Am I a good person? Well that was a question I found myself debating the other day as I tried to do the right thing, but found the wrong thing was the better option.
First the scenario that sparked the internal conflict: a blackbird was building a nest on the wheel arch of my car. The right thing to have done, I have been told by many twitching (as in ornithological) friends, was to leave the car where it was until the blackbird had built its nest, reared its young and the little birds had fledged.
The thing I actually did, was remove the nest and place it carefully on an old tyre and drive to work. A guilty feeling nagged me all day, but really what else could I do? I am taking a slight risk admitting this here as the same twitching friends have since told me that removing a nest, even if it is at the three twigs and a bit of fluff stage, is a crime!
The question that this story has raised though is a more complex one. I like to think I live an ethical and moral life. Part of that is taking into account where I buy things from and the conditions under which they are produced.
When it comes to food, I probably would give myself an eight out of ten. I normally buy local. I would never purchase asparagus from Peru; my strawberries are always British; milk comes from a reasonably local dairy. But, I have to confess to tomatoes from Holland; dates from Israel and the unwitting purchase of some lamb from the other side of the world.
And then there are the other things. I am writing this column on a computer that was probably built in a factory that pays little attention to workers’ rights. The clothes that I will wear to the gym later will undoubtably have originated from sweat-shop conditions in a far-off land. Even the taxi I caught in London the other day was not the traditional black cab that signifies a lifetime learning the ‘Knowledge’, but an Uber.
I take heart from the fact that there are several young blackbirds flying around the garden at the moment, but all around me are constant reminders that it is really tough trying to be one of the good guys.