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#117645
Head teachers are being given the right to fire teachers who belong to 'extreme' political groups:
Story

Reports talk of the BNP as the recipient of this new policy - just wait for the comments! And, to be honest, with cause.

Actually, this is quite worrying. If a BNP teacher breaks the law (racist or hate speech, political indoctrination of children, acts of discrimination) they can be fired for that. If they don't break those laws - what are you going to do? Punish someone because the MIGHT break the law?

What about other 'extreme' parties? Will there be a list, or will it be at the head's discretion? I have known heads who thought the Conservative party extreme, and governors who thought the Labour Party to be the spawn of the devil - will their prejudices be the ones that apply?

Slippery slope, indeed.
#117658
Worrying on so many levels.Quite how they could be given those powers though is a good question.I for see a judicial challenge if someone is fired just for membership.

Amazing how many comments mention the Communist Party.I am unsure whether they mean the RCP (GB)or the RCP (ML) .Clearly the biggest threats currently facing the country. :roll:
#117665
And twatbasketry of the first water:
The tories are acting more like the labour party than the labour party.
Q- Have they reversed rolls, or is the whole country going mad.

You can't sack some one because of their beliefs, thats fascism.
Be careful all you Tories you Pushing the pulic a little too far

- peewee, poole dorset
It was the Labour party that refused to do this, as it was seen to be disproportionate and against the right to form and join associations (see JS Mill). And what's a reversed roll? Ham and cheese rather than cheese and ham?

But, peewee, most importantly, it isn't fascism, it's totalitarianism, and Pushing the pulic is what it's all about at the moment...
#117705
In a way I hate to say this. But.
If a citizen has opinions that I personally find repugnant, that is his right, so long as he does me, or society, no harm. I do not have a right not to be offended.

The difficulty is that harm as a concept is easy to invoke, but hard to define.

In the case of the teacher or policeman, harm might well mean treating someone in a way which reduces their liberties or impairs their sharing of the goods of society. In which case other laws (for example the Race Relations Act) comes into force.

The difference being that the commission of an offence must have taken place. There should not be a presumption that a citizen's beliefs will automatically lead to the commission of the offence.
Laws which protect the liberty of the citizen should be used, not laws which abrogate it.
#117711
I agree with that, yes. Membership cannot be taken as an offence because it isn't. I also think it'll get used against the left more than the right and will shut off debate. I mean it's often said the BNP are different because they want to destroy democracy. Even outside Mail-land that leaves the revolutionary left exposed. And is it just at home that you're not allowed to support revolutions?

I think it's a bit different with promoting the BNP, though that's a vague term. Someone who was outed and said something like "I am indeed a BNP member" is one thing. Getting engaged to Richard Barnbrook and sounding off in papers is quite another.
#117714
I was reading JS Mill On Liberty yesterday (in between some bouts of decorating, as you do).
I am completely persuaded that the citizen must be at liberty to do whatever he or she pleases so long as their action does not interfere with the freedom of another or cause harm either to an individual or society. This includes, for Mill and for me, freedom of assembly, the right to meet with like-minded people.

The BNP can only be proscribed when it can be said to cause harm to society. Clearly it flirts with this all of the time, but at the moment it has not been shown to have caused sufficient harm to abrogate the liberty of its members to freedom of opinion (hard to judge and suppress) and assembly. If and when it does so, it should be banned, and membership may be seen as leading to preclusion from certain vocations and professions. But it hasn't yet.

To break with that principle is, I think, very dangerous. It opens the way to abuse much more clearly than 28-day detention, or ID cards. It is on a par with stop and search.

Did you know that a copy of On Liberty is passed to each new leader of the Liberal Party to remind them of their founding principles? I wonder what Nick Clegg has done with his...
#117732
I recall that one of the issues about judges, police etc belonging to organisations such as the BNP was that it could affect their ability to carry out their duties in a fair and responsible manner.

