Clarkson's Sunday Times Columns


Active Member
Mar 14, 2012
By popular demand, I'm moving the thread for Jeremy Clarkson's Sunday Times columns to this sub-forum.
Keep in mind that you can freely read Jeremy's Sunday Times Driving and Sun columns online for free, so they won't be appearing here.

On with the show:

Officer, arrest that man, he's all too easily offended by Fury's piffle (Dec. 13)

A friend was burgled last weekend. And stand by for a shock because by Wednesday a suspect had been arrested and was in a cell. I thought that sort of thing didn't happen any more. I thought the police no longer even investigated burglaries because they were far too busy interviewing people who'd said something that someone else thought was horrid.

We learnt recently that a boxing champion of some sort called Tyson Fury had said in an interview that the devil will come to the Earth and do what devils do just as soon as abortion, homosexuality and paedophilia are all legalised.

The thrust of his argument was that in the 1950s nobody would ever have believed that one day it'd be legal to do sex with someone of the same genital grouping. In the same way as now we cannot believe that kiddie-fiddling could one day be considered acceptable. But that maybe ... who knows? As a result, many people vowed to not buy Mr Fury's calendar this Christmas. Others went further and tried asking the BBC to make sure he was not shortlisted for a gong at the annual Sports Personality of the Year bash.

That's an absurd idea because all Fury has done is tell the world that he's a bit dim. And if the BBC were forced to shortlist only those with a reasonably high IQ the Sports Personality of the Year could be a held in a shed.

One person, however, decided that trying to get a dim man banned from appearing in the same room as lots of other dim men and women was nowhere near harsh enough. He reckoned that Mr Fury needed bringing down a peg or two so he reported him to the police who confirmed last week that the boxing and Jesus enthusiast will now be questioned.

Yup. A chap whose job is to beat other men to a pulp is going to be questioned by officers because officially one man one was upset by something he'd said. Whatever happened to sticks and stones? I've been in Mr Fury's shoes. A number years ago I said while appearing on Have I Got News For You that I run over foxes for fun and the next thing I knew two burly policemenists were sitting in my conservatory, drinking a half of pale ale and scratching their heads.

Someone had complained to the Met and the Met had asked the CNPD (Chipping Norton Police Department) to dispatch Starsky and Hutch to my house for a bit of a shakedown. They'd arrived in a bit of a fluster because they weren't quite sure what was going on.

Were they there to see if I really had said I'd run over a fox for fun, which we all agreed was a bit pointless because anyone could clearly have heard and seen me saying it on television. Or were they there to see if I actually had run over a fox for fun? If I hadn't, then is it a crime to say that I had? And if I had, is that a crime at all? We weren't sure. Certainly we all agreed that it would be jolly difficult in a court to prove that the fox-flattening incident was for fun or because the stupid thing was crossing the road without looking. In the end, we filled in lots of forms that were sent back to the Met in London and then ... nothing happened.

I can pretty much guarantee that this is what's going to happen with Mr Fury. Two policemen will arrive at his caravan. They will ask him if he really did suggest that homosexuals are the same as paedophiles and then after establishing that he did, or didn't, they'll fill in a load of paperwork, get his autograph and a couple of selfies and that will be the end of that.

We need to be clear on something here. There is a very big difference between an angry mob in Ku Klux Klan headdresses chanting and parading outside the house of a homosexual couple and a God-bothering sportsman tarring gays and paedophiles with the same brush.

Let's be frank. He wasn't urging gangs of young men to grab a selection of shovels and pickaxe handles and maraud around Soho looking for Julian Clary.

He wasn't suggesting that homosexuals should be castrated or put into a camp of some sort. He was simply saying that as a Christian he found the notion of legalised gay sex repellent.

You may not agree with that. I know I don't. But it is Mr Fury's right as a citizen of this country to express his views. And it is your right to stick your fingers in your ears and go "La-la-la-la-la-la-la" if you don't want to hear them.

It is also your right to telephone the police and make a formal complaint. And then it's their duty to send two constables round to see what's what. And that's the problem. Because Mr Fury plainly wasn't inciting any form of hatred. I've listened to the tape and all he was doing was spouting a load of religious gobbledegook. Go down to Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park on a Sunday morning and you'll hear far worse.

Plainly, then, something needs to be done, but what? We need a law that prevents so-called hate preachers from urging extremely impressionable young men to explode in a shopping centre. But that law cannot be used to stop Jimmy Carr telling jokes about rape. Or Mr Fury being anti-gay, or me saying I ran over a fox for fun.

