A bid to protect Northerners from discrimination has led to criticism of over-the-top equality legislation by a national newspaper commentator.
Melanie Phillips, writing in the Daily Mail, asks: “Can outlawing discrimination against people with sticking-out ears, a belief that Elvis has been reincarnated or a penchant for shapeless cardigans be far behind?”
She said the Equality Bill is “the latest manifestation of this Government’s unshakeable attachment to what it calls ‘equality’ but might more properly be called the imposition of injustice upon groups of which it disapproves.”
The commentator lambasted the Equalities Minister’s “fanatical determination to wield the blade against all who are getting in the way of the egalitarian utopia – such as men, white people, heterosexuals, the able-bodied, the middle classes and now the entire population of London and the Home Counties”.
Melanie Phillips added: “To create this new social order, it has to destroy the old. And so Christians in particular are finding that in this Orwellian universe some are definitely more equal than others.”
Harriet Harman is responsible for the Equality Bill which has raised significant religious liberty concerns among Christian groups.
The Bill covers eight different groups which Miss Harman believes require special protection from inequailty.
Melanie Phillips echoed the concerns of groups including The Christian Institute about plans to force churches to accept practising homosexuals in roles such as youth workers.
She said: “As the Christian Institute has protested, forcing religious bodies to employ people whose views or behaviour conflict with the principles of such bodies is a bit like demanding that the Labour Party employ card-carrying Conservative members.”
Harriet Harman’s office recently announced it was looking at proposals which would ensure that boards of publicly-funded organisations are not dominated by people from the South East.
Melanie Phillips said: “Not content with setting herself to eradicate discrimination against women, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered, disabled or black people as well as all ethnic minorities, she has now discovered yet another form of prejudice – discrimination again Northeners.”
She wondered if Miss Harman could “perhaps enlighten us whether it would be merely those currently living in such areas who would be preferred – or everyone with a regional accent, perhaps, or ancestors from Tyneside or the Wirral?”