Notes From the Margins…

Lights out on planet Clarkson

  • January 09, 2012
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That Clarko’s a card isn’t he? Some of you may remember the truly horrific episode that took place in Morecombe Bay on 5 February 2004, when at least 21 Chinese cockle pickers were drowned after being cut off by rising tides while working at night.

All of them were ‘illegal’ workers from China’s Fujian province and they were working in the dark in these dangerous conditions without any safety procedures to avoid the English cocklepickers, who had previously attacked them in an attempt to drive them away from the beach.

Some of the cocklepickers died calling their relatives from the roof of their van on their mobile phones, before the tide overwhelmed them.

There are a lot of things that one could say about this, but not many people would think that it was something to laugh about. But Clarko is an amusing guy who often finds fun and laughter in the most unlikeliest places. In his Sun column yesterday, Clarkson criticized synchronized swimmers at the Olympics, who he compared to ‘Chinese women in hats, upside down, in a bit of water’. Showing the deft and easy wit for which he is famous, Clarkson added the kicker ‘you can see that sort of thing on Morecombe Beach. For free.’

Now go on laugh. It’s just a bit of fun. You don’t think so? Well maybe you’re just too politically correct. Or maybe the ‘race commissars’ got to you. Or perhaps you just don’t get Clarko.

Because for our man in the fast lane,  the dead cocklepickers are a natural object of laughter for three reasons:

1) They were Chinese and foreigners are  always intrinsically hilarious to our Jezza, who can rarely resist a contemptuous smirk at the locals as he whizzes back and forth through lazy Mexico and diarrhea-stricken India.

2) They were ‘illegal immigrants’ and therefore even funnier, for such people are never going to get much respect or empathy from Clarko, the little England crypto-fascist Repton boy.

3) Clarko is rich and famous and drives fast cars and is a friend of David Cameron and he can laugh at whatever he wants to. He may have satnav but he clearly has no moral compass. Lost in his own bloated ego, he seems to get a special kick out of mocking the ant-like little people swarming somewhere down below him.

So loosen up you pious lefties, strap on your safety belts and get on board the Clarksonmobile.  Like Stephen Lennon aka Tommy Robinson, founder of the English Defence League.  Now there’s a man with a sense of humour. The EDL leader told the Daily Star that he recently posed for a picture with Clarko. According to Lennon they talked about ‘Islam’.

You can bet there were a few laughs in that conversation , but Lennon won’t reveal what they were, telling the StarI don’t want to say anything else because he will just get stitched up. But I’m a big fan of him.’

No doubt.  And one suspects that the feeling is probably mutual, even though Clarkson has said that he has no recollection of the photo and doesn’t know who Lennon is. Maybe, but then again maybe not. Because even though these two are definitely reading from the same jokebook, even Clarkson may be aware that not all company might be acceptable to his employers.

But he probably needn’t worry too much. Because the problem with Clarko isn’t just Clarko. The problem is that millions of people find this utterly worthless little England racist worthy of admiration and share his essential worldview, and they just can’t resist a head-shaking little chuckle whenever he opens his mouth to mock another bunch of foreigners who aren’t and never can be like us.

The problem is that the BBC employs him and the Sun gives him the space to spout his self-aggrandising bile, and they really don’t care too much about who it is directed against, because it’s just Clarko innit? And the cars are sooo cool and he makes sooo much money.

What really, do a bunch of illegal cocklepickers matter compared to all that? So get over yourselves, you killjoys, and just enjoy being on planet Clarkson. And for those of you that can’t, maybe you should take a look at Stewart Lee’s brilliant take down of the moral wasteland that is Top Gear:

Now that is funny.

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About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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