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Friday, 14 May 2010

Anti-discriminatory laws - call for repeal by Libertarian Press

See article entitled Chris Grayling on following URL - Libertarian Press:

The writer makes a case for the repeal of anti-discriminatory laws.

My reply to the writer is:

My main argument against the Chris Grayling article (see Susan Wilkinson and the B&B mid-election argument) is that if one does abolish anti-discrimination laws then there are enough people who would come out of the closet to make life intolerable for minority groups. I would suggest that anti-discriminatory laws do not exist in Oakham. Certainly a great deal of discrimination occurs and the police appear to do absolutely nothing about it in the cases I've witnessed.

You exist in a slightly rarefied atmosphere and mix with like minded people who have some intellectual grasp of political arguments in a much more metropolitan community. Large cities are very different from a rural backwater. I would suggest you come to our neck of the woods to see what actually happens when the law on anti-discrimination is not enforced and so effectively repealed.

Here in the sticks things are very different. For instance in Oakham there is a fairly large gay community. However gay people do not feel able to be openly gay in Oakham and they tend to go to Nottingham, Birmingham, Leicester etc. where they are able to be openly gay, once outside Rutland. A gay shopkeeper says that he daren't come out in Oakham because he would lose business and there does seem to be quite a bit of homophobia locally. That may be because Oakhamians are thoroughly interbred and Oakham is a relatively isolated community with little public transport to dilute the interbreeding on a Saturday night or the blinkered political views during the rest of the week. I don't think that removing the legislation against homophobia would be wise. Particularly since I can see the real impact this has on lives in an area where the law is not enforced.

You and I may have tolerant views but, and this may seem unbelievable to those outside our small community, gays do expect to get beaten up and there are several stories of gay people who have been beaten up locally. One gay man who holds public office actually joins in the hounding of an openly gay Councillor. Why? Because bullies everywhere are, at their insecure core, scared of being bullied themselves. So they tend to reason: 'far better to be the bully than to be bullied.'

If you have a relatively inward looking population they will revert to barbarity and not only exclude the 'other' but actually pursue, hound and assault the 'other.'

Similarly I notice there is a great deal of racism in Oakham - that is anti-black racism. So much so that a Chat Forum contributed to by local Councillors and their friends made an issue about the black olive seller in Oakham market. Under the caption 'A black man in Oakham!' the forum published a picture of the Olive stall in Oakham market.

Was anything done? Of course not. Anti-discriminatory laws have effectively been repealed in Oakham anyway and those who posted the picture were not perhaps even aware how racist they were being on the Chat Forum. In fact the man is a great deal smarter than most locals and was content to let it go and not make a fuss, since that would be bad for business!

The outcome is that the people who are racist and homophobic are never brought to book for their prejudices and continue to be prejudiced.

I have witnessed so much bullying of a local Councillor that it makes you despair. Yet the police do absolutely nothing and are content to let the big cheeses in our tiny pond do what they will without let or hindrance. It is such a small town that it is a bit like the mafia. Everyone knows everyone, families intermarry down generations and everyone is connected to everyone else. Those in power tend to lie and cheat for one another and a code of Omerta prevails. The people doing the bullying are either on the police committee or well connected to those on the police committee and so nothing ever gets done, unless of course the man being bullied eventually reacts - then of course he gets arrested. I can name one Councillor who if breathalysed while driving was found to be sober, would be breaking a lifetime habit. Yet the Councillor has never, to my knowledge, been prosecuted for drink driving. Be ye even fractionally high in Oakham it appears the law is beneath you and you may trample it to death.

Feeling that people are generally tolerant and open minded is all very well in Durham or London, but a bit of a mistake in out of the way prejudiced little communities like Oakham, where a few families and entrenched coteries rule and have done for generations. No one wants to upset the apple cart and loyalty to one another counts for far more than integrity or honesty. 'They' are prepared to lie through their teeth for one another and see that as more laudable than telling the truth, simply because loyalty to one another against the outsider is more valued than honesty.

Sorry we do need anti-discriminatory laws in Oakham and what's more we need those laws enforced. If you want to see what would happen if anti-discriminatory laws were repealed come to Oakham. We don't need to repeal anti-discriminatory laws. The law is simply not enforced, unless one is an outsider.

Sad but true and it creates a very uncivilised atmosphere for many of those who are in minority groups.

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