Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson

Clarkson on: PACTS

In recent months, there have been a number of distressing moments on the television. We were all moved by the scenes of poverty and deprivation from Rwanda and certainly my mother was shocked by the bad language and violence in Goodfellas.

But according to a little known government qango, the most irresponsible and dangerous programme on television is Top Gear.

Yes, James Bulger, drug wars, the troubles in Ulster and football hooliganism are mere peccadilloes when compared with the horror that we bring to BBC2 on a Thursday evening.

The qango in question is called PACTS (Parliamentary Advizzzzzzzory Council for Something or Other) and it says that when Top Gear refers to a car's ability to "knock on the door of 150 mph", we are guilty of "glamourising" speed. Funny that, I never knew ‘glamorising' had a ‘u' in it.

PACTS also says that speeding costs 1,200 lives a year. Well they obviously research things with the same diligence that they spell their letters because if speed really does kill, Concorde would be the most dangerous means of travel. I've just done a quick calculation and reckon the number of people killed on or by Concorde so far is nought. And that makes it pretty damn safe in my book.

When will people learn that speed cannot kill someone. It needs to be mixed with something else first, like the sort of bad driving you see in Whitehall at 5.30 when all the qangos are shutting down for the night.

Besides, if speed is so lethal, how come motorways, which carry 15 per cent of all traffic in this country, account for only 3 per cent of the casualty accidents? And if you do crash on a motorway, you are three times less likely to end up dead than if you crash in a built up area.

"According to a little known government qango, the most irresponsible and dangerous programme on television is Top Gear"

PACTS is undeterred by FACTS though and backs up its claims by saying that about one third of all fatally injured vehicle occupants are involved in a speed related accident. What speed? 90 mph? 40 mph? .002 mph? It doesn't say.

If the people who make up PACTS are typical, I know exactly what we're dealing with here -  whizzened old has-beens in Hondas who suffer from the upper class disease of too much money and not much brain. Unable to get a proper job, but duty bound to do something constructive, they sit on endless committees, doing good things.

And just because the patron is a Marquis or a Baroness or a Marquee, everyone they write to is supposed to fall on their sword and promise never to stray again.

When I test a car, I don't leave out the price just because some viewers can't afford it and I won't leave out the top speed either. It's a salient point. And if I talked about it in a featureless monotone, everyone would throw furniture at the television.

If there is one character trait I despise even more than reasonableness and socialism, its idealism. Yes, it would be lovely if no-one was killed on the roads and there was no war but they are and there is and that's tough titties.

It's like the National Health Service. It would be ideal if I had a nurse, a GP and a selection of specialists it attendance 24 hours a day but this cannot happen. We have to be realistic but you can bet the last hair on your hirsute backside that someone, somewhere is prancing about on a bloody qango, telling anyone who will listen that Stow on the Wold needs nine new hospitals. Yes, it does but it can't have them and that's an end to it.

Do you know that there are a bunch of wimmin outside Greenham Common even today. Though the base is now only used for Top Gear photo shoots and police driver training, they say they won't move until the last nuclear weapon has been removed from the face of the earth. But if the entire American pacific fleet can't persuade North Korea to stop making it's atom bombs, then I really don't think a bunch of lezzies in Berkshire has much of a chance.

Mind you, it's virtually certain that there's a qango in Whitehall, where people with gout meet once a week to decide how best to deal with these grubby sexual deviants. The odd thing is that both groups of people are as daft as each other.

On a completely separate note, does anyone have a clue who Danny Bailey was? He lived from 1909 to 1934 and Elton John sang about him. The first person to tell me wins one of the model cars I've been given, but don't want. If I want to play with cars, I'll stick to the real thing thanks. They're faster.


Jeremy Clarkson, Column

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