Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Jeremy Clarkson and Party Leader TV debates

I have to say that I'm taking much more interest in the fate of Jeremy Clarkson - and indeed BBC2's Top Gear show - than the fate of the Pre-Election Party Leader TV debates that the BBC and other broadcasters are trying to foist on us all.

Clarkson is annoying, opinionated, provocative and wayward, and he pushes his luck far too often, but he is no fool and no idiot, and he is a brilliant anchor for the best motor programme you can watch. I'd suggest that the viewing public regard him as more interesting, more entertaining, more knowledgeable, more daring, and in every way more of a man, than any of the current party leaders, Green Party included.

He is also, I feel, exactly the sort of man to intensely annoy a certain kind of TV producer, and in turn to get exasperated himself if such a producer has an inflexible approach and makes stupid conditions. If tempers then escalate between them, I can easily see Clarkson losing it and throwing a punch - verbal or otherwise.

To which I say, tut tut! It shouldn't happen. But when egos clash, this can only be expected. Indeed, it can be anticipated. Clarkson strikes me as short-fused, self-important, and used to getting his own way. A man who would do more than just pout if thwarted.

Who would I blame? The producer. He (or she?) is hired and paid to handle people skilfully, and to get a programme made no matter what the difficulties. A perverse, truculent and headstrong Clarkson - a whole menagerie of them - can be dealt with. It didn't happen here. Clarkson should face a reprimand for bad behaviour - loss of his fat fee for one or two programmes say. Let that hurt. But I for one want to see him back in the driving seat asap. This is clearly what millions of viewers want too. The producer should also face a reprimand and a penalty for mismanagement. He (or she) failed.

As for those Party Leader TV debates, ho hum. I do see that they can be 'great television' - it's a sort of gladiatorial contest - but it's not a spectacle I want to see. There won't be time for any proper discussion of policies, certainly not for their deeper rationale, and all it will do is parade the figureheads before the viewer, each one of them desperate to make a good impression. They won't impress, they will all look uncomfortable and ridiculous. It'll be a sad cattle market. Especially I don't want to see a childish head-to-head between David Cameron and Ed Miliband. Presumably the producers are hoping for a highly-watchable bad-tempered spat. If I were Prime Minister, I'd refuse to condescend to such an indignity.

I've long made up my mind who I'll be voting for. I am not impressed by promises. I am not wooed by solemn undertakings, no matter who gives them nor how solemn the face. Strong and sensible leadership matters, yes, but it must be balanced by a strong and sensible Cabinet - and below that, an array of talented and motivated junior ministers who have the knack of getting the very best out of the Civil Servants who really run their Departments.

I have a very long memory of what past governments have achieved, or failed to achieve, right back to the 1960s - which policies are most likely to succeed, and whose hands are the safest and most determined. Who indeed has the most complete vision. No government is perfect, but some deliver much more than others, and are much better for the country and its good influence on the world. My choice won't bring me some of the things I care about, but it will bring me many of them.

So that's settled. I hope nobody rings my doorbell to ask me for my vote. What good are doorstep debates? Any more than TV debates? A waste of time. I am voting for a style of government, not for specifically 'immigration controls' or whatever, and certainly not for a particular smooth individual seen on TV. So go away.

But if Jeremy Clarkson calls by, I'll give him a cuppa and a bacon sandwich, and try to get a free Top Gear ticket or pass out of him. Now that's something I'd really like! Even better, a chance to be the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car. Except, of course, I'm not a star...damn.

Emerging story
Rumour hath it that Oisin Tymon, the young, talented but unshaven producer, failed to arrange the after-shooting catering on the day, and a tired, very hungry but neatly-shaven and much-more-senior-in-years Jeremy Clarkson snapped. There was a 'fracas'.

Anyone who has had foxes gnawing at their vitals all day long will know how trying it is to be denied hot, tasty and filling food. One gets unreasonable and bloodyminded. Low blood-sugar level and all that. I've been there.

But I don't agree that Clarkson should have lashed out in any way. I think he should have bought and spit-roasted a nearby cow, and organised a massive steak meal for the entire crew. 'Bought' by trading the producer for the cow. And thus violence could have been avoided. Naturally the producer would have been picked out from the herd at the abbatoir, not having the requisite plastic ear tag.

1 comment:

  1. I think that I would put up with a few minutes conversation with Jeremy for a chance to whiz round a road with no on coming traffic and more important no damn potholes.

    You would get a chance to convert him to the joys of owning a caravan!

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