Equality madness: British government spends £30m to discover whether preserving fish stocks harms ethnic Chinese, or hovercraft discriminate against gays
Home Secretary Theresa May has drawn fire from her own party over the implementation of the new Equality Act
The Government has been accused of wasting tens of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to comply with controversial new equality laws that force organisations to prove they are not discriminating against minority groups.
Whitehall departments have already issued a string of bizarre reports to meet the terms of the Equality Act 2010.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) paid £100,000 to consultants who produced a report investigating how efforts to boost Britain’s coastal fish stocks would affect minority communities including the Chinese, homosexuals and Welsh speakers.
And the Department for Transport issued a study this month looking at harassment and discrimination on ships and hovercraft. The report covered a range of groups, including transsexuals.
The Government has admitted that the cost of implementing the legislation will be about £100 million over the next 12 months. But critics say the figure is likely to rise far higher as lawyers and consultants seek to exploit the new law, which came into force only three months ago. The cost to the public sector alone will be £30 million this year.
Conservative MP Dominic Raab said: ‘The Coalition should scale back the Equality Act. The last thing hard-pressed public bodies need is this blizzard of extra bureaucracy – wasting their time and millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money. It’s not just political correctness. It’s also bitterly divisive to carve up our society into artificial social categories.’
An investigation by The Mail on Sunday has uncovered a string of extraordinary initiatives by Government departments and other public bodies surrounding the Equality Act. These include:
* Officials at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport carrying out a so-called ‘equality impact assessment’ to ensure minority groups are able to take a full part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations next summer.
* The Department of Energy and Climate Change issuing a report last month assessing whether a range of groups, including people in civil partnerships, had been unfairly treated when it suspended its £300 million scheme to help people insulate their homes.
* Government officials undertaking a study into India’s traditional caste system and its implications for discrimination in the UK.
* The promotion of the first leadership course specifically for gay, lesbian, bisexual or transsexual National Health Service managers.
* The Department for Work and Pensions publishing a report into whether proposed changes to its scheme to help disabled people find jobs would have implications on a range of issues from religion to gender reassignment.
* Kent Police issuing fresh equality guidance earlier this month, to comply with the Act, saying that transsexual staff are protected as soon as they start to dress, behave or live ‘in the gender they identify with’.
The Equality Act was championed by Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman, who fought for the legislation to be introduced just before Labour left government last year.
Although it faced criticism over the extra burdens it would place on business and the public sector, it has been kept by the Coalition and backed by Home Secretary Theresa May.
In Opposition, Mrs May, who is also Minister for Women and Equality, said many of the legislation’s clauses would be too bureaucratic and expensive.
She scrapped some requirements but introduced much of the Act, including a much-derided provision creating the concept of ‘third-party harassment’. Under this, workers can sue over banter they find offensive, even if it is aimed at someone else. Critics say it signals the end of the office joke.
There are also fears that employers will ask staff intrusive questions about sexuality or beliefs in an effort to prove they are not discriminating.
Public bodies are already required to promote equality on grounds of gender, race and disability and the new Act extends the protection to ‘age, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, and religion or belief’. From April, 27,000 state bodies with more than 150 staff will have to publish annual updates on the diversity of their workforce.
Many Whitehall departments have equality schemes in place, such as the Home Office’s Here Come The Girls to raise the visibility of lesbian and bisexual women among its staff. Another Home Office initiative, Blow The Whistle On Gay Hate, encourages victims of homophobia to go to the police.
The Department of Health last year spent £100,000 on an Equality and Diversity Council comprising officials, union representatives and experts.
And a number of Government departments have paid £2,000 to sign up to a Diversity Champions scheme run by the gay rights organisation Stonewall.
Conservative MP Philip Davies said: ‘This is the kind of politically corrupt drivel that we had come to expect from Harriet Harman and the previous Government, but it is the type of thing that makes the public’s blood boil and it is a complete waste of everyone’s time and money. These Government assessments are ludicrous and pointless. ‘I hope this Government will show some common sense and scrap much of this legislation. In many respects, Theresa May is as bad as Harriet Harman.’
Some of the Government assessments inspired by the Equality Act were begun under Labour, but a number have been carried out since the Coalition came to power.
NFL Running Back: ‘Every Team’ Made Fun of Me for Being White
Rush Limbaugh got into trouble for questioning the abilities of a black quarterback, however it seems you can mock a white player without repercussions
Peyton Hillis, running back for the Cleveland Browns, was recently asked about being a white running back in the NFL. On Tuesday, Hillis told Sports Illustrated‘s Dan Patrick that he’s often taunted during games for his race. The Huffington Post reports:
“Every team did it,” Hillis said. “They’ll say, ‘You white boy, you ain’t gonna run on us today. This is ridiculous. Why are you giving offensive linemen the ball?’
He went on to give examples of the nicknames he heard throughout the season. Patrick said his favorite was “The Avalanche.” “I heard that one,” Hillis replied. “I heard ‘White Rhino.’ I heard … Chuck Norris.’”
