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Nigel Farage Sparks Workplace Discrimination Debate

September 19th, 2015

“I think the situation that we now have, where an employer is not allowed to choose between a British-born person and somebody from Poland, is a ludicrous state of affairs”.

Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, has sparked debate on the political scene with his controversial proposals to abolish racial discrimination laws. He then went on to say:

“I would argue that the law does need changing, and that if an employer wishes to choose, or you can use the word ‘discriminate’ if you want to, but wishes to choose to employ a British-born person, they should be allowed to do so.”

Responses slammed Farage, including the PM, David Cameron calling him “wrong and desperate for attention”, and being described as “breathtakingly ignorant” by the Shadow justice secretary, Sadiq Khan.

When later being interviewed on Channel 4, Farage denied ever mentioning race. Despite this, when asked a direct question on whether there would be a law against discrimination on the grounds of race or colour, he replied no – offering these groups no protection as far as employment equality is concerned.

Ed Miliband has expressed his belief that the laws on equality represent ‘our values as a country.’ To which Farage replied “@Ed_Miliband The laws don’t represent these values, Ed. The British people do. We believe in Britain. You believe in bureaucracy.”

Bold words from a man who places the importance of Nationalism, over that of equality.

If an employer receives two applications for job, for example – practically identical, aside from the fact one was born in Britain, and one was born in Australia – there should be no fear of hiring the Brit over the Australian. That’s fair enough. But what Farage wants, extends further than that. If applying for Journalism, he argues that the employer has the right to hire the Brit with English at A-level or Higher English, over an Australian applicant with a degree in English Literature and a post-graduate in Journalism, – purely based on the fact the prior was born in Britain. This should be unacceptable. If British people want equal opportunities, they should put in an equal amount of work. Rather than expecting the company to train them, they need to put in the effort themselves – as the Australian has done by gaining the degree. The assignment of the job should purely be based on those best-suited to a job; regardless of race, nationality, gender or anything at all.

One of UKIP’s major concerns, is the right to freedom. What they fail to mention is that that freedom is exclusively for British people. Nationalism – the love for one’s country – is a great thing. It’s natural to come to love the place you call home, and it’s encouraged to be proud of everything they have accomplished and contributed. But when it is prioritised over equality, it becomes a problem.

Surprisingly however, he is not the first to suggest such drastic changes. Early in 2009, Gordon Brown came up with the phrase “British jobs for British workers.” Similar to Farage, he was branded racist for these remarks, yet received a lot of support. Whereas today, Labour regard the same ideas as “Shocking”. Furthermore, David Cameron was among others to criticise Farage, but in October 2013, he said “We must say no to giving work to immigrants just because our young people aren’t up to the job.” This statement is basically implying a less controversial alternative to abolishing the laws altogether, but allowing prioritising to occur.

When Sky News shared the report about Farage’s proposal to abolish race discrimination laws, there was a lot of feedback in the comments. Although mixed, it was surprising how many British people saw no problem with his plans. Top comments including “Nigel Farage isn’t racist he’s just saying what most people are thinking.” “Shock! A British Politician advocating employers operating in the UK to employ British people. How dare he stand up for the best interests of his own Country!!! – Quick! Get him to the Tower!!!” and “He said British born. He never mentioned a race. I stand behind him. British born should come first.”

Obviously there are a lot a hypocritical opinions bouncing around the political scene, but two wrongs don’t make a right. Opinions really depend on where the individual’s priorities lie. Come the General Election in May 2015, it’ll become clear whether UKIP have earnt their reputation as a dark horse, or whether their extremities are just a cry for attention.

Where do your priorities lie?

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