notgettingenough 's Reviews > The World According to Clarkson

The World According to Clarkson by Jeremy Clarkson
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Nov 14, 10

bookshelves: humour

What’s that? You can’t hear me? Brrrm, brrrmmm. BRMM. Well, I’m living a hundred yards from the first Formula 1 Grand Prix of the season and it’s bloody noisy. I can – vrm vrrrm VROOM – hardly hear you either, so we’re just going to have to pay attention aren’t we? More attention, in fact, than we usually do.

First I want to start with a word from my sponsor, Ferrari, who is paying me to go down the road to write this review over breakfast as they know a writer needs a bowl of porridge and a bit of peace and quiet. The word from Ferrari is this: would I mind – and not to make this dependent for one moment upon the fact that the caramelised bananas on top of my porridge is something for which they’ve footed the bill; nope, they insist that my review stays independent despite their financial investment in my wellbeing – would I mind if Jeremy Clarkson put in a bit of a foreword to this review. Of course I can say no, or yes. (In fact, looking at the last sentence, I suspect no would mean yes and vice versa…)

Hello. This is Jeremy Bloody Clarkson here; that’s right, Jeremy – there’s nothing wrong with boys getting about in fast cars around a track – Clarkson. It’s called having fun and any bleeding heart liberals out there who have a problem with that can leave right now. Go on. Go and find a fox to be friendly with and if it lives anywhere near me, tell it to stop eating my chickens.

Anyway. I’ve have a look around this goodreads site. A lot of wanky smart-arses if you ask me. Half of it doesn’t even make sense. I mean look at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/... This guy’s had a university education. At my considerable expense. He’s a doctor, for God’s sake. He’s probably allowed to say what’s wrong with me. Doctor Rayner. A PhD in linguistics. Well. You’d think he’d be capable of putting a few words in his review, wouldn’t you? I mean, what is the point of a book review without any words in it, anyway?

And another thing. Why is it that all the reviews of my book are two lines long? ‘He’s funny.’ ‘He makes me laugh.’ Well, yes, thank you. I already know I do that. It’s what I get paid for. It’s why I’ve got a very large house in the country and a fox-chicken problem. I was expecting insights, though. ‘What I’ve learned about life from Jeremy Clarkson.’ That sort of thing. I have no doubt this review here by NGE will be different.

But before I hand it over to her, this thing about her not getting enough. I’ve looked at the pictures in her profile and frankly, my estimation of chaps who read is going down all the time. She’s got a bunch of male friends on this site – what’s wrong with you all for God’s sake? Stephen – you have a harpsichord. The girl loves boys with harpsichords. I know that to be a fact because she asked me if I had one. And Whitaker. You live practically next door. Paul and a few others, well, okay, I see you are married and yes. Thinking back to that thing I wrote in The Times the other day about threesomes with supermodels – well, I won’t tell you exactly what my wife thought about it because I see content here can get flagged. So, yes, issues there. But Doctor Emmanuel Rayner. You really have to pick up your act if you want to pull birds, mate. I’ve had a bit more of a look at your stuff and it turns out that the reviews with words in them are worse than the one with the weird lines. I mean, what you’ve done with Shakespeare. We start off with perfectly good sonnets from the best writer ever in the whole world and that’s what you’ve done with them. Forget the poetry. Get yourself a fast car, doc. You’ll have them lining up.

What I’ve learnt about life from Jeremy Clarkson
By NGE.

This is what I don’t understand. Like most people who hold views that we tend to label ‘conservative’ he is easy to understand. What he says is what he does. I don’t even know if we should give his views on global warming the compliment of being called sceptic. He loves cars. His views on global warming are consequently derived from that. If he is in one corner, in the other are people probably pleased to label themselves ‘left-wing’, who tell us global warming is this really important thing we have to believe in. And the last thing you can say about these people is that what they say is what they do. When I suggested in a discussion here re global warming last year, that we should all be giving up unnecessary air travel – specifically I referred to chess and bridge tournament and conferences – not one person was willing to agree. When I suggested it on my bridge blog, ditto. We are creatures of inertia and we don’t want to be the ones doing the right thing if nobody else is. Fair enough. But honestly. Don’t turn your noses up at Jeremy Clarkson, please. The guy’s funny and he has the odd crusade in his life which is well worth being on.

Not least, aspects of environmentalism, I might add. He has a thing about packaging and good on him. I’ve been shoppping lately at a new organic-fair-trade-shop-locally sort of place and I’ve never seen so much packaging in all my life. Clarkson routinely leaves loaded supermarket trollies and walks out – or so it is reported – I like that. It’s probably more than I do for the whole idea of helping out the environment. Not that I’m a shining example.

He thinks injured British soldiers should be treated better. Absolutely. He thinks we need a radically different attitude to mistakes. This is so true. We haven’t always perceived mistakes through the eyes of lawyers. I don’t really understand how it is that we have permitted them to take over our sense of right and wrong.

And what about this: he has never liked Tony Blair. Now, most of my ‘left-wing’ friends did like Tony…and then didn’t. What does that mean? Me, I couldn’t stand him from the start. He seemed to me one of those loathsome new Labour types who look and behave exactly the same as the other side while paying lip service to the idea of caring about the things you pay lip service to caring about too. That’s democracy at work, I guess. You do get what you want.

