be objective about his sacking from the BBC.
Yes, I know. Technically he won’t have his rich-as-Croesus freelance contract renewed so he’s not a BBC employee, but he’s still subject to their ethics and HR policies. And that’s the issue.
It’s ironic that after years of sailing oh so close to breaking broadcasting guidelines – and sometimes tacking across them – his demise comes from contravening internal BBC bullying and harassment policies. A bit like Attila The Hun caught shoplifting.
In these morally self-righteous times, you can’t slap your own child. You hesitate to pick up someone else’s if they fall over in the road…even if they’re crying like Gazza after being shown a yellow card. You can’t do your awful impression of Dev Patel in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, shaking your head from side to side while munching a poppadom in your local Bombay Spice restaurant. And you can’t talk about women as if Emily Pankhurst were still chained to the railings.
So Jeremy got away with the abusive slope jibe about an Asian. And other casual on-air insults about Mexicans, Albanians, Germans and Romanians. And public sector workers. And Gordon Brown. And the infamous Argentinian escapade. And the off-air eeny, meeny, miney, mo episode…..
But when he physically assaulted and verbally abused a senior colleague, enough was rightly enough. The BBC had no option other than to terminate their Star With An Unreasonably Large Contract, and walk away from the cash machine.
Jeremy is a brilliant journalist and broadcaster. His star – and bank balance – will continue to rise.
The Beeb will no doubt try to motor on with Top Gear. But without Jeremy will it be like a d’Artagnan-less Three Musketeers? Or Morecambe & Wise without the bald, funny one?
Only time will tell.
But can we please now start talking about something more important?