I need one of those signs: “Don’t ask, because a refusal often offends.”
Because I won’t be signing any petition supporting Jeremy Clarkson. I think the man is an ...well let’s go with idiot because Jeremy Clarkson-style language often offends too.
I know a million people have signed , I know the prime minister David Cameron, a friend of Clarkson’s, has described him as a man of immense talent, but I just don’t get it.
What we can all agree on is that Jeremy Clarkson is a throwback to another era. He seems to think he is big beast at risk of extinction. Certainly, he represents a time when men were men and women, children, dogs, gay people, and anyone with a foreign accent or skin that wasn’t white lived in fear. Let’s call it the 1970s.
Some people think this was a great time, a time of fun and cheeky irreverence, when people could speak honestly and be themselves, but I don’t.
Back then, men with a bit of swagger could get away with almost anything, and did. The rest of us just tried to keep out of their way.
At its extreme, it led to behaviour that has since landed many of those formerly swaggering men in court charged with sexual offences.
At its most extreme, it led to Jimmy Savile, a man nobody seemed to like but who got away with appalling behaviour because of his Cheeky Celebrity Chappie image, which served him as well as any cloak of invisibility.
I’m not suggesting that Jeremy Clarkson is like any of those men. But he is a man who has behaved badly and now he should face the consequences.
Exactly what happened is unclear. There was, it appears, a burning desire for a steak dinner. But it was late, the chef at the Yorkshire hotel had already gone home, and only cold meats were on offer. Anyone would be a bit hacked off, I would be myself. I hate cold meats.
But I wouldn’t then start shouting at a more junior colleague, someone much younger and less well paid than myself. That’s bullying, and I can’t bear bullying. And I certainly wouldn’t try to attack them.
Jeremy apparently says there was no punch but admits there was “handbags and pushing” .
That sounds quite funny, doesn’t it? But I doubt there is anything funny about having a millionaire big shot raging at you because there is no steak for tea.
So Clarkson was suspended by the BBC pending an enquiry. Quite right.
Meanwhile, his supporters are coming up with all kinds of excuses for what happened. The presenter has had a torrid twelve months, they say. His marriage has collapsed, his health isn’t great, and his mum has died.
These are all traumatic events, but many people cope with them without feeling the need to humiliate and frighten their colleagues.
Meanwhile, the producer on the receiving end of the Clarkson wrath has been receiving all kinds of threats.
So it’s all a bit of a mess. Personally, I wouldn’t care if Top Gear disappeared for ever. Watching men trash cars is not my thing.
But I appreciate lots of people enjoy it, and that’s fair enough. That doesn’t mean they should apologise for a man who has behaved like a thug.
These are the same people who despise “political correctness” which exists to give everyone a fair chance. These are the people who think “elf ‘n’ safety” is a bad thing, even though it is there to protect them and has saved countless lives - remember when it was practically commonplace for people to be killed at work because of unsafe machinery and dangerous practices?
These are the fans of Jeremy Clarkson, and I’m happy to not be amongst them.
ELTON OUTRAGE IS JUSTIFIED
A row between Elton John and the designers Dolce and Gabbana would normally be a thing of great entertainment. Something to add to the gaiety of life, so to speak.
Especially when Elton, in his best Tantrums and Tiaras mode, furiously declares he will never wear the gay Italian duo’s clothes again.
And even more so when D & G retaliate by posting a picture of Elton and declare cattily: “Who wants to see him dressed in Dolce and Gabbana.” Ouch, ouch, and more ouch.
But there is a serious point behind all this showbizzy fury because the subject that sparked the spat is children born by IVF.
In an interview, the designers said they were against IVF, declaring that these children were synthetic babies - whatever that means.
Since Elton John has two IVF children with his husband David Furnish, he has reacted with outrage.
And I don’t blame him.
Basically, I don’t understand why anyone would want to wish unhappiness on someone else. If a couple want a baby and science makes it possible for them to have that child, then that is a marvellous thing.
Those parents are doing no harm. All they are doing is giving life.
What about a bit of live and let live - especially from two men who are part of a group of people still persecuted in parts of the world?
GPs are being advised to stagger their hours so that they are working when they are at their best.
Practices should allow older doctors to clock off at 4pm, before brain fade sets in, and younger doctors should be allowed to begin work a bit later in the morning to allow for the school run, says an article in the GP magazine, Pulse
This all sound sensible. No-one wants to be treated by a doctor who has stopped concentrating, and allowing employees to combine work and family commitments helps everyone.
But is there any chance that doctors could continue their flexible working over the weekends, the bank holidays and the nights as well? Because being able to see a doctor at times convenient to us would be quite helpful.
Sometimes I think everyone forgets that the NHS is not, in fact, free. We pay our doctors handsomely through our taxes, and the service should be tailored to suit us.