Jeremy Clarkson, 60, was stunned to learn that the National Trust was launching an investigation – one he wonders may cost a fair bit – into stately homes and racism, including the home of avid anti-slaver William Wordsworth, despite making at least 500 people redundant recently due to losses from the coronavirus pandemic. Closures have meant the trust has lost £200million since last March.
The trust’s report examined various historic places and their history of colonialism and slavery and looked into links to plantation owners, those who profited through the slave trade and those who were paid compensation for enslaved people freed through abolition.
But following the publishing by Hilary McGrady, the trust’s director general, into 93 stately home across the country with suggested links to slavery last September, over 500 members complained, forcing the charity’s regulator to open a case to examine growing concerns about whether the trust had acted outside its charitable purposes.
It has now concluded the National Trust acted “in line” with its charitable purposes and there were no grounds for regulatory action.
McGrady has since admitted the timing was a “mistake”, telling Jeremy Paxman on the podcast The Lock In: “My biggest mistake was publishing it when we did, because it got conflated with Black Lives Matter.”
Among the properties included in the report was the Lake District home of avid anti-slaver William Wordsworth, whose brother was involved in the trade.
But Jeremy appeared confused why they were spending money on an investigation in the first place.
Writing in his latest column for The Sun, he penned: “We have been told the National Trust, an organisation popular with white-haired old people in Citroen Picassos, has lost more than £200million since the pandemic began.
“So I was a bit surprised to read this week that it has been busy trying to work out whether the house where poet William Wordsworth lived is racist.”
Since it’s re-opening, Jeremy has had more run-ins with his local parish council members who he branded “small-minded and mad”, he advised readers in his column for The Times: “If you open a farm shop, you’d better get ready for the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse because, trust me, those babies are coming for you with burning knives on the wheels of their chariots.
“My farm shop is tiny but it seems to have landed in this part of the Cotswolds like a nuclear weapon full of sarin gas.
“Sometimes I wish I’d built a mosque instead. Or a bypass. It would have been less controversial,” he retorted.
Jeremy revealed he had been through countless rounds of applying for planning permissions,but noted that some people just like to object to applications for the fun of it.
“We all know that parish council enthusiasts are entitled to register their opposition,” he shrugged.
“But there are some people in the countryside who literally do nothing all day long but object to stuff. They are made entirely from a blend of skin and hate.”
He quipped: “If you’ve ever tried to build a spare room above a garage or chop down a tree, you’ll know what I mean.”
The presenter listed a few things he had been pulled up for already, including the colour of his roof and his fears that his application to sell alcohol would attract “yobbos”.
But Jeremy has been left at a loss, unable to identify who has been opposing all his plans to the point he now “distrusts everyone” around him.