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David, Boris and Jezza. Tory Party leaders give up on the concept of “rule of law”.

March 27, 2015


A semblance of sanity appears to be dawning.  I’m sure by now many of the million “Bring back Jezza” signatories will be regretting their own absurdity and are seeking to unsign whatever it is they signed.  There will always be a few hardcore maniacs who hate law and order and freedom – the kind of people who are currently threatening to kill Oisin Tymon for his crime of getting beaten up Jezza and thereby forcing the BBC to fire Jezza.  But such people are a tiny and (let’s face it) crazy minority.

But I’m confident that most people who were instinctively pro-Jezza are now sobering up and allowing their own responsible humanity to take over again.  The number of people who believe that you be allowed to get away with racially aggravated assault just because you have a lucrative and proficient line in boorish laddishness must surely be very small eh?

Among the people sobering up is the Prime Minister, who when grilled by Paxman was forced to concede the existence of something akin to rule of law applying even to friends of his.   I have yet to hear any retraction from his successor as leader of the Conservative Party Boris Johnson who weighed into the “fracas” (note – you only get to have a ‘fracas’ if you are rich and famous – for the rest of us it’s still a violent assault) early in order to declare his instinctual sympathy for Clarkson in any situation whatsoever.

The truth is of course that for David and Boris, “rule of law” itself is a hazy sort of a concept and its necessary foundation in the idea of “equality under the law” is entirely absent.   For David and Boris, Clarkson was likely the victim of some sort of “liberal conspiracy”.  Cameron’s sense of the rights of Oisin Tymon was belated and and begrudging.

I remember rather liking Clarkson when he first appeared on Top Gear.  There can be no doubt that the man has talent, that he can do certain things with language, that he’s an expressive personality.  As Stewart Lee has suggested, Clarkson is in no sense ideologically committed to the boorishness he spouts.  Rather, he found himself a lucrative personae and an familiar register and decided to run with it.  Others doubtless encouraged him.

Those of us who increasingly detested that persona and that register  and said so got accused of “censorship”.  Untrue.  Clarkson said what he wanted to say, his critics said what they wanted to say about what he wanted to say and the critics of the people who didn’t like Clarkson started to shout “liberal conspiracy”.  When people are abusive, I for one call for the abuser to apologise.

Now it’s gone beyond verbals.  Now it’s a police matter.  But some people have such a sense of “liberal conspiracy” that they can’t make the conceptual leap that leaves any “free speech” argument far behind.  Even a completely fake “free speech” argument.


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