I have a confession to make. I think Jeremy Clarkson can be obnoxious and ignorant, but despite his occasional lapse into beyond-the-pale bad taste, most of the time he is absolutely hilarious. We are all Top Gear fans in this house, even Anna, who has been known to trawl the Dave schedules for repeats of the programme. My husband, whose profession as a health and safety adviser regularly gets the sharp end of Clarkson's tongue, is a total fan and has all his books.
He's strayed once again into controversy because of his comments about Gordon Brown. Now, I will defend anybody's right to call the Prime Minister an idiot. If you hold high office, you are going to get abuse like that, and, frankly, that's not a bad thing. I'd prefer my criticism of elected officials to be a bit more precise, but who am I to be prescriptive? Scottish you can't really argue about - he is and he's proud of it. So what. The one-eyed bit was tasteless, I will give you that and Clarkson has, rightly, apologised.
I once got incredibly incensed by a Clarkson Sunday Times rant against women drivers - basically wishing bad things on us because, apparently, a woman driver wouldn't let him out of a side road on his way to work that morning. So, I wrote to him, in my best Outraged of Nottinghamshire (as I was then)form. I was very surprised to get a very friendly note back a few weeks' later basically agreeing with me and cracking a few jokes. He has obviously read what I'd written because he commented on a point I'd made about my husband's new car at the time. I was impressed that he had taken the time and trouble to respond.
I despair sometimes, well, actually, a lot, at the tabloid tendency's inability just to live and let live. It makes me so angry that they go on at Clarkson for his comments about Brown but think nothing of printing homophobic rants from their columnists as the Mail On Sunday did last week. I don't think they should be stopped from printing that stuff, however much I disagree with it, but this is just another example of their intrinsic hypocrisy.