Pandemics, eh? One minute you know you can rely on Jeremy Clarkson to be a secure fulcrum in a changing world, churning out the same old gobs***e borderline racist, sod-the-poor, Greta Thunberg-baiting views – but then you find that all of a sudden he’s got a bit of a cough, he can’t smell his own farts anymore and he’s come over all feverishly social democrat.
He’ll be voting for that do-gooding symbol of metropolitan elitism, Keir Starmer, he tells us – apparently seriously – rather than Boris Johnson, who you might think is basically just Clarkson with long words and a posh accent.
Goodness, you might even speculate that all that right-wing cobblers Clarkson’s been churning out for the past couple of decades was all just a pose, the shocked reactions he provoked generating all the publicity he needed to secure his media career and build his vast fortune from the credulous.
He probably never even liked smoking Marlboros and did it just to annoy the “health Nazis”. Perhaps underneath all the perfectly curated national stereotypes lay a liberal environmentalist all along, with a Toyota Prius hidden round the back of his gaff.
I dunno. Maybe “Clarkson Votes Labour” it’s just another stunt designed to wind up Twitter – which, of course, it has. He hasn’t enjoyed as much attention paid to him since that business with the ham sandwich, the famous “fracas” when he called a Top Gear producer a “lazy Irish c***”, and the day’s filming of fast cars ended with a trip to A&E. The BBC reluctantly terminated Clarkson’s contract for “crossing a line”, a lovely bit of understatement even by Auntie’s standards.
Anyhow, like a fastest lap winner on Star In A Reasonably Priced Car, Stormin’ Keir Starmer is beaming all over that increasingly familiar square-jawed mug of his at his latest – and most unlikely – recruit in the fight for social justice: “I’m very pleased to have the votes of as many people as possible... whether I’ve got to change my hairstyle to change my hairstyle for every single vote we’ll have to see?”
Do you see how skilfully Starmer played that? Jeremy Corbyn would have just sounded awkward and confused about having such disagreeable political company, but Starmer made light of Clarkson – which is in fact what the entire nation should have been doing for many years, rather than tuning into his grotesque national stereotypes, reading his wearily predictable columns in The Sun and sustaining sales of books such as How Hard Can It Be? The world according to Clarkson volume 4.
Starmer was also recently pictured on a trip to a brewery with a can of trendy Brewdog ale with the branding “Barnard Castle Eye Test” – further confirmation that this stern human rights lawyer has a sense of humour and is not afraid to use it, though rather more subtly than Clarkson.
More seriously the Labour leader, only three months into the job, is turning into a very classy player, regularly pushing Johnson into embarrassing corners and U-turns, and the right calls quickly, such as sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey and telling Black Lives Matter protestors that, while he is sympathetic, offensive monuments or statues should be removed lawfully, not torn down by a mob.
There is a very skilled sense of judgement at work, in stark contrast to the operations of the current incumbent in Number 10.
Starmer knows he’ll never get Labour back into power without winning over the votes of people just like Clarkson. He’ll overlook their shortcomings for the greater good.
In this game you can’t pick and choose who you want to vote for you. As Winston Churchill said when criticised for his wartime alliance with the murderous Josef Stalin: “If Hitler invaded hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”
And on that bombshell...
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