Susan Morrison: It’s grim up north for wor Jeremy

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What sort of a wishy-washy word is “fracas”, anyway? Either he decked someone or he didn’t.

It’s not even the sort of word I’d ever use around Jeremy Clarkson in the first place, for fear of unleashing one of his oh-so-hilarious Ukip-flavoured rants about French people, or German cars or Japanese food or whatever it is that’s annoying him about non-English people these days.

Fracas. It sounds like a holiday destination. “Oh yes, we took an all-inclusive in Fracas this year, didn’t we darling? Just marvellous. Local people are just so friendly, if you ever meet them, which we didn’t.”

Or perhaps some sort of really Clarkson-annoying food. Fracas in a reduction of hubris, served with a coulis umbrage.

It was food that triggered this particular temper tantrum from Jeremy, a man who seems to reach for his mental Colt 45 faster than gun-slingin’ Black Jack Ketchum on a wild night in Tombstone.

Someone presumably paid less than Denim Boy failed to have the catering sorted and Jeremy went off the deep end. Well, that’s the official explanation. The incident occurred in Newcastle. I have noticed before that Jeremy gets tetchy when you take him out of Greater London. I fear Mr Clarkson feels under threat when surrounded by people who speak foreign languages, and that includes Geordie.

It’s probably because of his track record of sitting in that there London issuing the sort of pronouncements on foreign lands, their people and their customs that you imagine issuing from under soup-strainer moustaches on the faces of crusty Edwardian colonels in dusty London clubs, or from any communiqué issued by Farage and his minions.

If there is one thing Jeremy and his ilk fear even more than the howling burgundy baring barbarians of France or the fiendishly efficient Hun, it’s the wild untamed Northerners. I think he lashed out in a panic when someone referred to him as “pet”.

But one does not have a fracas in Newcastle, any more than one would have spat in Glasgow on a Saturday night, or a tiff in Leith of a Friday. Here in the North, we may have a barney, there might be a square go, or we may even “set aboot ye”, even if you are on fire, but fracas? No, that sounds like the sort of thing Jeremy would do.

Phil and justin

FOR a chap who fancies himself as a bit of a bloke – and that can be the only explanation for the 1970s denim on denim look he favours – he does seem to be a touch Justin Bieber-ish with the diplomatic skills of Prince Philip.

In the course of his illustrious career he’s managed to offend Mexico, Argentina and India, and even managed to make the world feel a bit of sympathy for Gordon Brown when he was prime minister by referring to him as one-eyed Scottish idiot.

Personally, I would have manoeuvred Gordon into position to have a fracas with the smug Home Counties poster boy for that one.

A tree-mendously Clarksonian solution

on the subject of motoring, the French are having terrible trouble with trees. French roads are lined, as I am sure you are aware, with those poplar trees with their branches pointing straight up, like outraged French waiters. It’s a tree designed to exclaim “Sacre Bleu! Une mouche dans la soupe. Appelez Clarkson !”

They were planted by Napoleon, right, to shade his troops as they marched off to conquer Russia, and presumably came in handy to cast a cooling shadow over him as he scurried back defeated, in his carriage, on his tod, having reduced a fairly large French army into a concentrated and largely frozen small one.

The trees are causing problems. The French enjoy their wine, and they also enjoy driving. The two are not a good mix. This has led to a tendency to come off the road at speed, hitting the trees, which inevitably leads to a certain detached air at the very least.

The French solution to this traffic hazard is brilliant. More cops on the roads to stop drunk driving? No! More laws to crack down on inebriated motorists? No! The French have decided to chop the trees down instead! Clarkson would surely approve.