Wednesday, March 19, 2008

British "equality" law could bar white men from jobs

White men could be legally blocked from getting jobs under new anti-discrimination laws being considered by Labour. Employers would be able to give jobs to women or ethnic minority candidates in preference to other applicants, under the plans unveiled by equalities minister Harriet Harman. If two candidates were equally qualified for a position, employers would be able to reject the white person or the man in favour of a black person or a woman. But the plans are due to be criticised by business leaders and last night, even equalities campaigners expressed doubt.

Miss Harman - known as Harriet Harperson for her politically correct views - wants to look at how to bring U.S.-style "positive action" to Britain, saying it is vital to ensure the workforce more accurately reflects the demographic make-up of the population. [Why?] She says too many women and people from ethnic minorities are being held back because they cannot break through the "glass ceiling".

The new laws would only come into play where two equally qualified candidates had applied for the same post, allowing the employer to tip the balance in favour of minority candidates. Businesses would not be compelled to favour the female or black candidate but the law would be changed to ensure they could not be sued for turning down a white man. The proposals would also allow universities to select more female students in male-dominated subjects such as science.

But equal rights campaigners said the new rules would have a limited effect, and that action should be targeted on equal pay. Katherine Rake of the Fawcett Society, which campaigns on equal pay, said: "How you would really hold that up in a court of law is not clear and, if it isn't, employers may be reluctant to use it. "You are probably talking about a handful of cases." The present law says employers are allowed to say they welcome applications from minority candidates, and they are allowed to promote jobs to specific groups.

Theresa May, Conservative spokesperson for women, said: "One of the real problems facing women today is the gender pay gap. "If Harriet Harman really wants to help women in the work place she should strengthen the existing laws on equal pay. We have recently put forward proposals to do just that and our proposals would have a real impact on women's lives."

A spokesman for Harriet Harman said: "This is under discussion but no decisions have yet been made." The changes would be included in the new equalities Bill, which will also give new rights to mothers to breast-feed in public. Golf clubs would have to give female players equal access. Miss Harman also wants to force companies to conduct "pay audits", reviewing staff salaries to ensure they are not underpaying women.

But she is facing opposition from within the Cabinet on this from ministers who are worried about antagonising business yet further. Last year Miss Harman called for all-black shortlists in constituencies with high ethnic-minority populations. She said that unless action was taken, it would take decades for the make-up of the Commons to accurately reflect the make-up of British society. But the plan immediately came under attack from ethnic minority MPs on the Labour backbenchers - saying black people should be selected on merit.


Speech is Free - But Only If Politically Correct

We owe a debt of gratitude to the Democratic Party, its two remaining presidential candidates and their campaigns for the important lessons in sensitivity and political correctness they have offered in recent weeks.

Political correctness is not simply the denial and dispute of facts or subject matter, but more practically the denial of the right to speak them, due to their objectionable or politically inconvenient nature. It's generally wielded as a weapon against opponents. But it is more fascinating to watch it swung as a cudgel against allies. And in a campaign in which the strongest points . hope, change, experience . have tended to be a little vague or tenuous at best, the most memorable moments turn out to be about what must not be said, when we've seen that cudgel come down.

Of course they have platforms. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have attempted to outbid each other with your money. There are subsidies for universal healthcare, giveaways to newborns, that kind of thing. It theoretically gets paid for by taking from the rich, but stopping the war. Though that of course depends on what your definition of rich is, and whether the war can stopped, a question highlighted last week by ousted Obama advisor Samantha Power's revelation that there is no plan to stop it.

The true substance of the campaign, that part which resonates, has been the most ethereal, the twin mantles of hope and change at which both candidates tugged. Obama won, and got to keep them. Hillary got the booby prize... sorry, bad choice of words.... of experience, such as it is. The first viable woman candidate for president has been in the awkward position of having to highlight a lifetime spent in the shadow of and then on the coattails of her husband's career. That has regrettably turned out to be as insubstantial as Obama's change-hoping, but that doesn't really matter, because as we've seen, what matters is the words themselves, and not what they stand for.