Happily, I've come up with a plan. It's very simple. If, after questioning Mr Fury, no action is taken, the police should then go round to the house of the man who made the complaint and arrest him for wasting police time. And to help them out with that, his name is Ian Sawyer. He's 55. He's from Manchester. And he looks a bit like a potato.

This is the only way to make the professionally offended think twice before picking up the phone. They have to understand that if they make a complaint and they're wrong, they are going to get punished for being a cry baby.
This week's column could also have been titled "First World Problems":

The signs said New York but it looked just like London and felt like hell (Dec. 20)

At this time of year many people decide that they should go on a Christmas shopping trip to New York. And, having given the matter some serious thought in the past couple of minutes, I'm fairly sure it's the stupidest idea in all of Christendom.

Unless you are one of those pouting imbeciles with expensive hair whose sole ambition is to appear in the Mail Online's sidebar of shame, Christmas shopping is not even on nodding terms with the concept of fun. It's too hot because you are wearing a big coat. And because you are wearing a big coat, you knock a lot of stuff off shelves. And then you end up with too many bags and the handles are digging into your fingers so you think you have gangrene, and your car's parked miles away and it's raining and the pavements are full of people moving at one mile an hour and you are racked with guilt because you have bought your daughter's boyfriend some corn on the cob forks and he's going to know they cost only PS2.99 and your daughter's going to know it too and then she isn't going to speak to you until Easter Monday.

So why, when you know it's going to be like this, would you choose to do it in New York, where the people move even more slowly and the shops are even hotter and you can't work out what anything costs and you can't have a cigarette anywhere and on top of all that you've got jet lag and you want to go to bed even though it's only four in the afternoon? There's another problem with New York. You get to the airport in London, you let someone take a photograph of your breasts, you get undressed and they take away your Nivea in case you decide on the flight to moisturise the pilot to death, and then finally you are allowed into the perfume shop that stands between you and your gate.

And by the time you've done all this, you could have completed all your Christmas shopping in your local town, gone home, wrapped everything and watched half of Pointless.

Instead, however, you are facing a seven-hour flight, seven hours in a queue for immigration and a seven hour taxi ride to the wrong address in the wrong part of the wrong borough because the driver couldn't understand a word of what you were saying and had arrived in America on the flight before yours.

Eventually, though, you will find yourself in Manhattan, rumbling through the concrete canyons to the midtown lights, where the latest neon promises are burning bright. I think that's from a song. But no matter, because shortly afterwards you'll emerge, blinking, into the brawl that is Fifth Avenue, where you will find that all the shops are familiar. That's because you passed every single one of them on the long and dreary trudge from security to the gate at Heathrow. You also passed them the last time you went to the Village at Westfield. And when you were on holiday in Marbella.

It doesn't matter, though. There are so many people on Fifth Avenue doing their Christmas shopping that you have about as much of a say in where you go as a Pooh stick. Which means that pretty soon you'll find yourself pinned against some kind of diddy skating rink, much like the one at Somerset House in London.

You hope that you'll see a fully grown man fall over, but none does, and then you are jettisoned from the eddy and if you're lucky you'll end up at your hotel, which almost certainly will be owned by a British company and staffed by British people.

The next day you'll head into SoHo, where you will be carried past shops such as Jo Malone, Stella McCartney, Ben Sherman, Barbour and Dr Martens until you end up in Greenwich Village at Myers of Keswick. Or the Spotted Pig. Or maybe back where you started, at Soho House. (Branches in Shoreditch, Notting Hill, Chiswick and Chipping Norton are also available.) I noticed this phenomenon the first time I went to New York. Adrian Gill took me to show me the "real" America. Which involved staying at a British-owned hotel, taking tea with Robbie Williams and meeting lots of people I dimly remembered from drinks parties in South Kensington.

I went there again last weekend and the London connection was even more pronounced. In two days I went to the opening of Lloyd Webber's new show, School of Rock, and then to a party where I bumped into the chief executive of The New York Times, who's called Mark Thompson and used to run the BBC, and Shaun Woodward, who was an MP for various parties until recently. Oh and the jewellery designer Theo Fennell. Desperate to hear an American accent, I went back to my hotel, where sitting at the bar was the former BBC presenter Richard Bacon.

I do not know of two cities anywhere in the world which are as similar as New York and London. Moscow, Sydney, Vancouver, Buenos Aires, Rome. They're all different. But New York and London? No. One's a bit taller than the other and one is wider. But that's it.

Both have pronounced and quite small districts that come with different smells and a different vibe. Both hum with pent-up energy. Both these days at least have taxi drivers who are useless. Both are filled with people from everywhere else. Both are financial hubs and shopping centres. And both are located on islands off the coast of America.

