Regular observers of the news will notice that much of it lives under a misnomer. In fact, quite a lot of it proves daily that there is little new under the sun and that, like fashion, if you wait long enough certain stories will always return eventually.

Hardy perennials include imminent seasonal food shortages; turkeys and sprouts at Christmas, chocolate at Easter or pumpkins at Hallowe’en. There are also circular tales of public sector incompetence from policing to procurement from which “lessons will be learned” but very seldom are. And football managers or politicians being sacked before bobbing noisomely to the surface somewhere else.

My own personal favourite is the imminent demise of the English bluebell, reported with religious regularity by every Kent or Sussex news outlet, and always with the egregious Spanish bluebell fingered as the culprit. Every spring. You can set your endangered dormouse by it.

Close to joining these old chestnuts are the people who have so offended the Duke and Duchess of Sussex that even their kindness and wellness coaching can brook no forgiveness. Now in the fifth year of a run that shows no sign of ending.

Among the many for whom damnation is eternal are an increasing number of controversialist journalists. Or indeed any journalists. But particularly those who sail a bit close to the wind. One may or may not lament the passing, for example, of Piers Morgan from mainstream TV after his broadside against Meghan Markle resulted in him being told off on air by his own weatherman.

Now his old sparring partner Jeremy Clarkson looks set to follow. Should you be unaware, he wrote a piece for the Sun in which he pronounced his “cellular level hatred” for the Duchess of Sussex and summoned up a Game of Thrones style fantasy in which a naked Meghan is pelted with insults and ordure as she is paraded through the streets to cries of “Shame!”.

It didn’t go down well, unsurprisingly. My own wife, who I have noticed is a woman, is largely unmoved by the more febrile extrapolations that this encouraged the citizenry to take up Clarkson’s idea. But even she thought it was more than a bit off colour. As did Clarkson’s own daughter. In fact, among women and James O’Brien everywhere, it was a joke that died by its own hand. Publicly, rather horribly, perhaps poetically.

Realising his error, not least in what he described as the “incandescence” of his various employers, including Amazon, Clarkson embraced what was once the holy trinity of crisis management when bang to rights; apologise, remediate and explain.

He asked the Sun to take down the article. He explained that perhaps he should have made the Game of Thrones reference a bit more obvious but he’d dashed off the piece in a hurry. And he said sorry, publicly, privately, fulsomely and almost certainly misguidedly…

Because Harry and Meghan declined absolution. Resistance demands exemplary retribution.  Instead, they have cast Clarkson into outer darkness on the basis that he had considerable previous in “hate speech”, “misogyny” and general crimes against the code of the Sussexes, primary among them being that he’s “British media” and he ain’t buying.

Clarkson now awaits the execution of his career. Though, of course, we’ve heard that before after he punched his Irish TV producer in a “hangry” moment for failing to produce wine and steak after a long day’s filming.

Being no petrol-head, I hold no candle for Clarkson – and I can prove it to the court – having once been asked onto regional TV to comment after he’d said something disobliging about the Garden of England. My line was that, when the kid at the back of the class is once again seeking attention by shouting rude words, he’s best ignored as synthetic outrage is just what he wants.

That said, Clarkson’s Farm, his show on Amazon, was rightly lauded as real insight into the challenges of farming and he revealed a more thoughtful side than his Top Gear persona, while his Sunday Times columns are, on occasion, mordantly amusing. But – Clarksonesque pause – sometimes not.

For all that, however, we need controversialists as a challenge to conventional wisdom and it seems odd to punish him for doing that for which he is employed. It’s akin to chastising a clown for falling over and wearing a red nose.

Moreover, the Game of Thrones analogy has an informative continuation. In the scene to which Clarkson referred, evil queen Cersei Lannister is obliged by a fundamentalist moral cult, which has insidiously taken over the kingdom, to march naked before the mob through the streets of her capital at King’s Landing. (One can visit Dubrovnik, see the steps from which it was filmed and buy a stir fry take away called “Wok of Shame”.)

Lannister herself is not entirely undeserving of her fate. What with a tendency to the Borgia and her, erm, close relationship with her brother. However, neither is the grim sect that condemns her, their righteousness quite literally carved into their foreheads for all to see and their world view enforced at club point by a Faith Militant.

What happens to them? Unable to see beyond their own zealotry and accumulating enemies, they lock themselves away in a tower, preparing to pass judgement on selected nobility. Then the inevitable explosion.

A lesson for us all.

Write to us with your comments to be considered for publication at