Diary: Can Cameron tolerate the latest bout of Clarkson crassness?

 

There may come a time when Jeremy Clarkson is such an embarrassment that David Cameron will have to stop being matey with him. Clarkson's suggestion that public-sector workers should be lined up and shot for going on strike did not quite do it, because Cameron could point out that he was joking. But the Top Gear presenter has now succeeded in embroiling the Prime Minister in a diplomatic contretemps with India, one of the world's fastest-growing markets.

The Indian High Commissioner has protested this month about the Top Gear Christmas Special, which featured Clarkson and chums cavorting around India, getting up to jolly japes such as traipsing a banner along the side of a train proclaiming "The UK promotes BRITISH I.T. for your company", which was torn so that the letters "BRITI" disappeared. Geddit? A similarly staged mishap caused the final three letters to vanish from a banner saying "Eat English Muffins".

"The programme was replete with cheap jibes, tasteless humour and lacked cultural sensitivity," a letter from the High Commissioner to the programme producer, Chris Hale, complained. "We strongly protest and expect the BBC to make amends, especially to assuage the hurt sentiments of a large number of people."

This need not have involved the Government but for the fact that David Cameron is Jeremy Clarkson's neighbour and buddy, and made a cameo appearance at the start of the film. He was seen stepping out of 10 Downing Street, waving to Clarkson and his fellow hosts, who were filming in the street, and calling to them: "Stay away from India."

"The BBC are able to film in Downing Street as are other broadcast companies," the Prime Minister's spokesman said. "They were in the street and he was leaving for an event. The Government is not responsible for editorial decisions made by the BBC or any media organisation. This is a matter for the BBC."

It's the IPSA-bitty details that count

It cannot be said precisely how much IPSA, the body that oversees MPs' expenses, saves the taxpayer, because that would involve guessing how much MPs would be claiming if IPSA was not there to restrain them. But in 2008-09, when IPSA did not exist, their claims totalled £95.6 million; the 2010-11 figure was £70.6 million. This suggests that although IPSA is an expensive quango, with administrative costs expected to be £6.4 million in the current year, it is a cost saver, no matter how much it annoys MPs. And IPSA officials are showing a commendable attention to detail. Figures released yesterday show that they saved the taxpayer 20p over the summer by spotting that the Liberal Democrat MP John Leech had claimed £14.42 for a mobile phone bill when the accompanying receipt was for only £14.22.

SamCam miffed at date with a Dane

David Cameron has revealed that he watched part of series two of The Killing (starring Sophie Gråbøl) – episode nine of which is set in Afghanistan – on the long flight to Afghanistan. Samantha is cross, he told The House Magazine (the trade journal for MPs), because she had not seen them. "I got a couple of episodes ahead and I've not been forgiven," he claimed.

Another sensitive political tweeter

Conservatives on Hull City Council, on Humberside, have been rendered leaderless after another public figure fell victim to the perils of Twitter. At the end of a debate had been enlivened by the presence of a group of disabled people protesting about cuts in services, the council's Tory leader, John Fareham, tweeted: "15 hours in Council today very hard-hitting day and the usual collection of retards in the public gallery spoiling it for real people." He has been suspended from the council for 20 weeks.

Big noises from a small state

I promised yesterday to reveal the names of two famous people linked to the tiny short-lived state of Ruthenia, now in the Ukraine, for those who did not already know (or do not have a copy of Norman Davies's Vanished Kingdoms to consult). The answers are Ondrej Varchola – Americanized to Andrej Warhola, or Andy Warhol – born in Pittsburgh to immigrant Ruthenian parents, and Jan Ludvik Hoch, born into a family of orthodox Jews in a small Ruthenian town. He is better known as Robert Maxwell.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Guru Careers: Graduate Resourcer / Recruitment Account Executive

£18k + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a bright, enthusiastic and internet...

Reach Volunteering: Chair and trustees sought for YMCA Bolton

VOLUNTARY ONLY - EXPENSES REIMBURSED: Reach Volunteering: Bolton YMCA is now a...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£150 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher Geography teach...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor