Hilarious. The BNP discriminates against white people

Political correctness gone mad!

Sunder Katwala, over at Next Left, makes perhaps the best argument against the BNP's "repatriation policy" that I've ever come across:

If they thought about for ten minutes, which I recognise might be asking a little too much, I fear the BNP's repatriation policy could create an enormous sense of grievance among their target electorate of white voters who feel that far too much is done for minorities.

There is a lot of mythology in that claim.

Yet, now, to add insult to injury, here is perhaps the largest ever special treatment programme being offered to minority Brits -- and by the BNP itself.

Why on earth should the British government spend up to £9bn offering grants of up to £50,000 to people to leave the country -- yet only on an affirmative action basis, so that the offer is made exclusively for those (like me) whose parents are from abroad?

This excludes indigenous Brits who might fancy a new life in Australia, Canada or Spain. Where on earth is the fairness in that? Couldn't white Brits sue the government under equality legislation, were such a law introduced?

Perhaps Trevor Phillips could investigate. For Nick Griffin may here have finally succumbed to political correctness gone mad.

Mehdi Hasan is a contributing writer for the New Statesman and the co-author of Ed: The Milibands and the Making of a Labour Leader. He was the New Statesman's senior editor (politics) from 2009-12.

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How tribunal fees silenced low-paid workers: “it was more than I earned in a month”

The government was forced to scrap them after losing a Supreme Court case.

How much of a barrier were employment tribunal fees to low-paid workers? Ask Elaine Janes. “Bringing up six children, I didn’t have £20 spare. Every penny was spent on my children – £250 to me would have been a lot of money. My priorities would have been keeping a roof over my head.”

That fee – £250 – is what the government has been charging a woman who wants to challenge their employer, as Janes did, to pay them the same as men of a similar skills category. As for the £950 to pay for the actual hearing? “That’s probably more than I earned a month.”

Janes did go to a tribunal, but only because she was supported by Unison, her trade union. She has won her claim, although the final compensation is still being worked out. But it’s not just about the money. “It’s about justice, really,” she says. “I think everybody should be paid equally. I don’t see why a man who is doing the equivalent job to what I was doing should earn two to three times more than I was.” She believes that by setting a fee of £950, the government “wouldn’t have even begun to understand” how much it disempowered low-paid workers.

She has a point. The Taylor Review on working practices noted the sharp decline in tribunal cases after fees were introduced in 2013, and that the claimant could pay £1,200 upfront in fees, only to have their case dismissed on a technical point of their employment status. “We believe that this is unfair,” the report said. It added: "There can be no doubt that the introduction of fees has resulted in a significant reduction in the number of cases brought."

Now, the government has been forced to concede. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Unison’s argument that the government acted unlawfully in introducing the fees. The judges said fees were set so high, they had “a deterrent effect upon discrimination claims” and put off more genuine cases than the flimsy claims the government was trying to deter.

Shortly after the judgement, the Ministry of Justice said it would stop charging employment tribunal fees immediately and refund those who had paid. This bill could amount to £27m, according to Unison estimates. 

As for Janes, she hopes low-paid workers will feel more confident to challenge unfair work practices. “For people in the future it is good news,” she says. “It gives everybody the chance to make that claim.” 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.