Thursday 24 March 2022

Rewarding failure

Yesterday, Boris Johnson said that it appears that P&O may have broken the law in the way that they sacked 800 seafarers a few days ago, and that they may face large fines as a result. Given that the owners are the same people whom Johnson is currently begging for more oil, this looks like another example of saying the right thing for a headline and then finding an excuse to do nothing. And sure enough, someone has come up with a potential loophole. According to this report from Sky News, a leading maritime lawyer has identified a change in the law signed off by Chris Grayling in 2018 which means that the company did not, in fact, need to notify the government. Whose word should we believe: a leading expert in the legal field or a compulsive liar who says the first thing which comes into his head? It’s a tough call.

The fact that Grayling was involved actually explains a lot. This is, after all, a man who saw no reason why ferry companies should need ships at all. It’s a small step from that to concluding that they don’t need crews either; and another small step to concluding that there’s no need for them to pay a decent wage to any crew who they do inadvertently hire. The only remaining mystery is why he hasn’t been given a knighthood for his colossal failures, in line with that given to Gavin Williamson. It’s probably just a matter of time.

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