Choosing to do your Christmas shopping in New York, then, is like driving hundreds of miles this morning to buy your copy of The Sunday Times. What's the point when the one available right on your doorstep is exactly the same? Well, not exactly. New York may be full to overflowing with British people and British shops and British businesses and British hotels, but when you ask for a cup of tea, the staff are still baffled by the recipe. Which means that after an hour or so you'll get a cupful of lukewarm water with a small bag of what appears to be bark.
Happy New Year everyone!

Hallelujah, reverend! This hymn-hater has seen the happy-clappy light (Dec. 28)

I woke last Tuesday with a heavy heart because I had to spend the morning lying on my back with a man in my mouth, and the evening in a church, listening to Hector the Rector prattling on about the virgin birth, like it really happened.

I would love to tell you that the dentist wasn't as bad as I had feared. But I can't. Because it was. But the church service was a revelation. It was fantastic. I actually sang, loudly and lustily, and I clapped, and when it was over, I was sad because I wanted more.

School for me was ruined by two things: Shakespeare and God.

Mostly God, because on a Sunday morning I would have to get up at crikey o'clock, and put on a suit and a tie so that I could spend an hour worshiping someone who never wore much more than a loincloth.

I hated the hymns very much, apart from Jerusalem, which isn't a hymn at all, but what I hated most of all was the seriousness of it all. We were all gathered together to talk and sing about a fairy tale but anyone caught laughing, or smoking, or having a good time in any way, was given a detention. Which meant sitting in a room the following weekend reading more bloody Shakespeare.

I vowed when I left school that I would never set foot in a church ever again. But, of course, things didn't work out that way because there would be weddings and christenings and now, I'm sad to say, funerals. Not that you can tell any of these things apart.

They're all just as miserable as one another. Because you're in a suit, and you have to mumble while someone mangles his way through the hymns on the organ, and then an old man gets into the pulpit and gives you a Form IVB interpretation of some tiny passage from the Bible, during which you are invited not to find any joy at all.

I went recently to a Catholic memorial and Oh My Bloody God. On and on went the priest, about the lamb of God and how we were all basically evil and only for about four seconds were we allowed to celebrate the life of the poor man whom God had killed, because let's not forget that alongside all the bright and beautiful things he created, he also invented cancer and mites that eat children's eyes.

At this point, I should say that I have no problem with those who choose to believe or even those who put a hat on and waddle down to their local church on a Sunday to do a bit of mumbling. They are old and they are clinging to the prospect that when this life is over, there will be another, in heaven. There's no harm in that. Mostly.

But I do have a problem with the way the established churches are run in this country. There's too much lecturing and too many giant thermometers in the graveyard urging us to help God's accountants pay for a new roof. Why does it never occur to them to get Michael McIntyre or John Bishop into the pulpit to give their spin on how the meek will inherit the earth? Why don't they try, just once in a while, to make us happy rather than guilty? And at this point we get back to where I began, on Tuesday evening, at the first church service I have ever enjoyed.

It was full, as is usual, of lots of middle-aged and elderly people in suits. And, naturally, there were a few bored-looking children with side partings and school coats, wondering why they couldn't have been left at home to play Grand Theft Auto.

However, up at the front, where you would normally expect to find an old man in a frock, there was a gospel choir. Which was made up of what I can only describe as several sets of lungs with hair. God, they were loud.

Of course, because the audience was white and middle class and middleaged, we had no idea what to do. I guess many of us had seen a gospel choir in a film and I don't doubt that like me we had all thought "how quaint". But here we were, face to face, and we had no idea what to do.

They were giving it the full Aretha Franklin and we wanted to bop along but were in a church so obviously that wasn't allowed. Except it was, because after the first song one of the singers turned round and, in so many words, said, "Come on, everyone. Why don't you get off your bony white arses and join in?" So we did. We belted out "I Say a Little Prayer" and "I Can See Clearly Now" and, yes, at one point I was even up to 11 while singing something by Boney M. By the time we got to the encore, which was "O Come, All Ye Faithful," we were louder than AC/DC.

Gospel has its roots in Africa where song is based on a system of call and response. The singers give you a line, and then you repeat it. Which is ideal if you can't afford a hymn book or you can't read. And because they could afford no instruments, they used the human voice for the music, and clapping for the rhythm section.

As you would imagine, it was decried, when it first surfaced in America, for destroying the dignity of songs that were written to serve God. I think that's rubbish. I think songs are often enhanced with some gospel-inspired backing vocals. Blur. Madonna. U2. They would agree with that.

