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Dee Lock | 09.09.2005 18:47 | Culture | Ecology | Technology | Oxford

Campaigners angry at Oxford Brookes University for bestowing TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson with an honorary degree will gather outside the presentation ceremony Monday morning to protest the award.

Dressed in tight jeans and frizzy wigs to ape the presenter's distinctive look, the protesters will present Clarkson with their own - more appropriate - award.

Thousands of people have signed a petition apposing the award of a degree to the Top Gear presenter by Oxford Brookes. Clarkson is famous for bigotry, ignorance and denying the seriousness of climate change.

He recently wrote:

"Of course, there is no doubt that the world is warming up but let's just stop and think for a moment what the consequences might be. Switzerland loses its skiing resorts? The beach in Miami is washed away? North Carolina gets knocked over by a hurricane? Anything bothering you yet? ...It isn't even worthy of a shrug." (Sunday Times, 16 Jan 2005).

In the end it wasn't North Carolina. It was New Orleans. And yes, it is bothering many people angry that the reputation of degrees awarded by Brookes will be compromised by Monday's ceremony.

Protester Denise Lock said: "Jeremy Clarkson makes a living from being offensive, which seems like a strange discipline to reward with a degree. He’s more deserving of an ASBO. He encourages drivers to break speed limits and incites violence against cyclists. He says we shouldn't care about hurricanes striking the United States. Well tell that to the orphans of Katrina. While other universities are rewarding the likes of Nelson Mandela, Brookes is rolling out the carpet for a dangerous buffoon."

Oxford Brookes University has a strategic plan, paragraph two of which states:

"Whilst grounded in its locality, Oxford Brookes University is globally connected. An internationally focused curriculum, multi-cultural student and staff population and partnerships in the UK and overseas make the whole world the neighbourhood of Oxford Brookes."

The protesters are now asking if the Gulf coast of America is included in that world.

Oxford-based commentator George Monbiot has added his voice to the campaign against the award.

"While Jeremy has every right to make an idiot of himself on a daily basis in the press and on TV, it is hard to understand why Brookes should be rewarding him for it. It suggests that the university is comfortable with the idea that climate change - which could cause unprecedented human
suffering - can be laughed off. What next - an honorary degree for David Irving, to recognise his contribution to Holocaust studies?" he said.

Clarkson's recent contributions to understanding in that 'globally connected' world include the following:

"Speed, we're forever being told, kills. Slow down, say the advertisements on television and the digital boards on motorways. Flash flash go the speed cameras. The message is clear and constant, but I'm afraid you might as well try to teach a lamppost how to tie shoelaces. We need speed like we need air and food and water... Speed, as I've said many times before, makes you cleverer." (6 July 2003)

"In the wake of the London bombs we're told that many commuters are now switching to bicycles... can I offer five handy hints to those setting out on a bike for the first time. Do not cruise through red lights. Because if I'm coming the other way, I will run you down, for fun. Do not pull up at junctions in front of a line of traffic. Because if I'm behind you, I will set off at normal speed and you will be crushed under my wheels.... Do not, ever, swear at or curse people in cars or trucks. You are a guest on roads that are paid for by motorists so if we cut you up, shut up." (16 July 2005)

This car is for "Niggaz" (14 March 2004) and "... people who like to slap their Hos" (8 May 2005)

"I never find it touching when men cry. I just think they are gay" (15 September 2004).

"So, they're lowering the age of consent for homosexuals to four, teachers will be allowed to promote sodomy in schools and the Army is to become a hotbed of single-sex fumbling. I therefore find myself wondering. How long will it be before we get "Gay Lanes" on the motorway?" (Feb 18th 2000)

The police are "... jumped up little Hitlers whose penises are very obviously far too small" (14 May 2005)

The protest will take place at Gipsy Lane at 9am on Monday.

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Display the following 10 comments

  1. BY ORDER — Dolly the Sheeple
  2. Oneday all students will drive BMW's — Henry Hord
  3. Executing the Clowns — twilight
  4. I agree with this one... — Snail
  5. ... — Ralph Nader
  6. State approved Clown — REX 84
  7. ... — REX 84
  8. joke speaking to joke — david murray
  9. No Sensa huma — Tony Bittan
  10. Theres nothing wrong with Jezza — Richard Hammond