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The real reason Jeremy Clarkson’s gone? The BBC loathed his politics

25 March 2015

7:15 PM

25 March 2015

7:15 PM

I still don’t know which way John Humphrys votes and I’ve been a friend of the chap for more than a quarter of a century. Hell, we’ve been on holiday together, twice. I have very few friends in mediaville, but John is certainly one, and the oldest friend within that milieu, at that. But I still couldn’t tell you what way he votes. That fact alone might well signal to you that he tends to the Right; liberals are so unstintingly forthcoming about their fatuous opinions, so ready to declaim and shriek and disparage anyone who might dare gainsay them. But even then I wouldn’t be too sure. It’s probably a class thing – Humphrys, unusually and close to uniquely within the big upmarket stars of the BBC, is from a working class background. People from such a background tend to be less gobbily obsessive about their own inviolable politics.

I was thinking about this today after I heard that Jeremy Clarkson had been sacked by the public-school educated Lord Hall, the current DG. I labour the point, chippily, sure – the BBC is still run by the white, liberal, upper middle classes. Not that Clarkson is a horny-handed son of toil, of course, either. But it did occur to me that the BBC has pretty much nothing left which could be considered, uh, Right. Clarkson was an exceptionally brilliant presenter (and will continue to be so elsewhere, one suspects), but whatever the rights or wrongs of this latest ‘fracas’, the BBC was uncomfortable with him. It wanted him out. It was torn a little by the fact that – again almost uniquely for a BBC star – he was genuinely popular, and popular with a section of the audience the BBC normally fails to reach – ie British people who are not PC neurotics. Yes, millions and millions and millions of people. But collectively it loathed his politics. And that is really why he has gone. And so who is left at the BBC who isn’t left?

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