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Donkin's World: Public Execution

...I suspect he has become too successful, too rich and far too famous to give two hoots about what anyone thinks of him, including the management of the BBC...

Richard Donkin considers a comment made by TV personality Jeremy Clakson which aroused the ire of those who rush to judgement.

I went on strike once and a little old lady, who must have been Jeremy Clarkson's grannie, came up to us as we stood around our brazier on picket duty and said we should be put up against a wall and shot. She was entitled to her opinion and we all took it in good heart.

I suspect people might have taken Clarkson's comments on The One Show equally lightly had he not said that yesterday's public sector strikers should be "executed in front of their families." http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0dwog1ULcHA It was tasteless in the extreme and certainly inflammatory, but nothing out of the ordinary in exchanges you might hear down at the local Conservative club.

Clarkson has form for such wanton disregard for public taste. He might argue that it is part of his brand and therefore should be dismissed as "just Clarkson being Clarkson". In the same vein Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand were just being themselves when they made cruel remarks about Andrew Sachs on late night radio.

And because they made such remarks, they had to go. It was right that they did and both seem to be re-instating their careers after an incident that was soon going to be water under the bridge in the liberal, forgiving world of celebrity land.

Clarkson knows there is no such thing as bad publicity and just now he has something to sell. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/scott-bryan/jeremy-clarkson-story-is-a-farce_b_1122938.html?ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false Every outrageous comment and every tweet or blog that responds is pumping yet more oxygen in to an over-inflated ego.

There are a lot of things to admire in the man. He is an articulate and talented writer and broadcaster and had I known him during his early career in Yorkshire newspapers when we would have been contemporaries - he is three years younger than me - I dare say we might have been drinking mates. You had to sink or swim in the banter that exchanged between journalists in those days and I had colleagues at the Yorkshire Post who would have eaten a young Clarkson alive.

I suspect he has become too successful, too rich and far too famous to give two hoots about what anyone thinks of him, including the management of the BBC. I doubt if he will care much if it is he who has to face the firing squad, however metaphorically. He knows he has a franchise he can take almost anywhere and ITV will probably be waiting with the readies for anything he has to offer. But he doesn't think this will happen because he belongs to a small coterie of people in all walks of life who believe they have become unsackable.

I'm not sure that the unions, the TV executives and the viewing public should become too worked up by what he said. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15977813 It will only play to the sympathies of his hard-core following if they do so. Be in no doubt there will have been quite a lot of people watching their TVs yesterday who would have said "right on Jeremy" in response to his remarks about gilt-edged public sector pensions. He had a point to make and he made it a little more emphatically than the average politician because he doesn't care a damn about niceties. You wouldn't recruit someone like Clarkson in to the diplomatic corps.

If you don't like Clarkson, or any other boorish TV celebrity for that matter, one way to respond is to turn them off, ignore their columns and leave their books on the shelf. I've done that for years but these people have a habit of popping up and saying something more outrageous than ever. Perhaps the only answer, come the revolution, will be to drag them in to the street and.......

But not Clarkson. Shooting's too good for him. As die-hard liberals, I think we would need to show some compassion and be satisfied with the kind of punishment meted out to the dissenters of old. How about if he was hanged, drawn and quartered, his innards hung from lampposts and his severed head planted on a spike above Tower Bridge? That'd learn him.

On the other hand, in mitigation, he did once punch Piers Morgan. That alone may be enough to grant him a pardon. But he's had enough pardons hasn't he?


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