Letters: Has Clarkson finally gone too far?

These letters appear in the 12 March edition of The Independent

Independent Voices
Thursday 12 March 2015 13:19 GMT

Now that Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended from Top Gear, is it too much to hope that the BBC will replace the programme with one about cars and motoring?

David McKaigue

Jeremy Clarkson deserves an accolade. With any luck, by his pugilistic self-expression he will have removed himself from our vision. Finally. Well done, sir!

And with further luck, the BBC may develop a successor to the current oafish Top Gear format, one that treats motoring matters with greater imagination and dignity, and yet still captures the rare excitement of moving at speed.

I am no petrolhead, but motor vehicles of all types are important. At best they are objects of great beauty and engineering brilliance, in the centre ground they are the grimly uniform boxes on which we depend to move around, and at worst they are lethal machines that can wreck lives. So I have no doubt they are worthy of a place in the TV schedules. Fingers crossed.

Ian Bartlett
East Molesey, Surrey

I managed to get through my working life without throwing a punch at anyone, though I was tempted on a few occasions.

If I had given in to temptation, I would have been immediately sacked for gross misconduct. If the allegations against Jeremy Clarkson are true, he seems to have got off lightly with a mere suspension.

Sam Boote

If the BBC does not want Jeremy Clarkson to be offensive on Top Gear, then it should edit out the offending parts.

If Mr Clarkson objects to that censorship then he can work elsewhere. Problem solved.

David Rose
Sutton Coldfield

Our entertainment industry is currently beguiled by the antics of two overbearing celebrity egos struggling to retain or reclaim their positions.

There appears, however, to be a simple solution which might satisfy the aspirations of the individuals and save the faces of their employers. Arrange for Pietersen to present Top Gear and Clarkson to bat at number four for England.

Trevor Davies
Warrington, Cheshire

I have been struck by the proliferation of assertive Jeremys in the broadcast media: Messrs Clarkson, Hardy, Kyle, Paxman and Vine are cases in point.

Perhaps the time has come for a carefully considered cull; although, of course, I personally wouldn’t want any such action, however humane, to be widened to include members of the general public.

Jeremy Redman
London SE6

Fracas? Fracas? I haven’t heard that word since the early 1960s, when it was regularly used by provincial newspapers to describe Friday-night punch-ups outside the pub.

John Williams
Chichester, West Sussex

Reform of the bedroom tax

We, the undersigned Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidates and activists have championed reform of the bedroom tax in the Liberal Democrat manifesto.

Andrew George MP’s Affordable Housing Bill, which the right-wing Conservatives refused to support, proposes removing all under-occupancy charges in social housing for the most vulnerable and those most in need. This includes protecting those with disabilities, those who have careers, joint custody of their children or families in the Army.

We are also pleased to support revoking the under-occupancy charge (the bedroom tax), so it will only apply to new tenancies going forward.

The under-occupancy levy was introduced in private rented sector in the early 2000s, and it is logical to apply this to new tenancies for social housing, but not where people would be left without food or shelter.

Kelly-Marie Blundell
Parliamentary Candidate for Guildford

Frank Little
Aberavon and Neath

Hannah Bettsworth
Aberdeen Donside

Kate Smith
Amber Valley, Derbys

Clive Sneddon
Angus and Mearns

Matan Duveen

Leon Duveen
PPC for Bassetlaw & Sherwood

Jennie Coggles
Bassetlaw and Sherwood

Julie Pörksen
PPC Berwick upon Tweed

Paul Hindley

Michael Mullaney
PPC Bosworth

Ian Magrath
Bromley Borough

Peter Brooks
PPC Bromley Borough

Catherine Smart

James Flanagan
PPC Canterbury and Whitstable

John Hunnable
Chelmsford & Maldon

Kirsten Johnson
Chesham & Amersham

Jon Hubbard

Caron Lindsay
Dunfermline and West Fife

Kevin McNamara
PPC Ealing

Sarah Green

Jon Ball
Ealing Borough

Louise Bloom

Nathan Khan

Jacquie Bell
Edinburgh NE and Leith

Karen Utting
Edinburgh North East &Leith

James Moore
Greater Reading

Stephen Churchman
Gwynedd and Anglesey

Ben Mathis

Geoffrey Payne

D A Luckraft
Haltemprice & Howden

Nick Perry
PPC Hastings & Rye

Jemma Charlton

Avril Grundy

Anthony Smith
Heywood and Middleton

Joshua Dixon
PPC Hillingdon Borough

Chris Randall
Hull and Hessle

Andrew Page
Inverclyde (PPC for Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill)

