I'm lucky in my who I have for my friends. Of course, friends are largely self-selecting, in the 'real-life' definition of friendship, but we all have friends we don't like; luckily I know a bunch of people in real life that I adore; thanks to the virtual worlds of Facebook and Twitter, I keep in touch with them in a way that previous generations couldn't imagine.
My friend Tanya is particularly????bercool; I would say that, since I agree with every word she has ever said and she seems to agree with every thought that has dribbled out of my mouth. But it's true beyond that: she is actually????bercool. Her retweets of stuff she has found interesting are always fascinating. This evening, she spotted that Labour's John McDonnell had gone??ballistic??at a pernicious new policy from the Equalities??Commission.
The Equalities Commission as first founded didn't sound that promising. The plan in the dying days of the last Labour government was to make discrimination of any sort out-and-out illegal.??Experience??has shown that once you've made the outward signs of discrimination illegal, the core at the centre begins to die as well. The Equalities Commission would replace the agencies set up decades ago under the Race Relations Act and the Equal Pay Act, plus take on the responsibility for policing the Disability Discrimination Act and, finally, the anti-homophobia provisions of the Equalities Act itself. But the core of the Commission was to be the Commission for Racial Equality, a body reviled by the right ("they banned our fun Minstrel Show that hurt nobody!") and unpopular with the left (it never seemed to do anything about the people complaining, who we all thought needed urgent reeducation). Worse, there is, or is perceived to be, a racial division when it comes to homosexuality and female equality. Actually, it's a hell of a lot more complex than that (it's a racial/sexual/class/education/experience/understanding division, which is more like a shattered mirror than a simple Black-White chasm). But the perception was that a CRE-dominated Equalities Commission would have very little to offer women and gays.
Well, shut up: the Equalities Commission was dogged in its??pursuit??of equality for all. The Equality Act had set up an instant problem: it bowed to nobody, no race, creed or belief, in saying that everybody was equal. The Equalities Commission followed the spirit of the Act. Soon we were hearing in horrified tones about couples turning up a B&Bs to be sent away again for not fitting the ideals the owners held; the Equalities Commission was first up to intervene. Yay!
But the horror stories didn't go away. The newspapers, vastly dominated by the Right, took the line that it was a terrible thing that people who booked a wedding or a hotel room or a gondola and were told to fuck off should have an organisation – a Government Agency spending Precious Taxpayers' Money – that they could turn to. Even though their cherished principles of capitalism should have told the owners to bite down on the bile and accept the damn money. But the law was on our side: you do not have the right to turn someone away from your service because you don't like the look of some aspect of them.
Since this bothers the Daily Mail, it now bothers 'Dave' Cameron and his new 'socially liberal' Conservative party. As they're in government and under the Mail's cosh, it bothers the previously socially liberal Liberals too. A line must be drawn somewhere between what people claim to fundamentally believe in and the right not to be discriminated against. The subject must be looked at again and the line redrawn. Alas, alas, the Equalities Commission has gone away and thought about this and come back with the idea that the line must be drawn to favour those who believe in discrimination, not those who are most likely to be discriminated against.
From now, if you want to discriminate against someone, if you want to make them feel belittled and small and worthless, the Equalities Commission and this unholy 'progressive' government want to be on your side. After all, it's your choice who you rent a room to. It's up to you if you want to draw a public salary but turn away subhumans who want to do sick things like marry. It's your??gondola, you should choose who sails in it.
I have a t-shirt shop. I sell slogan t-shirts to anybody. Not Black people, of course. I happen to think Black people are wrong. There's something about Black people being an affront to my god somewhere in the book I believe in. If a Black person orders a t-shirt, I turn them down and return their worthless cash. I fundamentally believe in this. It's something my god has told me, personally, that I should do. Black people are sub-humans and should go away. I also don't sell my t-shirts to Jewish people, because some other people who believe in the book I believe in don't like them; and I have a Jewish heritage; but you can't choose your family but you can choose to be a Jew. I won't sell my t-shirts to unmarried women either – sluts – and I'll only sell to married ones where their husbands approve and say so clearly. Because this book I believe in says so. No, I can't point to the exact place it says these things; but yes, I can point to places in the very same book where it says the exact opposite. Also, the book was written several thousand years ago.??
But still: I have a right to believe in the parts of this book that agree with me and ignore the other parts where the lead character, the one I act in the name of at all times, says he loathes people like me. Because he doesn't *really*. I know. Because I've read my book.