Welcome to the New World

Pausing briefly from my abyss-gazing to consider this glorious story about trade unionists’ reaction to Jeremy Clarkson on the One Show.

(Fear not, dear readers. This is not a pro- or anti- Clarkson rant. Your opinion of Clarkson is your own business. I shan’t be trying to reinforce or alter it.)

It’s not often that news stories depress me. I shout at some, laugh at others. Some prompt a short office debate, if anyone has the energy to raise their eyes from the mailbag sewing for more than a few seconds.

This one, though, achieved that special distinction by virtue of being so tragically absurd, so inanely and teeth-chatteringly preposterous and risible that it has threatened to ruin my habitual equanimity for the rest of the day.

Looming apocalypse

We are – as you may have noticed, and I have recently pointed out – living in dangerous times. There are people in our country – our first world, prosperous country – wondering how to put food on the table this evening. We face a decline in our living standards that threatens to extend into the early years of the next decade, with no prospect of definite recovery even then.

Tomorrow, or next week, people all over Europe may find themselves locked out of banks, their savings destroyed, their jobs gone, their national economies wrecked. The rest of the world wonders how it can possibly protect its own people from this looming apocalypse.

Yet here is a man seriously proposing, against that background, to use the valuable time of British courts to attempt a Crown prosecution of a man who chose to make a joke on the television.

You may deplore his joke. You may not find it funny. You may even hate the guy. All valid and defensible positions.

But here’s the thing: he was clearly not being serious. Not a soul who watched that show thought so. You could show that clip to 1 million mother tongue English speakers all over the world and not one would conclude that Clarkson was seriously calling for mass murder.

It’s called hyperbole, you ignorant motherfuckers.

Utterly arsefucked

Does it not disturb anyone else that apparently we now live in a country where making any kind of joke whose implicit politics other folk disapprove invites denouncement and the threat of criminal sanction? That highly paid people with bigger concerns (you would assume) are willing, at a time of national crisis, to go out of their way to encourage this? That our own prime minister is forced to comment on the situation?

Hey ho. The good news for anyone NOT disturbed by this is that you won’t have to wait long until I’m dead and buried. Quite a few folks who share my outlook and age will be gone with me.

So you can then fully enjoy your po-faced, hair-splitting, trivia-obsessed, big-pictureless, totalitarian, servile and utterly arsefucked society without our tedious interventions.

I hope you enjoy it. And that someone who disapproves of your humour or politics kills you in front of your family.

5 Responses to “Welcome to the New World”

  1. The Idiot Gardener Says:

    I wouldn’t be too sure that EVERYONE knew it was a joke.

    I’d shot four teachers, two passport office workers, a nurse and an estate agent (okay, he wasn’t striking, but it was too good an opportunity) before it dawned on me. Ho hum!

  2. Isobel McAllister Says:

    Ok, I’ve had a sense of humour bypass, but someone insisting that I be shot in front of my kids just doesn’t make me giggle.
    Let’s hope he comes up to Scotland for the Edinburgh Festival next year. That would give us a laugh.

  3. Tom Says:

    I promised myself I would comment on gardening topics only, but I have to say that I completely agree with you Soilman. What happened to the philosophy ‘I completely disagree with him, but I will defend, to the death, his right to say it’?. Also how can one go through life without causing offence – and cliche of cliches I know.. – if you don’t like it turn the bally telly off and get planning your plot for next year.

  4. Soilman Says:


    Your question “How can one go through life without causing offence?” nails it for me. Human beings give and take offence pretty freely, even when they’re trying not to. Pretty much all people, even the most thick-skinned, have sacred cows. It’s hard to avoid ever standing on their toes (can I mix those metaphors??)

    So making a huge song and dance about offence – given or taken – seems like so much wasted hot air to me. As I’ve remarked before, you’re better off making a scandal about actions, policies and laws that genuinely hurt people in a real and tangible sense. In the end, this is the only kind of offence that matters a shit – the kind that directly creates physical suffering, starvation, mental illness, addiction, suicide and death.

    Believe me, there’s plenty of it out there. More than enough to keep a fizzing, angry conscience very, very busy 24/7 without wasting useful time on the latest, fashionable hurt feelings.

  5. Kath Says:

    Political correctness along with a lack of humor has taken over the US too. Or at least large portions of it…while I love where I live for many reasons (Seattle, WA) there is a distinct lack of humor in any political or serious conversation here. When a comment has to prefaced with “Well, I may say this wrong and please don’t take offence at anything I say because really, it’s my fault that I’m just not saying it with the correct words” things have gone to far. I despise the current Repbulican regime, but I would defend to the death their right to say the dispicable, self-serving, elitist and racist things they say.