No, what Clarkson said wasn't especially delicate or popular at all, and personally (before the digital lynch mob arrives) I generally agree with the strikes. But these complaints have nothing what-so-ever to do with the strikes, or the general Clarkson bashing that seems to have become a national past time over the years. These complaints are about that fact that the strikers were under some misguided belief that world + dog was 100% behind them. That the entire country was weeping into their pillows because these hard working folk were going to have to work harder, for longer, and they were out there, in what will probably a futile attempt, to fight it. Good for them for fighting for their pensions, and how utterly stupid of them to think that everyone was on their side.
Seriously. Do you honestly believe that there has ever been a cause in the history of human kind that was supported by everyone? Or perhaps you think that by taking the moral high ground you immediately get to become a dictator and tell everyone else what their opinion is?
You are wrong, and embarassingly so.
What Clarkson did the other night was to snatch away the teddy bear that the unions were hiding behind, and by doing so made them see that no, not everyone agreed with them, and yes, the strikes had caused a lot of crap that everyone else was having to deal with. While they were hiding behind their own self perpetuated sense of mass public support, Ambulance workers were panicking about a lack of staff, private sector parents were loosing money by having to take unpaid leave to look after kids and the plethora of other things. That doesn't undermine the strikers point, but it does remind us that not everything was as peachy as the unions thought from behind their blinkers. So yes, people did disagree with them for being on strike, and because this isn't North Korea, they're allowed to tell you about it. Deal with it.
My second point on this is even simpler. When the fuck did we start taking everything literally? Seriously, you honestly believe that he wanted people shot? Really? Aren't you the same people who were outraged when Paul Chambers was convicted for "wanting" to "blow up Robin Hood Airport" (quotation marks used to cover my own arse from mass public idiocy)? Personally I've said countless times that I think stupidity should be punishable by death. Does this make me worse than Hitler, or do you think that, perchance, I might not have been speaking entirely literally?
I'll finish this with 2 more quotes. The first from Jimmy Carr who said of this yesterday on twitter "So let me get this right: people that say people should be taken out & shot should be taken out & shot. Is that right?"
And the finally, from a blog post that I've sadly not got a link for, that made the point that if you want to ban comments like Clarkson's, then you have to ban comments like this from Bill Hicks:
And if we do that, then we might as well all stark blinking in Unison.