But you judge for yourself. Next Christmas, if you feel obliged to worship the baby Jesus in some way, don't bother with Rick the Vic and his wonky organ. Say no to the uncomfortable pews and the old ladies in hats and try a bit of happyclappy gospel.

I would go even further. The Church of England is in dire trouble. Visitor numbers are falling.

Congregations are dying, literally. And there seems no hope. But there is. Simply make the next Archbishop of Canterbury black and let him fill his churches every Sunday with some Boney M and Johnny Mathis. It'll be standing room only.
Here's the first column of 2016:

Pipe down, mudslingers. It was Frank, not Phil, that soaked the north (January 3)

As the north of England gradually sank beneath the swirling brown torrent, we learnt that Sir Philip Dilley, the boss of the Environment Agency, and therefore the man responsible for the nation's flood defences, was sunning himself in Barbados.

Naturally, we were invited to sneer at this ne'er-do-well who takes our money to do a job and then buggers off to the Caribbean whenever the weather turns iffy.

But hang on a minute: let's just say for moment that Sir Dilley had cancelled his winter holiday plans. Let's say that instead of heading for Gatwick to board a plane to Barbados, he'd got on a train and headed instead for Carlisle. What difference would that have made? The rain would still have fallen.

The rivers would still have burst their banks. A thousand DFS sofas would still have been ruined. And Robert Hall would still have been on the news every night, in his logo-less wellies, telling us about northern grit.

When it became obvious that a street was in danger of being submerged, did the shopkeepers stand quivering in their store rooms saying: "We have no idea what to do. If only the boss of the Environment Agency were here to offer some kind of guidance"? When that bus became trapped in the torrent, did the fire brigade rush about in panicky circles, waving their arms in the air, saying: "Everyone on board will surely die because Sir Dilley is not here to tell us how to inflate our dinghies"? Actually, I should imagine that the people on the ground were quite grateful that he was in Barbados, because if he'd turned up in his gabardine, and his new Christmas jumper, they'd have had to stop rescuing people and make him a cup of tea.

We saw this with David Cameron. He was in flood-hit towns, shaking hands with various flood relief workers, who, because they were shaking hands with the prime minister, were not doing any actual flood relief work.

It's therefore better that politicians and civil servants stay away whenever the weather girds its loins. Their job is to sit down after the flood waters have gone away and the DFS sofas have been replaced to work out how best such problems can be prevented in future.

For evidence of this you need look no further than the Lake District when the first storm came roiling in from the west. I can't remember its name. Eunice, probably. Or Brian.

Whatever, a local engineering company immediately dispatched its men and its heavy equipment to solve the problem, which they did in short order.

A couple of days later the town was threatened once more, but this time the boss of the local engineering company was told by police chiefs obsessed with health and safety that it was too dangerous for his men to work. So, because these police chiefs were on the ground, and not on holiday in Barbados, thousands of people spent their Christmas scraping raw sewage from their plug sockets and cooking their turkeys with a candle.

Exactly the same thing happened again this week when Storm Frank came barrelling over the Pennines. Homeowners were told to stop protecting their property with sandbags and leave the area immediately. The chief constables were running around as if a giant meteorite was on its way. "There is a danger to life," they shrieked.

This is the first thing Sir Dilley should do. Tomorrow morning he should hold a meeting in his office with various people from the police and the Met Office.

And he should tell them in a special stern voice that in future they've got to calm down and stop pretending that above average rainfall is an extinction level event. Afterwards he should ask local councils if they'd offer grants to any homeowner who's put decking over their back garden and turned their front lawn into a car park if they'd put it all back as it was, to give the rainwater a chance to soak away before it gets to the greengrocer's.

Sadly, though, Sir Dilley will not be able to take any of these practical steps because on Monday he will almost certainly be in a headhunter's office, having lost what the Daily Mail calls his PS100,000-a-year, three-day-a-week cushy number at the Environment Agency.

This, I think, is actually the biggest problem facing Britain today.

Whenever a problem arises, the boss is invariably blamed and then sacked before he has a chance to make sure it doesn't arise again.

It's all rooted in a disease that causes rational people to hate anyone who is moderately successful or lucky or beautiful. We're invited to rejoice if we see a spot of cellulite on Kate Moss's thighs. We are encouraged to laugh openly if a lottery winner loses his fortune in some way. And we are invited to sneer if a politician has the temerity to go on a foreign holiday.

