Even in a world filled with tragedies and traumas, Wednesday 25 March 2015 will go down as a dark, dark day in the nation’s history. For a few brief hours the sun did shine, however weakly and intermittently, across parts of our crumbling Union, casting a pale and oddly mournful glow across its teeming motorways, it’s dual carriageways and trunkroads.
Patchily and fitfully its wan rays briefly alighted on suburban windows where anxious female faces peered through the curtains as their husbands left for work and wondered if the news was really true; on high rise offices where men stared at their keyboards and waited with an imminent sense of dread.
But the promise of spring only mocked the nation’s hopes. By the end of the day the daffodils and snowdrops that had only recently raised their heads above the parapet of winter had drooped their little heads in dismay.
Last year’s summer seemed but a distant memory and the future held out only the promise of eternal darkness and bitter longing for what could no longer be, as the awful news spread up and down the land that Jeremy Clarkson had been sacked from Top Gear.
No longer would he drive fast cars up and down our highways or through foreign lands about which we know nothing and care even less. No longer would he be able to insult the slopes and Mexicans and dagos and all the other lazy, defective and just plain silly foreigners who all red-blooded Englishmen have always been able to insult when they feel like it.
Because the cowardly, spineless, and politically correct BBC had sacked him. Squished him. Exiled, expelled, expunged, and erased him. And all because some jumped-up lazy inconsequential little Irish twerp of a producer hadn’t given him his steak and chips after a hard day’s work, and thereby left Clarko no alternative – no alternative I tell you – except to smack him in the mouth and then viciously abuse him for 20 minutes even after he had hit him.
In doing this the BBC not only ignored a million people who signed a petition pleading for Clarkson to remain on the programme; it also perpetrated a gross travesty of justice. Because if Clarkson isn’t allowed to smack someone in the mouth when he doesn’t get a hot supper then what hope is there for the rest of us? What price freedom eh? What bland soulless dystopia has our country become?
Because, as Brendan O’ Neill points out with his usual thoughtfulness and wisdom, the sacking of Clarkson means that the ‘dogmatic liberal elite’ and ‘Hampstead-dwelling license payers’ who control the country have finally silenced the nation’s ‘ best-known, offence-giver and etiquette-spurner’ and his ‘consensus-pricking, fast-car loving, two-fingered salute to modern liberal orthodoxies.’
In doing so these fun-hating cultural commissars have broken the hearts of the nation, and ended the career of a man whose goodness, humanity and nobility of spirit shines through every word he has ever written or spoken, and ever car he has ever driven.
And now the fun is over, and the comedy has given way a tragedy of truly epic proportions, to rival Sophocles and Shakespeare. Oedipus, Antigone, Hamlet and King Lear; Paul Schofield in a A Man for All Seasons – what are their paltry tales compared to Clarkson, Clarko, Jezza?
And now that he is gone what will Sunday nights be without his crumpled arrogant visage behind the wheel? Deserts filled with Songs of Praise and historical costume dramas, with nothing to wake up to but an endless array of Clarkson-less Mondays disappearing into the horizon like an empty autopista in the Pampas.
So no wonder grown men have wept and gnashed their teeth and threatened to cancel their license fees. No wonder David Cameron’s daughter went on hunger strike. No wonder trolls have sent death threats to the little Irishman who caused all this.
No wonder they have insulted and blamed him and criticized him for not serving Clarkson his supper. No wonder one ‘Top Gear fan’ sent a tweet, declaring:‘To meet Oisin Tymon in person and feed him the very food he denied Clarkson. Then, beat him to a pulp with a rolling pin. #LifeGoals’
Now don’t start taking offence, because it’s only a bit of fun, just like Clarkson himself. And Oisin Tymon – what kind of name is that anyway? And so, to paraphrase Shelley, ‘let us weep for Clarkson – he is sacked! Oh, weep for Clarkson! though our tears /Thaw not the frost which binds so dear a head.’
Or on second thoughts, maybe we shouldn’t bother.