Tuesday, 22 February 2011

We are all born equal...Just some are born more equal than others.

Sex discrimination. It seems to have had a bit of a resurgence in recent months. There was the Sian Massey comments which landed Andy Gray and Richard Keys with the sack from Sky (as well as a plethora of other rather less than erudite off camera statements made towards female co-presenters).
There is also an undercurrent of backlash against the increasingly sexualised images of females, especially in pop videos. Perhaps what we are seeing is the natural elasticity of public opinion and prudency through the ages. At any rate the Georgian era was a famously free period sexually in British history and was succeeded by the strict and prudish Victorian era. Perhaps the lengths of social freedoms are stretched to the max, causing an inevitable retraction when it is deemed things have gone too far.
Today's attitude towards sex and gender is an interesting one. It has gone too far, but across the spectrum. One thing that drives me mad is anti-discrimination legislation that serves only to put constraints on society or adversely favour on set of people over another. Positive discrimination can be, in my opinion, no better than negative discrimination.
But there are also times when an effort to level off the differences between the sexes, narrow the advantages enjoyed by either sex or create laws to completely remove any form of gender partiality actually becomes pure folly. You may remember back in March 2009 the EU supposedly banned the use of a number of supposedly discriminating words. In a bid to achieve full blown gender neutrality, EU speak outlawed words such as Mr and Mrs, Frau, Senorita, Monsieur or Madam. They banned MEPs from saying sportsmen and statesmen, instead pressing for the use of the words athletes and polticians.
Man-made became taboo (replaced by artificial or synthetic) as did firemen, air hostesses, headmasters, policemen and so forth.
Most recently whacky EU gender discrimination law has now stated insurance companies cannot change rates based upon the sex of the person either. So whereas women once enjoyed cheaper car insurance or smaller life insurance pay outs, everything will now have to be evened out. But insurance premiums are based upon probability, and surely it is down to calculations based on collated data that young men DO have more accidents, and women DO tend to live longer. To expect Mrs Adams, young mother and sensible driver dropping her kids off at school, to pay the same as Shane from the corner of the street with his lowered sump and new alloys is surely madness.
Discrimination is a topic that the EU just does not get. In one instance they are doing their utmost to erase it, yet they are also the greatest perpetrators of discriminatory acts. In one breath the term "Islamic Terrorism" has been banned, but the persecution of Christians across the middle east and North Africa has not been officially recognised, only that certain minorities have been victimised, no mention of the religion, please.
Christianity has also become the invisible religion in school diaries commissioned by the EU. The new books, which mark key dates for all other religions, including Sikhism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinudism, Chinese religions and Judaism do not even mention Easter and Christmas. Why?
As I said earlier in the article. Discrimination is discrimination, whether "positive" or otherwise.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Moovers and Shakers

Potty thinking, but whose idea was it anyway?

Fellow UK MEP Julie Girling was on a rampage over her new theme du jour, Chinese Lanterns and was highlighting the dangers posed to livestock.

Perhaps little did she expect the ensuing debate that would burst forth over magnets put inside cows' stomachs.

Of course, to raise concerns over the growing popularity of what is basically a floating naked flame that could fall anywhere within a reasonable radius of the point of departure, you do not expect then for the Commission to pose the solution of implanting magnets in the stomachs of ruminants. But that is typical of the European Commission. You ask them what the answer to 2 + 2 is and they will tell you it is the same as 1+6 x 18-22 / 4 - 6 / 5. They are paid huge salaries of course, to no doubt "think outside the box"

Whilst I am not a supporter of blanket bans, especially not made by the Commission or anyone else in Brussels, Chinese Lanterns do pose a threat. But it is not only to livestock. Organisers at Glastonbury festival send out patrols to make sure the airborne incendiary devices are not floating over the swathes of canvas that accommodate the thousands of festival goers who buy hundreds of pounds worth of tickets to see their favourite bands, not involuntary pyrotechnical displays.

Similarly can you imagine the consequence of one of these lanterns homing in on an oil refinery, or petrol station? Or tumbling out of the sky onto an unsuspecting jamboree?

Cow magnets does not answer the question.

But that is where the argument ends. Although the proposition is of course ridiculous in the light of the Chinese Lantern issue (and here I will point out that I have not read Ms Girling's written question to the Commission but one must suppose it underlines the particular grievances of UK cattle farmers) it does turn out that Cow Magnets exist and have been used successfully to prevent overzealous ruminants from sufffering internal injuries from the plethora of metallic objects they ingest over the course of a lifetime of indiscriminate munching. And to take the argument any further would see legislation havig to be drawn up to prohibit the use of a myriad metal objects that sneak their way into the countryside.