I don’t actually have to prove he is funny, do I? He’s the sort of person girls like even though he’s sexist. Yes, this is a good example, lifted from wiki and without a citation, I might add:

Clarkson is opposed to the opening up of the countryside to ramblers, under the right to roam, and became involved in a protracted legal dispute about access to a "permissive path" across the grounds of his second home on the Isle of Man since 2005. The dispute has since been resolved amicably, with Clarkson accepting honorary life-membership of The Ramblers' Association.


He’s that sort of guy and if you’d just remember, as you are jet-setting from conference to conference, or holidays, or whatever you are avoidably jet-setting to, that you ARE doing that, even though you know you shouldn’t be…well, you’d find him funny too, even though you disapprove of his straight-forwardness. I’m just saying here, should you really be on your moral high-horse in the first place.

But, okay, this is one I rather liked.


Willkommen and Achtung, This is Austrian Hospitality

A small tip. The border between Switzerland and Austria may be marked with nothing more than a small speed hump, and the customs hut may appear to be deserted, but whatever you do, stop. If you don’t, your rear-view mirror will fill with armed men in uniform and the stillness of the night will be shattered with searchlights and klaxons.

I’m able to pass on this handy hint because last week, while driving in convoy with my camera crew from St Moritz to Innsbruck, a man suddenly leapt out of his darkened hut and shouted: ‘Achtung.’

I have no idea what ‘achtung’ means, except that it usually precedes a bout of gunfire followed by many years of digging tunnels. I therefore pulled over and stopped, unlike the crew, who didn’t.

The man, white with rage and venom and fury, demanded my passport and refused to give it back until I had furnished him with details of the people in the other car which had dared to sail past his guard tower.

I’d often wondered how I’d get on in this sort of situation. Would I allow myself to be tortured to save my colleagues? How strong is my will, my playground-learnt bond? How long would I hold out?

About three seconds, I’m ashamed to say. Even though I have two spare passports, I blabbed like a baby, handing over the crew’s names, addresses and mobile phone numbers.

So they came back, and the driver was manhandled from the car and frogmarched up to the stop sign he’d ignored. His passport was confiscated and then it was noticed that all his camera equipment had not been checked out of Switzerland. We were in trouble.

So we raised our hands, and do you know what? The guard didn’t even bat an eyelid. The sight of four English people standing at a border post in the middle of Europe, in the year 2001, with their arms in the air didn’t strike him as even remotely odd.

We have become used to a gradual erosion of interference with international travel. You only know when you’ve gone from France into Belgium, for instance, because the road suddenly goes all bumpy. French customs are normally on strike and their opposite numbers in Belgium are usually hidden behind a mountain of chips with a mayonnaise topping.

But in Austria things are very different. Here you will not find a fatty working out his pension. Our man on the road from St Moritz to Innsbruck was a lean, front line storm trooper in full camouflage fatigues and he seemed to draw no distinction between the Englander and the Turk or Slav. Nobody, it seems, is welcome in the Austro-Hungarian empire.

The camera crew, who were very disappointed at the way I’d grassed them up and kept referring to me as ‘Von Strimmer’ or simply ‘The Invertebrate’, were ordered back to Switzerland. And me? For selling them out, I was allowed to proceed to Innsbruck.

Which does invite a question. How did the guard know where I was going? We had never mentioned our destination and yet he knew. It gets stranger, because minutes later I was pulled over for speeding and even though I had a Zurich-registered car, the policman addressed me straight away in English.

This puzzled me as I drove on and into the longest tunnel in the world. This was puzzling, too, as it wasn’t marked on the map. What’s happening on the surface that they don’t want us to see?

Finally I arrived at the hotel into which I’d been booked, but a mysterious woman in a full-length evening gown explained menacingly that she had let my room to someone else. And that all the other hotels in Innsbruck were fully booked.

Paranoia set in and took on a chilling air when I learn that one of the army bobsleigh people I was due to meet the following day had been kicked to death outside a nightclub.

I ended up miles away at a hotel run by a man we shall call ‘The Downloader’. ‘So, you are an Englisher,’ he said, when I checked in. ‘There are many good people in England,’ he added, with the sort of smile that made me think he might be talking about Harold Shipman.

Something is going on in Austria. They’ve told the world that the Freedom Party leader has stepped down, but how do we know that he’s gone and won’t be back? Let’s not forget these people are past masters at subterfuge. I mean, they managed to convince the entire planet that Adolf Hitler was a German. Most people here do think Haider will be back. As chancellor. And that’s a worry.

I’m writing this now in my room, hoping to sent it via email to the Sunday Times but each time I try to log on, messages come back to say it’s impossible. Maybe that’s because The Downloader is up in his attic, looking at unsavoury images of bondage and knives, or maybe it’s because I’m being watched. Journalists are.

Either way, I’m nervous about smuggling text like this past customs tomorrow when I’m due to fly home. I shall try to rig up some kind of device using my mobile phone, hoping these words reach you. If they do, yet I mysteriously disappear, for God’s sake send help. I’m at the…


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Comments (showing 1-50 of 156) (156 new)


message 1: by Manny (new)

Manny I still can't stand Clarkson, but OK, he's funny. I guess that's something. And thank you for inserting the free plug for my Crow Road review :)


notgettingenough Manny wrote: "I still can't stand Clarkson, but OK, he's funny...

