A cabal of left-wing MPs have, predictably, smelt blood and are going after Jeremy Clarkson. For anyone waking up from a four-day coma, Clarkson is under siege for writing a Sun column railing against Meghan Markle. One paragraph parodied a Game of Thrones scene:
“At night, I’m unable to sleep as I lie there, grinding my teeth and dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant, ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her.”
Given Markle is the least popular member of the royal family bar Prince Andrew, Guido guesses many Brits may have been inclined to broadly agree with the sentiment of the piece. Instead the London-centric Twitter-sphere is apoplectic; getting the column taken down and forcing Clarkson into a sorry-not-sorry climbdown.
Oh dear. I’ve rather put my foot in it. In a column I wrote about Meghan, I made a clumsy reference to a scene in Game of Thrones and this has gone down badly with a great many people. I’m horrified to have caused so much hurt and I shall be more careful in future.— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) December 19, 2022
For some reason, lefty MPs feel that this important issue is today’s national priority. Rather than the strikes, the economy, war on our continent, or at the very least just logging off ahead of Christmas…
Tory-in-name-only MP Caroline Nokes has spearheaded a letter on behalf of those “hurt” by Jezza’s “#NotAnApology”, demanding he instead issue “an unreserved apology… to Ms Markle immediately”.
“We further demand definitive action is taken to ensure no article like this is ever published again.”
The letter is signed by 64 MPs, mainly Labour and SNP. Guido notes that whichever of Nokes’s staff formatted the letter isn’t particularly savvy, given the top name of the second column is Clive Lewis. An MP whose primary contribution to feminism thus far was telling a woman to “get on your knees bitch”.
Guido’s no stranger to defending Clarkson in times of career trouble. The BBC, despite dismissing him for a fracas in 2015, often stood by him during rows about things he’d said or written.
Guido’s not so confident that the likes of Amazon – American distributors of his brilliant farming show – will have the same backbone this time around…
UPDATE: Meanwhile, the official letter from MPs accusing the Sun of editorial sloppiness includes signatories spelt as follows:
Having promised not to give interviews to The Sun during his leadership campaign, Starmer nonetheless penned an opinion piece for the paper over the weekend – much to the ire of his perennially disgruntled membership, his rank and file MPs…and now even one of his own shadow ministers. Taking to Twitter yesterday to vent his outrage, Shadow Housing Minister Mike Amesbury didn’t pull any punches:
The decision by Kier to use the Sun for an Op Ed piece is both wrong and insensitive. Justice for the 97 is not done, the hurt for #Hillsborough families and supporters is raw. Vile untruths were peddled to protect the establishment & those responsible escape justice.
— Mike Amesbury MP (@MikeAmesburyMP) October 3, 2021
Yet despite calling Starmer’s article “both wrong and insensitive“, a Labour source tells Guido that Amesbury is keeping his title, and seemingly won’t face any further action. It looks like Sir Keir’s afraid of causing too much trouble…
As if his newfound commitment to low taxes wasn’t enough, Sir Keir’s now doubling down on his efforts to infuriate the far left ahead of conference. According to BFAWU union president, Ian Hodson, Labour has banned Socialist Appeal from reporting from the Brighton conference this weekend – yet to the annoyance of some comrades accrediting The Sun and offering a double hall stand to GB News:
“Hearing the s@# will be in the @UKLabour conference but they have banned #SocalistAppeal from being able to report on the conference. How did we get here Trade unionists Anti racists should be absolutely livid, that the hate filled rag is attending conference #JFT97“
Skwawkbox insists the party is “fundamentally diseased” if it allows the “the foul rag” (“The S*n”) to show up, and is calling the decision an act of “moral cowardice and bankruptcy”. Socialist Appeal will always be able to keep up with Labour conference’s goings-on via Guido, who will certainly be attending…
Geronimo, the alpaca that tested positive twice for bovine tuberculosis and is set to be euthanised, has received a temporary reprieve ahead of a review. This is so an application for a judicial review, including an application for a temporary injunction to halt the enforcement of the destruction order, can be considered at the High Court. A relief to all the Lobby hacks and Sun journalists who’ve spent silly season whipping up an alpaca-themed summer recess storm…
According to the alpaca’s solicitor, the Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs “have agreed to extend their undertaking until 17:00 on Tuesday” – although a warrant for Geronimo’s destruction was nonetheless signed earlier this month. Geronimo’s owner, Helen Macdonald, has been refused permission by DEFRA to have him tested a third time, despite insisting that two previous tests returned false positives. Ms Macdonald’s lawyers have written to George Eustice arguing Geronimo’s life could be saved and he could be studied for research.
A Defra spokesman said:
“We are sympathetic to Ms Macdonald’s situation, just as we are with everyone with animals affected by this terrible disease. It is for this reason that the testing results and options for Geronimo have been very carefully considered by Defra (…) as well as passing several stages of thorough legal scrutiny.”
With Geronimo’s life still in the balance, has the might of the Lobby averted the alpaca-lypse?
The press is now joining politicians in tonight’s pre-match tension building, with The Sun squaring off against Danish tabloid B.T. Replicating this morning’s front page, The Sun has taken an ad out in B.T. reading “We’re having you for breakfast”. Reciprocating the provocation, B.T. depicts Vikings telling English Sun readers “it’s not coming home, we’re coming home!” Guido will chalk this one up as a draw – let’s hope tonight’s match isn’t…
The Mail’s deputy political editor Tobyn Andreae has told the BBC’s Media Show podcast that the paper wouldn’t re-run their infamous “enemies of the people” headline today, implying it was a mistake they’d try avoiding nowadays:
“I suspect not every editor makes their own judgments. And of course, it’s always great to be wise with hindsight; would Paul Dacre use the same headline again? I can’t speak for him. He was a tremendously gifted editor from whom I learned an awful lot. But it’s a fast paced newsroom. Sometimes mistakes do get made. I can’t promise they won’t ever get made again.”
Andreae defended “kicking down as well as punching up”, for example going after benefit cheats, and it being as fair game as the Matt Hancock scoop, though saying they’re in a different category and the paper would “balance that out in the way those stories are presented”.
Sun editor-in-chief Victoria Newton was also asked whether the paper’s “not averse to a bit of kicking down”, she parried:
“I’m not sure that’s entirely fair. I mean, I think I edit the paper in a different way to perhaps some of my predecessors. I make it my conscious decision to work with people on stories a lot of the time. And, you know I have brilliant relationships with many celebrities and their agents.”
Guido wonders what James Slack, the former Daily Mail hack whose byline was on the ‘Enemies of the People’ splash, would think of this discussion now he’s been poached by The Sun as their new deputy editor-in-chief…