Monday, July 27, 2009

Why The Left Have Got It In For Trevor Phillips

It's not often I'd defend the head of the Equalities & Human Rights Commission, but that's what I found myself doing on Saturday night while doing the paper review with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. She launched into a full scale attack of Trevor Phillips and accused him of playing the race card (I just about stopped myself laughing) as he defended his stewardship of the Commission. She also reckoned he is a closet Tory. She has launched a vicious attack on him in this morning's Independent.

Several of the EHRC commissioners have resigned over the last few weeks, along with the chief executive and communications director, Kamal Ahmed. Listening to Ben Summerskill (of Stonewall) explaining his resignation led me to believe that there was more to this than met they eye. He reckoned Trevor Phillips was 'not up to the job'. Funny how it had taken him three years to come to that conclusion.

It seems to me, looking in from the outside that there are three issues here.

Firstly, there are many people in the equalities industry (and that is what it has become) who don't think Trevor Phillips is sufficiently left wing enough. His criticism of multiculturalism has gone down like a cup of cold sick.

Secondly, the bringing together of the various vested interests into one body has not been easy. The gay lobby thinks Phillips doesn't pay it sufficient attention. Nor does the race lobby. Or the women's lobby. And so it goes on. Phillips has to manage all those vested interests. They have always been sceptical of him since making it clear before he took on the job that he was sceptical about the viability of a single body covering the whole gamut of equality and human rights issues.

That leads on to the third issue, which is his management style. Quango chief executives are normally consensus builders. They operate by the law of the common denominator. Phillips doesn't. he leads from the front and expects people to row in behind him. The various commissioners seem to have had some difficulty doing that. In their own bodies, they are used to getting their own way and have found it difficult to adjust.

Perhaps this is the ideal time for the Conservatives to review the whole issue of whether to retain the EHRC. It employs a massive 500 people and costs £70 million a year to run. In effect it has become a super-lobbying organisation.

UPDATE: Ben Summerskill has just sent me this...

Iain, you’re certainly right on one thing. A new Conservative government should look very carefully indeed at how much the EHRC is costing taxpayers. And as a body spending public money it should justify that cost. At Stonewall our income has gone up 150% in the last five years, much of that from companies across the private sector. They expect us to be able to justify every pound they spend with us on advice or research.

But where you should calm down, if I may, is over the idea that somehow criticism of Trevor Phillips is a loony-left conspiracy. I agree with him about a lot of things. However one core function of a non-executive director, whether of a public body or a public company, needs to be to say something if the person in charge isn’t delivering. Ministers in a new government will also be perfectly entitled to ask why no one blew the whistle if public money wasn’t being managed properly. Yours. Ben

68 comments:

Gallimaufry said...

How do I obtain a "race card"? It appears to function like a cash card but without a monthly statement.

Colin said...

" (I just about stopped myself laughing)".

Why? I saw her, she was hilarious, as always. This is a woman with no situational sense whatsoever, she's completely, genuinely unaware that most people find her really, really funny.

On a serious note - £70 million, 500 staff. Leave aside the size of the workforce. WTF are they spending all that money on? Not everyone can be on £140k a year - can they?

John Moss said...

Judean Popular Front - Popular Front for the Liberation of Judea.

Trotsky/Marx/Lenin

The Left are irreconcilable to one of "their own" questioning the basic tenets of the faith.

YAB's comment that Phillips was a closet Tory sums it up.

He is an apostate. Off with his head!

Stuart said...

Get rid of it. A big waste of time and money.

Anonymous said...

But isn't this the problem with all publicly accountable bodies - the need to have what Thatcher derided as the 'Brothers, I believe in consensus' approach ??

And how on earth can one body pretend to represent the needs of gays and Islamic fundamentalism ?

Isn't this the whole point, that we are being told there is a 'single view of the truth' about being tolerant, and that we have to subscribe to a single view of what is 'politically correct' when some of the views are diametrically opposite ?

The debate over gay adoption and the Catholic adoption agencies did convince me that a little bit more pragmatism and a lot less dogma is what is required on these tough choices.

I will leave what that means for things like 'freedom of speech' and sharia courts for another day..

Anonymous said...

Do none of these people have real jobs?

londonmuslim said...

Can you name one of his achievements?

Russell said...

Conservatives should not hesitate to scrap the EHRC and repeal the great mass of authoritarian, prescriptive, intentionally divisive and in some instances actually illegal legislation which has been imposed on us in the name of "equality".

Sadly, I can't see Cameron doing any of that...

VotR said...

The Equality Commission has been a massive failure, and as usual, a drain on resources as it is the front for Harriet Harman's brain drain schemes. Surprise suprise that it's taken money but never made any. She is the definition of public services gone horribly, horribly wrong.

