March 20, 2004


European appeasement is spreading everywhere, writes Denis Boyles:

Last night, British TV personality Jeremy Clarkson embarrassed himself when he practically grabbed his skirt and jumped on his chair in front of a cheering BBC "Question Time" audience. "People say we should stand firm!" he shrieked. "Well, I don't want to stand firm! I don't want to be blown up!" Chill, Jeremy. It's just al Qaeda, not a mouse.

Boyles -- excuse me for a second; still laughing at that big nancy Clarkson; okay -- Boyles also reports this exchange between BBC host John Humphrys and Leader of the House of Commons Peter Hain:

Peter Hain: The main enemy for these extremists is not really democratic countries like Britain, it is their own Muslim men and women... [fades out under Humphrys's interruption]

John Humphrys: Well, that actually isn't true, is it ... if you look at all the main attacks there have been since we invaded Iraq, every single one of them has been aimed at either a Western or an Israeli target.

PH: Well, I don't see synagogues in Istanbul as being a Western target.

JH: Well, there is... they're Jews [laughs]; they're not Muslims.

So thatís all just fine then.

(Via reader Lisa F.)

Posted by Tim Blair at March 20, 2004 04:01 AM

er, so the bombings in saudi arabia were aimed at all the jews there?

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at March 20, 2004 at 04:09 AM

"if you look at all the main attacks there have been since we invaded Iraq, every single one of them has been aimed at either a Western or an Israeli target."

So um, Baghdad and the other attacks in Iraq don't count, eh? Plenty of Muslims killed in those attacks.

Dumbass, go back to hiding in your media room, we here in the US coalition will worry about the heavy lifting. Again.

Posted by: Tman at March 20, 2004 at 04:10 AM

Not to mention all the bombs in Morocco, Saudia Arabia, and the recent attacks in Iraq against Iraqis.

When presented with that fact, did John Humphrys chuckle condescendingly ?

Posted by: Carl in N.H. at March 20, 2004 at 04:11 AM

So, Shiite mosques are western targets?

Posted by: dorkafork at March 20, 2004 at 04:23 AM

And Iraqi police stations?

Posted by: dorkafork at March 20, 2004 at 04:24 AM

The really depressing thing about the Clarkson outburst is that he is supposedly the BBC's token anti-PC right-winger.

Posted by: Ross at March 20, 2004 at 04:55 AM

The John Humphrys thing was just a preface to this.

Posted by: danS at March 20, 2004 at 05:26 AM

I didn't see it, but the Clarkson thing as described sounds totally out of character. I suspect it might have been meant to be ironic. At least, I hope so...

Posted by: Bulldog at March 20, 2004 at 06:25 AM


I dunno. Remember, it was 1939 (iirc) when the folks at Oxford passed their famous resolution that they would never again go to war for King nor Country.

Posted by: Dean at March 20, 2004 at 07:01 AM

Do these people ever listen to themselves, or do they just talk?

Oh, right....

Posted by: Barbara Skolaut at March 20, 2004 at 08:02 AM

Clarkson writes a mostly fairly frivolous column for the Sunday Times, reading which doesn't give you much of a clue to his political beliefs, other than a bluff, worldy cynicism towards politicians generally. Presumably from his remarks on Question Time, he's of the school of thought that believes we shouldn't be risking British lives to fight people who aren't a threat to us.

This is a reasonable enough position - albeit one I don't agree with - and is vastly preferable to the Left who believe that Arab fascists, whether Ba'athist or Islamic, are our moral equivalents.

Any contempt anyone wishes to hurl at John Humphreys, however, is of course wholly deserved.

Posted by: wardytron at March 20, 2004 at 08:33 AM

You know, I can see why people want to jump ship to Al Qaeda and such. Sure, they're morally reprehensible mass-murderers, but at least they have the courage of their convictions to fight and die for what they believe in.

The West, on the other hand, seems to want to commit mass-suicide.

Posted by: Quentin George at March 20, 2004 at 09:53 AM

The Oxford Union: King and Country debate was 1933.

As for Humphrys: well, what can I do, but repeat that age-old motto - "your licence fees at work". Wanker.

Posted by: David Ross at March 20, 2004 at 12:40 PM

when the folks at Oxford passed their famous resolution that they would never again go to war for King nor Country.

Nothing wrong with that. Democracy is a far better cause to go to war for.

(Yeah yeah, I ended with "for". This is
the sort of pedantry up with which I will not put.)

Posted by: Andjam at March 20, 2004 at 06:21 PM

Clarkson also hosts "Top Gear," a weekly BBC car show. I wouldn't peg him as a shrieking socialist... he's actually more of a libertarian, at least if his rants about speed limits, traffic wardens, etc., are any indication.

Posted by: vaara at March 20, 2004 at 07:05 PM

Clarkson! Ironic. Recently he did a BBC documentary on the Market Garden operation at Arnhem in '44. That figures, with Clarkson managing to promote himself as the son-in-law of Robert Cain VC who was decorated for his bravery at Arnhem, where he knocked out several tanks with a PIAT at close range whilst wounded. Big mouth, small heart.

Posted by: Big Tyke at March 20, 2004 at 09:57 PM


If you're going to be pedantic, try to be accurate about your arguments before going for points on grammar.

The Oxford Union's debate was not about fighting for King versus fighting for democracy. It was about pacifism and whether anything was worth fighting for at all.

Posted by: Dean at March 21, 2004 at 04:05 AM

Clarkson is a prick, who wrote an extremely nasty article (just spent 20 minutes looking for it online but can't find link) late last year about Australians, in which he completely rubbished the country and the culture. Some may say that he was indulging in a bit of post world-cup Aussie-bashing however I won't forget his glib dismissal of the country in his ST column. He can go back to his car show because that's about all he's good for.


Posted by: Juanito at March 21, 2004 at 04:07 AM

Glad to see you still on air Tim. I was a bit worried that the news papers had dumped one of Australias best loved comedians. They just cant appreciate a good conspiracy theory Thankfully you have survived to inhabit the information netherworld along with the likes of Brian Wiltshire (insert twilight zone music here.) Fortunately there are still those of us who believe that an argument can be won by character assassination of your opponent. Lets face it, kicking someone in the goolies is a far more effective way of winning an argument than using facts....and funnier too...I love the slapstick. So keep up the good work Tim, you are better than Dilbert.

Posted by: brian james at March 21, 2004 at 12:36 PM