It’s the season of peace and goodwill to everyone. Except, apparently towards nurses. Or ambulance drivers. Or posties, and rail workers.

And Meghan Markle.

In his column in The Sun, Jeremy Clarkson suggested he hated her more than Rose West, a serial killer; and Clarkson wrote about Meghan: “I hate her on a cellular level. At night, I’m unable to sleep as I lie there grinding my teeth and dreaming of the day when she is made to parade naked through the streets of every town in Britain while the crowds chant ‘Shame!’ and throw lumps of excrement at her.”

Nice. I haven’t bothered to watch the Harry and Meghan Netflix stuff and I wouldn’t be their greatest fans anyway. But the sheer hatred from most of the British media is disturbing, with Piers Morgan leading the jeer leading; what, Clarkson, hate her more than a serial killer?

And one columnist suggested she was further down their despise radar than paedophile Prince Andrew. Crikey, what the……

Even by his own low bar, writing about his hate and suggesting violence on a woman was pretty disgusting and off the rails from Clarkson, so no wonder there were a record number of over 17,000 complaints to the Press Standards organisation.

I really don’t care much if Clarkson’s career survives; I’m not into cancel culture and simply don’t read his columns or even watch 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' anymore. That said, the Meghan comments are deranged and dangerous stuff.

He also got plenty of backing too, though, such as the former editor of The Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie who “loves Jeremy Clarkson’s schtick” thinks he’s “clever and funny…….so ignore the dim Lefties".

Remember Kelvin? As editor of The Sun he splashed lies about Liverpool supporters at the Hillsborough where 96 fans died and MacKenzie’s front page accused other fans of urinating on police and picking the pockets of dying victims. It was a slur which means that even to this day, The Sun isn’t welcome in Liverpool.

But such is the distasteful race to the bottom in public discourse today that MacKenzie is rehabilitated into the media and feels emboldened enough to write about the “vile sh*tbags who drive ambulances for a living”.

On Good Morning Britain, Richard Madeley’s line of questioning with rail leader Mick Lynch was a personal attack, accusing him of ruining Christmas for everyone.

There’s clearly an agenda to politicise the strikes, instead of accepting that it is no coincidence that more and more groups of workers have had enough of seeing their living standards slipping down and down over years, many commentators are slipping into the tired narrative that the lefty unions are trying to bring down Government.

It suits the Sunak Government very well for the media to pump this out.

Try telling that to the nurses, some of whom have to go to food banks. The idea that the country can’t afford to pay them is ludicrous alongside, for example, some of the billions going into the coffers of the super-rich using the non-dom tax avoidance scheme.

It’s not just about pay, either; the NHS is in crisis after years of mismanagement and nurses who see the impact of this on patients are taking strike action for us as much as themselves. The NHS has been run down throughout the 12 years of Tory rule, deliberately so in my opinion as their ideology is to privatise it.

Suddenly, the media focuses on strikes putting patients in danger. Newsflash, this Government has been putting them in danger for years and it’s the nurses and others on the frontline who are putting their head above the parapet to rescue the NHS.

And so the bile of the commentariat goes on. Clarkson, Morgan, Madeley and a number of others are simply attack dogs. It’s the left as well as right, it should be said. Gary Neville is a good football pundit who fancies himself as a political advocate; but he took the money to go to Qatar and then came his rant in support of striking workers in Britain. I happen to agree with a lot of what he actually said, but he still looked a bit of a prat.

There’s a growing sense of entitlement these days, of more greed and selfishness than ever among those at the top and it seems to me that commentators feel that the more controversial, nasty and abusive they are, the greater their profile and, of course, the more money they make. Goodwill? What’s that?

They’re welcome to their bucketloads of cash. As far as I’m concerned they don’t live in a world where there are far more people of goodness and goodwill.

At this time of year, it’s more important than ever to remember the qualities of hope, faith, joy and peace that are at the heart of the message of keeping Christ in Christmas. Never forget what is really all about.

The Christmas season is now more commercialised than ever, with figures showing Irish households will spend 978 Euro more in December than any other month. But we still know that there are more important things than the baying mob of Clarksons realise.

Like family, friendships, human connections and empathy and enjoying the simple things in life.

Last Saturday, I was out with some friends in the late afternoon to celebrate one of our mate’s birthdays and later in the evening I had a meal with some other friends; it was as good as it gets, good food, good company, good craic. You couldn’t buy it.

This week, on Tuesday morning in Dunnes I met an old acquaintance who had lost his wife this year and I asked him how he was keeping. He sighed deeply and admitted this was going to be a tough Christmas, as indeed it will be for many at an emotional time when memory makes the sense of loss greater.

Many other people are struggling in different ways and will find Christmas difficult, and our understanding, help and even just a word are important in a community like ours. The empathy and support of friends and family is even more crucial just now.

Some people are voluntarily giving up their Christmas Day to host dinner in halls for those who would otherwise be eating on their own at home or maybe not even bothering too much. People running food banks and other charities are working hard to make sure families have enough and there are many, many decent people who are thinking of others.

This is community, this is compassion which Clarkson and his ilk wouldn’t understand.

Many of us will have family round, happy in each other’s company. Maybe even having a giggle at the old uncle in the corner letting rip with the effect of Brussel sprouts.

We’ll say afterwards, as we always do, that it was “quiet”, that the build-up was a lot of fuss for one day; or that the television was rubbish as usual. But we’ll still watch (again) the old classics and maybe shed a tear at 'Call the Midwife'.

And we’ll love the whole time together.

There’s nothing quite like Christmas morning, with a mixture of emotions of some sadness, but also a good-natured feeling and an inner happiness that’s hard to describe.

I’m planning to have a good Christmas, I hope you and yours do too, and let’s hope for better things in 2023.