So the real campaign has been fought over words. But there are some words that must not be spoken. Power called Clinton a "monster," and within two days was bounced from the campaign. It didn't seem like that big a deal. An offhand remark that both the speaker and the campaign could easily downplay and move on. But in any case a worthwhile topic for discussion. A large part of the right-half of the American electorate probably agrees with Power, and it is fascinating to see the same sentiment emerging on the left. So is Hillary a monster or isn't she? What constitutes monstrous behavior? Forbidden.

Geraldine Ferraro, with the good grace to acknowledge that her own place on the 1984 ticket was due to gender, stated that Obama would not be where he is if he were not black. It's a fair point that has been obliquely remarked upon in various quarters, but generally a point no one wants to make a big deal out of. After all, look what happened to Bill Clinton and Geraldine Ferraro when they went near that third rail. They were denounced as racists. Bill was shoved in a closet till it blew over. Ferraro was shown the door.

Race - for all the advances that have been made in the United States, the leading nation on Earth in aggressively addressing its atrocious history of race relations - remains a subject that cannot be freely discussed in this country. The fact that one of the least-experienced candidates in the race with the most insubstantial message, may have attracted attention from the start because he is a charismatic black man is a fact that must not be stated. You may state that he is the embodied of Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream, and that his candidacy offers hope because he is black, but you may not state that he has arrived at a position of prominence in the race for that reason, or even that it may prove a hindrance.

The racial element of heavy support for Hillary Clinton by blue-collar Democrats in Ohio, for example, was reported on by the Associated Press in a painstakingly awkward fashion as a reaction to Obama's strong support among blacks, rather the fact that he is himself a black man . in an article that rather offensively linked its indirect suggestion of racism directly to Reaganism.

It's not clear how anyone can transcend racial prejudices, racial preferences and the full range of racial issues when an open discussion is not allowed, but the political party that claims the mantle of the civil rights movement has deemed it so, and there seems to be general agreement in the larger society, so there we are. Speech may be free. But this speech is forbidden.

Political correctness cuts a lot of different ways. A lot of people on the right have been offended when Gloria Steinem - the latter talking up Hillary - made remarks perceived as anti-military. Rather than demanding apologies, we should welcome this kind of speech. By their words and deeds, after all, shall we know them.

John McCain was asked to distance himself from an evangelical minister whose church he did not belong to, but whose support he enjoyed, over that minister's anti-Catholic remarks. McCain distanced himself from the remarks, but said, quite practically, he appreciates the support. No one has seriously suggested McCain is an anti-Catholic bigot, or that this represents anything but the fringe views of a person who, for other reasons, supports the candidate. Presumably we're not going to hear much more squawking about that.

Because Obama has now asked America to allow him to distance himself from the "God damn America" and anti-Israel remarks of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the pastor who married him, whose church he has attended for 20 years and continues to attend.

Obama begins his argument with the curious observation that the pastor in question was a United States Marine, which suggests Obama wants us to think that is why he sought him out and joined his church. Obama insists he never heard the pastor preach anti-Americanism from the pulpit or in private. It was all about social justice and God.

Social justice, as expounded by the left, usually involves a great deal of anti-capitalism and virulent opposition to American foreign policy, much like that voiced by the Rev. Wright. Given that the last 20 years takes us back three Republican administrations, through a period of considerable public debate over U.S. foreign policy, it seems a stretch to claim the subject never came up in an activist's church in Obama's presence.

But fine. The offending social justice practitioner is silenced. In fact, the offending social justice practitioner has been taken out and, figuratively, shot. Obama's pastor is no longer part of the campaign.

We are not to think the spiritual counselor of this candidate had anything substantive to do with the formation of the candidate's thoughts, aside from informing him about God, AIDS, and social justice - whatever the definition of the latter might be. Stating actual beliefs in strong terms . forbidden.

So what has been the lesson of all this political correctitude in the '08 race? In the cases of Power, Ferraro, Steinem and now Wright, what is squelched or denied is not simply some inconvenient utterances, but the massive icebergs they are represent. In the case of Power, the simple fact that politics and campaigning is a tough, not particularly noble business. The fact that racial issues are far more complex, cut across party lines, and for the most superficial of reasons... race itself.... work both for and against candidates. In the case of Steinem and Wright, the pervasive sense on the far left that the United States military and that America is a force of greater evil than good in the world. Though both Clinton and Obama have expressed foreign policy views that more diplomatically support those positions, that naked an exposition is not in their interest.

