Brown v Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson is an overcompensating, climate-change-denying, right-wing moron. That’s got nothing to do with my column this week, I’ve just been waiting for him to give me an excuse.

Last week’s news was dominated by British workers striking in protest at UK jobs going to Italian and Portuguese contractors. Gordon Brown did little to help by having mouthed off about ‘British jobs for British workers’. Surreally, traditionally leftist trades unionists, supposedly committed to international solidarity with the ‘workers of the world’ were spouting ‘they’re stealing our jobs and wimmins’ rhetoric, more suited to the BNP, euroskeptics and, well… Clarkson.

Now, let’s be clear: the corporations in question have something to answer for. But it is not hiring people unfortunate enough to lack the God-given blessing of being born British. It’s that they were hiring contractors rather than long-term workers. And why are they doing this? Because it’s cheaper. Because contractors need less in the way of personal development, long-term investment and all that pesky ‘viewing them as human beings’ stuff. Their nationality is not (or at least shouldn’t be) important. The fact that jobs are being lost as a consequence of corporations putting profit over people, is.

Commuters trying to get to work last week

Commuters trying to get to work last week

This undervaluing of humanity was evident everywhere last week. As snow barred people’s way to work, many grumblers took to the airwaves, complaining bitterly of how much it was costing the economy, forgetting (or perhaps denying) that man is more than a factor of production, that life may consist of more than work and may enjoy added worth thanks to the occasional ‘snow day’. Luckily no Christian would make that mistake, would they?

Human beings lost out to more abstract concepts too last week. Judges who ordered that information be released from intelligence officials about a man who had been kidnapped and probably tortured (if President Obama is to be believed) by our allies, were met with a wall of non-compliance. Justice could not in this case be done because it might threaten our ‘special relationship’ with America. Human justice was ignored in favour of political expediency.

Possibly my favourite example of humanity being sold out was of Lt Colonel Owen McNally, a British officer arrested last week for ‘leaking sensitive information‘. What was the top secret information, and what nefarious power was receiving it? The figures were of civilian deaths caused by Britain and her allies in Afghanistan. They were leaked to a human rights organisation. Gosh, I’m glad such a dangerous traitor has been removed from society.

Our world is not generally okay with a few ‘bad apples’ spoiling it for everyone. A handful of bankers did not cause the current economic crisis – a system based of greed and propped up by injustice did. Britain will not be better when foreigners, contract workers or certain bosses leave. Torture and civilian deaths do not happen because some people overstep their bounds. Fundamentally we have forgotten that human beings are more important than profits, narrow concepts of nationhood or ‘the way we do things’.

Christians can see this. Are we saying anything? More importantly, are we modelling any alternatives? Or are we happy to let the world go on as it is, while we cuddle up warm at home, watching (the admittedly very funny and talented) Clarkson on the telly?


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