Claire Black: Jeremy Clarkson should get the sack

Jeremy Clarkson has been begging for fans forgiveness on Twitter.  Picture: PA
Jeremy Clarkson has been begging for fans forgiveness on Twitter. Picture: PA
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IDON’T know what offends me most – Jeremy Clarkson’s repugnant, relentless bigotry or his grovelling, gag-inducing apology following his latest gaffe says Claire Black

The move from out-and-out denial (with a dash of faux outrage) to self-flagellating confession back to outright denial only took days.

First came the claim that there was a video of Clarkson saying the rhyme “eeny meeny miny moe” complete with the line “catch a n***** by the toe”. Outrageous, bellowed the pot-bellied ignoramus. Or rather: “I did not use the n word. Never use it. The Mirror has gone way too far this time.” That was his tweet to his 3.2 million followers.

The delicacy he displayed with his use of the “n word” in that tweet was soon shown to be anomalous when in due course the video emerged online showing he indeed said “n*****” in a Top Gear take which was never used.

So what’s a serial offender to do when caught in such a public way?

In a change to his usual technique of bluster and BBC-goading (Clarkson has hidden behind his indefensibly weak employer for years now) he released a video in which he claimed that, although he knew he shouldn’t say that word, no, more than that, although he actively didn’t want to say that word, he was somehow unable to stop himself. “I did everything in my power to not use that word,” he claimed. In fact he didn’t say the word, he only mumbled it, was his latest pronouncement.

It is almost sad that a 54-year-old man – paid millions of pounds to speak words in public (what is a presenter, if not that?) – is so deluded as to claim he could not stop himself from saying a word recognised as wholly offensive for decades. Is anyone really able to buy that?

Even if you believed that the world might stop turning if Clarkson wasn’t on the box wearing a bad shirt and spouting some spraff about cars, could you accept that he said “n*****” because he couldn’t stop himself? And even if you could manage this feat of Herculean will in the face of the blindingly obvious, could your commitment to refusing to see the truth of what Clarkson has repeatedly shown himself to be – a bigot – withstand even the most cursory flick through the man’s back catalogue of spittle-flecked, bile-doused rantings?

There is scarcely a social group which hasn’t been traduced by Clarkson – women, gay people, more nationalities than my word count will allow me to list, striking workers, prostitutes, the suicidal.

Actually, fair’s fair, I’ve never heard Clarkson utter a bad word about middle-aged asshats clad in ill-fitting leather jackets, stonewashed Levi’s and suede shoes.

When Clarkson said that striking workers should be shot in front of their families, Prime Minister David Cameron said his comments were “silly”. This time, Michael Gove and a host of other defenders have said he’s apologised and that should be the end of the matter. But it can’t be.

Complaints about Clarkson from ambassadors and politicians, as well as mere mortals, have been all but ignored in the past. This time a slap on the wrist isn’t enough. Buffoons such as Clarkson (and Nigel Farage for that matter) get away with their bigotry because they claim they’re just saying what most other people would say. They’re not. The BBC needs to show that it understands that.

Alphonso mango ban really sucks

NEWS that the European Union has halted imports of mangos from India has caused a stushie in our house. Grow up in an Indian family, as my other half did, and you will show this fine fruit the same reverence my Scots kin reserve for Tunnock’s caramel wafers. This year would have marked our baby’s first mango season, the first time his little, gummy mouth (eight months, still no teeth) would have sooked the juice from the juiciest of fruits. But instead, the orange flesh has been ripped from his tiny hand by what some have called a “knee-jerk reaction” by the EU to the discovery of a certain fruit fly in some consignments from India. Basically, they’ve banned mangos – just as the Alphonso mango season begins. If you’ve never had an Alphonso then I’m not going to bang on about them as it’s going to be 2016 before you can next get your hands on one unless something changes. But on the nought to ten scale of deliciousness, Alphonsos are 11. My plea to the EU is simple – it’s not about how this is bad for business, it’s less think of the children and more think of just one child, mine. Sorry to be selfish, but that’s just how it is.

Skye’s the limit for buses

ARE you aware that it’s Catch the Bus Week? Queuing in Leith the other day at a stop adjacent to a pawnbroker and downwind of a bin overflowing with fag butts, I confess I struggled to feel the romance of travelling by double decker.

But not every journey is the fright fest that is the Number 7. The bus route that topped the Top Ten of all British bus routes is the 916 from Glasgow to Uig, on Skye. It’s the longest bus route in Britain. The 916 leaves Glasgow at 10am every day to arrive at Uig by 5.50pm, and if you’ve got a National Entitlement Card, you go free. That is pretty special. «