If Jeremy Clarkson hadn’t been on TV he might have been the greatest teacher ever

Image courtesy pixabay

The first principle of teaching is to get them to enjoy it. Once people are having fun, they’ll want to learn. No one understands this principle better than Jeremy Clarkson, who uses wit and sparkle to convey really rather complex messages in things like science, history and engineering. (spoiler alert-yes, we know he has his faults. So did Beethoven.)

That’s why revisiting some of his earlier ouvres can still make for joys unexpected. Take Who Killed the British Motor Industry? (2000). The way a nation makes designs and runs a huge industry is a sure indicator of how educated, modern and skilful it is. The sorry history of British Leyland is certain evidence of just how deficient Great Britain PLC had become. Who did kill it? Bad managers? Bloody-minded unions? Dreamy Governments? Clarkson certainly hands out the blame. But he also finds a deeper, more worrying flaw.

British Leyland were a portmanteau company, a series of forced mergers between such disparate foes as Austin, Morris, Triumph and many others. All of them deeply proud of their plants and their identities. All predisposed not to co-operate. None of them big enough to stand on their own any longer. So when Triumph came up with a half decent idea like the Stag, they were never, ever going to use a Rover engine, even though it was from the same company. In every town, Austin, Morris and Triumph dealers cut each others’ throats for a few pence-because they were the enemy. Identity to a time and place can be a source of pride and strength. It can also hand victory to the fiendmachten (sorry-that’s enemy in German). Shaken by defeats in war, European and Japanese manufacturers learned to sink their petty differences and soon cleaned out the squabbling Brits.

But don’t take our word for it. Watch the link below and enjoy a master story teller at his fun best. It applies to many other things twenty years on


#britishleyland #austin #morris #triumphstag #jeremyclarkson #nineteenseventies #thecaryears

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