You may be aware of the "Rich Kids of Instagram" feed. It's a place where children of the well-off post photographs of themselves drinking champagne and wearing watches the size of a medium-sized tortoise. If I were a teenager and I looked at all those pictures, I'd be inspired to get a good job and work hard. But no.

Instead of thinking, "One day I shall be able to provide all that", the disease makes us think, "Right. What can I do to make sure they lose their watches and their champagne?" In short, money, if you've earned it, is bad enough; but money, if you haven't, is unforgivable.

All of which means that just a day after Sir Dilley got back from his holiday in Barbados, he was described on his Wikipedia page as an "upper-class twerp".

He certainly isn't a twerp, because he gained a first-class honours degree in civil engineering. And I'm not sure about the upper-class bit either, because his only political contribution has been PS2,000. To the Scottish Labour party.

All I do know is that we pay him to do a job. And now we must leave him alone so that he can get on and do it.

While I agree with the basic point, it does seem foolish for the head of the Environment Agency to take a vacation at the very time when the environment is most likely to act up.
As for the animosity directed to the "Rich Kids of Instagram," surely much of the ire is directed at the fact that many of those kids are spoiled rotten? Having lots of unearned money is unforgivable because it makes people unbearable.
Kim has a bomb. No need for panic just fire up the roman candles (Jan. 10)

It was a tremendous week for the glorious leader of the Workers' Revolution party, who, using cunning and guile, stunned the world by taking three days to reorganise his cabinet.

Meanwhile, in North Korea, another glorious leader of another Workers' Revolution party went one stage further and in a deep pit near the Chinese border set off a hydrogen bomb.

Or did he? North Korea's Fiona Bruce, who delivers her news bulletins by shouting while wearing a nylon baby-doll ballgown, certainly seemed to think so. She said the country had successfully detonated an H-bomb, and then, after a short commercial break in which stirring music was shown over a fetching picture of Kim Jong-Corbyn, she announced that America was an imperialist dog. Only less delicious.

Naturally, all the western leaders were very cross about this new development. "We are very cross about this," said Philip Hammond, Britain's foreign secretary. Chinese leaders were cross too, because the blast had caused cracks to appear in a school playground on their side of the border.

And that, really, is when the penny started to drop. "Hang on," thought the world's experts. If this really was a hydrogen bomb, then surely it would have caused more damage than cracks in a school playground. "Yes," said the world's seismologists. "It caused only a very small shudder. Our needles would have rocked more if a fatty such as Kim Jong-un had fallen down the stairs."

At this stage it's important to understand the difference between a simple atomic bomb the sort that was dropped on Japan towards the end of the Second World War and the much more fearsome hydrogen bomb, which uses a normal atomic explosion to trigger a far larger, thermonuclear reaction.

Russia has set off a thermonuclear bomb with the explosive force of 50m tons of TNT. Detonate one of those 1,000 feet above London and the windows in Cairo would rattle. Whereas North Korea's bomb only managed to crack a school playground a hundred miles or so away. Boffins are saying it was a device of about 6 kilotons, which in the West is known as a "firework".

As a tool for scaring its enemies into acquiescence, then, Fatty-un's bomb is about effective as a pair of slippers. But then along came a former British ambassador to North Korea, who told the Daily Mail that this was just the start. He said that if the bomb could be made to work and that if it could be militarised so that it would fit into a missile and that if that missile could be loaded into a submarine, then Jong-un's glorious navy could sail undetected through the Solent and, with no warning at all, damage school playgrounds all the way from Ringwood to Buckler's Hard.

That sounds very terrifying, but there are a lot of "if"s, chief among which is this submarine business. We were told last year that North Korea had indeed launched a non-nuclear test missile from a sub, but it later emerged that actually it had been from a submerged barge.

The North Korean navy appears to be not very good. It runs two fleets, one on the west coast and one on the east. This is because the vessels it has are not capable of getting from one side of the country to the other. When it stages manoeuvres, one or two ships usually sink.

Some, however, sink on purpose. These are submarines. Mostly they are tiny little things that have been abandoned by most navies for being completely useless. But there is talk that North Korea has built itself a much bigger vessel based on a 1960s Yugoslavian design. Hmmm. I once flew across Cuba in a 1950s Russian aircraft that had spent most of its life in the Angolan air force, and that was pretty ropy.

But a Yugoslavian-designed submarine that was built in North Korea. It's hard to think of anything less likely to work. Especially after the chef has loaded up the larder with several dozen excitable spaniels.

