SARAH VINE: All women are seduced by men who show a bit of swagger

After a week of otherwise relentlessly depressing headlines, finally some encouraging news – well, for overweight, middle-aged white men and general gammons, at least.

Jeremy Clarkson has been voted the sexiest man in Britain and Ireland, beating Idris Elba and Cillian ‘cheekbones’ Murphy.

Many have expressed their dismay, including myself. I’ve come across Jeremy Clarkson a few times, and “sexy” isn’t the term that comes to mind. ‘Rude’, ‘shouty’ and ‘a bit drunk’ would be closer to the mark.

Jeremy Clarkson has been voted the sexiest man in Britain and Ireland, beating Idris Elba and Cillian ‘cheekbones’ Murphy

Once we were at the same party and for some reason he mistook me for a waitress (possibly because I was helping the host cook) and before I could say a word he waved his empty wine glass at me and demanded that I give him had to refill. I meekly provided.

Oddly enough, a few years ago my daughter was broadcasting and found herself serving Clarkson’s table at a company event. He was, she remembers, equally abrasive.

So maybe his attraction up close is a bit disappointing, or maybe we were both immune to his charms. Still, from a distance at least, there’s no denying that he has a certain swagger. And women like a little swagger.

In a world of smooth, slick man-babies who spend more time on skin care than most teenage girls and who wouldn’t know how to change a tire if their lives depended on it, Clarkson is an old-fashioned man, in the Muddy Waters sense of the word .

In many ways, he is the acceptable face of toxic masculinity. The proof is what he said in a newspaper column about the Duchess of Sussex in 2022. He wrote that he β€œdreamed of the day when [Meghan] was made to be paraded naked through the streets of every city in Britain as the crowd shouted ‘Shame!’ chants. and throw clumps of feces at her.”

He later explained that he had thought of a scene in Game Of Thrones, but wrote the column in haste and forgot to mention the TV series. (Even the mischievous quality of that excuse is pure Clarkson.)

Yet he had provoked an angry response from those who felt, quite reasonably, that he had gone too far. A record 25,000 people complained to the newspaper industry regulator, which ruled the images were ‘degrading and degrading to the Duchess’. Clarkson apologized and the newspaper removed the article from its website.

But if it had been anyone else, the matter would not have ended there, as it miraculously did. People have been canceled for much less, but somehow Clarkson not only survived, he thrived. His Amazon Prime show, Clarkson’s Farm, is a ratings hit. And rightly so: it’s hugely entertaining – it’s hugely entertaining, warts and all.

It’s not just his personality, but his ability to pick on the self-deprecating and smug of people, especially the city council planning committee that makes decisions about his Diddly Squat Farm.

Yet there is also kindness and generosity at Clarkson’s core. And he never hesitates to take the mickey from himself and his own absurdities – another commendable trait.

It is precisely this lack of shine and the many imperfections that make it attractive. He represents a subversiveness that is all too often lacking in modern life.

It’s similar to the way many Americans worship Donald Trump, despite his many crimes and generally abhorrent behavior, and also to the enduring appeal of our former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Shambolic, poorly dressed dilapidated villains, all of them – but strangely sympathetic. Their flaws are part of what makes them so appealing, partly perhaps because they reflect our own shortcomings, but also because there is an authenticity that is refreshing in a world full of artifice.

And let’s be honest: they are anything but boring.

People like Clarkson are the perfect antidote to the prevailing culture of poetic-faced, finger-wagging humorlessness, where no one ever says what they really think and we are all encouraged to agree that two plus two equals five, just as long it ticks all the right boxes.

Jeremy Clarkson is that rare thing: a full-bodied explosion of steak and port-induced power in the face of life’s anemic kale salad.

And that, I’m afraid, is why women find him sexy – and why they’d ultimately rather go on a date with someone who looks like he just spent a week living in a badger sett with a grizzly bear than with shiny little Tom. Holland with his perfect six-pack.

OUR country’s supposedly best young minds are supporting Hamas, with two in three students at Russell Group universities saying they do not consider the October 7 massacre an act of terror and almost four in ten seeing it as “an understandable act of resists’. It’s puzzling how they came up with one anti-Semitic death cult associated with Iran (a misogynistic, homophobic regime that tortures and kills its people) instead of mourning the kidnapping, rape and torture of young people like them. But this is what happens when you get all your news from the BBC and TikTok.

My fears for Fiona

The Netflix drama Baby Reindeer, starring Martha (played by Jessica Gunning, right) and then outed by online sleuths as a woman named Fiona Harvey, deeply disturbs me. Fiona is clearly completely unprepared for the spotlight. She reminds me of Susan Boyle, another vulnerable, slightly childish Scottish woman who struggled with fame after success on Britain’s Got Talent. I hope Fiona has sensible people around her.

Martha, the main character of Netflix's drama Baby Reindeer, has been outed by online sleuths as a woman named Fiona Harvey

Martha, the main character of Netflix’s drama Baby Reindeer, has been outed by online sleuths as a woman named Fiona Harvey

I feel for Ant McPartlin’s ex-wife. Their marriage never produced any children, and now that she is 47, it is unlikely that she will ever become a mother. However, her ex just had a baby with his new wife and continues to talk about it on social media. Yes, it’s cause for celebration, but also think of the woman who gave him the best and most fruitful years of her life.

There’s no need to be so honest, Eva

I am NOT convinced by the trend of navel-grazing necklines. To anyone with a flat chest, like Emma Stone, they look quite strange – and to those with a fuller bust, like Eva Longoria, left, it’s all a bit, well, in your face. Not particularly flattering or sexy in either case.

Eva Longoria opted for a revealing neckline on the Kinds of Kindness red carpet in Cannes

Eva Longoria opted for a revealing neckline on the Kinds of Kindness red carpet in Cannes

Old CCTV footage has surfaced of P Diddy (aka Sean Combs) allegedly attacking his then-girlfriend, Cassie Ventura. He is seen punching her and throwing her across the floor before kicking her to the ground and dragging her down a hotel corridor. The rapper can’t be prosecuted because it’s been eight years, but there’s a special place in hell for assholes like him.

Rent cap regulations are fantasy

With Labour’s promised tax on private schools already driving parents out of the independent sector (and costing taxpayers an estimated Β£22 million for extra places in state schools this school year alone), Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves hasn’t ruled out another excellent squeak: councils enable cap rental. This was tried in Scotland but simply led to landlords selling their homes.

The outcome would likely be similar in England, with fewer affordable rental properties. This sounds like the worst form of fantasy Labor math ever.