NBC Sports‘ Josiah Schlatter shrugged off Hillis’ comments, claiming it was probably nothing more than a little game play:
"Is this an example of the mysterious ‘reverse racism’ everybody’s saying exists now? Not to my knowledge. Most defensive players like to try and get inside a star player’s head to feast on their insecurities as a human so when they receive a hand-off and hit a running lane they have the idea that they’re a slow nobody with a stupid facemask who can barely tie his own shoelaces bouncing around their skull"
"Because Hillis is white, he noticed these comments a little bit more, and when Patrick asked him a touchy question, he went at it with the same bullheadedness he uses to perfection on the football field. There haven’t been many great white running back hopes in recent memory, and defensive players are put on their heels a little bit because they have no idea how to insult Hillis without bringing race into the equation".
Whether the remarks aimed at Hillis are racially charged or not, the running back says he converts the underhanded criticism into motivation: “I know a lot of people don’t have a lot faith in me,” he said, “and even if you have a good year or a bad year they’re still going to criticize you and say you’re not good enough. It just gives me the motivation to go out there and do better.”
The Pope should not have voiced displeasure with Coptic Christians being murdered in Egypt...
... because that's offensive to Muslim academics
Top Muslim academics in Egypt have announced they are suspending all dialogue with the Vatican to protest Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks about anti-Christian violence in Egypt.
The decision of Sheik Ahmad el-Tayeb, president of al-Azhar University in Cairo, and members of the Islamic Research Academy was reported by the website Ahram Online, a site devoted to covering news of interest to Muslims in the Middle East.
Shortly after the news was reported in Cairo, Jesuit Fr Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters that the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue “is collecting the information needed to adequately understand the situation”.
“In any case,” he said, “the line of openness and the desire for dialogue on the part of the pontifical council remain unchanged.”
The news of the dialogue boycott came about a month before the scheduled annual meeting of the Joint Committee for Dialogue of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the Permanent Committee of al-Azhar for Dialogue among the Monotheistic Religions. The committee, established in 1998, meets in late February each year.
Ahram Online reported that the decision to suspend the dialogue was made unanimously in response to the Pope’s reference “to the discrimination endured by Coptic Christians in Egypt” after a bombing at a Coptic Orthodox church left 23 people dead.
Sheik el-Tayeb already had criticised the Pope’s remarks as “unacceptable interference in Egypt’s affairs.”
Clearly the Pope needs to take lessons from Obama on how to deal with the Muslim community. More bowing perhaps. More kow-towing. An aplogy tour. Did I mention bowing?
The Pope's remarks are clearly mean-spirited, even hateful, and give evidence to the Islamaphobia the pontiff has obviously embraced.
It might've been better for him to acknowledge the Muslim quest for inner peace that can be filled only by the slaughtering of infidels (and Christians are a bonus) and to affirm and recognize the struggle that is jihad for your average mujahideen. This would have more likely led to the kind of dialogue being sought by these Islamic scholars.
Instead, the Pope has embraced a spirit of hatred and bigotry and should be held responsible and accountable for the deaths that will surely follow as fatwas are issued in response.
Clearly the Pope here is in the wrong. His intolerance beyond the pale. I pray that Muslims throughout the world will withstand the persecution they are suffering at the hands of Catholics world wide.
It is a travesty. Jesus (peace be upon him) weeps.
Australian expat suing UK employer over 'racist' comments
I can well imagine that the comments would be tiresome but any reaction beyond that seems excessive. He must be unaware that the English are bigoted towards one-another too. Just ask a Yorkshire man about Lancastrians if you doubt that. I would tend to hit back with derogatory remarks like: "Well at least I haven't got a working-class accent". That would cause ire but would also stop the aspersions. The English are deeply embarrassed by any mention of social class and would not risk further mention of it
An AUSTRALIAN working in the UK is suing his employer over his colleagues' allegedly racist comments mocking his nationality, the Daily Mail reported.
Geoff Stephens, a community warden, has lived in Britain for 26 years, yet the 48-year-old claimed his colleagues regularly make jokes about kangaroos, greet him with “G’day, sport” and ask, “Is your girlfriend called Sheila?”
The Adelaide native said he has been taking a “cocktail of antidepressants” to deal with the constant abuse from his coworkers in Dymchurch, a Kent County village about 112 km southeast of London.
“I’ve only been able to sleep for three hours a night since August, and the physical and mental exhaustion will eventually kill me,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
“I feel like my life has been ripped apart. I loved my job with a passion and I did a lot of good work in Dymchurch,” he added. Wardens work closely with police in the UK, alerting them of anti-social behavior, littering and graffiti as well as helping them organize community outreach programs.
Dymchurch locals said they were aware of the teasing, but did not realize how upset Stephens was.
“He’s got an Australian accent and people rib him about it, but nobody knew quite how much it was affecting him,” one resident reportedly said, asking not to be named.
“I think he doesn’t mind the kids having a laugh about ‘putting another shrimp on the barbie’ or saying ‘G’day, sport,’ but it’s the constant references to Australia from his colleagues that is obviously getting him down.”
Stephens is suing the Kent County Council, which refused to comment on personnel issues.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.