Sunday, 29 August 2010

Eyes Shut, Ears Blocked and Brains......Err What Brains?

As I believe we all know, Harriet Harman's Equality Act - which received its Royal Assent in April - forces all government departments to undertake an impact assessment on the likely outcomes for ‘protected’ groups in society before implementing policy.

First though allow me to digress......Little Harriet is, as I am sure we all know, on a personal crusade on behalf of women and women's rights, equality etc - as long as she remains 'top dog bitch'. Unfortunately, that does not extend to a level playing field where her husband, Jack Dromey, was seeking a parliamentary seat. The Telegraph reported back in August last year that he was 'being lined up' for a safe Labour seat (another 'digress': do note all her children, the Telegraph reports, have the surname 'Harman' - so much for equality) and the Guardian reported in February this year that Dromey had been shortlisted for a safe Birmingham seat, that previously held by Sion Simon. Note also the opposition he faced from the other three candidates on the short list - two local councillors and one ex-councillor. Contrary to my assertion that a level playing field was not extended in the case of Dromey, it has just crossed my mind that he may well qualify on the basis of being brain-challenged - look at who he chose to marry.........

Anyway, back to the point of this post. One has to ask where the Conservative Party were when this Act was going through Parliament as I do not recall much 'opposition', or noises of dissent, eminating from that quarter.

The Fawcett Society, which campaigns for sexual equality, has deposited papers at the High Court questioning whether the Treasury and related departments met their statutory duty to undertake a gender inequality impact assessment on the provisions of the Budget, on the basis that the bulk of the cuts will affect the minority sections of our society. The High Court is shortly to adjudicate and a decision in favour of the Fawcett Society would create one hell of a headache for the Coalition, who have argued that the budget must be enacted or Britain faces ruin. Also the Coalition cannot say they were not warned as Theresa May, in her position as Minister for Women and Equalities, wrote to George Osborne - and copied to Cameron and others - reminding him of the need to meet the demands of the Equality Act. It is possible that George Osborne, believing that Theresa May was just covering her back, promptly tossed the letter into his bin. No doubt there will be a mad scramble to repeal Harriet's Equality Act, but one has to ask why have the Coalition allowed themselves to be 'cornered' in this way. This would seem to be an example of the classic situation whereby the light was on but no-one was at home!

The irony is that if the Coalition win the day then the cuts will affect all members of society*, including women, the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transexual groups and thus fully (see footnote) comply with the Equality Act - an outcome which I doubt Harriet had considered.

* Well, probably not all sections of society - we must remember that MPs do of course have their perks like cheap food and booze with some of them having their second homes paid for them.
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