Will someone please tell her that to get the money handouts for her schemes, it has to be made first in the private sector? We are in a deep recession, nay, depression. The money isn't coming in, and the money she has shoveled into a furnace has gone forever.

Harpy Harpic's touch is as comparable to Jonah's. I feel sorry for Phillips, he is about to become a scapegoat for Harriet's failings and the vice and graft that Labour's policies have generated throughout the various agencies they have created.

First law of management when things go wrong, or corruption has been uncovered: find a scapegoat. The second being resign and deny everything. Which has happened to its other members before the finger of blame can be pointed at them.

Things to do: Scrap the Equalities & HR Commission, save the cash, sack Harman and then the country might not go bankrupt.

politically un-correct social worker(retired) said...

Absolutely spot-on Iain: the whole costly organisation should be disbanded asap. Full of special interest groups each pleading 'victim' status.Typical NuLabour stuff,the kind of thing which really alienates the average Labour voter.
Good for Phillips to declare that the Police are not 'institutionally racist' - this is a lie that has been perpetuated for too long.

Sir Dando Tweakshafte said...

Inconveniently, not all "Identities" are identical.

Anonymous said...

The "women's lobby" foresaw their virtual invisibility within the EHRC (despite women being of course far more numerous than the other groups being discriminated against). So they get a certain grim amusement from hearing the better off complaining they still don't get enough.

[Maybe I should just give up. Word verification is "menking"!]

Neil Ward said...

scrap it. Unfit for purpose.

Anonymous said...

Close it down.

They are racists. They make their living from emphasising divisions in our society.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is the biggest racist of all. Her articles in the Indy are a disgrace. She discredits the Indy completely.

This vile woman is a living testimony to the moral disintegration of the Left.

She has no place in a decent country.

Me vs Maradona vs Elvis said...

"His criticism of multiculturalism has gone down like a cup of cold sick".

Haven't heard that one before - love it!

PSJ said...

The whole body of equalities legislation and enforcement is now counter-productive where it is not unnecessary, and should be scrapped forthwith. The current crisis gives us an opportunity to do this in order to cut public spending. Let's not waste it.

countryboy said...

Trevor's problem is that he keeps saying inconvenient things which suggest that the UK, for all its faults, is actually less racist/homophobic/sexist than the vast majority of countries ... and of course, huge numbers of jobs and a great deal of political influence depends on retaining the notion that this is in fact a hellhole of inequality. This is a huge problem for the women's movement, particularly as women become the majority of graduates, have higher incomes than men in their 20s and early 30s ... harder and harder to pretend you're oppressed when you're actually winning!

Hipponess said...

I agree. Brilliant comment Re: "gone down like a cup of cold sick."
I'm female but am fed up to the back teeth with these so called feminists. The issues were relevant back in the '70's/80's, but now they've gone too far. It's getting to the stage where men need a separate body to represent their issues!

john in cheshire said...

When the EHRC is headed by a white english white conservative voter, then i'll believe that it is concerned with equality. But that is never going to happen. I would rather the body was dissolved and all the racists who occupy its over-paid positions, forced to look for proper work.

South East Voter said...

As a lobby group it should raise its own money like Greenpeace. Stop taxpayers money going to it and see if the commission survives.
We need laws to protect against bullying in the work place etc. We should allow Legal Aid where needed to be used for private prosecution to help enforce these laws.

Unsworth said...

I wouldn't wish to see Ms Alibhai-Brown sitting on any jury. She is bias, prejudice and ignorance personified. She is also damn dangerous.

Brenda Davidson said...

A very well-written and incisive piece, Iain. I agree with every word you say.

Budgie said...

Scrap the EHRC. Scrap all the anti-discrimination laws. Use the standard criminal laws that the native population must use to protect themselves.

strapworld said...

Iiain,

I agree with your piece. I believe this body alongwith so many other quango's should be abolished immediately.

People like Suzi Leather now parading herself as Chairman of the Charities Commission should be sacked and the position evaluated.

Race Relations would be far better if this body was scrapped along with the Yuman Rights Act and the Elf and Safety legislation.

Bring back Grammar Schools. Bring back selection! and competition within schools and, perhaps, we could look forward to a golden future?

I speak as someone who is still awaiting to hear from Manchester Grammar School if I have passed the first part of the eleven plus examination!!!

Anonymous said...

Still hoping to see a genuine person from Zanzibar responding to her ranting. The woman does not know just how well off she is living in the UK

JH

Stronghold Barricades said...

Is it just the left that have it for Trevor Phillips Iain?

