While the UK Prime Minister Theresa May might be at risk of being imminently fired herself – not least over her determined self-righteousness over her Brexit plan (Update on 28 May 2019: Prime Minister May has now given in her notice to quit and will leave office on 7 June) – it did not stop her using her remaining time in office to fire her Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson, effectively destroying his career. Williamson’s dismissal in early May was officially because he was alleged to have leaked proceedings from the secret National Security Council at which Theresa May was presiding. Williamson, who had been a thorn in the side of the Treasury and other departments in his promotion of the budget needs of defence, strongly denies the accusation and is demanding an independent inquiry into the leak. Others have wondered whether Williamson might try and use an employment tribunal in an attempt at redress for his “unfair dismissal”.
By the way, the information leak revealed that the Prime Minister had controversially gone against her own defence staff’s advice – and that of its NATO allies including most notably USA – in allowing the Huawei to bid for elements of upgrading the UK communications network to 5G standard. Huawei is notionally a private telecommunications company but is thought to be indirectly controlled by the Chinese Communist government and, as such, is alleged to provide a serious security threat. By the way, the worldwide 5G network, of course, remains integral to satellite operators’ future prosperity.
Update on 20 May 2019: After the Trump Administration imposed a ban on trade with Huawei on security concerns (albeit that technically it can ask for a licence), Google has now banned the firm from using its next generation software on its cellphone handsets.
Security concerns aside, many who normally balk at the prospect of key UK infrastructure becoming state-run again (as proposed by the UK’s Labour opposition) realise that in this case it will be actually worse: parts of the UK’s telecommunications system will effectively be state-run – but this time by the Chinese state. As such, you can expect the next UK Prime Minister to reverse May’s decision on this.
Prime Minister May was not the only one who acted as a “judge, jury and executioner” in a case of a job termination with no sense of a fair procedure.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has fired its veteran radio presenter Danny Baker from his popular BBC Radio 5 Live Saturday morning show along with its famous Sausage Sandwich Game quiz of sporting celebrities. This was after Baker posted a joke image on Twitter of a couple with a chimp relating it to the recent Royal birth. Baker quickly took it down when its racist connotations were pointed out to him and immediately issued an apology which he later reiterated in a much stronger and clearer way.
Of course, most of us err from time to time, and just as we would hope for forgiveness ourselves, we believe that those who truly repent should normally also be forgiven. But the BBC was not in a forgiving mood and fired Baker – a one-time campaigner against racism in football – anyway.
At this, some celebrities criticised the BBC’s unforgiving self-righteous stance. Others pointed out the BBC’s apparent hypocritical double standards given that other stars who had also made racist jokes and comments had not similarly been fired.
Given the BBC’s own history of racial, gender and age discrimination, especially in regards to pay, perhaps the corporation, via this injudicious show of “virtue signalling”, was trying a little too hard to prove otherwise.
Update on 13 May 2019: At least Danny Baker’s fans appear to have forgiven him. To the chagrin of the BBC and the Twitter mob that incited it, at the first of his one man stage shows following the furore, Danny Baker received a standing ovation.
Update on 23 May 2019: While it does not really count as a full firing, Commodore Nick Cooke-Priest, who was in charge of the Royal Navy’s new UK£3.1 billion (US$3.9 billion) aircraft carrier HMS Elizabeth, has had his command taken away from him for his unauthorised use of the warship’s car (when the carrier was docked of course) at weekends. Is this Royal Navy officer’s reassignment yet another example of too harsh disciplining? Perhaps, but sources in the Royal Navy have alleged that he ignored warnings not to do so beforehand.
One who possibly should be fired at least from one of his jobs – if only for his own health – is Tesla and SpaceX boss Elon Musk. Having been barred by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for making any more tweets that might affect the Tesla electric car firm’s share price, our Elon has recently revealed on it just how hard he works. Too hard it seems. Musk notes in a tweet that he hopes to get his hours down to just 80 hours per week next year.
At his current work rate of 90 hours per week, and by working every day, Musk, of course, risks burn out. He should follow the lead of this writer’s own work rate which means he will never reach burnout…although lukewarm remains a distinct possibility. But don’t tell your correspondent’s boss…as there have been too many unfair firings this month already. 🙂
Update on 13 May 2019: The consequences of Elon Musk’s Twitter carelessness – possibly due to him being too tired – continues. This time it was not about Tesla. Musk faces a court case over originally using Twitter to accuse British rescue diver, Vernon Unsworth, who was involved in the successful rescue of Thai schoolboys from a cave (albeit with a diver fatality), of being a “pedo guy” (sic). This was in retaliation for Unsworth’s criticism of Musk’s attempted involvement in the rescue as being a public relations stunt. Musk originally made a public apology for this defamatory tweet which Unsworth had more or less accepted. However, this apology looked decidedly ungenuine later after Musk then allegedly went on to accuse Unsworth again, this time via an e-mail to a reporter. This effectively forced Unsworth to take to take legal action in order to defend his good name.
Update on 28 May 2019: While Elon Musk tries to get some kip, counting sheep on the internet must be one of them. The BBC has noted that he has just hired Adam Koszary, the witty social media writer of The Museum of English Rural Life’s Twitter account for Tesla. Musk had been posting an image of the Exmoor Horn aged ram from the museum’s site on his own Twitter account. Given the above, perhaps this hiring is a good idea.