The PC lesson of the day: The truth hurts. That's why it must be avoided at all costs.

How can we ever thank the Democratic Party, its two remaining presidential candidates and their campaigns? I don't know. But if the American people, some of whom can be fooled all the time, all of whom can be fooled part of the time, have noticed what is going on, they may well thank the Democrats in their own way


Compared with British and French affairs, the Spitzer mess is a bit of a disappointment

By the inimitable Theodore Dalrymple. A bit lighthearted (in an understated British way) for this blog but there is no harm in a bit of fun

Men of exceptional ambition or ability, it is often said, are more highly sexed than others, though perhaps it is just that their sex lives are more closely examined than those of others. Can there really be a man living, after all, who would relish the idea that every detail of his sex life, past and present, would be revealed to the public and those whom he loves?

But if, as Henry Kissinger once said, power is the most powerful aphrodisiac, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's extracurricular sexual activities seem pathetic and furtive, almost adolescent, rather than deeply wicked. Resorting to prostitutes is sex without the trouble, uncertainty or potential humiliation attendant on attempted seduction. In other words, it's a crude shortcut preferred by those who are uncertain of their allures unaided by financial inducements. It is pornography elevated -- or descending -- to the level of practice.

We in Britain are certainly familiar with political scandals of a sexual nature. In 1994, for instance, a Tory member of Parliament, the brother of a clergyman, was found hanged dressed only in women's underwear. This is the kind of thing that we expect of our politicians in Britain.

It used to be that scandals involving the Labor Party mainly concerned financial irregularities and those involving the Conservative Party were predominantly sexual. Labor politicians, being socialists who detested the rich, were avid for money, however ill-gotten. Conservatives, being moralists who lamented the passing of the old order of personal restraint, were deeply attracted to sexual vice. Now that the two parties are virtually indistinguishable, from a policy perspective, they are each financially corrupt and sexually incontinent. I suppose a Hegelian would call this a dialectical synthesis that overcame contradictions.

While he was home secretary from 2001 to 2004, David Blunkett, a blind Labor politician, was discovered not only to have had an affair with, but an illegitimate child by, the U.S.-born publisher of the famous conservative anti-Labor magazine the Spectator. From the public reaction, at least as expressed in the media, one might have supposed that Britain was peopled by a mixture of anchorites in the Syrian desert, subsisting on honey and locusts, and vestal virgins -- who would commit suicide rather than indulge in sexual intercourse -- rather than a country in which 42% of births are out of wedlock, and in which sexual promiscuity is now the rule rather than the exception. Outrage, nevertheless, was unconfined. A public that demanded, as a matter of inalienable right, complete sexual freedom for itself demanded Victorian levels of propriety from its political leaders. Blunkett resigned in late 2004.

The fact that sexual scandal has spread to the Labor Party does not mean that we have given up on the expectation that the Conservative Party will titillate us. It just means that the bar of public notice has been raised a few notches. We demand the equivalent of the Fosbury Flop of sexual perversion (if one is permitted to use that term at all in these days of universal tolerance). Thus, a Conservative member of Parliament was found dead in the course of his practice of autoerotic asphyxia -- hanging yourself to achieve heightened sexual excitement brought about by decreasing oxygen to the brain, while looking at erotic pictures or having erotic fantasies. An article describing 117 such cases was recently published by the British Journal of Psychiatry.

It is generally agreed that they order these things better in France. The French are more mature about sex, though they are terrible hypocrites about money. I remember having lunch with a French author who was writing a comparative study of serial killers in France and Anglo-Saxonia. English speakers, it seems, murder serially for sex, or rather some version of it, and the French murder for money or even for furniture (one has only to remember Landru and Dr. Petiot). Which is better or morally preferable? Well, to be honest, Je ne sais pas.

The French expect their politicians to have colorful, though discreet, sex lives. No one found it at all shocking that Francois Mitterrand maintained two households, complete with an illegitimate daughter, throughout his presidency. More significant, perhaps, was that no one either found his past Petainism, or his then-current protection of high-level Petainists, shocking. French and Anglo-Saxon forms of hypocrisy are very different.

