Victory for free speech?

Bollocks. It’s a defeat for contract law.

Look, everyone knew who the Stig is before today. It’s one of the worst kept secrets in the world. But the thing is the guy signed a contract with a confidentiality clause and when it didn’t suit him anymore he didn’t want to honour it, and a judge was daft enough to agree. I highly doubt that his contract bound him to life long servitude to the BBC so if he wanted to publish his book the obvious thing to do, which I imagine was what his contract required him to do, was to hand in his notice, quietly fuck off, and then print what ever he likes. It’s not often I take the side of the Beeb and oppose people like the Taxpayer’s Alliance, who are understandably pissed off about the BBC spunking money away on legal action over a minor joke character on the ‘grubby little motoring show’ they put on BBC2, but where will end up if courts can allow one party to unilaterally alter a signed contract to the other party’s disadvantage and without their agreement?

Say you hire someone to work certain days of the week, they sign a contract agreeing to this, and then later tell you that they’re no longer going to work the contractually agreed days. Why doesn’t matter. Whether it’s because they’ve converted to a religion that doesn’t let them or because there’s something new on TV they like, the effect is the same to you – and if you can’t or won’t accommodate them then you have to part company in whatever way was in the terms of the contract. How would you feel if a judge then told you that actually you couldn’t let him go and you couldn’t make him work the day he agreed to, contracted to and now refuses to? Would you be pissed off? I bloody would be.

I said all this about Fred Goodwin over a year and a half ago. Remember how there were noises about changing the law so the government could take a large chunk of his contractually agreed pension and throw it to the baying crowd?

I don’t want to take the side of someone I think is a smarmy arsehole, but when people openly plan to change the law so contracts can be torn up retrospectively and sue because they couldn’t be arsed to make their own judgements about the risk their investment was running I can’t help but feel some sympathy.

Now it’s the same for the Beeb. They are bastards of the lowest ordure, the TV licence is a complete fucking scam, they’re biased against one set of pricks and in favour of another set of pricks, and they only make a small number of decent shows, though for those shows I would be prepared to pay money if only the fucktroons would sort out iPlayer to work outside the Europisstake Utopion. In short I am not Auntie’s biggest fan. But on this occasion I side with them just because they signed a contract in good faith with someone who apparently now wants to have his cake and eat it.

But you know what’s really annoying? Just as it was with Fred Goodwin’s pension, siding with a bunch of loathsome, unspeakable shites to defend the principle of a signed contract leaves me feeling slightly in need of a wash, like lying down with dogs might have given me fleas. My enemy’s enemy and all that but I like to be able to dislike my hate figures on a full time basis. And for that reason above all, Stig or Ben or whatever we should call you, I hope you lose both the case as well as the gig (apparently this has already happened), and that your book is rapidly consigned to the charity shop bargain section.

Bring on the Blue/Red/Green/Yellow/Two-Tone Ska/Orange Stig.

Posted on September 2, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Victory for free speech?.

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