I would have to agree with the lobby analogy and fits in very well with the Labour Government that uses Patronage as it's choice of engagement.

Since so many of the different commissioners have resigned, and there was the furore over the redundancies and consultancies established afterwards it would probably be better to open the debate about what should these bodies raison d'etre be for the future. If it was closed now there would be less redundancy fees.

Bird said...

Scrap the lot of them, including Phillips, who was just as bad a couple of years ago.
And isn't he involved in generous redundances for colleagues only to take them on immediately as well-paid "consultants"?
There's a good post by Harry Phipps on ConHome this morning about all the race warriors and diversity leeches still clinging on on the Mayor's payroll. They are not only on a good little earner, but they throw money (Lee Jasper syle) at all sorts of dodgy victim groups. Get rid Boris!

Osama bin Laden said...

Me and my mate Ayman would fully support winding up any body that makes minorities feel part of the nation

Terry Hamblin said...

The opposition began when he endorsed the appointment to the Commission of Joel Edwards, a black evangelical Christian.

Dimoto said...

I was under the impression that Blair set this up as a way of parking all the noisy special interest groups for a relatively modest amount of money. It worked for a while, but the various groups were bound to grow restless eventually - it's who they are.

The factor that Phillips needs to get his head around, is that Labour are totally dependent on the Scots vote. There is actually not much room for other "minorities", when the Scottish minority is so massively overrepresented in government/media.

As for Yasmin, she is just a batty lady still struggling to sort out her identity. Pretty harmless.

Hawkeye said...

Phillips obviously is not representative enough for the nutters on the left.

His replacement will undoubtedly be a black, transgendered lesbian from Cuba called O'Reilly with red hair and a Trade Union accent. It would help if she had one white parent and one asian parent as well. That might tick enough boxes for the left.

It also raises an unrelated question. Why do all trade union leaders have the same accent? The one that makes them all sound like the have adenoids.

Glyn H said...

Quite agree Iain, long thought Mr Phillips talked more sense than many of his ilk in Quangoland and look where it’s got him. Countryboy at 11.14 also has it bang to rights.

Conservative policy should be: Abolish the thing in its entirety and give Phillips a peerage.

Another point made earlier is that the Charities Commission has by its deeds shown itself to be an arm of the Labour party. Abolish it and start again. Chris Woodhead (if he would accept) could be the new chairman.

Anonymous said...

Yup - scrap the ERHC

Cynic said...

The problem was that all these quangos were in thrall to their client and activist groups. They were all fighting for their own defined agenda, going different directi9ons and fighting for teh same resources. In business it was a nonsense that we could get a race assessor and a diability assessor and any number of other assessors but it was almost impossible to get one assessor who could take an holistic view of equality in the organisation.

So putting them all in one basket was the right policy choice as it would force them to consider equality issues in the round and realise that one person's equality can be another's inequality. But, fo course, that is a painful process because, in my experience, they often destest each other and having to confront the notion that others ahve rights too and that you need to accommodate all these issues is just too difficult.

The Departement has a amjor part of play in fostsreing this 'me, me, me attitude. Yesterday they advertsied the posts fof the 8 Commissioners who resigned. The advert makes it clear that they all ahve to demonstate that they are the creature of one of teh client groups with 'real experience' in relevant araes. First of all that means that the Department will discriminate aginst those who arent. How many white male hetero-sexuals without a disability will make the cut?

And why should the Commissioners be selected on this biased basis - surely its contrary to everything that equality should be about?

Anonymous said...

no problem with it as long as anybody that votes labour or left is levied to pay for it.

i am not.the isle of mann could become a busy place.

john miller said...

Yasmin is the most racist writer in any section of the mainstream media. If I wrote anything half as vicious as she does I'd have a visit from the thought police within the hour.

All that lovely Labour legislation - Yasmin is walking proof that it will ever only be used against one class of person - guess who?

Jimmy Sands said...

"there are many people in the equalities industry"

So logically that would make you lot the inequalities industry?

Rebel Saint said...

It all started to come undone when the rank hypocrisy of Ben Summerskill and his 'equality' cohorts was exposed when a black, evangelical (Joel Edwards) was appointed. Apparently, despite being the first black leader of an organisation representing 1,000,000+ members, Rev Edwards doesn't understand 'equality' and doesn't share the same PC orthodoxy as Ben on some issues so he had to go!

It appears that as far as Ben Summerskill is concerned, we're all equal but some are more equal than others!

Stonewall has had a blank legislative cheque from NuLabour for the past 10 years. The first thing that he doesn't get his way on and it's toys out of the pram.

We can only hope that the whole nepotistic, self-serving institution comes crashing down.

