Is this wise? Jeremy Clarkson has launched an all out attack on the Daily Mail and its reporters in his Sunday Times column.
It begins: "Have you ever had one of those nightmares where you can neither see nor feel the monster that’s attacking you?
"But you know it’s there all right, and unless you can get away, it’s going to gobble you up, burn your house down and sell your children for medical experiments.
"Well, let me tell you, such a creature exists in real life. It’s called the Daily Mail.
"Like a Terminator, it doesn’t know right from wrong. You can’t reason with it.
"It has no sense of remorse or humility. It’s fuelled by hatred. It hates people who are successful. It hates people who are not. It hates people who are fat just as much as it hates people who are thin. It hates everybody. But for some reason it seems especially to hate me."
Commenting on the coverage he was given for his satirical comments on The One Show about shooting striking public sector workers, Clarkson adds: "The worst, though, came from the Mail. It said that I was a mental, that my mother had been extremely right-wing and that my parents had had little empathy with those less fortunate than themselves. Quite what my poor old mum had done to deserve this after years of unpaid public service, I’m not entirely sure.
"But that’s the trouble with the Mail. There are many creatures on this earth that behave in an unusual way. We can’t explain how pigeons find their houses from thousands of miles away or how salmon can find the very spot where they were born. But nothing in the kingdom of nature is quite so unfathomable as a Mail reporter.
"They look human. They have opposable thumbs and are capable of catching buses. But they don’t have the capacity for reason. You can tell them what happened. You can prove it. But it will make no difference."
Clarkson even suggests that it should have been the Mail that was closed down rather than the News of the World. He writes: "Last week Mark Thompson, the BBC’s director-general, was asked by an MP if I was a luxury the corporation could not afford. In the Daily Mail this became a statement. 'Jeremy Clarkson is a luxury the BBC cannot afford.' Somehow it had turned a question into a fact. I really do believe that in the whole furore over press standards the wrong newspaper has been closed down."
I know it's Christmas but I can't imagine the Mail taking this assault lying down. Retaliation may be swift.
- The Sunday Times is behind a paywall