I was up early the other day because I was keen to write about the Britannia Hotels groupâ€™s incredible achievement of being voted the UKâ€™s worst chain for the seventh year running. Imagine. Youâ€™re told youâ€™re rubbish once and then you keep on being rubbish for six straight years. I wanted to comment about such an extraordinary level of commitment to slack-jawed slovenliness.
But then I noticed that the survey had been done by Which?, an organisation that is really only interested in reaching adenoidal people in action trousers and sandals who contribute to TripAdvisor and run the neighbourhood watch scheme. As a general rule, Iâ€™ve always reckoned that if something does badly in Which?, itâ€™s probably pretty good.
As I sat, deciding which side to take in the great hotel debate, I was distracted by an annoying man on Radio 4â€™s Farming Today show. He was from the airborne wing of the Labour Party â€” also known as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Birds â€” and he was talking about how he thought shooting game birds might be a bad thing.
The RSPB has always been prevented by its royal charter from campaigning against the shooting industry â€” Mrs Queen likes to strangle a pheasant or two at Christmas time, as we know â€” but it has worked out that it can comment if it reckons shooting is done by rich bastards in Range Rovers.
Now, the columnist Charles Moore said recently that the actress Olivia Colman had a â€œleft-wing faceâ€. I wonâ€™t comment on that, but I will say that Martin Harper, the man the RSPB sent to Radio 4, had a left-wing voice. Chris Packham has both a left-wing voice and a left-wing face, and he wants us all to stop using fly spray.
Anyway, Martin reckoned that if you release 50m non-native game birds into the British countryside every year, itâ€™s bound to have an effect. When pressed by the interviewer for a specific effect, he said: â€œEr, climate change.â€ That was lucky for the Britannia Hotels chain, because I immediately abandoned my original plan and decided to write about shooting instead.
The first thing I did when I started a small shoot was plant several acres of so-called cover crops. Maize, sunflowers and something called kale, which can be eaten by humans if they are very deranged. These crops provide warmth, food and a place to hide from Johnny Fox, not just for my pheasants but a whole squadron of other birds too.
We keep reading about how endangered the yellowhammer is these days; well, not on my farm it isnâ€™t. Since I started my shoot, the skies are black with them. And goldcrests. And wrens. And skylarks. The dawn chorus used to be nothing but the occasional squawk of a murderous crow, whereas now itâ€™s positively philharmonic.
Research has shown that if you run through a field of crops planted by a shootist, you are 340 times more likely to encounter a songbird than if you do a Theresa May and run through a field of grass.
So, Martin, if the RSPB does manage to ban shooting, then, yes, you will be championed as a class hero throughout the vegan strongholds of Islington and Shoreditch, but you will also be responsible for the deaths of a million linnets. Which, as far as I know, isnâ€™t why the RSPB was founded.
And then there are the woods, where the pheasants are held until they are old enough to forage on their own. Woods are beautiful and still. Theyâ€™re places to shelter from the endless drone of light-aircraft enthusiasts. Mine are full of roe deer and muntjac and squirrels and badgers, and at this time of year there are many mushrooms too. I love to spend an evening down there as the leaves turn golden, giggling. Everyone likes woods, except if you are in a horror film.
But they generate no income. So if shooting were banned, Iâ€™d have to get Brazilian on their arses and turn them into farmland. Is that what you want, Martin? Because I fear that would create a damn sight more climate change than my Range Rover.
Of course, Iâ€™m well aware that some people might bridle at the sight and sound of eight hedge-fund managers in tweed shorts, braying their way through a pint of sloe gin while brandishing a pair of Â£20,000 shotguns, but what good comes from making them take up golf instead?
There are many hobbies that inflict far more pain and misery on others: light aircraft â€” Iâ€™m not giving up on that â€” the violin, motorcycling, strimming, morris dancing and so on, so why pick on one thatâ€™s good for nature and good for the way the countryside looks?
Pointedly, itâ€™s good for birds too. Not just songbirds, but the kind of stuff that makes kids point at the sky and squeak with joy. Birds of prey. Since I started a shoot, I have seen a huge increase in the number of kestrels and buzzards over my farm. I even think I spotted a peregrine falcon the other day, and that made my heart soar.
Was it here because it likes eating my pheasants and partridges? Thereâ€™s some debate about that, but the truth is I donâ€™t really care if it does take a few. Because I like having it around.
Clarkson is right in saying that the Ringneck pheasant (Phasianus colchicus) is not native to Britain, but they were actually introduced by Julius Caesar a very long time ago, you’d think they’d have been given naturalized citizenship by now.
James May and Richard Hammond are going wherever Clarkson goes. Daily Mail
James Delingpole argues that “the wankerati” at the BBC shot themselves in the foot by firing Clarkson.
