Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Hero of the Week - Michael Buerk: Wanker of the Week - Jeremy Clarkson

Before I turn to the cuckservative traitor, Clarkson, let me first praise an old colleague of mine from the BBC Nine O'Clock News, Michel Buerk, who, as reported in this Breitbart article, has given virtue-signalling slebs both barrels right in the face. In a Radio Times interview with the actor (well, sort of actor) Ross Kemp, the former BBC Southern Africa correspondent, I'm a Celebrity... contestant, newreader and Moral Maze presenter had this to say about haemophiliac liberal actors like Emma Thompson and Benedict Cumberbatch:
“As a superannuated war reporter myself I’m a little sniffy about celebs pratting around among the world’s victims... I hate it when feather-bedded thesp[ian]s pay flying visits to the desperate to parade their bleeding hearts and trumpet their infantile ideas on what ‘must be done’...There’s only so much of the Benedict and Emma worldview you can take.” 
Now, you might have imagined that Buerk was a standard-issue BBC left-liberal crybaby, given that his 1984 reports on famine in Ethiopia launched a 30-year celebrity emotathon in which fabulously wealthy entertainers constantly demand that those of us who aren't famous and who have a lot less money than they do foot the bill for whichever victim group happens to be currently agitating their over-active tear-ducts. But, while I can't place my hand on my heart and tell you that I know which political party Michael Buerk supports (I don't have a clue), I can tell you that there wasn't anything remotely BBC standard-issue about him when I was a humble assistant producer on the Nine and he was one of its two newsreaders. All I can report is that he was nobody's fool and had little patience for Newsnight-style intellectual vapourings or feelgood left-wing sentimentality. (Irrelevant fact: Buerk once told us that he was working his way through the whole of Dickens - I don't know why that bit of information lodged in my brain, but it did.)

Remarkable (well, it strikes me as remarkable) was the fact that the other main presenter on the Nine wasn't a standard-issue lefty either - in 2011, Peter Sissons asserted that left-wing bias was written into the BBC's DNA:
Whatever the United Nations is associated with is good — it is heresy to question any of its activities. The EU is also a good thing, but not quite as good as the UN. Soaking the rich is good, despite well-founded economic arguments that the more you tax, the less you get. And Government spending is a good thing, although most BBC ­people prefer to call it investment, in line with New Labour’s terminology. 
All green and environmental groups are very good things. Al Gore is a saint. George Bush was a bad thing, and thick into the bargain. Obama was not just the Democratic Party’s candidate for the White House, he was the BBC’s... Trade unions are mostly good things, especially when they are fighting BBC managers. Quangos are also mostly good, and the reports they produce are usually handled uncritically. The Royal Family is a bore. Islam must not be offended at any price, although ­Christians are fair game because they do nothing about it if they are offended.
Sound. Very sound. (Irrelevant fact: Sissons once returned from a cruise he'd been on with his wife and informed us they'd become very friendly with Bullseye host Jim Bowen. "What a very, very nice man," he said. My colleagues looked utterly bewildered:  A cruise? Jim Bowen??? I wondered whether I should dispense smelling-salts.)

On the other hand, erstwhile hero of the Right, Jeremy Clarkson, has revealed himself to be a lily-livered, four-flushing, two-faced, scum-sucking turncoat. I remember being rather moved by a Top Gear piece years ago which ended with Clarkson sitting bulgily on a dockside somewhere or other (it might have been Spain), lamenting how EU regulations had destroyed the British fishing industry. It struck me at the time how extraordinary it was to hear a BBC presenter voice such opinions, because as Peter Sissons wrote, as far as the BBC is concerned, the EU is definitely "a good thing". On that day, Clarkson, whom I'd always considered a mildly amusing oaf, turned into a bit of a hero of mine. Well, no longer. This weekend, he wrote an article for the Sunday Times in which he argued that we should stay in the EU in order to help turn it into a United States of Europe "with one army and one currency and one unifying set of values", which would "function as well as the United States of America" and which would "make the continent work the way the Continent should – as a liberal, kind, balanced fulcrum in a mad world”.

Only, of course, such a monstrous, unwieldy, fantasmagorical entity wouldn't, can't, won't, doesn't (take your pick) function as well the US. Being conservatives (as were the founding fathers of the American Republic), we know that this is a pipe-dream so deranged I can barely be bothered bringing up arguments against it. The two most recent attempts to forge a common European identity (Napoleon and Hitler) didn't really come close to turning it into a "kind, balanced fulcrum" - and, on both occasions, the genuinely kind and balanced English were the key players in kicking the whole bonkers death, misery and poverty-spreading totalitarian enterprise solidly into touch.