Let's say, however, that it does. And let's say that they manage to fit it with a tube from which this thermonuclear missile can be fired. Does anyone seriously think it'll be able to sail all the way from the Sea of Japan to the Solent without being detected? It runs on diesel power, which means it has to stay on the surface most of the time. And what are people on cruise liners and cargo ships going to say when it burps and belches its way past them? "Ooh, look, a big dead whale with a weird metal erection."

This is what the world always seems to forget when it comes to nuclear weapons. You may be able to build one, but then you have the problem of getting it to explode over the city of your choice.

During a recent bout of tension between India and Pakistan, I asked an Indian chap if his country's nuclear missiles would be capable of hitting Islamabad. "I'm not even sure they could hit Pakistan," he replied.

We saw only recently four Russian cruise missiles sailing over their targets in Syria and landing hundreds of miles away in Iran. And somehow we are expected to believe that North Korea is on the verge of developing a missile that can be fired from under water and will then guide itself to Wilton Avenue in Southampton.

Well, I don't, which is why I sniggered when Philip Hammond responded to Fatty-un's underground firework explosion by saying he would be pushing for a robust response.

What form will that take? A strongly worded letter? Or is he saying we should order one of our subs to wipe Pyongyang off the map? I suppose we can take comfort from this: at least we have a choice. If Comrade Corbyn ever gets into the hot seat and Trident is abandoned, we won't.

Readers might also be interested to know that Jeremy's car column for this week reviews the Reliant Robin.
Thanks Revelator it was very interesting even if I disagree about the thread of the korean bomb.

No need for submarines or rockets, the bomb stored in a container piled up with other containers in a port would do it.
Thanks Revelator it was very interesting even if I disagree about the thread of the korean bomb.

No need for submarines or rockets, the bomb stored in a container piled up with other containers in a port would do it.

Some friends of mine and I compiled the publicly available data and gamed it out when North Korea started popping nukes as tests. Assuming a compromised freighter being used as a trojan horse delivery system and a 40-45 kiloton device, you only actually need surprisingly few devices to bring the US economy to its knees or at least ensure the US won't pay attention to much of anything but domestic issues for a while. You only need one to equally cripple the UK.

Because this is an internationally visible and heavily indexed site, I'm not going to say where you'd deploy them but if you think about it it's rather obvious.
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Getting some questionable Chinese hackers to take down a nuclear UK power station could probably do quite a lot of damage aswell.
Clarkson's Sunday Times Columns

Getting some questionable Chinese hackers to take down a nuclear UK power station could probably do quite a lot of damage aswell.

Depends on whether it's a native Brit design or not. The Brit designs are horrible things that do not have much if any passive safeties and some don't even have a proven working scram system. On the other hand, they don't have much by way of computer control. If it's a post-80s French, Canadian or US design, not really. The computers are overridden by passive safeties that rely only on reliable things like 'gravity'
Am I the only one that thinks this is just a combination of domestic propaganda and sabre rattling? North Korea is like that kid at school who had a huge older brother that was a bit of a nutcase; they were really annoying because they knew you wouldn't do anything for fear of sibling reprisal but at the same time they knew that if they started anything major enough people would group together and big brother wouldn't be part of the equation.

Having China as a major ally will only cover them from external aggression but if they pulled a dick move like deploying a nuke in an unprovoked attack can you honestly see China defending their actions on the international stage?
Everything North Korea does is lies and propaganda, both towards their own population as to the outside world. I wouldn't be worried about them having an H bomb but Clarkson's logic is rather dumb for the above mentioned reason, if they'd actually have one then delivering it to the target is by far the easiest thing to achieve.
I sympathize with this week's column:

I stand before the Twitter Inquisition, guilty of not worshipping Bowie (Jan. 17)

As you may have heard, David Bowie is dead. And all week we've been told very forcefully that he was an inspiration, a genius and a force for good in a troubled world. Flowers were laid outside his New York home. There were outpourings of grief all over the world. And the television schedules were cleared to make way for hastily prepared look-back documentaries. David Cameron didn't actually interrupt parliament to say Bowie was "the people's pop star", but I bet it crossed his mind.

The next day every newspaper carried page after page of thousand-word think pieces from anyone who had access to a computer. "I once stood next to him at a urinal and remember well how thoroughly he washed his hands afterwards." "I saw him driving a car once and it struck me then how down to earth he was."

I was caught up in the mood of the moment and opened Twitter to say something respectful and emotive. But here's the thing. I was too consumed by sadness about the death of Ed "Stewpot" Stewart to think of anything sensible.

It's not that I didn't like Bowie. I did. "Modern Love" is the only song that can get me on a dancefloor. I chose Heroes as one of my Desert Island Discs. And Hunky Dory is one of only two albums yet recorded on which I like every single track. The other is Who's Next, in case you're interested.

