Common sense man’s man threw a tantrum

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
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Yours truly spent the night of Raoul Moat’s little adventure surrounded by baying Scotsmen (in the offices of The Scotsman), wrestling with a failing new newspaper production system and multiple late editions.

Nought but a brew machine and vended candy, crisps, sundry rubbish for sustenance. A great deal of anger, wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued.

Suffice to say, one long night’s journey into day. And trust me, by the wee small hour I tottered into my digs, a hot meal would have gone down just swell.

A nice juicy steak, perhaps...

But not a chance. Kitchen long since shut down for the night.

Obviously. Add three zeroes to the room rate if 24-hour fresh cooked scoff is your desire.

Well, you can imagine my fury. The blinding rage which embraced me. The pure wrath this brought down on the heads of those deemed responsible for my plight!

Only joking. Merely approached the Night Porter with a smile (and a fiver) and he knocked up a decent pile of ham sarnies, brought healing liquids from the bar and, all in all, did the best he could on my behalf.

Because that’s how it is in the real world. For you. For me. The real civilised world in which we all seek to rub along.

We accept that no matter how hungry we might be, no matter how tired or hard done by we might feel, sometimes we do not get our way.

Jeremy Clarkson is wired rather differently. Whether the Top Gear host actually struck the individual who denied him the beef he felt his due remains shrouded in murk, but apparently reliable eye-witness accounts suggest at the very least a voluble public profane tirade was judged this unfortunate soul’s due.

Clearly, if this did at some point include thrown hands there can be absolutely no excuse. But I’d argue that to inflict everything but actual physical force in such a situation is precisely as revealing of the man.

Clarkson has, down the years, carefully cultivated the persona of being a bloke’s bloke, a regular guy talking plain common sense in a world of puffed-up self-important nonsense. An identity this kind of tantrum exposes for the calculated act it is.

And the fact so many people, not least, Dave Cameron, felt moved to speak out in defence of what looks like a bout of ‘don’t you know who I am’, reveals more about the PM and his fellow champions of loutishness than they probably realise.