[T]ill Clarksonâ€™s nemesis BBC Controller of TV Danny Cohen came along, the BBC appears instinctively to have understood his value. Not his commercial value (the BBC likes to think itâ€™s above such vulgarities) but rather his propaganda value. Top Gear was the BBCâ€™s equivalent of a Potemkin Village or â€“ a bit of Clarksonesque bad taste here, why not? â€“ those films the Nazis used to make of jolly, well-fed Jews playing in orchestras and sitting in cafes near their delightful new living quarters in the Warsaw Ghetto. Any time unhelpful people started banging on about the BBCâ€™s entrenched left-wing bias and maddening political correctness, all the Beeb had to do was point at the self-evidently notleft-wing and not PC Top Gear as proof of the contrary.
Till the BBC sacked Clarkson, my view was that they were going to get away this game for many years hence. But now I am not so sure.
Over a million people signed that petition urging the BBC to reinstate Clarkson. A fair proportion of them, I suspect, will belong to precisely that demographic the BBC finds most embarrassing: white, obviously; probably Thatcherite in outlook, but quite fond of Nigel Farage; highly sceptical of â€œglobal warmingâ€; petrolheads, again obviously; not averse to telling the odd racist joke when theyâ€™re with their mates, not so much because they have anything against â€œcolouredâ€ people (as they probably call them, not knowing the correct term) but more as a reaction against political correctness; might not have gone to â€œuniâ€ because they could tell it was a complete waste of time. People who â€“ at least in the BBCâ€™s Weltanschauung â€“ are pretty much beyond the pale.
Unfortunately for the BBC, however, these disgusting, frightful people, very few of whom live anywhere civilised like North London or have ever knowingly eaten cavolo nero, represent a much larger percentage of the population than any of the worthy groups it would prefer to cater to (the â€œAsianâ€ community; gay people; disabled people; Roma; environmentalists; activists; etc). While Top Gear was on â€“ the modern equivalent of â€œbread and circusesâ€ â€“ this mob were kept at bay. But with Top Gear gone, they may incline to feel that they have been cheated â€“ like a serially abused child whose one and only toy has finally snatched away from him by his prissy, unloving, perma-stubbled, tofu-eating stepfather.
In short, for many years the BBC has been living a lie. It has pretended â€“ as its Charter requires of it â€“ that itâ€™s for everyone when really it has continually and ruthlessly shut out any presenters, programmes or opinions which donâ€™t fit into its narrow, metropolitan, left-liberal narrative. And what the Clarkson sacking has done is brought this issue to a head. Also â€“ a bit like Gamergate did for gamers â€“ it has woken large numbers of people who hadnâ€™t hitherto thought of themselves as particularly political into an appreciation of how badly theyâ€™ve been conned and abused by a narrow, self-selecting and very political elite who despise them.
Ron Liddle, at the Spectator, agrees:
[W]hatever the rights or wrongs of this latest â€˜fracasâ€™, the BBC was uncomfortable with him. It wanted him out. It was torn a little by the fact that â€“ again almost uniquely for a BBC star â€“ he was genuinely popular, and popular with a section of the audience the BBC normally fails to reach â€“ ie British people who are not PC neurotics. Yes, millions and millions and millions of people. But collectively it loathed his politics. And that is really why he has gone. And so who is left at the BBC who isnâ€™t left?
Well, it’s happened. The wet ends at the BBC (who obviously think they are administrators at some American college) have declined to renew the contract of Jeremy Clarkson, the principal host of the BBC’s hit automotive program Top Gear.
The BBCâ€™s Director General Tony Hall has confirmed Top Gear host Jeremy Clarksonâ€™s contract will not be renewed after a physical altercation with a producer. The controversial presenter was suspended on March 10, following a â€œfracasâ€ with Oisin Tymon â€” believed to be over catering â€” in a Yorkshire hotel.
â€œIt is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon,â€ said Hall in a statement.
Clarkson was fired because he got into a fracas with his producer on March 4th while filming in chilly Yorkshire. The Top Gear star became angry at learning that no hot meal was being provided, and socked producer Oisin Tymon in the mouth after calling him “a lazy Irish c*nt.”
Following the announcement, Top Gear co-host James May, whose contract is also up at the end of the month, told reporters outside his home, â€œItâ€™s a tragedy. Iâ€™m sorry that what ought to have been a small incident, sorted out easily, turned into something bigâ€¦ I have only known for the past few minutes and if youâ€™ll excuse me, I very desperately have to write the eBay listing for my Ferrari.â€
The lazy Irish c*nt with the swollen lip and his reptilian lawyer were also heard from (Yahoo News):
â€œI respect Lord Hallâ€™s detailed findings and I am grateful to the BBC for their thorough and swift investigation into this very regrettable incident, against a background of intense media interest and speculation.
â€œIâ€™ve worked on Top Gear for almost a decade, a programme I love.
â€œOver that time Jeremy and I had a positive and successful working relationship, making some landmark projects together. He is a unique talent and I am well aware that many will be sorry his involvement in the show should end in this way.â€
Statement from his lawyer Paul Daniels in full:
â€œThis last month has been a nightmare for Oisin, his friends and his family. Through absolutely no fault of his own he found himself at the centre of a massive news story, but despite that he has conducted himself with dignity, restraint and balance.
