With all of the drama surrounding the BBC programme ‘Top Gear’ in recent weeks, regarding the identity of the Stig being revealed and the ensuing court battles, it seems that another of Jeremy Clarkson’s questionable comments has gone by unnoticed.
The Top Gear presenter and Sun columnist has been in trouble before for his offhand comments, coming to blows with gay rights groups in 2006 due to his description of a car as “gay...yes very ginger beer” and at other times making Nazi salutes on the BBC programme.
I was surprised then, that his column in the Sun last week appears to have gone by, uncommented and uncontested. Although not offensive to any particular group, he was asking for courts to be more lenient on those who have committed ‘minor’ driving crimes, such as speeding, claiming that losing a licence can mean a lot more than just that-the loss of a job, a family home etc. Whilst I agree that losing your driving licence can have serious repercussions, it takes several errors and a build up of points on your licence before it is removed, meaning that otherwise meticulously careful drivers who make one stupid mistake are not punished in the same way as careless drivers who most probably should not be on the roads in the first place. Clarkson, however, went on to argue that there is no harm in “a teeny little call home on a quiet road”, despite it being against the law, and went on to suggest that he himself has done this a few times.
Although his controversial comments and actions over the years have earned him much criticism, he still has a great number of loyal fans, particularly in the motoring world, many of whom respect him as a figure of authority and wisdom on cars and driving. Is this therefore any example for him to be setting these people?