02/12/2011

Jeremy Clarkson Sorry For Death Threats

Clarkson Shoots Some PeopleThis week saw a strike in the UK. Teachers walked out, airports were at risk and hospitals were understaffed, yet the news paid more attention to the comments of a BBC2 presenter.

Jeremy Clarkson was on The One Show and quipped that he would shoot the strikers in front of their families. The unions wanted to sue him for this, the BBC apologised and hundreds of people complained.

Most newspapers have a picture of Clarkson getting on a plane to avoid the attention. As you can see above, The Sun has Clarkson on its cover. (Just under their giveaway of a free toy and some milk. A toy and milk? What next, they'll giveaway an afternoon nap after playschool? We're not 5!)

Why are people so worried by this Clarkson incident? I seriously doubt he has the required resources and planning ability to make these executions happen. I know Top Gear has a big budget these days but even that won't stretch to the hundreds of death squads that would be needed.

Why are we paying attention to this when it distracts from the real issues? Clarkson won't solve the public sector pension problem. Well, I suppose if he actually killed the 80% of public sector worker who went on strike the rest would have the pension pot to split between them. But again, it's not likely.

The point of the strike should be to raise public awareness of the issues, not to get more people to read some celeb's column in Saturday's Sun, but that's what it'll do.

Making Clarkson the main story could've happened because the media is anti-strike. Maybe it's because most people in the media aren't public sector workers, they're freelance and therefore never likely to be troubled by pension payments. You can tell the media isn't supportive because on the day of the strike they were reporting that sales figures had gone up. The implication is that the people who went on strike spent the day getting some retail therapy.

Basically, they were saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping." I thought that was just a saying on a novelty mug you buy when you get the crazy single woman in the work's Secret Santa. "What's that Janet, you think more highly of your cats than you do of men, yet can't work out why you're single? Yeah, that's a tricky one."

And so what if some of the people who went on strike went shopping? That's 6 million public sector workers not taking a day's pay, which leaves the Government better off, and then they go out to boost the economy by shopping. We should be grateful. We certainly shouldn't offer to shoot them all in front of their families. But then, there is a chance, a small chance, that he didn't actually mean it.

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