Malcolm John Mitchell

Mark Pack

Alex Harding
Islington Borough

Cara Jenkinson

Gareth Epps
PPC Keighley

Robin McGhee
PPC Kensington & Chelsea

Virginia Morck
Kensington & Chelsea

Simon James
Kingston Borough

Peter Flake

Julia Fletcher
Lewisham East

Kevin White

Leo Evans

Paula Keaveney

Paul Childs
Liverpool Riverside

Sarah Brown
Manchester Gorton

Anthony Fairclough
Merton borough

Liz Lynne
Mid Worcestershire

Michael Heavens
New Forest

Tony Vickers
Newbury & West Berkshire

Stephen Glenn
Northern Ireland

Ryan Mercer
Norwich South

Layla Moran
Oxford West and Abingdon

James Hackett
Rhondda Cynon Taff

Chris Holman

Michael Beckett
Scarborough and Whitby

Alastair Macpherson
Sevenoaks, Gravesham

Joe Otten

Thomas Mead

David Rendel
PPC Somerton and Frome

Lee Dargue
PPC South West Birmingham

Neil Monnery

Suzanne Fletcher
Stockton South

James Sandbach
PPC Suffolk Coastal

John Killick

Richard Broadbent
Sutton Borough

Colin Green
SW Birmingham

Maria Pretzler
Swansea & Gower

Gareth Wilson

Nicola Wilson

Rachel Sadler
Tunbridge Wells

Roger Crouch
Twickenham & Richmond

Mike Tuffrey

Geoff Harris
Warwick & Leamington

Rabi Martins
PPC for Hemel Hempstead

Patrick Haveron
South West Surrey

Iris Walker
West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine

Simon Wilson
West Norfolk

Naomi Smith
Westminster Borough

Stan Collins
Westmorland and Lonsdale

Peter Reisdorf
Wirral West

Chris Took
PPC Woking

Ian Griffiths
Wolverhampton South East

Hazel Thorpe
Worthing West

Government of national disunity

Kenneth Baker’s proposition of a Labour-Conservative coalition after the general election (7 March) would have the opposite effect to its main purpose, that of keeping the Union together.

Lord Baker fails to comprehend the extent to which the Conservative Party has become toxic in Scotland, averaging less than one MP for the past 18 years, and reliant on proportional representation systems which it opposed, for its residual presence at Holyrood.

A major element in the SNP’s referendum campaign was that Scotland would never have a Tory government imposed on it again, and since the referendum their rise in the polls has used an attack on Labour for co-operating with Conservatives in that campaign.

If Labour went into coalition with Tories in 2015 the predictable consequence would be that the SNP would win a landslide in the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016 and would be very strongly placed to win an independence referendum.

The Conservatives are becoming a major threat to both the unity of Great Britain and our continued membership of the EU.

Malcolm K Savidge
Redhill, Surrey

Another possible topic for a grand coalition between Conservative and Labour to cover would be the relationship with the EU and any subsequent referendum on membership.

A grand coalition would have much increased authority in the negotiations and any referendum would be “cleaner”, in that party political considerations would be less likely to influence the vote and muddy the eventual decision.

David Barker
Surbiton, Surrey

Lord Baker suggests that the SNP could win 56 seats in the general election and emerge “holding the balance of power”.

If Lord Baker’s party had not voted against a proportional representation system in the current parliament, the number of SNP MPs on 8 May would be less than half that number, possibly around 27 based on the latest Poll of Polls figure for SNP support at 45 per cent.

While a party with 27 seats could still have considerable influence and could conceivably hold the balance of power, it is likely that the SNP will have more influence as a result of a flawed electoral system.

Graham Johnston
New Alyth, Perthshire

Murderer in the cathedral

When Edward IV suddenly died in 1483, his brother Richard of Gloucester took his young son Edward V, and murdered his bodyguards including the brother, and the son by a previous marriage, of Edward IV’s widow, Elizabeth Woodville.

Queen Elizabeth, Richard’s sister-in-law, fled into sanctuary with her family, but Richard lured Edward V’s brother out, against his mother’s wishes. Richard next murdered a major supporter, Lord Hastings, who had been Edward IV’s greatest friend.

Richard now usurped the crown, declaring the imprisoned Edward V and his brother illegitimate, and they were not seen after a few weeks. Immediately Yorkist supporters of his late brother Edward IV led rebellions against Richard III across the south of England. Many of these Yorkists escaped to join Henry Tudor of the House of Lancaster in Brittany.

A year or so later Henry Tudor led a force of French and Scots into Wales, to be joined by a Welsh army and Lancastrians and Yorkists alike, on an unimpeded progress to Bosworth Field. Few nobles rallied to Richard III’s army. Richard was killed at Bosworth. In effect, within two years he had lost the support of his Yorkist nobles, and the safe Yorkist dynasty of Edward IV was no more.

Can anyone outside romantic fiction fans and the Richard III Society explain why Richard III is having a cathedral burial in Leicester later this month? I believe that the organisers are disappointed that no member of the Royal Family is attending. Perhaps they realise the irony in religiously honouring a murderer and regicide.

Terry Breverton
Pencader, Carmarthenshire

Good news for despots and terrorists

George D Lewis (letter, 10 March) enthuses that UK military budget cuts will limit us to “the defence of the realm” and thereby prevent our involvement in what Mr Lewis labels “optional wars”.

Such cuts and attitudes must be music to the ears of Islamist terror gangs and genocidal despots, but they are contemptible to those of us who would prefer to see wicked regimes being overthrown.

Keith Gilmour

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