Positive Discrimination Debate

// 21 March 2008

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When it comes to the question of positive discrimination, I tend to err towards a similar view to the one that Lib Dem MP Jackie Ballard expressed a few years back: it doesn’t sit well with me but in the face of persistent inequality, fuelled by people’s prejudices, I believe it could become necessary as a short-time option. In my view, it’s one thing to be concerned about it because it is, by definition, a form of discrimination and quite another to be concerned because, really, you’re afraid of the old privileges being toppled. I’d argue that, for a lot of people, it’s the latter. One only needs to see how upset some people get when a mere recruitment drive to attract under-represented groups in a profession takes place to see that.

Currently, positive discrimination is illegal. The issue of whether it might actually be called for was the topic of a debate I briefly took part in, along with Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote and Personnel Today’s Tony Pettengell, on the Richard Bacon show last Tuesday. You can still listen to this discussion on-line until later on 25 March.

Comments From You

Liz Ely // Posted 21 March 2008 at 10:25 pm

I agree, I think that positive discrimination is a horrible term which doesn’t represent what it is. I think the US affirmitive action seems to make more sense. To me it’s like yeah, in a world of equal opportunities it would not be necessary but as it is it’s like starting athletes at different places round a track to make it fairer for the ones that have already had further to run.

David Space // Posted 28 March 2008 at 1:34 am

I gather both main political parties in Spain are planning to introduce gender-based taxation that will tax men 2% more than women on the same earnings. That makes the kind of positive discrimination we’re contemplating in the UK look pretty feeble!

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