What is Equality?

Tue, 27/11/2012 - 06:00
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By Dr Phil Edwards-The public’s attention was recently drawn to the absurdities arising out of Harriet Harman’s “Equality Act” (she claimed at the time it “will promote equality, fight discrimination in all its forms, including age discrimination, and introduce transparency in the workplace which is key to tackling the gender pay gap”) by the plight of one Adrian Smith, a Christian and a housing manager at Trafford Housing trust near Manchester.

After commenting that “gay” weddings in churches would be equality too far”, on his own personal Facebook page, not visible to the general public, his employer demoted him and cut his salary buy 40%.

Imagine that – your pay almost halved, cut by £14,000 per annum, because of a seemingly harmless comment like that!

Think of the ramifications of such spiteful and draconian action on you and your family.

So much for Harman’s version of “equality”!
The good news is that Mr Smith took his employer to the High Court and last week and won his case against them.

The judge said the comment about “gays” marrying in church was not — viewed objectively — judgmental, disrespectful or liable to cause upset or offence, and was expressed in moderate language – (a lesson for us all there).

But according to the Daily Mail, despite his court triumph, Mr Smith is close to financial ruin. His savings are exhausted.

Also, his career is in tatters after 18 years at Trafford Council and then the Trafford Housing Trust, which manages 9,000 homes in the Sale area of Greater Manchester.

Even though the court ruled in his favour, the Trust refuses to reinstate him to his former managerial post or restore the £14,000 pay cut.

The Mail revealed that Mr Smith’s comments were seen by homosexual and lesbian colleagues who decided to be "offended" and who then complained, contacting the housing trust’s ‘equality and diversity lead’, Helen Malone, leading to the sorry saga.

According to Trafford Housing Trust’s web site, under the section on “equality and diversity” where they tell the curious exactly what the terms actually mean:

They say:-

“Equality and Diversity; It's a bit of a buzz phrase that's everywhere at the minute, and yet you often hear 'Equality and Diversity; what does that mean?'

“Equality - is about fairness.

Put simply is the idea that no matter who you are, you have the same equal chances and opportunities as the next person. However…
Diversity means difference - no two people on Earth are the same. Therefore giving the same treatment to all will not create equality; what one person finds easily achievable, might be more challenging for another.

Sometimes it's not the person themselves; it's the people around them that can make it difficult to achieve something.

“So; put Equality and Diversity together and it's all about making a level playing field for everyone to have a chance, no matter who they are, even if that means tailoring services differently to make them accessible to all.”

Sounds like levelling down, like the aspirations of the Communist Party?

Equality of opportunity is fine, but enforced equality of outcome?

Certainly, adjust the position of the starting blocks at the beginning of the race to compensate for any handicap, but stopping the race before it has finished and adjusting them time and again?

One final piece of absurdity flowing from “Ms” Harman’s Equality Act - Allotment holders in Leeds have been asked by council officials about their sexual orientation, in a survey branded “ridiculous” and “intrusive” by Ian Wood, Chairman of the Leeds and District Gardeners’ Federation.

About 4,000 questionnaires were sent to all plot-holders and those on the waiting list.

One of the sections asked people to state whether they were heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual.

The surveys were only returned by 16 percent of recipients, a sign that all is not lost.


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