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Beware of non-whites

I can’t quite remember when it was that my sense of outrage at HMG obscenities gave way to grim resignation. I don’t believe it was any single defining event, nor any specific date. Rather, I think it was a gradual and cumulative process.

Whatever the causes, though, I am rather glad I went through that transition because now I can confront news like this and still keep my blood pressure at tolerable levels:

“Under plans to be published by the Home Office in the next fortnight, the Race Relations Act is expected to be tightened to include private householders as part of sweeping changes expected to trigger a flood of new tribunal cases. Householders could be taken to tribunals if they behave in a racist manner towards domestic help, for example, by refusing to hire a black carer for children.”

Now, all anti-discrimination laws are misconceived and for so many reason that I would almost be required to start a new blog in order to list them all. They are intolerable enough in the workplace but by their extension to the home, HMG is making it clear that the distinction between the private and the public is the thing that they find intolerable. Surely I am not alone in regarding the matter of who one does and does not allow in one’s home to be a matter requiring the utmost discrimination?

Still, there is a get-out clause (of sorts):

“The only exemption would be if they can show a ‘genuine occupational requirement’ to hire someone of a particular racial group – such as an elderly Muslim woman who wanted a home help who was also a Muslim.”

And, naturally, by extension an elderly Catholic woman, say, will be able to insist on a Catholic home-help. Yes? Well, I have this nagging feeling that the answer to that will, in practice if not theory, be ‘no’. So far, so bad but here’s the real sting in the tail:

“Under the Home Office proposals, for the first time the burden of proof in all employment tribunals would also be shifted so that it is effectively up to employers to prove they are not racist, rather than workers to prove that there was discrimination, so long as there is a prima facie case to answer.”

And another Common Law tradition bites the dust. Not the first and assuredly not the last. The injury is not just theoretical; it is decidely difficult to prove a negative and, being unlikely to be poor enough to qualify for any state assistance, homeowners will find themselves threatened with expensive law-suits that they almost certainly cannot defend. Losing will put their savings and their homes up for grabs.

But, despair not, putative nanny-hirers because resistance is already underway:

“A spokesman for the Confederation of British Industry said it would broadly welcome the changes, although the shift in the burden of proof set a ‘worrying precedent’.”

Go to it, CBI!! By George, those guys know how to give the government a hard time, don’t they. It’s not like they’d rollover and die is it.

I don’t know about you, but if I was ‘ethnic’ I would be very opposed to this kind of thing. It means that employers (well, white employers, let’s face it) are being invited to regard black and brown people not as human beings but as living, breathing threats of destitution; bankruptcy on legs. Hardly conducive to a happy melting pot.

If common sense and concern for a harmonious civil society prevailed, then HMG would slash-and-burn all this legislation. But then being of the grimly resigned persuasion, I realise that common sense is the declared enemy of those with a Gramscian agenda

[My thanks to Andrew Dodge for the link]

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8 comments to Beware of non-whites

  • This government does not recognise the distinction between public and private in its actions although it pays lip service to the civil society.

    What most worries me is the corrosive effect that this has on the rule of law as private individuals institute casual arrangements that will probably increase the opportunity for discrimination and abuse.

    It is the law of contrary consequences: where a law has the perverse effect of achieving the opposite of that which it was framed for.

  • Harvey

    I was of the opinion that when hiring an employee you were allowed to choose between them simply on the grounds of ‘feeling’ or ‘intuition’ – a hunch, it could be said, that one individual may be a better worker than the others?

    Also, the ‘it is up to the hiring individual to prove that they were not acting in a racist manner’ – we have been here before, only the first time around the ground covered was the RIP act and ‘if you can’t produce your encryption keys or prove that they do not exist, jail is mandatory.’

    Now, how do we prove an infinite negative again?

  • David Carr

    “It is the law of contrary consequences: where a law has the perverse effect of achieving the opposite of that which it was framed for.”

    Yes, Philip. That’s what I am afraid of

  • Lou Gots

    If the British people keep voting for the maniacs responsible for travesties like this, they are getting what the deserve. If they have lost control of their government they must do something about it. It’s too bad they have allowed themselved to be stripped of their weapons.

  • Jay N

    Lou raises an interesting point re: our allowing these people into power, I’m a bit of a novice at this politics behaviour, but I don’t remember any of the parties highlighting that they were going to force into legislature everything they could think of in their manifesto’s. Now that they are there and revealing their true selves how do we stop them?
    Serious question. There was an enormous amount of negative response, very vocal and pushed through the correct channels, to the RIPA and yet that went through. As far as I can see there is no concept of consultation within this government.

  • Paul Marks

    How the majority of people vote does not mean that individual people “deserve” anything. That is the classic “we are you” fallacy of democrary.

    However, we are not even talking about democracy – the public never voted for the antidiscimination statutes. Voting for politicians is not the same as voting on the law.

    Most people have very little idea what a politician believes in or will do in office – party image and “get the other lot out” are what matters in a “representative democracy” (i.e. a country with elected politicians – as opposed to a land dominated by town meetings or ballots on new laws).

    As for “public and private” – a private business is just that PRIVATE PROPERTY. Once the government can treat private business enterprises as “public” the idea that you can keep the government out of your home becomes absurd.

    Paul Marks.

  • Lou Gots

    I haven’t walked in your mocassins and I don’t really understand your politics. In America we are hanging on to some of our freedom because for many of us, principle e.g. RKBA, trumps short-term economic interest, e.g. raising Social Security benefits. Addditionally, we have very little class consciousness: almost everyone considers him/herself to be “middle class.” To illustrate, many, many Americans consider death taxes to be unfair even though it is very unlikely that they themselves would ever have enough money to be affected thereby. I suspect it is very different over there.

  • Lou: I live in PA in the U.S. And I can tell you from personal experience, and the experience of many friends & family members, inheritance tax is an even heavier burden upon the poor or middle class person who inherits a small amount.
    So really, it IS a lower/middle class issue in the U.S.