Friday, March 20, 2009

File under s for stupid

Melanie McDonagh hits on one of those laws which brings unintended consequences.

[Tom Nicholson] is the former environmental policy officer who is claiming – under the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003 – that he was dismissed from his job because of his "philosophical belief in climate change".

Those who drew up the wording of that particular law, which outlawed discrimination on the grounds of faith, didn't leave much scope for misunderstanding about what it meant. "Religion and belief," it explained, means "any religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief". And that, you would have thought, was that. What nobody took into account was that "philosophical belief" would cover convictions about carbon emissions.

No - or indeed countless other "philosophical beliefs" such as a belief in Nazism or a philosophical belief that child pornography is "art". As a result of this stupid law, drawn up by stupid people we can expect to see all sorts of claims and counter claims - all in the name of equality.

For instance, if someone, a guest house proprietor perhaps, has a philosophical belief that homosexuality is a disgusting and depraved practice and refuses to permit homosexuals to stay in his guest house he could be prosecuted for discriminating against homosexuals. He can, of course, then claim that he is being discriminated against because of his "philosophical beliefs".

As a result we'll find out who trumps who in the "equality" battle. Personally, I wouldn't hold out much hope for the guest house owner - unless he is black, Asian or Moslem - but I wouldn't blame him for trying.

Similarly the BNP can point to their "philosophical beliefs" as justification for any number of policies which others might deem "racist" or "bigoted" - but it's their beliefs and, according to this law, it must be illegal to discriminate against them for having those beliefs.

Like most "equality" laws and "human rights" laws it is a stupid and pointless law which will benefit nobody in the long run except the lawyers who thrive on this sort of thing. Stan's first law of equality states that the more you try to legislate against discrimination the more discrimination you will create - an offshoot of the law of unintended consequences.

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