Monday, 2 February 2009

The Dangers of Double Standards...

Two stories from yesterday’s newspapers pointed towards a dangerous trend in the UK.

Firstly, the story in the ‘Mail’ about the ‘joke’ made by unfunny left-wing ‘comedienne’ Jo Brand :
Comedienne Jo Brand is at the centre of a police investigation over quips she made on the comedy programme that temporarily replaced Jonathan Ross’s TV chat show.
It wasn’t a particularly good joke (but then, you could probably figure that out when you read the name ‘Jo Brand’):
The remarks by Jo Brand concerned the leaking of the British National Party’s membership list.

Brand, 51 – who is a staunch Labour Party supporter – joked that as a result of the list becoming public knowledge on the internet, she now knew the addresses where to send the ‘poo’ through the post.
Ho, ho, ho! Stop, my sides are splitting...

But the police reaction to the complaint made about it by the BNP’s deputy leader was rather telling:
But a senior police source said: ‘It is an absurd case and very unlikely to get to court. A lot of police time and money appears to have been wasted investigating what for all intents and purposes is just a TV show joke.’
Really...? Where have you been, Mr Police Source? That’s what the perpetually offended do these days – complain to the police and expect them to ‘do something’.
A decision will be made by the CPS in the next few days.

But a police source said: ‘The chances of this going further are very remote. The idea that the BNP are claiming they are the victim of a race offence is mildly amusing, to say the least.’
In a way, yes. But, that’s not the point, now, is it? The point is, they now have the law under which to make such a claim. And who gave them that, and has taught them how to use it...?

The Beeb spectacularly misses the point, as well:
A BBC spokesman said last night: ‘We do not comment on police matters. However, we believe the audience would have understood the satirical nature of the remarks.’
You mean, like the audience for Jonathan Ross’s recent little faux pas did...?

Secondly, the story in the ‘Telegraph’ of the nurse suspended from duty and facing an ethics investigation for offering to pray for an elderly patient
Caroline Petrie, a committed Christian, has been accused by her employers of failing to demonstrate a "personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity".
Are they alleging that she treated this patient differently because of faith? It seems to me they’d be able to charge her with the same thing if she’d refused to pray for the lady if she’s been asked to!
The incident which led to her suspension took place at the home of a woman patient in Winscombe, North Somerset.

"It was around lunchtime and I had spent about 20 to 25 minutes with her. I had applied dressings to her legs and shortly before I left I said to her: 'Would you like me to pray for you?'.

"She said 'No, thank you.' And I said: 'OK.' I only offered to pray for her because I was concerned about her welfare and wanted her to get better."
It seems, though, that the fiendish Mrs Petrie is a serial prayer:
Mrs Petrie had previously been reprimanded for an incident in Clevedon last October when she offered to give a small, home-made prayer card to an elderly, male patient, who had happily accepted it.

On this occasion, the patient's carer, who was with him, raised concerns over the incident.
Remember that – not the person directly approached, but a third party. It’ll rear its head again...
It is the second incident – the offer to pray for a patient – that led to the disciplinary action. She was suspended from her part-time job, without pay, on December 17.

She faced an internal disciplinary meeting last Wednesday and expects to learn the outcome this week.

At last week's hour-long meeting, Mrs Petrie says she was told the patient had said she was not offended by the prayer offer but the woman argued that someone else might have been.
She’s now taken legal advice from the Christian Legal Centre, and has instructed Paul Diamond, the leading religious rights barrister, to take her case to court under the new religious discrimination laws.

Several things struck me about those two stories, and if they occurred to me, they must have occurred to a lot of people.

Firstly, if the nurse had been any other religion offering to pray for a patient, would the response have been the same? If the comedian had been, say, Bernard Manning, joking about posting poo through the doors of immigrant families, would the response have been the same? Would, for instance, the police and BBC have complained that the complainants were wasting everyone’s time, and should see the funny side?

Secondly, that the potential for accusations of double standards doesn’t seem to have occurred to the people involved – they seem quite genuinely to take the view that of course they are entitled to regard one complaint as serious, and the other as not, according to the prevailing opinion in their current circles.

Opinions not necessarily shared by the vast majority of people, who feel ‘sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander too’...

Thirdly, are they seriously trying to do the work of the BNP? All they have to do is point to the comments made by the anonymous ‘police source’ and tell their followers: ‘Look! Remember the Jonathan Ross ‘outrage’? Why don’t we get the same kid glove treatment?’. They can also throw in a bit of ‘Remember Jade Goody on ‘Big Brother’? No-one told her it was just a joke and to loosen up and ignore the complaints!’ for good measure. There are going to be many, many people who, while having no brief whatsoever for the BNP and their policies, will have to admit that this does, indeed, look like double standards.

And lastly, is there anything more delicious than hoisting the Righteous® on their own petard? They brought in these laws, and the principles that the perpetually offended have a pulpit – now, they can hardly object when they are used against them...


paul ilc said...

A good piece. However, a minor quibble: regarding poo-posting, you are not comparing like with like. The contrast should be with Bernard Manning suggesting the posting of poo through the doors of Labour Party activists. Poo-posting is clearly intended to be intimidatory, and the Police should investigate it as such.

JuliaM said...

Oh, I'm not suggesting that the BNP aren't right to complain, or that police aren't right to pursue it - just that their obvious reluctance to do so in this case is telling.

It seems they are in favour of intimidation, when it's someone they don't like politically.

Dr Evil said...

Ah, the sweet irony of it all. To expose the double standards of the PC Right On Comrades brigade. They were using the laws to push their own agendas. Now others are using these laws to bite back, and in so doing, show up these people for the hypocrits they are when they downgrade or pooh pooh these breaches of what are daft bits of legislation anyway.

Anonymous said...

The genuinely scary bit: They have accused her of:

failing to demonstrate a "personal and professional commitment to equality and diversity".

Failure to demonstrate a personal commitment to equality and diversity is a disciplinary offence now? When did that become law?

Diversity gulags, on the way.

JuliaM said...

"Now others are using these laws to bite back.."

Why not? They've been shown how, and shown how well it works, too..

"Failure to demonstrate a personal commitment to equality and diversity is a disciplinary offence now? When did that become law?"

Beats me!

Bodwyn Wook said...

It is a load of poo, entirely. Here in the Land of the Round Doorknobs we have not quite gone so badly to Hell, but only just not. The real problem is that no one is taught basic good manners for being in public, everybody is in a race to dragoon "the government" to enforce their megrims and fulfill their power drive, and so we are ALL in the...poo?