Newspaper headlines: Nigel Farage on race and Jeremy Clarkson's 'steak ta ta'

Two outspoken critics of political correctness take the headlines on many of Thursday's front pages.

While the tabloids are following up Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson's suspension from the BBC, the Guardian and Independent titles focus on comments from Nigel Farage. The UKIP leader's suggestion that one of the primary reasons for concern over immigration was that "people do see a fifth column living within our country, who hate us and want to kill us", leads the Guardian. Interviewed for a Channel 4 documentary, Mr Farage explains his belief that some Muslims "don't want to become part of our culture".

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The Guardian quotes his interviewer, former equality and human rights commissioner Trevor Phillips, saying he got on well with Mr Farage during the interview, despite the UKIP leader saying he had viewed him as part of "the politically correct brigade that wouldn't want these things discussed".

For the Independent, the main talking point is Mr Farage's suggestion that laws barring discrimination on grounds of nationality or race are obsolete and should be scrapped. The politician is quoted saying employers should be able to choose staff on the basis of nationality. However, the paper points out that official figures showed the number of young people from ethnic minority backgrounds who had been jobless for more than a year had risen 49% since 2012.

It quotes Labour's justice spokesman Sadiq Khan saying: "When my parents moved to London they frequently saw signs saying "no blacks, no dogs, no Irish"; what UKIP is suggesting would take us back to those days."

Eye-catching headlines

  • "Douglas, we have a problem: setback for Isle of Man space race" - the Independent reports problems for an American lawyer hoping to launch a Manx mission to the Moon
  • "The Turbanator" - the Daily Star describes a new cartoon hero, Super Sikh, created to challenge negative racial stereotypes in the US
  • "Skeleton with a difference rises from Gravesend mud" - grisly photos appeared to show a skeleton in the Thames but the figure turned out to be a tangle of metal and old rope, says the Mail
  • "Why fake flowers are not to be sniffed at" - the Telegraph reports a "renaissance" for the products, with sales of bunches at retailer John Lewis up 71% in the first two months of 2015 compared with 2014

'Too male'

Just what was the meal that caused the "fracas" that led to the BBC's suspension of Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson?

"Thump steak," according to the Sun, which says the star reacted after being told he couldn't have a hot meal - only a cold meat platter - at a hotel after finishing filming late. "Steak ta ta" is how the dish is described by the Daily Mirror, which hints that Clarkson could lose his job once a BBC investigation is complete. However, the Times reckons it was a selection of cheeses, rather than meat, that provoked the incident.

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The Mirror wonders what was so bad about the offering - and sends Lucy Thornton to find out. She admits the platter is "not massive" for someone "running on empty" after a day's filming. But she says: "This lack of quantity was compensated for by the delicious flavours of the home-made ham hock terrine, alongside tasty salami, olives and sun-dried tomatoes".

According to the Times, if the BBC goes ahead and drops the remaining three shows in the series, the corporation "could have to pay millions in compensation to foreign broadcasters" in the 170 countries where Top Gear is screened. Telegraph cartoonist Adams sums this up by imagining a manager at the broadcaster asking for "one good reason not to sack him", while the star drives past in a convertible sports car, a sack full of cash on the back seat.

However, the Guardian's editorial argues that "whatever the financial cost, the BBC must never indulge violence or bullying" and says Clarkson must be sacked if it is proven that he punched his producer. Meanwhile, Andrew Hill writes in the Financial Times: "Any venture that becomes dependent on a few people for its success is flirting with disaster every time its stars overstep the mark... If a brand that is so apparently critical to the BBC's commercial success has become over-reliant on one capricious and irreplaceable 'key man', the broadcaster's managers will have to share the blame."

Clarkson's suspension sparked a petition signed by hundreds of thousands of people calling for his reinstatement. Political blogger Guido Fawkes explains in the Sun why he set up the petition: "He smokes, drinks, drives carbon-emitting fast cars and says what he thinks - which is usually politically incorrect. We love him for it."

The Daily Mail's Richard Littlejohn, who describes himself as an "old friend" of Clarkson, reckons the star is "too white, too male and, frankly, too damned British" for the BBC. Even so, he says: "Clarkson still wants to stay at the BBC - even though he gives every impression of hating it... It gave him his first break in TV back in 1988."

If they do end up parting company, ITV chiefs are plotting a "£10m swoop" to sign up the presenter, according to the Daily Express.

'Terrible precedent'

Papers including the Daily Express highlight a Supreme Court ruling paving the way for a woman to make a legal claim for cash from her ex-husband who she divorced 20 years ago, before he became a millionaire. The Mail quotes a solicitor saying: "[It] underlines how there is no limit on when someone can make a claim. It doesn't matter whether you divorce in your 20s and return with a claim when you're 80."

As a result, family lawyer Catherine Walker writes in the Mirror that it "could be a good idea for some divorcees to consider a retrospective claim for a share of their ex's wealth". However, in the same paper, divorce lawyer Alison Hawes argues that the appeal should not have been allowed. "I don't think it is clear the court would have made the same order if he was not very wealthy," she writes.

The Times reckons it's a "terrible precedent" that will "revive thousands of old disputes and create thousands of new ones". While the paper says it's fair to suggest wind farm tycoon Dale Vince might have been more generous to Kathleen Wyatt, as the mother of his child, it argues: "To allow her to claim in the courts a share of a fortune that she plainly had no part in building, whether as wife, mother, business partner or new-age soulmate, is to invite the mockery of the law."

Likewise, the Sun says: "It opens the floodgates to spurious claims between long-divorced partners who split without a proper legal deal."

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