Friday, May 12, 2006

The Daily Telegraph's Hatchet Job On Antony Worrall Thompson Backfires Spectacularly

Yesterday, I placed a post on the main blog concerning remarks made by a celebrity chef named Antony Worrall Thompson concerning the efficacy and language skills of Eastern European waiters employed in British restaurants.
As the most outrageously immigrationist of all British newspapers, the Daily Telegraph today hit back at AWT with a piece entitled 'Polish and spitting'.
It kicks off as describing AWT as "the television chef who is now better known for his stint on I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here than for his culinary skills". Miaow!
It then quotes poor, downtrodden Katarzyna Motyka, a Warsawian now working in a london restaurant as saying,
"I would like Antony Worrall Thompson to come to this restaurant and try and do a week of my work and see what he feels about Eastern European waiting staff afterwards..."And if he couldn't manage that, as I doubt he would be able to, just a chat with him over a coffee would do."
Although her comments are both ill-mannered and aggressive, displaying a lack of respect for Thompson's years of experience in the catering industry, they are as nothing compared to those of her colleague Marius Jasnozski.
Jasnozski says,
"What about the Spanish, the French, the Italians and the Brazilians?... They're all here, but he has hasn't mentioned them. It's xenophobia."
Jasnozski would appear to wish to deny a British citizen the right to comment on conditions in their own industry in their own country, by using what he thinks is a oh-so-smart buzzword like 'xenophobia'.
He seems to fail to understand that as a foreigner, we might have to tolerate him but we are under absolutely no obligation to love him; nor, indeed, that he's only here on sufferance.
But Jasnozski's not finished, saying, "He should try moving to another country and having to learn a foreign language on his own."
Dudeski, I have no sympathy for you. Unlike the unfortunate period between 1945 and 1989 when you were being suppressed by your fellow Poles, nobody, absolutely nobody, forced you to come to the United Kingdom with a gun at your head. Such are the historic defects of your society, not ours.
Riven with its characteristic xenophilia, the Telegraph just can't resist singing our two Poles' praises, reporting that the article's subjects are both "so good at their jobs that they earn well above the minimum wage Mr Worrall Thompson would like to see scrapped so that waiters work harder."
They're just so much better than we are, don't you think? Motyka seems to think so, saying,
"It might even be said that they are better at their jobs than the British. "I have worked with a lot of English people and their attitude is slightly different. They take things for granted a bit more, because there is quite a strong benefits system here ," says Miss Motyka. "But we never claim benefits. We always rely on ourselves."
In a country without plumbers, one would suppose you would have to; although Poland's unemployment rate of 20% gives the lie to Motyka's comment that, ""Our history is full of difficult times so we take opportunities we are given very seriously and when we work, we work hard."
But we can all breathe more easily - deep down, they tolerate us. What a relief.
"Despite this, they are full of praise for Britain. "Everyone is very polite and welcoming," continues Miss Motyka. "It's very cosmopolitan and apart from the odd person saying, 'Oh, you're Polish - my cleaner is Polish!' The people are very open-minded. I like that."

It is just a shame that Mr Worrall Thompson had to go and ruin it all. Especially when it turns out that a new chef at his Notting Grill restaurant happens to be - yes, you guessed it, Polish."
Motyka is described as being in 'the process of applying for jobs in banking'. Hopefully she realises that if she obtains a post in that industry in this country, she will only have to been able to do so by having been permitted to compete on equal terms with British citizens, many of whose families cannot afford to employ cleaners.
So our two Poles have captured the moral high ground, and AWT is forever cast as a (gasp!) 'xenophobe'.
Not quite. So keen was the Telegraph to promote the economic 'benefits' of immigration that it went to press too quickly, resulting in its powder getting damp.
In today's 'Daily Express' (not online) AWT hits back with a full page commentary entitled 'The real reason why waiter service has gone down the pan'.
This is his first paragraph -
"Let's get one thing straight, I have absolutely nothing against workers from Eastern Bloc EU countries - I have just employed three Polish chefs myself - but there has been a distinct decline in service standards because of the rise in employing waiters who do not have a grasp of the English language".
Paragraph three -
"We in the UK could learn a great deal from the Polish work ethic. They work extremely hard, pickup on job skills very quickly and have an old-fashioned allegiance to their place of work. But if they want to be waiting staff they need communication skills - and that means speaking English".
Yuk! Any more of this and Thompson's going to be named 'Immigrationist of the Day!' He's starting to sound like Tim Luckhurst!
Paragraph 10 -
"I want to return to good old-fashioned service values where customers are known by name and see the same waiting staff when they dine at least two times in a row and are treated as if they mean something to the restaurant".
Paragraph 15 -
"We have a situation where waiting staff are paid the minimum wage and then receive tips on top - taking their earnings in excess of many chefs' wages. So employers are now levying a service charge, keeping it for the house and then paying waiting staff minimum wage. This policy gives no incentive to the waiter and encourages average service. Many tip for outstanding service but quite rightly want to know their waiter is receiving the benefit."
Final paragraph -
"So I'm not having a pop at Eastern Bloc countries, I was having a pop at our own industry where, quite frankly, the standards of service have never been lower."
Worrall Thompson's self-flagellation complete, one wonders whether Marius Jasnozski would be prepared to apologise for labelling him a 'xenophobe'. Hopefully he now knows enough about our culture to have learned the store we place on a graceful apology.
As for the 'Telegraph'....
They received the following e-mail this morning:
"Letters Editor

May 12 2006

Dear Sirs,

Does the 'Daily Telegraph''s printing of Katarzyna Motyka's and Marius Jasnozski's reaction to Anthony Worrall Thompson's opinion of the competence of Polish waiters herald a new direction in editorial policy?

One would never have expected Britain's biggest selling broadsheet to be so sympathetic to the interests of labour over capital.

If that is the case, then I look forward to the newspaper's campaign to end the practice of offshoring employment to the Third World.

Power to the people, brothers...

Yours faithfully,

Martin Kelly, LL.B., Dip.L.P.,