I had high hopes for this diplomatic incident, disguised as a TV travelogue through Scotland. Cross your fingers, the Patriarchate’s response to Katie Hopkins and the Cheeky Girls would be thrown from Scotland, just as they came from Argentina during the filming of Top Gear. During that 2014 debacle, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond were attacked for driving a Porsche whose license plate – H982 FKL – was believed to indicate Britain’s victory in the Falklands Conflict of 1982. In the ensuing inconvenience, the three moderators took a helicopter to safety, like the last helicopter from Saigon, and left it to the crew to defend that oxymoron, the British honor.
In fact, there is certainly nothing better to get Nicola Sturgeon to unleash the tone of ancestors more than the sight of three English Muppets in gas-guzzling Yank tanks (Lincoln Continental, Cadillac Coupe de Ville, and Buick Riviera, each from Greta Thunberg’s tears more productive than a cormorant with its beak stuck in a can of Irn-Bru) towards the north of Berwick-upon-Tweed.
As soon as the convoy crossed the border, the scripted Bants began. “Welcome to McScotland,” Clarkson said into his walkie-talkie while May and Hammond cackled in their vehicles like Beavis and Butt-Heads in their fifties. Why the McPlods (oh dear, that’s contagious) didn’t condemn the infantilized Murdoch lackey to drive with a handheld device is a mystery to me. Presumably, the normal traffic rules were waived for this Amazon production, which I cannot imagine that the first minister will sign off. If Donald Trump can build golf resorts in Aberdeenshire and Clarkson can roll through the majestic Highlands chattering anti-Scottish slurs and a variety of stupidities, their powers clearly need to be upgraded to stave off toxic middle-aged male babies who are making their undeveloped dreams come true.
‘Welcome to McScotland’ … The Grand Tour: Lochdown. Photo: Amazon Prime
PG Wodehouse once claimed it wasn’t difficult to tell the difference between a Scot with a complaint and a ray of sunshine. May embellished this topic and suggested that Scottish cops never have the opportunity to say, “You’re down, sunshine” because – can you see the punch line? – There is no sun in Scotland. To be fair, the Permadrizzle was adamant.
And then there were the meals prepared in May, where everything from kippers to carrots was smashed. Still, Clarkson cleared his plate, and Hammond praised the Scottish culinary genius for congealing peas, so difficult to eat with a fork, into smashed lumps.
Neither of the trio spoke to an on-screen Scottish person demonstrating how tourism restricts the English spirit
As a white, increasingly parched, middle-aged Englishman, I should be in the Grand Tour demographics. But I’d rather read Iris Murdoch than watch Clarkson’s gutshot in profile from Auchtermuchty to Drumnadrochit wobble in sync with the hilly terrain (proof that spending your career on a number of La-Z-Boys on wheels is detrimental? Attitude ). If I had been a middle-aged Scot, I would have been even more offended by the bloodbath that was wrought in my homeland. Let’s review again: three caravans wrecked, one unacceptably abandoned in a wooded ravine; the terrible fumes; the walls in Edinburgh’s old town; the boat sank before the Hebrides; a pontoon bridge that bounced to the left of North Uist. Neither of the trio spoke to an on-screen Scottish person, which once again demonstrated how tourism is tightening the English.
But what would have annoyed me most if I had been Scot was that my country had collapsed here into an away site for a proxy war between the US and the Soviet Union. Clarkson asked which of these two communities was responsible for making the worst car known to mankind. Oh, obviously the Soviets, answer. Have you ever tried poking a Lada through a hairpin bend? Of course not, because the Queen Mary has a tighter tropic.
In truth, Clarkson was right about one thing in his life: the worst car in the world is an American. Six cars, including two Chrysler and a Pontiac Aztek, raced in a circle in a kind of balloon race with a demolition derby. The loser would be the first car to fail. It was the Pontiac (a car so horrible that it was featured in Breaking Bad as Walter White’s election vehicle to show what a loser he was) that turned out to be – scientifically, mind you – the worst car in the world proved.
When the credits rolled it was time to think about the genius of the show. Your success will not be measured by ratings, but by a surge in support for Scottish independence. It makes the case of the SNP stronger than Boris Johnson at a meeting on Sauchiehall Street. Sturgeon laughs harder at this sight than at the penalty shoot-out between England and Italy. One way to disband the union, you McPlums.