Clarkson's stated motives for urging Britain to get aboard a Euro Special headed for economic and social catastrophe are (1) Britain alone would have little influence in the world, and (2) he feels more at home in Europe than he does in America:
“Whether I’m sitting in a railway concourse in Brussels or pottering down the canals of southwestern France or hurtling along a motorway in Croatia, I feel way more at home than I do when I’m trying to get something to eat in Dallas or Sacramento. I love Europe, and to me that’s important”.
What - you can't love Europe and loathe the EU? Now, pay attention - Europe is not the same thing as the EU. Why would someone who doesn't have to move their lips while reading ever imagine they were?

I often get misty-eyed about our common European heritage when standing in European churches and cathedrals. That shared heritage isn't the law (we have different legal systems) or democracy (a relatively recent phenomenon in many European countries, now being vigorously undermined by the EU) - it's mainly Christianity (which Clarkson sneers at, with endless hilarious references to "the Baby Cheeses", and which the EU is busily destroying by allowing in millions of Muslims) and the concept of the nation state (entities the EU is determined to abolish).

Politically, Europe is divided between two basic models: the old practical, un-Utopian British model, based on small government, personal liberty, self-reliance, free trade, the primacy of the individual, decentralised power, a preference for experience over theory, the principle of if-it-isn't broken don't fix it etc. - and the German model, which is essentially big government, high taxes, centralised economic control, the primacy of the state  or "society" (whatever that might be) over the individual, a preference for Utopian political theories over experience, and rule by an elite made up of highly-paid technocratic "experts".

True, some basic British political principles have been partially introduced into the rest of Europe over the years (much to its benefit) and vice-versa (much to Britain's cost) - but we're still talking about two largely antithetical worldviews: despite Clarkson's preference for bombing down Croatian motorways over looking for restaurants in Texas, we still have more in common with America's underlying political principles than with the rest of Europe's. That will change if we vote to remain in the EU, which would mean that the rather rackety political and economic system that created the last great world empire (i.e. Britain's) will irrevocably have caved in to the Germanic model, and that the British model will only exist in the form of the current great world empire, the United States (but not for long, if either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump triumph - Obama's spent the last seven years trying to turn the US into Europe).

Our experience of the EU so far would suggest the idea that "more Europe" will turn it into some sort of unified world superpower is so absolutely fucking daft it's hard to believe a sensible grown-up would entertain the notion for more than thirty seconds, and then only if they'd drunk or drugged themselves to the point of insensibility beforehand. I can only imagine that Clarkson has fallen for the idea of sacrificing democratic accountability and national identity in return for "power" and "influence" (whose, exactly? Germany's?) because of a deep-seated resentment of America's usurpation of Britain's role as the leading world power a century and more ago. Well, that sense of frustrated entitlement has proved a powerful motive for many a British traitor over the years: I'm just surprised that Clarkson has decided to swell their ranks. Let's hope his chum Dave Cameron makes it worth his while, eh?

I realise that Clarkson isn't exactly a modern-day equivalent of William Wordsworth, but you'll get my drift:

"The Lost Leader" by Robert Browning

Just for a handful of silver he left us,
      Just for a riband to stick in his coat—
Found the one gift of which fortune bereft us,
      Lost all the others she lets us devote;
They, with the gold to give, doled him out silver,
      So much was theirs who so little allowed:
How all our copper had gone for his service!
      Rags—were they purple, his heart had been proud!
We that had loved him so, followed him, honoured him,
      Lived in his mild and magnificent eye,
Learned his great language, caught his clear accents,
      Made him our pattern to live and to die!
Shakespeare was of us, Milton was for us,
      Burns, Shelley, were with us,—they watch from their graves!
He alone breaks from the van and the freemen,
      —He alone sinks to the rear and the slaves!

We shall march prospering,—not thro' his presence;
      Songs may inspirit us,—not from his lyre;
Deeds will be done,—while he boasts his quiescence,
      Still bidding crouch whom the rest bade aspire:
Blot out his name, then, record one lost soul more,
      One task more declined, one more footpath untrod,
One more devils'-triumph and sorrow for angels,
      One wrong more to man, one more insult to God!
Life's night begins: let him never come back to us!
      There would be doubt, hesitation and pain,
Forced praise on our part—the glimmer of twilight,
      Never glad confident morning again!
Best fight on well, for we taught him—strike gallantly,
      Menace our heart ere we master his own;
Then let him receive the new knowledge and wait us,
      Pardoned in heaven, the first by the throne!


  1. I think you hit the nail on the head about Clarkson's 'resentment' of the USA. If he really feels more at home in the EU than in a country which (more or less) speaks the same language, shares a legal system and very much else, then he has long since lost his soul to the snobby Europhilia that has obsessed the English middle class for decades.