What the French find objectionable in the antics of their current president, Nicolas Sarkozy, is not their moral impropriety but their vulgarity. No sooner was he divorced (for the second time) than he was seen cavorting on an Egyptian beach with his glamorous new love, Carla Bruni, with whom he exchanged very expensive presents. The fact that Bruni, now his third wife, is very rich does not mollify the French in the slightest. Sarkozy has behaved not like a mature man but like an adolescent.

The 15-year-old daughter of a French friend explained what was wrong with him. Someone in a crowd refused to shake Sarkozy's hand and called him a fool. He replied in kind, insulting him. By contrast, when someone in a similar situation had shouted "Fool!" at Jacques Chirac when he was president, Chirac shook his hand and said, "And me, I'm Chirac." Now that, according to the 15-year-old, was class, and everything may be forgiven such a man, including, no doubt, sexual peccadilloes.

Of course, Spitzer's downfall is particularly delightful to the generality of mankind because of his almost terminal self-righteousness. It is the gulf between what he has preached and what he has practiced that so appeals to the rest of us, who know our feet are of clay. Spitzer is the Jim Bakker of public prosecution.

I wish I could say that I felt sorry for Spitzer, but I don't. His statement that "I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself" makes him sound like the disgraced member of a politburo indulging in self-criticism before being sent into exile in Siberia or Kazakhstan. On the other hand, I don't want to be too hard on him, just in case someone investigates me one day. The fact is that I too have failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself.


Racist politically correct judge in Australia again: Gives only six months' jail for rape of 13-year-old girl

Black kids are not entitled to the same protection as whites, apparently. This is not the first time judge Martin has put the law second to the depraved values that have become common in dysfunctional black communities. He condones the depravity instead of fulfilling his duty to correct and discourage it

The Northern Territory's chief judge has warned men in Aboriginal communities to stop condoning child abuse after a 20-year-old was sent to jail for having sex with his 13-year-old promised bride under her parents' roof. However, child abuse campaigners yesterday criticised as inadequate the six-month sentence given to the offender by Chief Justice Brian Martin, who accepted that the 13-year-old victim, who fell pregnant as a result of the abuse, had "actively encouraged" the relationship.

Yesterday, in the Supreme Court at Alice Springs, Justice Martin said senior figures in Aboriginal communities "must learn to accept" that sex with children was illegal. The judge made the comments after acknowledging that both the parents of the victim and offender, as well as senior figures in their remote Aboriginal communities, had accepted the sexual relationship between the 13-year-old child and the man, who was 19 at the time the offences took place, as normal.

The offender, who cannot be named, pleaded guilty to three charges of having sexual intercourse with a child over a two-month period in 2006. Lawyers for the offender had pointed out in submissions at his plea hearing that the victim's father was an Aboriginal community police officer in the remote central Australian settlement where the offences occurred. The Australian is unable to name that community as it would identify the victim.

In sentencing the 20-year-old man yesterday, Justice Martin accepted that the offender was a young man with an immature understanding of sexual matters who had been "subject to conflicting messages" within his community. "Those who might be expected to tell you that a sexual relationship with a child was wrong took the opposite view and encouraged your relationship," Justice Martin said. "You had approval for the relationship not only from your parents, but also from the child's parents. Their approval extended to occupying the same bed together within the homes of both sets of parents."

The court heard yesterday that the victim had been subject to violence within the relationship by her promised husband, who abused alcohol. She had also fallen pregnant as a result of the abuse, and when she was seen at a community clinic, health workers discovered that she had contracted three different sexually transmitted infections. The court was told that the young victim's baby had died in-utero.

Justice Martin said that the "tragic and traumatic" consequences of the sexual abuse were a "graphic illustration" of the dangers of such relationships within Aboriginal communities. "There is a need to send a message to men in Aboriginal communities, both young and old, that sexual intercourse with children is never acceptable and is against the law," he said. "The message must go out that whatever view may be held by a community or individual Aboriginal man about traditional marriage or traditional relationships with young children, sexual intercourse with children is against the law and will result in offenders being sent to prison."

Bernadette McMenamin, chief executive of the anti-child abuse group Child Wise, said the sentence was inadequate, and slammed Justice Martin's suggestion that the victim had "actively encouraged" the sexual relationship.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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