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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Three Out Of Four Ain't Bad

You may recall (but probably won't) that I wrote a blog back in September about the four "persecution" cases that went to the European Court of Human Rights. It turns out that judgement has now been passed.

British Airways christian employee Nadia Eweida wins case

The headline is the BBC's, not my own. Personally? I would make a bigger deal about the three cases that were lost.

It's sad enough that the individuals in question thought that their human rights were being violated, while two of them were violating other people's human rights and another one was disobeying the strict rules of a hospital environment. And of course, me being me, I have something to say on each of these.

The first two cases - as I mentioned in my previous blog - are basically bigotry wrapped in a religious "don't persecute me" ribbon. However, when entering the European Court of Human Rights, one must remember that the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Denying people services they are legally entitled to because you disagree with their sexuality isn't a spirit of brotherhood.  It's the opposite. Ironicaly, if you had treated people with that same spirit of brotherhood as called for by the Universal Declaration, then you wouldn't have been sacked, and you wouldn't have been claiming that your Human Rights were violated. It's almost like a big karmic circle, isn't it?

Then we have the case about the nurse. The rules are there for a reason - that reason should be obvious - you accept those rules when you take on a position as a nurse. And I will be blunt: if you feel your need to express your faith in a visible way is more important than the rules that regulate your behaviour and standards in a hospital, you really need to not be working in a hospital.

But well done Nadia Eweida. Your insistence that needing to visually identify yourself as a Christian as an article of faith has won through, and now you can do it to your heart's content. Those who fly British Airways will be delighted to see that you are a Christian, I am sure.

I doubt you would be fighting so hard to willingly display your cross during the Lebanese Civil War, that my father fled Beirut to get away from. Wherein militants would stop buses, and pull everyone off the bus that was either a Christian (if they were Hezbollah) or a Muslim (if they were the Christian Phalangist militia), and that was the last you ever heard of them. I daresay you wouldn't declare your faith quite so loudly then. The wider world has undoubtedly heard of Hezbollah; if you arent sure who the Phalangists are, you might want to read up about the massacre at Sabra and Shatila.

But hey, what do I know about persecution?

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Awkward Truths

I'd like to preface this to say that neither am I an expert, nor an economist. I have as much financial expertise as the man running our economy.

As the economy is currently in such dire straits, and the ever-increasing price of fuel and bureaucracy makes owning a car a very expensive proposition in a time of austerity, one would think that we'd be encouraged to use public transport more. It is, unfortunately, a nice thought and nothing more, as Rail communters are hit by a 4.2% average fair rise. The amount the rail fares have been hiked by makes a mockery of how much anyone's pay has increased, if it has increaed at all - many public service workers will have no pay increase this year, as they had none last year, and will be capped at 1% for two more years afterwards. This is somewhat disgraceful in and of itself, given that inflation is currently figured to be 2.7% alone.

Which might go some way to explain why UK album sales suffered an 11.2% drop overall - though digital sales increased by 14.8%, actual physical sales decreased by 20%. Another potential explanation is that HMV's record section is rapidly shrinking, and is now about the same size (and offers about the same selection) as your average Tesco Extra. If you halve, quarter or even remove in some cases the niche areas of your CD selection, you can expect those niche buyers to go elsewhere for just about everything: if I find somewhere else to buy Lamb Of God, damn sure I'll buy Gorillaz there too.

But back to the trains. So, using a car has become more expensive, and will continue to do so. Trains are now more expensive likewise. Pay rates are effectively being cut across the board, if people can even keep their jobs. All of this austerity, all of this punishment, for sake of reducing a deficit that has actually become greater.

If only someone had told the government that austerity won't work.

Oh wait. We all did. (Go ahead and google "Austerity Won't Work" and look at how far back those articles date.)

If the next election yields a Tory government, I will be sorely pressed to not actually lose my mind.