But of course you're not interested, because even now, a week after Bowie's death, I bet you're still running round with a lightning bolt on your face, playing "Ashes to Ashes" over and over and weeping as you plan your candlelit vigil outside his dad's former home in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire.

Furthermore, I bet you're still reeling from my claim that I'm more shocked and saddened about the death of Ed "Stewpot" Stewart. I am, though. Ed Stewart was the sound of my childhood. I once asked him to play "Clair" by Gilbert O'Sullivan for my sister on his Junior Choice show and he declined. Even then he could see that a song about a fully grown man's love for a small girl was somehow wrong.

Sadly, though, I am unable to wax lyrical at any length about dead Ed because that will be seen as disrespectful to Bowie. And this is my big problem.

My colleague Camilla Long fell into a similar trap. As people headed off last week to Brixton, Bowie's south London birthplace, with hopeless little tea lights and Spiders from Mars scarves, she spoke out on Twitter about the need to "man up", commenting that all the grief was "deeply insincere", and was widely condemned.

At dinner on Monday I said I'd been more upset when Clarence Clemons from the E Street Band died, and immediately there was a stunned silence. Even if I'd vomited in their food, the other guests couldn't have been more horrified. "You can't say that," said one young woman after she'd been brought round with an adrenaline shot to her heart.

But I can say that. And I did. Because who says we must all have a hive mentality? The problem is widespread now. If you were to go on to Twitter or FaceCloud or whatever and say that you didn't give a stuff about Syria's refugees, you would be torn limb from limb. The queen bee has decided that we little worker bees will be sympathetic to their plight, and that's that. We are.

It's the same story with David Cameron. No one is allowed to say out loud that they like him. In the same way as no one is allowed to say they don't like Judi Dench.

Cycling is a good thing. And all cyclists are saints. Someone decided that this is so, and somehow it has now become the law. And anyone who dares to flout that law will find himself in the court of YouTube, where he will be sentenced to spend the rest of his life as a quivering hermit. There used to be something called political correctness, which was an invisible force field around race, gender and sexual orientation. In many ways it wasn't a bad thing. But now its tentacles have become endless and have spread into pretty much every aspect of our lives.

Being fat? That's not allowed. And neither is being thin. Being rich is evil. Being poor is noble. Being rich and giving your money away to the poor is Bono-ish and therefore to be sneered at.

Suggesting quietly that paedophiles have an illness and should be treated for it rather than set on fire is idiotic. Being a paedophile is the worst thing in the world.

All rape is exactly the same. Anyone who drives an expensive car is fundamentally bad.

McDonald's is wrong. Starbucks is the devil. Taylor Swift isn't. Global warming is definitely caused by man. Sean Penn is a hero. Donald Trump's a moron. All nurses are angels, all hospital managers are bunglers, supermarkets are money-grabbing bastards and the EU is a complete waste of everyone's afternoon.

These are all rules. You may not disagree with any of them. If you do, within earshot of someone else, you will be beaten with sticks.

Much the same fate now awaits anyone who says: "I mourn David Bowie's passing but I didn't like some of his music and I thought that most of his outfits were pretentious twaddle. And, while I'm at it, what was Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence all about?" Try saying that in public and pretty soon you'll learn what it's like to drown in spittle.

The fact is, though, David Bowie wasn't in the prime of his life, speeding through a tunnel, and neither was he in an open-top Lincoln on a sunny drive through Dallas: he'd run his body ragged with a rock'n'roll lifestyle, and he died from cancer, aged 69, which until quite recently would have been considered a ripe old age.

It's sad that he's died, but please don't demand that I wander about in public, shedding tears that aren't real.
Yeah I got the same BS on Facebook. Once again Clarkson says what many of us would like to feel free to admitting to thinking.
Yeah I got the same BS on Facebook. Once again Clarkson says what many of us would like to feel free to admitting to thinking.
Yep. But it was true for me even back in the ziggy stardust. I never liked it. But I didn't dare say it out loud.
Yep. But it was true for me even back in the ziggy stardust. I never liked it. But I didn't dare say it out loud.

Can I say I like Chris Hatfield's Major Tom more than the original track? And not just because one singer really was 'floating in a most peculiar way' in the video. Chris's voice sounds really plaintive and more poignant, and I prefer the instrumentation of Chris's version.
Gender issues this week:

Transgender issues are driving me nuts. I need surgery on my tick boxes (Jan. 24)

Now that women can vote and homosexual couples can marry, you might imagine that the world's student activists, trade union leaders and environmentalists would pat themselves on the back and break open a bottle of sustainable elderflower juice to congratulate themselves on a job well done.

