Tag Archives: BBC

Clarkson talks tosh – Update

After a slightly too long delay, I have received a reply to my complaint about Top Gear. Andy Wilman the Executive Producer of the show has been busy answering not only my complaint but that of others I am aware of. He completely fails to address the main thrust of my issue with what was said on the show.

You can see my original complaint here.  I have included his response and my answer at the end of this post.

A transcript of the dialogue from Top Gear is available here with thanks to the wonderful Carlton Reid.

It is now time to escalate the response to all this. The simple issue is that the BBC operate under strict public service guidelines as opposed to say The Telegraph or any other privately owned organisation that Mr. Clarkson may work for. If you want to see JC apologise on air, the best way is for us all to complain to OFCOM.

Complain to OFCOM here. I have…

You may also wish to contact the Executive Producer of Top Gear directly. He is Andy Wilman – andy.wilman@bbc.co.uk

He says:

Thank you for your feedback about Top Gear broadcast on 6 February 2011 and indeed thank you for pointing out that the Road Tax doesn’t exist and that we pay the Vehicle Excise Duty. Firstly, please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.

I know Top Gear is hardly the shining beacon of shows for dispensing factual information but the truth is, we do know that Road Tax doesn’t exist. However, we used the term Road Tax because it’s a colloquialism for the Vehicle Excise, the same as “quid” is for pounds, and in a chatty news such as ours, we’re not going to come out with a formal mouthful such as “Vehicle Excise Duty”. Likewise, strictly speaking, our presenters are supposed to say metres and kilograms, but they still say “yards” because that’s an informal vernacular that people are used to.

We’re also fully aware that the VED is based on vehicle emissions, and that cyclists don’t produce emissions, but Jeremy’s point was that if motorists are paying into the government coffers for the act of motoring, (and even if that money does not necessarily go into road building they are still paying a tax before they go on the road), then motorists should be given due respect by militant cyclists on the road. It is an extreme view, but it’s hardly going to shape any serious policy on road use.

I hope this clarifies to some degree, the piece that you refer to in the show.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.

Yours sincerely

Andy Wilman
Executive Producer
Top Gear

To which I have replied:

“then motorists should be given due respect by militant cyclists on the road. It is an extreme view, but it’s hardly going to shape any serious policy on road use.”

This drivel says it all…

What he (JC) said was that cyclists(militant or otherwise) “deserve” road rage attacks and/or being cut up. Suggesting violence against another group is a kind of ignorant bigotry that is well outside of your remit! Please don’t patronise me by suggesting that JC is not going to influence policy so it doesn’t matter what he says. Your response tells me all I need to know about how seriously you take your responsibilities as a broadcaster.

As I said in my complaint, normal people who ride bikes for transport (You use “militant” as a means of marginalizing my views) regularly are the victims of harassment by motorists operating under a false sense of entitlement. The most cursory research reveals that cyclists subsidise motorists through the tax system. Don’t believe me, after all I am a “militant”. Believe the IFS. please see:  http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk/14930/1/14930.pdf

“Why, in theory, should a government be concerned to change consumer behaviour through the use of fuel duty? The argument is that the costs of motoring exceed the private costs faced by an individual motorist. There are environmental costs, noise costs, road-damage costs and congestion costs which people may not factor into their decision about whether and how much to drive. This means that the costs to society of motoring exceed the costs to the individual, which will lead to a level of motoring that is both inefficiently high and inefficiently cheap from a social perspective. The duty is therefore a way of forcing the private motorist to take account of these social costs.”

Your response to JC inciting violence against a vulnerable group is completely inadequate and I will be launching a formal complaint with the regulator. I do not pay my licence fee so some twat can tell the general population that I “deserve” to be attacked. You are not paid to promote violence. As the EP you should really know better.

The simple fact, is that, if OFCOM receive enough complaints they will sanction the program makers. The issue here is not that Jeremy is well…. Jeremy. We all know who/what he is. The issue is about the public service remit of the BBC. Let’s see if OFCOM think they have breached the editorial guidelines that they MUST work within. Go for it!



Clarkson talks tosh

I woke up this morning feeling angry. Jeremey Clarkson used not “paying road tax” as a reason to ignore the complaint of a cyclist. Propagating this nonsense is not on.

Complain here

I did:

Top Gear Feb 6 2011 BBC2

Around the 23rd minute Mr. Clarkson made reference to paying “Road Tax” in a context clearly ment to mean that drivers have more right to the roads then others, in this case cyclists. He also stated that “Cyclists need to behave”.

The most cursory possible investigation reveals that NO ONE pays Road Tax and that the roads are paid for by all for all to use.

Please see:


In fact cyclists subsidise other road users acording to the IFS:


This is old news. The issue here is simply that Mr Clarkson is a paid journalist and should be(is) well aware of the facts. His comments are worthy of an ignorant pub know it all and fall well below the standards we expect from the BBC.

He either has no idea what he is talking about or is simply lying to generate interest.

Why do I care?

I work for several London authorities as a Cycling Instructor. One of the problems on our roads is the bullying of cyclists on the basis that they “do not belong on our roads”, “we pay for the roads” etc.

This is the view of the DFT too:


How do his ignorant comments fit in with the idea of Public Service under which the BBC is constituted? Cyclists(who also mostly drive as well) do not need media figures propagating this sort of tosh.

He should make an apology, prominently, on the next show and clarify the position. Perhaps he could interview someone from the IFS and get them to do a lap of the track. Can accountants drive?

I would like to see this turn into an opportunity to spread some truth into an area of discourse that is currently blighted by BS.

The episode is available on iPlayer . The offensive comments start at about minute 21, including comments like, “they(cyclists) deserve it”. “it”, being cut up and having Road Rage attacks against them.  Have a look and please complain… if you are so moved.