Jamie Oliver landed himself in hot water this week, when some of the remarks he made during a Good Housekeeping interview piqued the interest of the UK public. Sparking a debate that seems to have the UK split right down the middle, Oliver stated that he really couldn’t talk about what’s been dubbed “modern day poverty” in the UK because in his experience, most of the families that claim to be struggling still manage to own huge television sets and any number of unnecessary luxuries.
His argument is that families tend not to see the food they eat as any subject of priority – an attitude that stands to instill negative habits in children.
But that wasn’t the most controversial statement that got the nation talking – it was only when the celebrity chef let rip about his feelings for UK workers that the uproar really kicked off. As far as he’s concerned, British workers are for the most par “wet behind the years” which is why he favors “stronger and tougher” employees from Europe.
He told reporters from Good Housekeeping magazine that if he had no choice but to rely on an all-British workforce, his chain of restaurants would close down altogether. He was adamant that the overall work ethic of the UK was on a slippery slope into oblivion and the next generation of workers was being coddled into expecting too much for too little.
“I have never seen anything so wet behind the ears,” he said.
“I have mummies phoning up for 23-year-olds saying to me: ‘My son is too tired.’ On a 48-hour-week! Are you having a laugh?”
Polls and surveys carried out since the interview seem to suggest that much of the UK public is right behind Jamie, along with a growing number of influential figures from across Britain. The consensus between his supporters is that UK workers do nothing but complain about the influx of European workers when it truth they only have themselves to blame as they are unwilling to work as hard for the some money.
On the other side of the fence though, critics argue that while the wages European workers earn are often sent home to their families where they facilitate an amicable life, they are simply too low for the standard British family to live off. As such, families in the UK are ending up unable to get by as foreign workers continue to undercut them and agree to salaries a native family cannot make ends meet with.