Midweek Sport - - FRONT PAGE -

THE main story of the past seven days ap­pears to be that a man fa­mous for say­ing con­tro­ver­sial things said some­thing con­tro­ver­sial.

Last time I could be both­ered to look, 31,000 peo­ple had con­tacted the BBC to com­plain that Jeremy Clark­son, while a guest on The One Show, had called for strik­ing pub­lic sec­tor work­ers to be shot.

In fact he called for no such thing. He was jok­ing. It wasn’t even his best gag. A bit like shout­ing “ARSE” at a Na­tiv­ity play, it gets a few ner­vous chuck­les but it ain’t up there with More­cambe and Wise.

The re­ac­tion, though, was deeply un­funny.

Uni­son – which I am told is a trade union, though it sounds like a trans­sex­ual dat­ing agency – took le­gal ad­vice about whether Clark­son should be re­ported to the po­lice. The same po­lice who are sort of busy look­ing for mur­der­ers and granny rapists and burn­ing records of all that money they took from the News of the World.

I’d be cock-a-hoop if I were a Uni­son mem­ber – pay­ing subs ev­ery month only to see that money be­ing spent pay­ing a top lawyer to in­ves­ti­gate whether a man can be pros­e­cuted for say­ing some­thing daft on telly. Here’s the an­swer for nowt: no he can’t.

Dave Pren­tis, gen­eral sec­re­tary of Uni­son, said: “It is only right he apol­o­gises for the huge of­fence he caused to pub­lic sec­tor work­ers and their fam­i­lies.”

“Huge of­fence”? Only if you have a se­vere per­se­cu­tion com­plex bor­der­ing on dan­ger­ous para­noia.

It’s a good job that psy­chi­atric nurses are mem­bers of Uni­son – be­cause it sounds like the head hon­cho is in need of their at­ten­tion.

The GMB union went skip­ping fur­ther down the road to insanity, sug­gest­ing Clark­son make a huge do­na­tion to the fam­i­lies of union mem­bers ex­e­cuted in Gu­atemala. Can you fol­low that rea­son­ing? Nope, me nei­ther.


Of course, the whole sorry episode got out of hand thanks to modern tech­nol­ogy’s de­vice for mak­ing a moun­tain out of a mole­hill: Twit­ter.

Within mere min­utes, var­i­ous left­ies had posted links to the BBC com­plaints web­site, urg­ing any­one out­raged by Clark­son’s com­ments to vent their spleen.

So they did. By the thou­sand. Even peo­ple who had lit­tle or no idea what he’d ac­tu­ally said called for Clark­son to be sacked, maimed or shot in front of his fam­ily.

And you’d imag­ine that quite a few of them were not jok­ing.

Be­cause his­tory teaches us that left­ies love shoot­ing peo­ple for hold­ing opin­ions they do not agree with.

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