Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Jeremy Clarkson shares support after becoming unlikely idol for protesting French farmers

‘Clarkson’s Farm’ host tweeted: ‘French farmers. I bet no one has ever said this before, but good luck, coming from England’

Maanya Sachdeva,Tom Murray
Wednesday 31 January 2024 07:03 GMT
Comments
Government should 'back off' UK farmers to help food stocks, Jeremy Clarkson says

Jeremy Clarkson has emerged an unlikely hero for protesting French farmers as one tractor driver praised the controversial TV presenter and his show Clarkson’s Farm.

Farmers have for days been protesting across France to put pressure on the government to respond to their demands for better remuneration for their produce, less red tape and protection against cheap imports.

In an interview with The Telegraph, 30-year-old Robin Leduc, who has a 200-hectare farm in Canly, praised Clarkson’s Amazon Prime Video series about his mission to turn his farm in the Cotswolds into a profitable enterprise.

“We need one of our French celebrities to do the same as Jeremy Clarkson. It’s everything he explained, that’s why and how we are here today,” he told the newspaper on Tuesday (30 January).

On Twitter, Clarkson responded with a message of support for French farmers, writing in their language: “Agriculteurs français. Je parie que personne n’a jamais dit cela auparavant, mais bonne chance, venant d’Angleterre [French farmers. I bet no one has ever said this before, but good luck, coming from England].”

Clarkson, the controversial former host of Top Gear, has used his platform to higlight the plight of farmers in the UK and even renamed his 1,000-hectare farm “Diddly Squat” as a reference to its lack of profitability.

During an appearance on The News Agents podcast in 2022, Clarkson said food prices should be “double what they are” because of the “soul-destroying” work that goes into food farming.

He explained: “People simply don’t pay enough for their food. The one thing a government will never say, ‘Oh you’ve got to pay more for food, you don’t pay enough’.

“[Prices] should be double what they are. It’s soul-destroying, the amount of work. I mean, I was out last week in honestly sideways rain, really heavy, hard rain, trying to get a pig’s penis into the back of another pig while Lisa, my girlfriend, was trying to give another sow the impression she was being mated by rubbing her back,” he continued.

Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free
Apple TV+ logo

Watch Apple TV+ free for 7 days

New subscribers only. £8.99/mo. after free trial. Plan auto-renews until cancelled

Try for free

Farmers in France, the EU’s biggest agricultural producer, say they are not being paid enough, are choked by excessive regulation on environmental protection and face unfair competition from cheap imports.

Some of their concerns, like competition from imports and rigorous environmental rules, are shared by producers elsewhere in the EU, while others such as food price negotiations are more specific to France.

In a spillover from French protests, Belgian farmers blocked Zeebrugge port on Tuesday. Spanish farmers‘ associations said they were planning to take to the streets in February, calling for a halt to Mercosur negotiations, among other demands.

Additional reporting from wire agencies

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in