Alex said...

Don't abolish it. Reduce its headcount to about 10 and move it to the Outer Hebrides, then keep merging it with more pointless quangos and reducing headcount through "efficiency" savings, until they have all been hoovered up.

quentin smith said...

It's some defence that ends up suggesting scrapping the man's organisation. Which of course the Tories would do.

With friends like you, he doesn't need enemies.

Myles said...

C'mon Iain, you're having us on. You must know in your heart of hearts that the Tories will happily let this useless, parasitical organisation continue to leech on the taxpayer when they regain power.
Unfortunately there are still enough people gullible enough to believe that Cameron has the will to take on the race relations industry. But mark my word that'll change when, five years on, when the voters have woken up to the fact that Cameron's Tories are just New Labour clones

killemallletgodsortemout said...

Phillips is poacherturned gamekeeper. I couldn't give a hoot about him.

Gays, wimmin and so-called minorities have milked the lobbying system far too much, to the point where they are more equal than others. Essex Police have the Stonewall watermark on their stationery; nothing about straight people though. Why not?

Disband the so-called charities and quangos. Everyone knows their rights these days, it needn't and shouldn't cost us millions of pounds to see minorities become the majority.

DespairingLiberal said...

I find myself in total agreement with you on this one Iain. In many ways, this is an absurd organisation. I don't normally find much in Hitchens, Peter to agree with, but I listened to a good old blast he did against it the other day and he was pretty spot on.

I think this may be about Blair/Brownites as well - isn't the dreaded Yasmin a Broonie? And wasn't Phillips a Toneee?

RobertEve said...

The whole thing should be shut down.

Lester Holloway said...

Why are so many people calling for the EHRC to be closed down? Even if people believe that the leadership of Trevor Phillips has been an unmitigated disaster, surely we need a body to fight for equality? Tell me why we don't.

It's only been in existence for two years, and granted it hasn't got off to a good start, but reform not abolition is the answer. Whether that involves changing the personalities is another question.

On OBV Blog today (http://operationblackvote.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/whats-left-after-the-vultures-banquet/) I write about why calls for Trevor's head and the scrapping of the EHRC should not be made without a constructive agenda about how to take forward the fight for equality.

Uncle Joe said...

More precisely, the stalinists have it in for Trevor Phillips. He initially fell out with Ken Livingstone - a stalinist if ever there was one. Ever since that time the Livingstoners have had it in for Trev.

JULIAN BRAY UK speaker/moderator said...

When he was on LWT Trevor Phillips came over as a very good communicator etc. but always took himself very seriously enven when doing fun items.This would certainly get up career 'racecard' holders and I understood that Ms Alibhai-Brown is an ex-Ugandan Asian and you should have seen the way SOME asians treated their Ugandan servants..

Matthew said...

A large part of the problem is that Trevor Phillips's public pronouncements seem too often to be calculated to enhance the profile of Trevor Phillips rather than to advance the objectives of the organisation that he runs.

For example, there's nothing wrong with his comments on multiculturalism per se. It's an important debate, and one to which somebody in his position is entitled to contribute. It's the way he said it that got people's backs up. His comments were calculated to appeal to the likes of the Mail and the Telegraph, which duly devoted acres of space to them, but which had already long ago made up their minds on the issue. They were much less effective at challenging the thinking of those in Phillips's own backyard.

Basically, he's good at grabbing headlines but no good at changing minds.

Norfolk Blogger said...

He's a self publicist, achieved little in his own right, relies seemingly on patronage and having friends in the right place, etc, etc. How long have you got Iain ?

Half The Story said...

I think the left dislike as he does not push their agenda hard enough and the right dislike him as he comes across as crap.

Personally I think it is a bloated organisation and needs trimming.

Elby the Beserk said...

@At July 27, 2009 2:05 PM , Anonymous Lester Holloway said...

Why are so many people calling for the EHRC to be closed down? Even if people believe that the leadership of Trevor Phillips has been an unmitigated disaster, surely we need a body to fight for equality? Tell me why we don't.
//

God help us.

Do you actually understand what "equality" means? It means "everything the same". It's what you get in unreconstructed socialist countries, such as North Korea. Everyone is the same there - starving, unless they are

1. Either in the armed forces
2. Part of the ruling elite.

The ONLY way - which is what New Labour have been trying to do for the past 12 years, to achieve equality in a society is to drag everyone DOWN to the same level. You may remember the concept from school (if you are old enough), of the "lowest common denominator"? That's what equality is in a society.

Now, equality of opportunity is another matter all together, and something we don't do badly here in the UK. See, even a useless, incompetent lying bastard like Brown can rise to be PM.