But no. They have decided that we must now all turn our attention to the plight of people who want to change their name from Stan to Loretta, and fight for the right for men to have babies.

I'll be honest. When this issue first began to surface a couple of years ago and we had pop stars such as Sir John running about, talking endlessly about the transgender cause, I did roll my eyes a bit. Because in the immortal words of Reg, from the People's Front of Judea, "Where's the foetus going to gestate? You going to keep it in a box? " As far as I was concerned, men who want to be women were only really to be found on the internet or in the seedier bits of Bangkok. They were called ladyboys, and in my mind they were nothing more than the punchline in a stag night anecdote.

I wasn't alone either. Only recently I was chatting to a doctor about how people can now demand gender reassignment surgery on the NHS and he said, "I get lots of people in my surgery with a Napoleon complex. But I don't buy them a pointy hat and a French army uniform." I found that funny.

But there's a distinctly unfunny side to the coin. Just recently some friends of friends were having one of their eight-year-old daughter's school chums round for a sleepover. As the day approached they received a call from the girl's parents, who said, "Er, she's not actually a girl."

She had been born a boy but had insisted from the age of three that she had a girl's name and wore girls' clothes and, later, that she went to a girls' school. And her parents had simply indulged this whim.

I was horrified. I wanted to seek them out and explain that they were free to live a lunatic life, washing their armpits with charcoal and liking Jeremy Corbyn's thoughts on how ballistic nuclear submarines must be built by the comrades and then used as flower pots. But they must not, and I was going to emphasise this with spittle, be allowed to poison the mind of a child.

When I was five I wanted to be Alan Whicker, but my parents didn't buy me a blazer and send me to hospital to have my adenoids sewn up. Other kids wanted to be super army soldiers or astronauts. It's what kids do: dream impossible dreams.

You don't actually take them seriously. You don't take them to a hospital when they're 10 and say, "He wants to be a girl, so can you lop his todger off?" Because what's going to happen five years later when he's decided that being a man isn't so bad after all and he's in the showers at the rugby club? And there's more. Only last week we received news from the Daily Mail that at Isle of Wight prison nine inmates have decided they would like to be women and now want the NHS to stump up PS100,000 for the necessary procedures.

Transgender enthusiasts talked with serious faces about how this demonstrated the scale of the problem and the horror of being a woman trapped not just inside a man's body, but inside a man's prison as well.

Yes, but hang on just a cottonpicking minute. When I was at school, I announced that I would like to be confirmed as a Christian. This was seen by teachers and my housemaster as a sign that I was growing up, so they happily agreed to my request.

And from that day on I was allowed to skip compulsory chapel on a Sunday morning where you were checked and ticked off on a register and go instead to the early morning village communion service, where you weren't. Which meant I didn't have to go to church at all and could therefore spend all weekend with my girlfriend.

Can't anyone see, I wailed, that this is what's going on in the Isle of Wight nick? They tell the screws they want to be women, they get a bit of make-up and some breasts to play with and they are then transferred to a women's prison, where they can spend the rest of their lives being a lesbian. It's every man's dream.

To try to calm down a bit, I turned to the BBC for guidance, and there I was told there are 650,000 people living in Britain today with some kind of gender "issue". Well, I just sat there shaking my head, because the simple fact is: there aren't.

We are told that one in 10 of the population are gay, that one in 10 have cancer, that one in 10 support Isis, that one in 10 think Corbyn's doing a good job, that one in 10 have a criminal record, that one in 10 are living below the poverty line and that one in 10 were born elsewhere, and now we are expected to believe that one in 100 are transgender. Well, if that's so, it means that according to my maths fewer than three in 10 are healthy, straight, honest, British people who don't want their genitals altered. And that's obviously rubbish.

But then I thought of something. Let's just say for a moment that one in 1,000 are transgender. Or one in 100,000. Or even that it's actually just one. Let's say that there is one person out there who is a woman living in a man's body, or the other way around.

I started to imagine what life might be like for the poor soul. It would be dreadful. Absolutely awful. And all they seem to want to make their life better is a third gender option box on official documents. That's not really the end of the world for everyone else, is it?
Definitely a column worth reading to the very last word. The commentariat is already up in arms about it, but they don't seem to have read the whole thing.
Yeah the lunatics are already up in arms and have started a petition on Sadly unless I vote in their favour it doesn't seem as if I am allowed to comment to point that out.