This is simply wrong:
Harriet Harman has defended plans to make it legal for firms to discriminate in favour of female and ethnic minorities job candidates.
The equalities minister said firms should be able to choose a woman over a man of equal ability if they want to.
When was it ever *not* legal to choose a woman over a man of equal ability? Or indeed vice-versa? When you have two people of equal ability, and one position to fill, then you simply have to choose one over the other, and (by definition, because of the way the hypothetical situation is set up in the first place) it can’t be on grounds of ability.
Choosing a woman over a man of *greater* ability is obviously a very different thing, but nobody seems to be advocating this.
I’ve never interviewed, or indeed met, two people of equal ability. Imagine such a pair of people existed; choosing one over the other on grounds of sex or “race” would still be wrong. (Tossing a coin would be fine by me.) Just talking about doing such a thing is wrong. Would you be so forgiving if the law allowed employers to prefer white candidates in similar circumstances?
When I was an undergraduate there, Balliol College caused a huge stink when it openly admitted that, when choosing between candidates for admission of “equal” ability, it preferred those with a parent who had previously attended. The howls from the students (quite a few themselves descendants of Balliol members) were justified because everyone knew this was code for: “We look favourably upon our own”—not to mention: “Send us your money, old boys and girls; we’ll see you right.”
The combination of telling employers they can be sexist or racist “if both candidates are equal”and equality audits for government work will lead to discrimination, because someone hiring may be considering the impact on the equality audit of each hire.
Ooh Missus, Harriet and her come-to-bed eyes, who could resist a bit of sexism with Her ? Or am I confusing Her with the Secretary of State for Homes, the Home Secretary Herself, She of the large embonpoint and false smile whose days are given over to crime reduction, security, counter terrorism, immigration, civil emergencies, expenditure issues, and last, but not least; She is the Ministerial Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs !
Parliamentary Affairs ! Imagine that, if a Parliamentarian has an affair, she will advise him, or indeed her ! What does that entail, I wonder, advice on how to hide the sordid details from ‘er (or ‘im) indoors ? How to find a quiet and discreet hotel ?
Blimey, our elected leaders have everything sorted out !