Given how he's impugned you, that is so generous!

Frankly, I think he is quite wrong and you have improved upon the sonnets. And I love Shakespeare.


notgettingenough It's the most mysterious thing. I have no interest in cars whatsoever. I'd be hard pressed to tell you the difference between the hood and the bonnet. If they banned them tomorrow I wouldn't even notice.

And yet....yet...terrible confession coming:

I love Top Gear!!!

And I've just been watching Eric Bana, who is so big on cars that the movie he loves most of those he has done, is Love the Beast http://www.lovethebeast.com.au/site/, his own documentary about his own car.

Jeremy: Have you ever given up a movie in order to compete in a race?

Eric: Is this being shown in America?

Jeremy: Only country it isn't shown in. [Now why doesn't that surprise me:]

Eric: Yes, of course I have!!


message 4: by Alan (new)

Alan don't like him although he is funny, have only jetsetted once (Barcelona) in six years, don't like foxes (they're dogs aren't they and my views on dogs are well known), cars are useful but I know nowt and don't care to know anything more, went to Austria once (by coach) and hated the food and its general tidiness though the mountains were beautiful.
So won't bother with this but thanks for the passage. As usual your reviews are distracting me from work.


notgettingenough Alan wrote: "don't like him although he is funny, have only jetsetted once (Barcelona) in six years, don't like foxes (they're dogs aren't they and my views on dogs are well known), cars are useful but I know n..."

Dogs...well I don't know your views, what are they? Speaking as one who dislikes the things.


message 6: by Alan (new)

Alan vicious snarly things that attack me on walks. See I'm a rambler too, Clarkson would hate me.


notgettingenough Alan wrote: "vicious snarly things that attack me on walks. See I'm a rambler too, Clarkson would hate me."

I'm baffled as to why dogs are even allowed in cities, so I'm with you. Of course, I'd have them out in the country-side. I'm with Withnail, if I go out in the country-side that's my mistake.


message 8: by Paul (new)

Paul Helen & Georgia love Top Gear, and now it seems so do you. It must be a girl thing.


message 9: by notgettingenough (last edited Mar 27, 2010 04:14PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

notgettingenough Paul wrote: "Helen & Georgia love Top Gear, and now it seems so do you. It must be a girl thing."

Look. Mostly it's boys who love Top Gear, honestly. But Clarkson is a natural comic - I'm kind of impressed he gets away with writing as his actual person and physical delivery is part of what makes him so funny.

But that other guy who plays the piano is naturally funny too.

PS: I'm not like addicted. If it happened to be on and I was walking past I'd stop...but I'd rather be reading goodreads comments, for example.


message 10: by Paul (new)

Paul JC flaunts his rightwingery and baits all us liberal lefties - flaunts, taunts and baits, that's our Jeremy - and he thinks that his humour will make us all forgive him his fundamental bullying unpleasantness. As you may perceive, he has a way to go with me.


message 11: by Stephen (new)

Stephen First of all JC, I'm gay as a three dollar bill. Top Gear IS shown in America, on BBC America. We have our own car shows, and you all have some funky looking cars.

Ramblers. Hmmm, didn't that used to be a car?
Foxes, rich people hunt those, he should love them.
Notgettingenough. you hystericaly lunatic of a woman!


message 12: by notgettingenough (last edited Mar 27, 2010 04:47PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

notgettingenough Paul wrote: "JC flaunts his rightwingery and baits all us liberal lefties - flaunts, taunts and baits, that's our Jeremy - and he thinks that his humour will make us all forgive him his fundamental bullying unpleasantness. As you may perceive, he has a way to go with me.
..."


I'm in the middle of playing bridge. Us against the destablilisation of the world economy...so I'm not really paying attention.

Isn't the thing about humour that you can't do it without breaking eggs? When Clarkson is being sexist, of course I think he's a humourless pig. Of course. But what's the difference between that and, for example, being appalled early in my membership of goodreads when one of Manny's reviews meant I opened up an email to reveal what was to me a totally offensive pornographic picture of a woman with silicon tits...he thought it was both funny and non-offensive.

You have to give people leeway to be funny, that's what I think. Political correctness does not sit well with humour. If I want to laugh at people making fun of conservatives, I have to be able to laugh the other way too....


notgettingenough Stephen wrote: "First of all JC, I'm gay as a three dollar bill. "

Stephen, This is a message from Jeremy. Are you a man or a mouse? Can't you close your eyes and think of England?


message 14: by Stephen (new)

Stephen I've been to England, but I thought that is what Victorian women, and homosexual ex-military men did?


message 15: by notgettingenough (last edited Mar 27, 2010 05:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

notgettingenough Stephen wrote: "I've been to England, but I thought that is what Victorian women, and homosexual ex-military men did?"

You mean you aren't an ex-military man, Stephen? I confess I'm surprised.

As for the Victorian women. Strangely enough I live in Victoria at the moment, and...it isn't what I think about. I mean, it wouldn't be...if.


message 16: by Manny (new)

Manny when one of Manny's reviews meant I opened up an email to reveal what was to me a totally offensive pornographic picture of a woman with silicon tits

Hey! I assume you're referring to my review of The House at Pooh Corner. It may be in dubious taste, granted, but the fragrant Ms Blows - a mySpace friend, I'll have you know - swears they're real. Are you calling her a liar?


message 17: by Paul (new)

Paul "You have to give people leeway to be funny, that's what I think. Political correctness does not sit well with humour. If I want to laugh at people making fun of conservatives, I have to be able to laugh the other way too.... "

We look at JC the opposite way - you think he's a humourist who uses his rightwingery to good effect and tweaks us liberals on our sore spots, but i think he's a rightwing bully who's learned that sugarcoating his views pays big bucks because people lap it up. I find myself in a shouted-down minority on this one.


notgettingenough Manny wrote: "when one of Manny's reviews meant I opened up an email to reveal what was to me a totally offensive pornographic picture of a woman with silicon tits

Hey! I assume you're referring to my review of The House at Pooh Corner. It may be in dubious taste, granted, but the fragrant Ms Blows - a mySpace friend, I'll have you know - swears they're real. Are you calling her a liar?"


Yes.


notgettingenough Paul wrote: ""You have to give people leeway to be funny, that's what I think. Political correctness does not sit well with humour. If I want to laugh at people making fun of conservatives, I have to be able to..."

We look at JC the opposite way - you think he's a humourist who uses his rightwingery to good effect and tweaks us liberals on our sore spots, but i think he's a rightwing bully who's learned that sugarcoating his views pays big bucks because people lap it up. I find myself in a shouted-down minority on this one."


I don't think in boxes like that. I don't want to think of him as 'right-wing' any more than as I watch somebody seeing S. Palin as a target - that's a really challenging one - I sit there thinking they are 'left-wing'. Funny is funny.


What about, for example, Peter Cook. Now he was certainly a disgusting bully, so much so that even when he was bullying somebody I couldn't stand - Dudly Mooore - none the less, it was revolting, in a way, to watch. But he's funny, isn't he? And if you do think he is funny, is this because he isn't 'right wing'? If he isn't...that is...


notgettingenough I think it is a terrible pity that people put themselves in these little boxes of 'leftwing' and 'rightwing'. It is because of this that we've had the rule of Blair. In Australia it's given us, most shamefully, Kevin Rudd.


notgettingenough Paul wrote: "I find myself in a shouted-down minority on this one."

Oh, I don't know about that. There are lots of 'leftwing liberals' who'd think like you....Witness how many people find it necessary to say 'I think he's funny, but I don't like him' or words to that effect. Why on earth do they have to do that? We don't do that with comedians in general, do we?

Oh, yes, just want to make sure you know that I think the right way, vote the right way, even though, you know, I do think he's kind of funny....

Honestly. I'm shaking my head at it all!


message 22: by Paul (last edited Mar 28, 2010 02:01AM) (new)

Paul Well, here's a little bit of comedy history that you may or may not know. Back in the 1970s in Britain there was an endless stream of racist and sexist comedians, some of whom would regularly turn up on tv. And their humour was supposed to be a little bit naughty but all in a good spirit, and you were a real stuck up idiot if you couldn't see that. Then in the 80s there was an "alternative comedy" movement (Alexei Sayle, Ben Elton, Lenny Henry, many others) who very specifically were political and anti-racist & anti-sexist, and sought to shut down the old revolting comedians. And they did, so much so that Bernard Manning had to make a big deal about not being allowed on the telly. Now we have a more laid-back approach, we're a bit more aware of what comedy does, blah blah, and also we're almost completely sick of what political correctness has come to mean. So here is a gap the rightwing sexists can jump through, and JC does most dexterously. Maybe we could get old Bernard Manning back & have a laugh - but in a postmodern ironic way - at his stuff all over again. But I think Bernard is dead.


message 23: by notgettingenough (last edited Mar 28, 2010 02:19AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

notgettingenough Thinking again about all this, isn't it interesting that in the middle of what is supposed to be a serious discussion on the nature of humour, Manny comes in with something I assume he expects to be generally amusing to people even though he knows I'm going to find it offensive.

He's managed to advertise his own review (be my guest, I'm flattered!), his porn friend and possibly give somebody a laugh all at the same time.

Whereas I'm sitting here thinking gross. I find this woman and all that she stands for, disgusting.

Does that mean I'm the same as you, Paul, except that for me it's about sexism and exploitation of women, while for you it's politics?

I'm not sure I know the answer to that. Hmmm. I'm sure it's different, but.


message 24: by notgettingenough (last edited Mar 28, 2010 02:17AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

notgettingenough Paul, this story is for you.

One of the things that happens at the Formula one Grand Prix is that there is a concert in the evening as things wind down.

Last year it was The Who and, as if often the case, I guess, the people who get to go to the concert are petrol heads, some of whom, I dare say, love the group perfoming, but most of whom I imagine are there because it is what comes next.

As it happens my local tram stop is just outside Albert Park and scarcely further away from the stage than the audience was. So, this was the place to be and it was really quite magical as people quietly turned up who were there because they loved The Who. We had the best possie possible.

I'm not trying to make you jealous, but if you do especially like The Who...well, then....


notgettingenough Manny, I'm wondering now, which part of her is fragrant and how do you know?

Your fans await your story.


message 26: by Manny (new)

Manny Ah, I'm sorry. I shouldn't be proud of the fact that Ms Blows is a mySpace friend. I bet she accepts every request she gets.

"Fragrant" is just the Private Eye usage of the word, and refers to any woman who considers herself attractive. It's generally ironic.


message 27: by notgettingenough (last edited Mar 28, 2010 02:28AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

notgettingenough Paul, how about this for democracy at work:

In 2008 an internet petition was posted on the Prime Minister's Number 10 website to "Make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister". By the time it closed, it had attracted 49,446 signatures. An opposing petition posted on the same site set to "Never, Ever Make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister" attracted 87 signatures. Clarkson later commented he would be a rubbish Prime Minister as he is always contradicting himself in his columns.[17:] In their official response to the petition, Number 10 agreed with Clarkson's comments.[38:] Taken from wiki.


message 28: by MeNeither (last edited Mar 28, 2010 03:45AM) (new)

MeNeither Manny wrote: "Ah, I'm sorry. I shouldn't be proud of the fact that Ms Blows is a mySpace friend. I bet she accepts every request she gets."

Manny, you should be proud. You are obviously, like me, very fussy about the girls you make friends with. Really, you'd think NGE is a hairy legged feminist, wouldn't you? Fancy not seeing the artistic merit in those baseballs breasts. She must be jealous.

Sorry, NGE, but you know we men have our likes. You have to get over that. Nobody's forcing you to get breasts like that, though obviously you could if you wanted to and then, let's face it, you might get laid that little bit more often.


message 29: by MeNeither (new)

MeNeither By the way. Somebody told me the other day that people invent extra accounts on goodreads and then use them to vote for themselves.

I'm shocked. People who love books and reading behaving like that. Really. Shocked.


message 30: by Paul (new)

Paul Well, my goodness. That accounts for a lot of things.


message 31: by Stephen (new)

Stephen I'm not at all shocked. I'm shocked that a discussion of a tall, slightly ridiculous, car reviewer, has taken on such mystical qualities.

I say, Oh please!


message 32: by notgettingenough (last edited Mar 28, 2010 02:36PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

notgettingenough Stephen wrote: "I'm not at all shocked. I'm shocked that a discussion of a tall, slightly ridiculous, car reviewer, has taken on such mystical qualities.

I say, Oh please!"


But what we are discussing is the nature of humour. Inter alia, the nature of the democratic process, of which we all think so highly, do we not?

I can't imagine anything more important to say on goodreads which seems to be full of bright people who aren't willing to think for themselves, than PLEASE stop doing that!!!! Stop labelling youselves in these limiting, meaningless ways.

If people were not so willing to put themselves, like sheep, into categories like 'leftwing' or 'Labour' or 'liberal', perhaps we wouldn't end up with some of the appalling choices we've lately had. It was terribly obvious, in the case of both Blair and Rudd, that in voting for them one would be voting for politicians who were about as left wing as the right wing of an extremely large airplane.

Anybody who voted for them and then started wringing their hands as their elected representatives ignored the environment, set about wars, changed the nature of higher education so that poor people won't be able to access it properly anymore - as a few for instances - is kidding themselves. If you hadn't wanted that, you would have voted for something else.

These people get in because we are willing to vote according to brainless labels of what is 'leftwing'. Chiefly that it means saying you don't like the other side. Honestly. How could anybody with a leftwing bone in their body vote for a Blair???!!!! Because we think it is better to vote for somebody who says they are 'leftwing' than somebody who says they are 'rightwing'. We don't actually care what they stand for, what they are going to do...we just smugly vote them in, like we've done our bit. Then we say 'Oh, it's not our fault if our elected representatives do...'

People like Rudd and Blair and the machinery behind them care about one thing. The achieving and maintaining of power. That's it, the whole kit and caboodle. So, the only way to actually make these people behave in a decent 'Labour' way, is to refuse them power until they understand they have to do what we want, not what they want.

We live in democracies but utterly waste the point of them. Jeremy Clarkson doesn't matter one whit. What we do with our votes does. The power we have in a democracy is to vote collectively in an effective way. That is our responsibility and well - I'm not holding my breath.


message 33: by notgettingenough (last edited Mar 28, 2010 02:26PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

notgettingenough MeNeither wrote: "Manny wrote: "Ah, I'm sorry. I shouldn't be proud of the fact that Ms Blows is a mySpace friend. I bet she accepts every request she gets."

Manny, you should be proud. You are obviously, like me, very fussy about the girls you make friends with. Really, you'd think NGE is a hairy legged feminist, wouldn't you? Fancy not seeing the artistic merit in those baseballs breasts. She must be jealous.

Sorry, NGE, but you know we men have our likes. You have to get over that. Nobody's forcing you to get breasts like that, though obviously you could if you wanted to and then, let's face it, you might get laid that little bit more often."


Oh, MeNeither, I thought you were in love with me. I thought - now I'm so sad. You prefer the company of porn stars as well? And I'd thought you were different.

But, okay, never let it be said that I don't listen. Buying new breasts is now on the agenda. Going down to Unley Shopping Centre after breakfast. It's on the list.


message 34: by Manny (last edited Mar 28, 2010 02:52PM) (new)

Manny Look, I voted for Blair because he was at any rate better than Major. I know it's unpleasant to have to choose the lesser evil, but that's generally what's on offer.

And things have improved. I mean, once it was Stalin rather than Hitler. Then it was McCarthy rather than Stalin. When you get to Blair rather than Major, you've really made some progress. The choice coming up next is going to be Brown versus Cameron. I'm not crazy about either of them, but I must say that Brown looks like the lesser evil.

I am collecting evidence about the genuineness of Ms Blows's chest, and will present it in due course. Don't think you're going to get away with your vile insinuations about my only mySpace friend...


message 35: by notgettingenough (last edited Mar 28, 2010 02:58PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

notgettingenough Manny wrote: "Look, I voted for Blair because he was at any rate better than Major. I know it's unpleasant to have to choose the lesser evil, but that's generally what's on offer. "

That's a terrible attitude to take and it means, of course, that Labour never has to do anything but be a smidgeon better than the others. Pathetic, Manny.

Why is it that all you people act like you are powerless. There's nothing you can do, you get given this choice. It's a frigging democracy. It's your choice. It is up to you to make it a choice that gets you something you actually want.

What the world needs, especially now, is people who actually think their vote matters and are willing to make sure it does. We need importantly different politicians and your attitude ensures that we get two twins in different suits.


message 36: by Paul (last edited Mar 28, 2010 03:05PM) (new)

Paul "Stop labelling youselves in these limiting, meaningless ways. If people were not so willing to put themselves, like sheep, into categories like 'leftwing' or 'Labour' or 'liberal', perhaps we wouldn't end up with some of the appalling choices we've lately had. It was terribly obvious, in the case of both Blair and Rudd, that in voting for them one would be voting for politicians who were about as left wing as the right wing of an extremely large airplane. Anybody who voted for them and then started wringing their hands as their elected representatives ignored the environment, set about wars, changed the nature of higher education so that poor people won't be able to access it properly anymore - as a few for instances - is kidding themselves. If you hadn't wanted that, you would have voted for something else."


There are some notions here which need to be examined further. I think that the whole nomenclature of politics has become clapped out in the last couple of decades with the triumph of a particularly energetic form of capitalism, which comes to you in a variety of guises and names, and has resulted in this ginormous credit crunch debt crisis. In the 80s we in Britain had the Thatcher decade during which traditional British manufacturing was decimated and the power of the unions was dismantled. Not many people cried tears for the unions until they all got turned into agency workers with less than zero working conditions. But anyway. Labour in Britain were fairly left-wing in the 80s (nuclear disarmament as a manifesto commitment) and they got crushed in three successive elections. (There were many socialist groups who said that this was because Labour wasn't leftwing enough. They were trotskyists and were therefore unhinged.)
Labour reconstituted itself in the 90s into essentially the Not the Tories Party. The Tories could be relied on to be really ghastly on various occasions. Once Labour had ditched any thoughts of re-nationalising the utilities and had got themselves a photogenic young leader, they rose from the dead. The 1997 landslide Blair got was not because Britain wanted a leftwing government or hoped that they would turn out to be so even though they'd explained a million times that they weren't leftwing any more.
If you believe that Blair 97 was already concocting the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq you're crazy. Of course it was the last thing on his mind. But 9/11 came along, and you may read my theory (actually me and my mate Sid's theory), about why Blair then became a rabid warmonger in my review of The Accidental American.
Circumstances change people. This is true, I believe. The left did vote for Blair and did - five years later - march in their millions against his decision to go to war. And millions felt betrayed about that particular decision. But it didn't stop him winning a third term as PM. But one problem in Britain is that if you're anti-Tory you have few places to put your vote. There are no real left wing parties. There's only the fringe crazies.

"These people get in because we are willing to vote according to brainless labels of what is 'leftwing'. Chiefly that it means saying you don't like the other side. Honestly. How could anybody with a leftwing bone in their body vote for a Blair???!!!!"

You assume that any clear-sighted person could have spotted Blair for an untrustworthy demagogue immediately. Well, they couldn't. And, if they could, what were they to do? Not vote Labour & have ANOTHER five years of the hideous Tories? That is how many people with many leftwing bones voted for Blair in 97 and again five years later and again in ever dwindling numbers four years after that.


message 37: by Paul (new)

Paul "Why is it that all you people act like you are powerless. There's nothing you can do, you get given this choice. It's a frigging democracy. It's your choice. It is up to you to make it a choice that gets you something you actually want."

So - do you join an established party and seek to change its policies? Or do you start up a new party? Those appear to be the choices, given that we di not wish to march on Westminster with kalashnikovs and molotov cocktails.

Joining established party : this was done in the 70s and 80s with firebrand lefties joining Labour and establishing the Militant tendency and other entryist groups. There was a huge fight and the lefties lost.

Various tiny new parties are always forming and dissolving but one recent party that is whipping up a head of steam and winning seats is UKIP, a bunch of cryptoracist nutcases.

Exactly what is your strategy for us lefty British types ?


message 38: by Manny (new)

Manny I think the only thing that would really make a difference is a reform of the voting system. First-past-the-post is death for the small parties. Of course, Australians have already solved this problem.

After careful consideration, I've decided that the most productive thing to do is to support the LibDems. If they get enough seats (entirely possible), we'll have a hung parliament, and it's obvious what their first demand will be when the other two parties offer to form a coalition with them. The situation is in fact quite hopeful.


message 39: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Long live the Queen!


message 40: by notgettingenough (last edited Mar 28, 2010 04:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

notgettingenough Paul wrote: "Why is it that all you people act like you are powerless. There's nothing you can do, you get given this choice. It's a frigging democracy. It's your choice. It is up to you to make it a choice that gets you something you actually want."

So - do you join an established party and seek to change its policies? Or do you start up a new party? Those appear to be the choices, given that we di not wish to march on Westminster with kalashnikovs and molotov cocktails.

Joining established party : this was done in the 70s and 80s with firebrand lefties joining Labour and establishing the Militant tendency and other entryist groups. There was a huge fight and the lefties lost.

Various tiny new parties are always forming and dissolving but one recent party that is whipping up a head of steam and winning seats is UKIP, a bunch of cryptoracist nutcases.

Exactly what is your strategy for us lefty British types ? "


Now that you are all in bed and I have this thread to myself...

Well, my tactic is this. I don't believe that we can change the politicians except by kicking them where it hurts and, as I said, that is by denying them power until they genuinely represent what we want.

So, I spend probably too much of my life telling people their vote actually counts and to do the right thing with it. We don't need to establish new parties. We need to make Labour - or whoever it is one wishes to change - accountable and that is by NOT VOTING FOR THEM until they are actually representative of what we want.

I don't mind the idea that what you have and what we have IS what we want. But most leftwing labour voters do seem to spend a lot of time handwringing while saying this isn't what they wanted. Well, no kidding Sherlock.

And I do believe that you do this by voting for somebody else. One hopes there is an alternative to your Tories or our Liberals. I got to vote 'Green'. Once upon a time we had a fabulous third party....

So, yes, I would even vote for the Tories en masse if this was the only way of getting through to Labour that they have to do more than be slightly better than Hitler to get my vote. The sacrifice of this vote would be well worth it.

This is all I'm saying, and I think it will work. DON'T vote for them until they are genuninely going to represent you. As long as you keep voting for them for no more reason than they aren't the others, they don't have to do anything to get and maintain the power they want.

I happen to live in an area where my vote doesn't count. It is an area of middle-management IT professionals who think everybody should have nice lives like they do. They think the internet cafes in Sudanese refugee camps should have a good choice of coffees and they should be free trade beans. What, you say? Sudanese refugee camps don'thave internet cafes? Well, they would under a Labour government.

So, they are, of course, Labour voters, the seat is as safe as houses. Still, you can try to make your vote count. If you don't vote for Labour they do see that. They do actually know that there are people out there who 'should' be voting for them, but aren't...

If every person who might vote for Labour talked to somebody else who might and they agreed that this year they would sacrifice their vote in the expectation of longterm good effect, this would work!!!!


notgettingenough Stephen wrote: "Long live the Queen!"

Stephen, I am entirely with you.


notgettingenough Paul wrote: ""Stop labelling youselves in these limiting, meaningless ways. If people were not so willing to put themselves, like sheep, into categories like 'leftwing' or 'Labour' or 'liberal', perhaps we woul..."

No, I'm not suggesting that in voting for Blair you were voting for a specific war. I am suggesting that it stood out like dog's balls the sort of person he was; he made my skin crawl politically as well as literally, and nothing that happened next should have been surprising.

That means, does it not, that you all knew, when you voted for him, not specifically what would happen, but the kind of things that would happen. That rightwing things would happen that you all stomached on the basis that it wasn't a rightwing party that was doing the rightwing things.

I don't buy the idea that I'm the only person in the world who can tell the true nature of a Blair or a Rudd. How they do business, how they set about what they do defines them.


notgettingenough There is an election in the UK on May 5, is there not?

Your vote really does count, do something good with it!


message 44: by Paul (last edited Mar 29, 2010 07:54AM) (new)

Paul Just like on one of those old fashioned clocks, when the little lady goes inside, the little gentleman comes out.

Back in the late 80s we had a European parliament election and to everyone's astonishment the Green party scored 25% of the vote. The major parties took note of this and the general greenish tinge to much modern rhetoric, and they duly incorporated greenery into their manifestos and slogans ("vote blue and go green!" for instance). So this, I take it, is the effect you're looking for - if Labour notices a swathe of their voters jumping ship they will accommodate, make changes, try to get them back on board, etc.

