There’s no cause so disreputable it cannot find adherents. And, failing that, apologists. Take, for instance, the apparently simple case of a powerful man – powerful in status more than physique – who assaults one of his junior helpers.
In ordinary circumstances – that is, if this assault took place in a cheese factory or on a farm or in an insurance brokerage – everything would be pretty bloody simple. It’s not really OK for senior folk – even if they are the talent – to start lamping their subordinates. Said lamper would ordinarily – and quite properly – risk their job by hitting their junior colleagues.
I guess my view is weirdly stupid, however. I mean, it had never occurred to me that Jeremy Clarkson was sacked for being too right-wing. Now that Rod Liddle – whose own cruiserweight credentials need no further burnishing – has pointed this out, however, I feel a complete heel.
Like Rod, I feel sorry for poor Jeremy. What a victim! What a poster boy for the idiocies and extravagances of political correctness gone mad! How dare the BBC get rid of one of their most authentic personalities! Clarkson, you see, has been done in for the crime of not being one of the bien-pensant classes. Why, even being a chum of the Prime Minister was not enough to save him and, indeed, doubtless helped damn him.
Clarkson has not been forced out because he’s a reactionary (or, at least, someone who pretends – profitably – to be a reactionary). He’s been binned because he has behaved in an awful fashion.
Yes, he was – and will be for someone else – extremely good at what he does. But there is no need for the BBC to maintain his contract. Like Mr Liddle (and me), Mr Clarkson is a freelance contractor and serves at the pleasure of his employers. When you treat them like chumps don’t pretend to be appalled when they reckon you have become more trouble than you are worth.
Perhaps there are some workplaces in which punching weaker people remains fine and dandy but I’m not sure the BBC has to be one of those places. And if Clarkson was a raging lefty would his right-wing and reactionary defenders be so quick to squawk their outrage? I doubt it. (Memo to self: let’s see what happens when I head-butt Fraser…)
He did what he did and he has got what he deserved. He will be fine, too, of course, but there’s no need for the BBC to go to the wall for him. Only dreadful people would do that.