    Strange what living among the chattering classes can do to an otherwise sound mind, isn't it?

    1. It wouldn't be so disappointing if he was arguing - as many do - that leaving the EU would result in the UK's economic ruin. It's not an argument I accept, but at least it's rational. What's sad is the sheer silliness of the main reason he gives for staying in: wanting to be part of a big, bullying European superstate strikes me as quite pathetic - does he dream of walking into American bars and shouting "I bet my dad's bigger than your dad!" I always assumed that Clarkson's impersonation of an oversized 15 year old was an act - but it seems that's what he actually is. I hope both of the new versions of Top Gear fail dismally.

  2. So do I, not least because I like and am interested in cars and I resent the waste of airtime on a light entertainment show that enables broadcasters to pretend they cover the subject with any seriousness.

    1. Never had you down as a petrolhead, GCooper! I'm not particularly interested in cars, which, come to think of it, is probably why I've always rather enjoyed the show.

  3. And another thing...isn't this a tiny bit over the top? I am not sure why you bother to engage at length with Clarkson when he is just another self-important celeb who expects a half-witted argument to be taken seriously, like Emma and Benedict at the other end of the treasure spectrum. They rightly just got a bit of Gronmark scorn. Plus you can hardly rail against the tendency of the left to resort to personal abuse when you suggest that he has swelled the ranks of British traitors. Really?

    Come on Gronners! The man is and always has been a buffoon, a category to which the left does not have exclusive rights. The fact that on this occasion his usual little Englander opinions have veered off the road in the direction of Brussels Bonkersland just proves your earlier and more plausible point that TV personalities should stay out of politics and stick to what they are good at -in this case, beating up their assistants, insulting foreigners, skidding all over major landmarks in expensive cars and scarpering from Argentina the moment the locals make them feel scared.

    1. My defence, ex-KCS, is that (in my mind, at least) Clarkson is a journalist, who has written a large number of articles over many years for a range of newspapers and magazines, which have been collected into any number of bestselling books, expressing his forthright opinions on a host of subjects - not just cars. And he's also made a number of factual TV programmes about non-car related subjects (and did a series of talk shows, which bombed.). Emma and Benedict are actors - that's all they are (okay, she writes scripts occasionally, but you know what I mean). They are not paid to share their opinions with us on anything apart from the films and TV dramas in which they appear. For Cumberbatch to share his views on immigrants with us (and his Hamlet audience), or for Emma Thompson to start ordering us to remain in the EU (while viciously denigrating her own country) strikes me as trading on their success as thespians - why should being good at reciting lines written by other people suddenly make your opinions on current affairs matter? It's a misuse of their fame. Whether you think Clarkson is a bombastic oaf or not, he has been paid handsomely to share his opinions about all sorts of things - and he invariably writes his own scripts.

      As far as I'm concerned, Clarkson is a traitor to his own beliefs - beliefs he has made no secret of. It's like someone who has spent their career extolling the virtues of hard work, freedom of speech, the profit motive, private property, democracy, small businesses and the monarchy suddenly turning round and saying "...and that is why I urge you to vote for the Communist Party of Great Britain at this election." It makes no logical or emotional sense whatsoever - so either he has gone mad, or Jean-Claude Juncker has kidnapped his children (or his car collection), or he's trying to do his chum Cameron a favour: but whatever the reason for his volte-face, I have no doubt that anyone who has found themselves in agreement with his various Little Englander pronouncements over the years (and I am one of their number) and who hasn't found his "I'm Backing Britain" bumptiousness inherently repellent will feel betrayed by his new-found enthusiasm for the EU - an organisation which, until this week, he gave every impression of despising.

      No, I think that , in this instance, the term "traitor" is apt. I can think of a few others, one of which begins with "c" - and it certainly isn't "conservative".

  4. Perhaps Clarkson is mindful of the fate of certain people who belonged to powerful "social" sets in the past and who stepped out of line. I am thinking of the Cliveden and Clermont Sets and their respective contributions to the murky deaths of Stephen Ward and Dominic Elwes [ both died from barbiturate overdoses, as I recall ]. There are probably other less famous cases, but I am unaware of them. I do not know if the Chipping Norton mob have the power to completely isolate an individual socially and cut off or reduce his income sources [but I suspect being Prime Minister gives you considerable leverage and that frightful arse-faced Medusa still has some residual power and influence]. I gather Clarkson is currently financially vulnerable.

    If you want a genuine "traitor" then I would look no further than Frau Merkel who does deserve the Clara Petacci treatment for what she has done to her own country and Europe in general. I would be happy to supply a list of Scandinavian politicians who deserve to join her on the forecourt [the ones who are still alive, that is].