Thursday, March 26, 2015

Gross Misconduct

When the media reports on itself, it loses all sense of proportion.  It assumes that everyone else shares its over-inflated sense of its own importance and thinks that its own internal wranglings are perceived as being of earth-shattering importance.  After all, how else can we explain the way in which Jeremy Clarkson not having his contract renewed by the BBC after punching and abusing a producer dominated the news media (especially the BBC) all yesterday afternoon and evening?  If it had been a slow news day with no other major stories, I might have understood it, but an airliner had recently crashed into a mountain, killing everyone onboard, a story which was still unfolding.  But hell, that couldn't possibly be as important or significant as the big story of the day: employee hits colleague and is dismissed after investigation by employer. The way it was being discussed on various news programmes, you'd have thought that this was unprecedented, whereas, in reality, it is standard practice in any workplace in the UK: assault constitutes gross misconduct and therefore warrants dismissal.

Mind you, not everyone seems to agree with this simple rule-of-thumb, and I'm not just talking about those moronic Clarkson 'fans' on Twitter and elsewhere who seem to think that he should be treated differently because, well, he's Jeremy Clarkson, laddish oaf and purveyor of reactionary bile, (which is somehow rendered harmless because he's 'only joking').  That loathsome excuse for a human being 'Guido Fawkes', (real name Paul Staines or, as some of us like to call him, 'Pee Staines'), self-styled right-wing political blogger and Clarkson fan, kept popping up on various media outlets claiming that the BBC had completely overreacted and that it was somehow perfectly normal and acceptable for people to go around punching colleagues in the face.  When it was pointed out that Clarkson's victim had received hospital treatment for his injuries, good old Pee Staines airily dismissed said injuries as 'just a split lip', as if that is somehow an acceptable level of injury to receive from a colleague.  I'd like to suggest to Pee Staines and his ilk that if they think this level of violence is acceptable, then they should give me their addresses and I'll come round and punch them in the face for no good reason, (other than that they are idiots).

Pee Staines and quite a few other commentators kept trying to link the incident with alcohol consumption, implying that Clarkson was tanked up at the time and that somehow excused his actions.  Which clearly implies that they think the law has been getting it wrong for decades now: if some driver mows down your loved one, then they should be excused if they were drunk at the time, after all, they didn't have full control of their faculties at the time, did they?  Obviously, it is those bastards who have accidents when stone cold sober we should be coming down hard on - they don't have any excuse, do they?  Changing tack, whilst I know that it is dangerous to read any kind of significance into incidents like this, (not that that stopped the media from doing so, most ludicrous were yesterday's discussions as to how Clarkson's sacking would affect the BBC's political balance and how it would be perceived as the 'trendy liberal lefties' purging an openly right-wing presenter for his views, which ignored the fact that he was dismissed for assaulting a producer and that, far from being left-wing, the BBC is a deeply conservative and pro-establishment organisation), I'd like to think that this development might represent a turning point for worker's rights. 

For years now, we've seen a steady erosion of our workplace protections, with managers becoming ever bolder in abusing their workers, (not literally, like Clarkson, but in terms of the way we are treated in the workplace).  Hopefully, the fact that the BBC has had the balls to sack a powerful presenter for abusing someone he clearly saw as a 'minion', will signal a reversal of this trend and the beginning of a reassertion of the idea that workers not only have the right not to be physically and verbally abused in the workplace, but that they are also entitled to expect to be shown some respect by management. Foe too long we've been told that workplace bullying won't be tolerated, but have seen little evidence of that.  Maybe, just maybe, the fall of Clarkson will result in these promises finally being made good.  But I'm not holding my breath.  However, at the very least, I hope that this will be the last time I'll feel moved to mention that violent bully Clarkson on this blog.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home