Posted by: talkjack | June 29, 2008

Harriet Harman’s government plans will deny jobs to unemployed white men in the UK

In a disturbing new proposal this week, Labour MP Harriet Harman is pushing the British government to legalise discrimination against all the less well off white men throughout the country. This was reported by the BBC in their article ‘Harman pushes discrimination plan’ on their web site: (Click here) where you can read more about the Harman proposal and the responses from employers.

In management jargon there is a technique called ‘the shit sandwich’ which is used to pass on unpopular or unpleasant news to staff. Widely considered bad practice, a piece of information is hidden between items of good news to reduce impact, and to make the bosses new plan easier to swallow. The Harman proposal includes some good, morally benevolent ideas such as banning homophobic bullying in the workplace and age discrimination in the provision of goods and services. Hidden in the middle of which is a clearly stated proposal to make it harder for certain people to find work, based purely upon ethnicity (i.e. their skin colour) and their gender (i.e. all men can be treated as second priority when employers are hiring, female candidates can be given a job in place of a qualified man based purely on their gender.)

Currently when hiring someone, it is illegal in the UK for employers to offer a job based upon gender or ethnicity. The law is that the best candidate for the role is to be offered the job, based upon how closely they match the job requirements and person specification for the role. This is fair to everyone (all people are treated equally) and a sensible way to ensure that employers hire the best person available for the job. It does not discriminate against anyone. If more than one candidate is suitable, employers are required to hire the best regardless of race or gender. This is fair, and allows an equal chance to everyone. No one is refused work simply because of their race or gender.

Harriet Harman wants to change the rules. Paved with good intentions, the road Harman wants Britain to walk down will legalise forms of racial and sexual discrimination. No longer will the most able, most suitable person be given the job. Employers will be encouraged to hire women in preference to hiring men. People from all other ethnic groups are to be given priority over white people at job interviews. It sounds unbelievable, but read the BBC article for yourself.

Harriet’s new plans for the country do appear to have good intentions to end discrimination, but what she is really doing is trying to impose her own form of discrimination. Let’s be clear on this. The moral high ground is to have no discrimination against anyone at all, so that everyone has equal rights and opportunity. Harman disagrees; her plan clearly gives female and non-white job seekers more rights and opportunities than other people.

Positive Action? Think it through first..

Harman calls this ‘taking positive action’.  The original term to describe this currently illegal activity was ‘positive discrimination’. It simply means to favour one group of people over another (i.e. to discriminate) in order to achieve your political goal. Stop and think about the choice of words.

‘Positive discrimination’ means that you approve of discriminating against people. This to my mind means that you have left the moral high ground. You claim it to be positive because you believe it to be righteous.

Many people saw through the term ‘positive discrimination’ because they recognised that it still meant people were being discriminated against. Therefore the term was rebranded as ‘positive action’. The same activity, only without using the nasty word ‘discrimination’ for people to notice.

I maintain that simply putting the word ‘positive’ in front of a thing does not automatically make something good. Ask yourself why some people have adopted these terms to describe their prejudices and actions? They are trying to make what they do sound better. In other words, they want to trick you into believing that their actions are positive. I advise you to stop and think for yourself, and form an honest opinion. Their definition (or redefinition) of words may not be the same as other people.

A final thought on ‘positive action’. In 1930’s and 1940’s Germany the ruling body decided to take positive action to promote the interests of Aryan people. From their own perspective at that time the German authorities were taking ‘positive action’. From the outside world’s perspective they were racist, corrupt, dangerous and much worse. From the perspective of their victims, the authorities were horrifying. And yet technically, by definition, you could call this ‘positive action’ or ‘positive discrimination’. What makes discrimination positive or negative depends on your perspective. Better to be the kicker than the kicked.


Harriet Harman’s  plans have good intentions. Unfortunately the disingenuous way she wants to achieve her goals will, if legalised, implement a new form of institutionalised racism and sexism in Bully Britain. Oddly though, I do not recall the Labour Party mentioning plans to implement ‘positive action’ when they last stood for election. Is this because they know it will be unpopular and might have cost them votes? Not very honest if so!

I recommend watching the 2004 movie ‘Crash’ (Click here) which is a well made, entertaining movie showing the effect of positive action and institutionalised racism in the USA.

By encouraging discrimination against white people based purely upon their ethnicity, Harman will be angering the people who will be worse off. If the Labour Party is no longer representing the needs of all voters because some have priority over others, then who will their victims turn to? The British National Party has been making great strides at elections recently. What started as a protest vote against current British government might go further when the BNP realise that they will gain votes by having policies which support the very people Harriet Harman wants to take positive action against.

Adopting the Harman proposal in its current form will implement very serious changes to British lives over coming years when discriminatory employment policies start to bite and the children of white families leave school find that there are now lower recruitment standards for other school leavers looking for work and less opportunities for themselves simply because their skin is the wrong colour. I say equal opportunities should be equal for everyone.

(c) Copyright Talkjack 2009


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