â€œHe now simply wishes to return to the job he loves at the BBC. He does not intend to make any further media comment and kindly asks that his privacy is respected.
â€œMore generally, this is an important reminder that UK law protects all staff who face bullying, discrimination or violence at work, and all employers are required to protect their staff from such behaviour.â€
Obviously, British television resembles the American education system more than it does Hollywood. Its top priority is preventing bullying or discrimination against the inactive, the Hibernian, and those incapable of defending themselves. In America, the talent, I expect, tends to get hot meals and lots of sucking up from the help.
Personally, I think justice would be done by having the American Fox Network dash in and sign up all three British hosts for a new, and more luxurious, version of an automotive program, combining fast car testing, humor, and political satire.
And, every couple of months, Jeremy Clarkson should punch out some deserving left-wing commentator while his audience in the millions applauds.
There’s been a considerable negative American reaction to another snot-nosed, whingeing Pom journalist injecting himself into the center of a domestic American Constitutional debate. In response to Piers Morgan’s on-line abuse of American’s Second Amendment rights, a White House petition calling for Morgan’s immediate deportation was created which has accumulated over 90,000 signatures in the course of a few days.
After Morgan bullied and abused the elderly and overly-well-mannered Larry Pratt on television, the more combative Ted Nugent got himself invited to appear on Morgan’s show, where he wound up inviting Piers Morgan to kiss his ass.
Morgan responded yesterday, threatening that, if we Americans failed to enact British-style gun confiscation and civilian disarmament, he might deport himself.
If you donâ€™t change your gun laws to at least try to stop this relentless tidal wave of murderous carnage, then you donâ€™t have to worry about deporting me.
Although I love the country as a second home and one that has treated me incredibly well, I would, as a concerned parent first â€“ and latterly, of a one-year-old daughter who may attend an American elementary school like Sandy Hook in three yearsâ€™ time â€“ seriously consider deporting myself.
In the same period, Piers Morgan provoked the wrath of Top Gear‘s colorful automotive critic Jeremy Clarkson by prying into Clarkson’s private life and insulting his wife.
Clarkson evidently responded by tipping a glass of water into Morgan’s lap during the last flight of the Concorde, and finally by punching him in the face three times during a British Press Awards dinner in 2004.
Although Wikipedia says the Clarkson-Morgan feud ended in 2006, Jeremy Clarkson has commented on the Piers Morgan affair on Twitter:
Jeremy Clarkson, of the British television program Top Gear, visited the United States back in 2006. He didn’t like a lot of the same things about this country that I don’t like.
Step out of the loop, do something unusual and youâ€™ll encounter a wall of low-paid, low-intellect workers whose sole job is to prevent their bosses from being sued. As a result, you never hear anyone say: â€œOh Iâ€™m sure itâ€™ll be all right.â€ …
You know the Stig. The all-white racing driver we use on Top Gear. Well, we were filming him walking through the Mojave desert when lo and behold a lorry full of soldiers rocked up and arrested him. He was unusual. He wasnâ€™t fat. He must therefore be a Muslim.
It gets worse. I needed money to play a little blackjack in Vegas but because I was unable to provide the cashier with an American zip code he was unable to help. Itâ€™s the same story at the petrol pumps. Americans can punch their address into the key pad and replenish their tank. Europeans have to prove theyâ€™re not terrorists before being allowed to start pumping.
I seem to recall a television advertisement in which George W Bush himself urged us all to go over there for our holidays. But whatâ€™s the point when you canâ€™t buy anything? Or do anything. Or walk across the desert in a white suit without being arrested.
The main problem I suspect is a complete lack of knowledge about the world. I asked people in the streets of Vegas to name two European countries. The very first woman I spoke to said: â€œOh yes. Whatâ€™s that one with kangaroos?â€
Then youâ€™ve got New Orleans, which, nearly a year after Katrina, is still utterly smashed and ruined. Now Iâ€™m sorry but insects can build shelter on their own. Birds can build nests without a state handout. So why are the people of Louisiana sitting around waiting for someone else to do the repairs? …
Among the things I donâ€™t like is the way everyone over 15 stone now moves about in a wheelchair. As a result, it takes half an hour to get through even the widest door. And I really donâ€™t like the way that every small town looks exactly the same as every other small town. Palmdale in California and Biloxi in Mississippi are nigh on identical. They have the same horrible restaurants. The same mall. The same interstate drone. Live in either for more than a week and youâ€™d be stabbing your own eyes with knitting needles.
But itâ€™s the idiocracy that really gets me down. The constant coaxing you have to do to get anything done. â€œNoâ€ is the default setting whether you want to change lanes on a motorway or get a drink on a Sunday. Itâ€™s like trying to negotiate with a donkey. Once, I urged a cop in Pensacola, Florida, to use his common sense and let me load a van in the no loading zone, since the airport was shut and it would make no difference. â€œSir,â€ he said, â€œyou donâ€™t need common sense when youâ€™ve got laws.â€