Anorak | Jeremy Clarkson, the EDL and a liberal anti-racist Daily Star

Jeremy Clarkson, the EDL and a liberal anti-racist Daily Star

by | 8th, January 2012

JEREMY Clarkson is in a “NEW RACE ROW” says the Daily Star, the paper that until recently supported the English Defence League and warned us of Muslim only toilets in Rochdale. Has Top Gear presenter Clarkson been not racist enough?

GOBBY Jeremy Clarkson stormed into another race row last night after making fun of drowned Chinese cockle pickers.

Is that racist of just offensive? John Ward adds:

And his latest outburst came after the Daily Star Sunday discovered he had posed for a snap with the leader of the racist English Defence League.

Is that the same EDL the Daily Star said 99% of its readers would pick at the ballot box?

The 51-year-old was slammed after joking about dead Chinese immigrants in his regular newspaper column. He tastelessly compared synchronised swimmers to the 21 cockle pickers who were killed in rising tides in Morecambe Bay, Lancashire, in 2004.

What he said was that synchronised swimming was:

“Chinese women in hats, upside down, in a bit of water. You can see that sort of thing on Morecambe Beach. For free.”

So says Jeremy Clarkson in the Sun – the same Jeremy Clarkson who said on BBC primetime telly that striking public sector workers should be shot.

You can read a lot more extreme views than that devoid of any humour all over the internet and especially on twitter, which seems to thrive on vitriolic hate. But Clarkson gets invited to say his views to the mainstream, and at time when his fans will chortle and his enemies wail with calculated outrage.

The Star quotes Matt Collins, from Hope Not Hate, the anti-racist group that said:

We believe that the Daily Star regularly oversteps the boundaries of responsibility in reporting issues relating to Muslims and in doing so increases the mistrust and fear of people towards them. This helps to create a dangerous backlash among non-Muslims which in turn feeds groups such as the EDL and the British National Party.

Collins now tells the reformed and re-educated Star:

“Why does Jeremy Clarkson constantly have to be so tasteless and offensive?”

Because it pays for his petrol and it’s his job to say things in a loud voice?


“He has no right to offend communities in this country who live and work here and provide more to Britain than he does.”

He has every right. It’s free speech, the thing Clarkson pretends to champion – he once held a super-injunction that prevented his ex-wife talking in public about their time together. And maybe the Chinese “community” can speak for itself. One good thing about Clarkson’s job of being offensive to a deadline is that it keeps the professionally right-minded busy.

Collins’ words echo those of the Unison leader who stood up for the working man by calling for Clarkson to be sacked.

The Star adds:

The latest outrage came as a picture of Clarkson and far-right English Defence League head Stephen Lennon emerged. Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, claims he talked about Islam with Clarkson.

Before we go on, does anything Clarkson said anything even mildly controversial about Islam on camera, even if any criticism would chime with Daily Star readers? The Daily Star once wrote:

“…yesterday’s Daily Star poll found 98% of readers fear that Britain is becoming a Muslim state.”

Clarkson’s schtick is not to ally himself with actual racists. His appeal is to people who enjoy a man saying something that excites outrage in illiberal liberals.

Says the Star:

The 28-year-old convicted thug, who also founded the anti-Islamic movement, said: “He knew who I was. We talked about Islam. I don’t want to say anything else because he will just get stitched up. But I’m a big fan of him.”

We’ve no idea what Clarkson said but Lennon’s comment to media hints that he found it agreeable and revealing all would lay Clarkson open to attack.

Says Jeremy Clarkson:

“I have no recollection of talking to this man and have no idea who Stephen Lennon is.”

The Star ends its front-page news:

This is the latest in a long line of scandals involving the TV car fanatic.

No. It isn’t a scandal. It’s just the Daily Star using Clarkson – a perceived enemy of free speech and equality  – to brandish its anti-racist credentials that show that it is better than the unenlightened racists. The Daily Star is on the side of the good guys. Clarkson is no racist. He’s an entertainer who uses humour – often crass and rarely more than mildly amusing – to tap into the perceived and real illiberal assaults on free speech. It’s not always racism. It’s niche marketing designed for people who seek it out something to hate and remind themselves how good they are when they find it…


Posted: 8th, January 2012 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink