Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson

Clarkson on: the government

God, how I wish something would go wrong with the economy. It's all very well having the lowest inflation and the lowest unemployment figures for 25 years but this means that His Toniness, Brown the Frown and Fat Boy Prescott have nothing to do.

But instead of going off to Tuscany with their boyfriends for several years, New Labour have decided to busy themselves by sticking their snouts as often as possible into our daily lives.

Think. With the age of consent for homosexuals at 16, you can now be sodomised long before you're deemed  responsible enough to have a say in who runs the country or enjoy a pint of beer at the pub or, best of all, see such things going on at the cinema.

Then there's the fox. I've never cared about the plight of what is basically an orange dog but then I've never cared much for the idiots who charge around the countryside on horses. And I don't think I'm alone on this. Most people are too busy to give a stuff, either way.

But they've gone ahead and done it and now they'll be turning their attention to people who shoot and fish and fly model aeroplanes. But before then, they've decided that anyone caught driving at more than 85mph will be banned from the roads for a year.

Well, now look. I know it is this government's avowed aim to cut car use and get us all on the buses, but I conducted a little experiment on the M40 this morning by driving along at precisely 85. And do you know what? I was the slowest car on the road. If they ban people for doing 85 or more, they will have to ban everyone. And yes, that does include Jack Straw's chauffeur.

Then there's this speed camera business. We're told that a Gatso in Kent caught so many speeding motorists in five days, that it generated enough in fines to pay for itself. And the police are allowed to keep the revenue so long as they spend it on more speed deterrents.

But hang on a moment. If they are getting enough after five days to buy another speed camera, then after 10, there will be four more and so on until - some time in June - the damn things will be more common than lamp posts. "Good" says the Speed Kills lobby, but they haven't thought this through.

"On the continent, speeding is a misdemeanour, like burping or not wiping your bottom properly"

When Britain becomes a Black Forest Gatso and the road network is full of speed cameras, what will the police buy then with all the money they're earning? Pretty soon, every patrol car in the land will be a Bell Jet Ranger.

And really, is this the sort of crime that matters? The whole country was amazed last month when a gang of paedophiles, who'd been masturbating over pictures of babies in nappies, were given jail sentences of 20 minutes each.

And yet some lorry driver who had a crash while using his mobile phone was banged up for five years. Now I know that he was text messaging his wife, and I know that someone died as a result, but what sort of a government is happy to see this kind of imbalance?

If you are going to put a law-abiding man in jail for five years just because he suffered from a momentary aberration, then those kiddy-fiddlers should, by rights, be behind bars for all of time. And a bit tagged on for bad behaviour.

I was stopped for speeding this month, in Austria. The policeman, who spoke perfect English, was in no way rude or angry. He simply explained that I had been travelling at 70 in a 50 and that I must pay an on-the-spot fine of £25. He even promised to hurry up with the credit card transaction when I said I was late for a plane.

And he did. He hurried up so much,  in fact, that he completely failed to note that the card had expired.

The point I'm making, though, is that on the continent, speeding is a misdemeanour, like burping or not wiping your bottom properly. It's not the wet dream of Fred West.

And that brings me neatly on to the question of drinking and driving. The twits, led by Neil of Orange Kinnock, say that we must follow Europe's lead and lower the limit from 80mg to 50. But they never explain that those caught on the continent with 51mg of alcohol in their blood are merely fined and sent on their way. They're not marched off to a police station and banned from the roads forever.

The worst thing, though, is that His Toniness will win the next election. And he'll carry on dreaming up new and ever more stupid plans that will make our lives a little less wonderful than might otherwise have been the case.

The trouble is, of course, that the only thing that could possibly stop him is a downturn in the economy. Unless...

Unless we could have a nice little war. Obviously, I'm too old to fight and my children are too young, but nevertheless, if we could encourage Germany to have another pop at the White Cliffs, it might take Tony's mind off the motorist and the fox and the plight of homosexuals.

So let's stir things up a bit, starting right now. The BMW X5 is a piece of s**t, you can't tell which way a Porsche Boxster is going and the Audi A2 is hopeless. And your flag's ugly.


Jeremy Clarkson, Column

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