The Clarkson Effect and Political Correctness.

The furore over a BBC TV Show presenter’s alleged argument with a producer of the show has had some interesting repercussions.

Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson (Wikipedia creative commons)

Jeremy Clarkson, arguably the most well-known of the team of 3 presenters of the popular BBC TV motoring show Top Gear is alleged to have shouted at, sworn at and by some accounts, attempted to punch, one of the show’s producers.

That this happened in public at a hotel and over a relatively minor issue about a meal has inflamed the controversy.

Jeremy Clarkson is no stranger to controversy, his Wikipedia page lists a string of complaints from people, politicians, local councils, groups, car manufacturers and even countries whose sensibilities have been upset by his disregard for political correctness.

The BBC’s immediate reaction to the incident was to suspend Clarkson and cancel the next 3 episodes of the show. It does not seem that the insulted producer made a complaint. Reports in the media show that Jeremy Clarkson himself advised the BBC of the incident.

Top gear is one of the BBC’s most successful and profitable shows with an estimated 350 million global viewers.

Reaction to the suspension and cancellation has been swift and attracted unprecedented numbers of supporters. Not for the BBC, but for Jeremy Clarkson. At the time of writing, over 800 000 supporters have signed an on-line petition calling for Clarkson and the show’s immediate reinstatement. By some reports the fastest growing on-line petition ever. Another report in the British media points out that with that number of supporters, the man is more popular than all the major British political parties combined.

It appears that the BBC may have shot itself in the foot or “cut off its nose to spite its face” as the old saying goes.

The financial losses for breaching its contract to provide the next 3 shows to other TV channels around the world could apparently reach 50 million pounds. There could be more contractual problems with the other 2 presenters and advertisers.

I have watched and enjoyed Top Gear, as much for the good reporting on a variety of cars as for the presenters’, Jeremy Clarkson in particular, total disregard for political correctness. Their bravery in voicing their opinions in this era of lynching by social media for the slightest hint of good old-fashioned plain speaking, now called political incorrectness or xxx phobia. With any special interest group’s acronym or name replacing the xxx of phobia.

Do I agree with all the opinions voiced on Top Gear? Definitely not, some of the dialogue is ridiculous and crude. Some of the comments are over-the-top, some criticism of certain vehicles probably based more on personal taste than fact.

But it has been refreshing to see and hear people brave enough to voice their opinions and to tilt at the windmills of political correctness.

With 800 000 supporters, it seems I am not alone in celebrating one of the few media personalities and TV shows that strike a blow for common sense, freedom of thought and freedom to have an opinion of one’s own. Not one forced on us by the thought police and social media vigilantes.

Am I condoning a hissy fit with bad language in a public place? No, it was a display of bad manners, but there are more important things to worry about and better ways of handling the incident than this.

Does this huge rally of support for Jeremy Clarkson signal a swing of the pendulum, a return to common sense and away from political correctness? Too early to tell, but with a hardening in Europe to Islamic terrorism and immigration, it might be an early indicator that the pendulum is reaching the end of the swing to the “we” era.

I suspect that Jeremy Clarkson’s popularity is partly driven by the envy of ordinary people too constrained by society to speak their minds.That he has been highly successful and done good work in support of the British Military and British Industry are also factors.

What do you think? Leave a comment, start a debate, disagree by all means but l won’t publish comments with obscenities.







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  1 comment for “The Clarkson Effect and Political Correctness.

  1. Roberta
    March 13, 2015 at 10:31 pm

    Wish I loved in GB or Canada to be able to see this show. Must be a breath of fresh air.

    As you know America is still in the era of political correctness. I see some signs it might end. But not much.

    I am of an age that I remember the British TV show That Was the Week That Was and the American knock off of the same name. Also here in America we had Laugh In. Both shows were in the current lingo not PC. And I loved them both.

    Freedom is not divisible…and therefore neither is free speech. I hate political correctness in all it’s various guises. Even here in the USA the Supreme Court gives wide berth to free speech with the only constriction of free speech is the standard that you cannot yell ‘Fire’ in a crowded building if there is no fire. This to me is a safety of the citizenry. Yet the Word Police are out there all the time.

    Add them to the Food Police and we live in an age of authoritarianism.

    I hope that Top Gear continues to thrive and gives birth to dozens of new shows that stand yp for free speech.

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