Unfortunately, most issues aren't as identifiable as green issues. In the last 20 years the turn-out at general elections has been declining in the UK and there's massive concern that voters are thoroughly hacked off at the entire political class. We have, you may have noticed, just had a series of expenses scandals. If you add up all the money MPs have fiddled on their expenses it would not collectively equal one single big banker's bonus, but the public now perceives the whole pack of them as corrupt. Therefore, how is the Labour politician supposed to figure things if, say, some previously safe Labour seats are won by the Tories in the May election? It could be because people believe any change has to be good; or that their core vote is sick of specifically Labour corruption; or that their core vote is sick of them being too rightwing; or that the Tories ran a great campaign. In the focus groups which they run, how many people are lefties? Even amongst average Labour voters how many are lefties? The criticism of Blair has been on two subjects only - he was Bush's poodle & dragged Britain into an "illegal" war (like if it was legalised by the UN that would have been okay!); and he wasn't ambitious enough in his first term. He's a popular hate figure here but really it's only because of Iraq.
So I think your "teach labour a lesson by deserting them and they'll come to their senses" is a whole lot too simple.


notgettingenough Paul wrote: "Just like on one of those old fashioned clocks, when the little lady goes inside, the little gentleman comes out.

Back in the late 80s we had a European parliament election and to everyone's ast..."


But of course you keep saying why. I wasn't really expecting everybody to secretly vote some other way and then hope a focus group got to the bottom of it.

It is simple. But.

I'm so surprised that Blair has only done that one thing you don't like. Has he really done meaningfully good things for the environment? I'm impressed if that is the case.

And do you all think it is good to make people pay for uni with the consequent effect, whether deliberate or not, that poor people don't get to go? And shut down parts of the uni system? I've been talking recently to a UK academic about that and he thinks it is good to close down departments etc, but he's as Tory as they come, so I'm a bit taken aback that you all agree with him.


message 46: by notgettingenough (last edited Mar 29, 2010 11:52AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

notgettingenough By the way, Paul, although you think JC - and I'm talking about the really dangerous live one here, not the one nobody believes in anymore - is a girl thing, I see that only one girl has voted for this review....so maybe not.

On the show it's mostly boys in the audience. Being the gender interested in cars, I suppose.


message 47: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Oh the show I like the short one that nearly got himself killed. He's clever, and cute. That is my final pronouncement.


notgettingenough Stephen wrote: "I'm not at all shocked. I'm shocked that a discussion of a tall, slightly ridiculous, car reviewer, has taken on such mystical qualities.

I say, Oh please!"


Put this another way. I completely agree with you. But if people find they are not able to see him as that, and instead see him as something either not funny or 'funny but that doesn't mean I think...' then things are more complicated than first appears. Asking why seems to take one in the directions of what is humour and what is democracy.

It is interesting, though, that to some extent we are talking about a desire to have free speech only for what we believe in. A sense that JC might be politically influential and dangerous, like it would be better if he wasn't there because people aren't bright enough to vote how they want. If we live in a society of free speech and democracy, presumably it is a good thing that JC gets to say whatever he likes.

Not that I'm saying anybody here wishes to stop free speech, though that's something friends of mine think has happened in the UK over a period - the Labour period? - that thing where political correctness is more important than one's right to speak, I suppose. I'm only guessing here....


message 49: by Paul (new)

Paul Some achievements of Tony Blair's governments - you may find them a little underwhelming, but hey, let's see

Longest period of sustained low inflation since the 60s.

Introduced the National Minimum Wage and raised it to £5.52.

Cut overall crime by 32 per cent. (Hmmm, dubious!)

Young people achieving some of the best ever results at 14, 16, and 18. (also dubious, but let's be positive and say well done, kids)

Funding for every pupil in England has doubled.

Written off up to 100 per cent of debt owed by poorest countries.

85,000 more nurses.

32,000 more doctors.

Brought back matrons to hospital wards.

Devolved power to the Scottish Parliament.

Devolved power to the Welsh Assembly.

Dads now get paternity leave of 2 weeks for the first time.

Record number of students in higher education.

child benefit up 26 per cent since 1997.

introduced the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

£200 winter fuel payment to pensioners & up to £300 for over-80s.

On course to exceed Kyoto target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Restored devolved government to Northern Ireland.

Over 36,000 more teachers in England and 274,000 more support staff and teaching assistants.

All full time workers now have a right to 24 days paid holiday.

Introduced child tax credit giving more money to parents.

Scrapped Section 28 (anti-gay Tory legislation) and introduced Civil Partnerships.

Banned fox hunting.

Cleanest rivers, beaches, drinking water and air since before the industrial revolution.

Free TV licences for over-75s.

Banned fur farming and the testing of cosmetics on animals.

Free breast cancer screening for all women aged between 50-70.

Free eye test for over 60s.

More than doubled the number of apprenticeships.

Free entry to national museums and galleries.

Overseas aid budget more than doubled.

Free nursery places for every three and four-year-olds.

--------- I mean, that's not tooooo bad, is it? He really wasn't the monster he appears to have become in your & others' eyes.

On another point, free speech is alive and well in Britain - we have the racist British National Party winning seats in the European parliament. I'd happily ban them but the government won't.


notgettingenough Paul wrote: "Some achievements of Tony Blair's governments - you may find them a little underwhelming, but hey, let's see

Longest period of sustained low inflation since the 60s.

Introduced the National ..."


Oh, that does sound very impressive, though as you say, some of those figures may be bad rather than good. I hope cutting crime is good not bad.

I'm looking at your minimum National Wage figure. I dare say it is good to have one, but that looks so shockingly low. How could anybody live in Britain on that? I can't imagine.


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