I'd better be careful in how I word this, but even at the lowest level, of, say, a police constable or JP, there is an amount of leeway as to how diligently a matter can be pursued. If, for example, a BNP-supporting police officer were called to investigate a crime with a black victim, they may allocate less time and effort than to a similar case involving a white victim. Similarly, a JP with far-left leanings may view certain people up before them with more or less sympathy than others. If you work in a post where your political views may affect your judgement, it could be tricky. People in such positions, with such leanings, could find themselves going to the other extreme - a bit like if you're a teacher and one of you own children is in your class, you have to go harder on them so as to pre-empt any accusations of favouritism (Malcolm may disagree on this point :wink: ).

If you're a member of, say, the Conservative party, you'd reasonably have no objection to the Labour party's right to exist, campaign, and if elected, to form a Government. Same goes for any mainstream party - you may disagree with other parties' views, but you acknowledge their right to express them. On the other hand, if (God forbid) the BNP ever got elected, you can bet your bottom dollar that any dissenting views would be made illegal. That's the difference. They are intolerant of other views. The mainstream are tolerant. Why do we allow the BNP to exist? Because we're better than them.

So, while I have no objection to people expressing whatever views they may have (provided it is within the law), I do have an issue with people of extreme views holding any office where those views may compromise their ability or willingness to do their job properly and fairly.
#117735
And if they ever did, you could deal with them under existing legislation, surely?
#117738
Are you talking about BNP getting elected, or members of extremist organisations in positions of authority abusing their powers?

If the former, I would foresee things like enabling acts and emergency powers legislation.

If the latter, I hope so. But the cynic in me knows that if people want to abuse their powers, and know how the system works, inappropriate behaviour can be disguised in many ways.
#117740
I agree that abuse can be covered in many ways (see Metropolitan Police), but that doesn't, for me, justify a fairly arbitrary proscription of certain people from certain professions, it justifies robust laws and procedures for ensuring that abuse is prevented, or if not prevented, punished.

To take this absurd idea a step further - what other professions should our hypothetical BNP member be banned from? Already the police, then teaching. How about journalism, where there is much scope for influencing people in an abusive manner? Medicine? Law? You see where I'm going with this? Once the principle is established - who knows where it will lead? What happens when the government changes? Why not also the SWP? The NUT¹? Better not to start out on that route.

¹As the late Labour government would have done given the chance.
#117744
Yes, swap BNP for 'Jews' and at the risk of invoking Godwin, yes. But membership of an organisation is a conscious choice, not an accident of birth.

I agree that there should be (and in many cases are) robust checks in place to prevent abuse of authority. I also have a low-ish opinion of those in place at the moment, particularly in local government. I have known people dragged through the metaphorical mud for relatively minor breaches of rules, and others given the blind eye for almost identical infractions because they were "very good on the whole" or "one of us". I have sat on disciplinary panels where professional people have asked, in all seriousness, "Is this one going to give us any trouble?" when deciding what punishment or reprimand to mete out.

It's not right, but it does happen. And the way things are going, I can see more of it happening in the future.
#117756
By joining the BNP of such organisation , isn't some one really nailing their colours to the mast?
There are lots of racists etc that write into the Mail, but by joining and paying subs to an organisation is taking a further step.
Can someone who is really that in line with the sort of stuff that the BNP, EDL or any extreme group believes in, that they don't just say oh well they have point on this or that but actively join their rank and file, really be trusted to behave appropriately, non biasedly (?) around ethnic or minority children that they may be called upon to interact with? I'm not sure.
The police have enormous power and they must be fair when making judgements and that can be hard enough but if a police officer has an inherent and irrational dislike of a person with whom he is dealing because of skin colour and nothing else, can he really put that to the back of his mind?
Can a teacher who may have a traveller's child in their class from time to time really put aside their prejudices , may be if the kid is being obviously bullied by being called a pikey or whatever, but would they turn a blind eye to more subtle kinds of abuse, if they thought they could get away with it?
#117763
eddyk wrote:Just think of all the stuff the BNP would ban if they were in power.
Yes, but we'd have:

- Birching
- No more EU
- Kings & Queens taught at 'proper' schools
- Police given power to 'deal with criminals properly'
- Forrins sent home
- Christianity bought to the forefront
- No equalities nor human rights protections

Why the hell do the Mail pretend to be against this party again?
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