Janet Street-Porter: Masters of their own universe (if nothing else)

Click to follow
The Independent Online

We used to play a naughty game to get us through endless dreary BBC management meetings, called Fuck or Die. You were allowed to refuse to contemplate sexual intercourse with only three people per hour, before you were landed with a hefty fine. When I look at the twin macho monoliths of that are Jeremy Clarkson and John Prescott, Fuck or Die comes flooding back in all its grisly glory.

Both men represent, to most of the women I know, the very last thing they would contemplate caressing, let alone indulge in any exchange of bodily fluids. Both men have one overwhelming character defect which women find a total turn-off - an oversupply of arrogance and self-confidence. They are puffed up with their own self-importance, convinced that they are articulate, intelligent, masterful and capable, when they are clearly of average capabilities in every single department, without even mentioning what's inside those baggy trousers. Men so devoid of physical gorgeousness they make other men feel good about themselves.

Top Gear is a programme which started off as a little haven where, under the guise of discussing cars, Clarkson, pictured, could come up with all sorts of sexual innuendo about thrust and horsepower. With the rise of metrosexual man, the BBC (in the name of "equality", I presume) foolishly permitted Clarkson to dip his toes into the mainstream, to expound on his great love of engineering. The result was a well-received film about Brunel for the 100 Greatest Britons series.

But Clarkson is a genie let out of a bottle, who seems to feel that his racist remarks about Europeans and Americans in The Sun and the Sunday Times are entertaining and witty, when they are nothing but boorish and facile. The environmentalist Sir Jonathan Porritt is right to attack Clarkson for not caring about climate change, when he could, if he chose, engage thousands of ordinary men in the debate. Ranting about hating cyclists and driving 4x4 cars through unspoilt moorland, without giving a toss for the environmental damage, isn't just childish but completely reprehensible.

John Prescott might be chairing important government committees, but his decisions over the past few years demonstrate over and over again that he is another Clarkson in government. Giving the go-ahead to millions of new homes in the South-east, the one area of Britain facing a drought, with not enough water for its residents, was a major blunder. Intervening in countless planning disputes to give the go-ahead to superstores all over the English countryside was another, as was allowing hundreds of perfectly good terrace houses to be demolished in the centres of Liverpool and Manchester.

Prezza the politician is big, butch and brutal. He mows down what gets in his way. He has been allowed to get away with behaviour no woman in his position would have survived. His continued existence at the heart of government shows that Mr Blair has given up on the female vote, because every day Prezza parks that big backside on the front bench, another woman in Britain decides to votes for David Cameron.

Sometimes you've got to kill to be kind

I am glad the National Trust is considering bringing back hunting with hounds on their land - because the quickest way to flush out and find injured deer, so that they can be humanely shot, is using a dog.

Deer cause a huge amount of environmental damage, and people who object to herds being culled are just talking out of their backsides. When animal welfare organisations start moping about the use of hounds, I'd just like to know whether they think it's kinder to let deer rot to death over a period of weeks. This isn't the reintroduction of hunting, but sensible land management. Deer are shot on vast tracts of land owned by the water boards and the Forestry Commission all over Britain.

When I walked through the Kielder forest, I was told that hunters from Germany come over and pay large sums of money to shoot here. What's the problem? Now we may see the introduction of laws permitting the shooting of wild boar, which are causing plenty of damage to farms in Kent and Sussex. I loathe fox hunting and all its grisly traditions, but I support culling animals when necessary, using guns and properly certified marksmen.

* The ratings for the series The Monastery proved that we're hooked on watching people in confined spaces - it was far more riveting than Big Brother. Now the Poor Clares convent in Sussex is allowing cameras in to record how four women get on during 40 days of prayer and contemplation. The programme will be televised on 14 June.

If the Reverend Roger Smith of Haslingden, in Lancashire, decides to tune in, it will be from behind a new, 10-foot security fence. When 90 clergymen were asked about violence for a survey recently, it emerged that half had been attacked in the past year. Mr Smith, his vicarage and church have endured vandalism for a decade, and now his parishioners have donated thousands towards a security system which he can monitor from his home - a shame the BBC isn't filming his wayward flock.