Oscar Miller said...

Err Norfolk Blogger - this may be true of Trevor, but it also describes every quango CEO I can think of. Self-publicity and relying on friends in the right places are virtually the qualifications for the job. Face it - the guy's being ganged up against for ideological reasons.

Anonymous said...

Can you hear the sound of the equality brigade egos, clashing violently, as the smug and sanctimonious TP sails on, regardless of mass resignations? The EHRC should top the list of bloated and pointless quangos to be scrapped by Cameron on Day 1.

Lester Holloway said...

Elby the Beserk, I totally agree with you about the meaning of equality - "everything the same".

Where I guess we part company is that I do not assume that by closing my eyes and wishing it so that equality will magically appear.

Institutional discrimination happens because the people with the power make decisions - wittingly or unwittingly - that disadvantage others. Trying to unpick this, by finding out what's really happening, construct policies to change it and just as importantly trying to change mindsets, is a hard job.

That's why we need equalities laws, good practice, and a body dedicated to encouraging and enforcing both.

It's actually about striving towards the highest common denominator, so that talent is allowed to progress and fulfil it's potential, and institutions, companies and society benefits. Doesn't sound like North Korea to me.

http://operationblackvote.wordpress.com/2009/07/27/whats-left-after-the-vultures-banquet/

I Albion said...

It will cost millions to scrap these racist quangos ,think of the pay outs.perhaps that is why Boris can't scrap them.weep for England

Mirtha Tidville said...

If `Dave` is serious about change, just announce he`s going to bin this bucket of shit....that alone will see him home and dry, but I doubt he has the balls..he likes to chase votes but he just doesnt know where to start chasing does he?

As for Philips, doesnt matter if he stays or goes,another one just as bad will take his place.

As for that vile women..she should be deported to Afghan..

Anonymous said...

Let's cut the EHRC from taxpayer funding and see whether people would choose to contribute to it voluntarily.

Be interesting then to see whether it still had 500 staff after 12 months...

Andrew K said...

Strong hints from Eddie Mair on PM that he should go, but those of us who aren't "in on it" aren't being told why.

Sod the BBC and sod the metropolitan "élite".

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps this is the ideal time for the Conservatives to review the whole issue of whether to retain the EHRC. It employs a massive 500 people and costs £70 million a year to run. In effect it has become a super-lobbying organisation."

Cameron will be pleased - an easy decision, for once.

Lord Lavendon said...

Iain

If we should have an equality quango at all it should be one, which promotes brilliance and ability above all other considerations. You could call it the commission for merit and ability (CFMA).

Chris Paul said...

Trevor was against combination of CRE, EOC etc. He has come out with dozens of idiotic bon mots. He has so far lost 7 or 15 commissioners and word is it will shortly become 9 of 15 i.e. 60%. He's very much part time. The boundaries are a bit blurred though. he sems to have given his mate a job on PR. And there is this thing of him hiring back people who have taken redundancy packages expressly ruling out re-hire.

And then there's this story of him threatening to go over to Cameron if he did not get another term.

He's useless. It's not a question of left, right or centre. He's just useless as a strategic leader, as a ginger groupie, as a mirror to grass roots diverse communities and communities of interests.

Don't underestimate the trouble he had accepting the concept of CRE being part of any wider equality movement. We had the same almost 25 years ago in Manchester. We had the equivalent of the EHCR but we had to have a separate Race Unit.

Tedious. Bad politics. Useless.

Shami C should have been given the CRE post and the EHRC post as well.

Jabba the Cat said...

Alibaba Brown has always had her head so far up her arse that she cannot see daylight...

Anonymous said...

Scrap the EHRC! I'm for equal rights NOT special rights.

Anonymous said...

How about the Equalities Commission take up the fight for once married, hetrosexual, white, middle aged, working males?

After all, there aren't many of us left? We must be about the smallest and put upon minority in the country.

Thought not.

Anonymous said...

Lester Holloway..

'...surely we need a body to fight for equality? Tell me why we don't.'

Because we ain't all equal, that's why. And to be honest, it would be one sorry world if we were. After all, everyone in Russia was 'equal', only some more equal than others, and that wasn't the happiest place in the world was it?

Next.

Jabba the Cat said...

@ Lester Holloway..

"...surely we need a body to fight for equality? Tell me why we don't."

Because inequality is the natural order of things. It always was, and always will be.

Anonymous said...

Serious thought should go into scrapping it. The country is in huge debt. We have to find savings and we want to protect health etc. This quango look like they have deselected themselves.

johnpaul said...

if YAB is agaisnt him, I;m pro him, Does she think if the tories get in they'll apoint someone like her