The free market and discrimination


by Rumbold
25th March, 2010 at 10:02 pm    

There has been a great deal written about the decision of bed and breakfast owner Ms. Wilkinson to turn away a gay couple because she disapproved of their sexuality. Ms. Wilkinson claimed that they hadn’t given her any warning of their sexuality (why should they have?) and there were no other rooms available to place them in. Ms. Wilkinson is in the wrong. If you take bookings from people you can’t then turn them away because you don’t like their sexuality, since that condition wasn’t stated as part of the agreement.

What should be the legal position on this though, given that Ms. Wilkinson might face prosecution? Initially I took the line that the consumer should decide. Let people who aren’t homophobes (and don’t approve of sheer rudeness) stop doing business with them. As Graeme Archer put it:

Ms Wilkinson, I hope you don’t end up being prosecuted. But you should edit your website. Remove the nonsense about a ‘warm & friendly welcome’, and replace it with words that express what you really mean: ‘No Poofs’. Then we’ll let the market decide what happens to your business.

Yet this is not an entirely satisfactory solution. In of itself it doesn’t really matter. One small guest house’s policies won’t affect anything. However, what if this happened in a different setting on a larger scale; would it be okay for the market to decide in a, say, a BNP-supporting village with five shops, all of whom decided not to serve non-whites? Free marketers like myself would (rightly) say that someone would see a gap in the market and sell to non-whites, but that would take time. America had legalised segregation (the Jim Crow laws) in the South for a long time, and that helped to entrench racism and division.

I don’t think Ms. Wilkinson should be prosecuted, but I am unsure of how the law should be framed in a situation that shouldn’t be solely left up to the free market (given the precedents of yesteryear).


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  1. pickles

    Blog post:: The free market and discrimination http://bit.ly/aE5uRv




  1. David O'Keefe — on 25th March, 2010 at 10:38 pm  

    You haven’t thought this one through have you?

    Of course back in the 1950s the Ms Wilkinson’s put up signs stating “No Dogs, No Blacks,No Irish” this is another example of the free-market in action, or the free-market of race relations to be more precise. Not nice is it?

    Some things, Rummmy, need to be regulated because people are not always nice to each other. Its time that you and your libertarian chums acknowledged that salient fact or reality as I prefer to call it.

    Libertarian realises the limits of the free market has metaphysical breakdown is more apt title in my view.

  2. Trofim — on 25th March, 2010 at 11:34 pm  

    Blimey, Mr O’Keefe, you’re very preoccupied with niceness (whatever it is) aren’t you? Why should the world be nice? Why should people be nice to each other? Is it a moral requirement? Would the world fall apart if we stopped being nice to everybody? Would it be nice to prevent a Daily Mail reader from forcing his way into your house? Well then.

  3. Dave North — on 26th March, 2010 at 2:36 am  

    Trofim.

    It’s nothing to do with being nice.

    This woman is running a business, thus providing goods and or services.

    She chose to discriminate against this couple which is against the current laws of the land.

    She either runs her business within the legal framework or she shuts it down.

    No exemptions for faith.

  4. Laban — on 26th March, 2010 at 7:35 am  

    I’ve searched the Web for evidence of ‘No Dogs, Blacks or Irish’ and found

    one B&W photo which looks genuine (to me – I’m not an expert)

    5,293 quotes about it in the context of how awful we used to be, mostly by people who weren’t around at the time – like Mr O’Keefe.

    half a dozen memoirs written in recent years by people who were there at the time, but all in the context of Life wasn’t easy for a young labourer from Ballinspittle in the Birmingham of 1957. It was a time when landladies signs said ‘No Blacks, Dogs or Irish’.

    I just have a feeling it may be a liberal myth like the thousands of of back-street abortion deaths pre-1967.

    Re the Wilkinsons, social change in this area has been remarkably swift. Forty five years back, the Wilkinsons could have called the police and had their visitors arrested and charged. Had they welcomed them, they may have been prosecuted for keeping a disorderly house or maybe even conspiracy. Now it’s compulsory to let them in.

  5. platinum786 — on 26th March, 2010 at 8:50 am  

    I don’t think what they did was fair to the gay couple. may not approve of homosexuality, but that doesn’t mean you should go about discriminating against people who are homo’s. This was discrimination. If she turned down a black couple, a muslim couple etc, it would have been the same.

    I did find the irony of DailyMail commentators great fun. They were all up in arms defending this woman, but the shoe was on the other foot when last month it was reported an employer was choosing not to employ former servicemen. Apparently discriminatio of political beliefs is abhorrent, but along the lines of sexuality isn’t.

  6. Kismet Hardy — on 26th March, 2010 at 8:57 am  

    Perhaps she was worried the gays would put her maid out of a job because the gays are super-tidy with tight vests that are whiter than white and then there’s the house music, which isn’t bed and breakfast music so the other guests may get confused and start experimenting and then the world might end

  7. Trofim — on 26th March, 2010 at 9:22 am  

    3 @ Dave North
    Of course, I was just spicing up the discussion. It’s goods and services, and the law is the law. But I don’t believe it’s obligatory in law to be nice to those to whom you provide goods and services.
    You can’t suppress human nature and human impulses, no matter how many laws you deluge the populace with.
    On the other hand, should this government ever have the opportunity again, I wouldn’t put it past them to try to micromanage even this, and pass some law requiring providers to behave nicely towards their customers oh, except really bad categories of people, such as BNP, EDL and that good old whipping boy, the Daily Mail reader.

  8. persephone — on 26th March, 2010 at 9:25 am  

    Mrs Wilkinson reminded me of that episode in Fawlty Towers where Basil suspected a couple (who were sharing a room) of being unmarried.

  9. platinum786 — on 26th March, 2010 at 10:21 am  

    Gays are tidy? I haven’t heard that one before. Do gays make good neighbours?

  10. Trofim — on 26th March, 2010 at 10:34 am  

    Anyone see the film Caramel, set in Beirut, recently, where the hotel reception staff all require evidence of marriage before allocating a room to a couple? It’s still common practice.

  11. sarah — on 26th March, 2010 at 10:48 am  

    Agree with platinum786 @5. This was discrimination and if discrimination is illegal against everyone else then it should be illegal in this case too. what a shame these things still happen in this country in this century.

  12. Turnip — on 26th March, 2010 at 10:56 am  

    With a time machine with its dials set to c. 1955, we could easily lure semi-professional reactionary Laban aboard – and be rid of his ridiculous and offensive crap for once and for all.

  13. cjcjc — on 26th March, 2010 at 10:58 am  

    platinum – yes we are and do
    though we prefer neighbours who don’t disapprove of “homo’s”

  14. Trofim — on 26th March, 2010 at 11:58 am  

    13
    Generalisation or what? Is there really no such thing as an untidy gay person? Is there research to support this assertion?

  15. cjcjc — on 26th March, 2010 at 12:05 pm  

    No – but I bet you could get funding!

    No doubt the results would mirror this kind of shocking finding:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20100325/sc_livescience/bulliespickonunpopularkidsstudyfinds

  16. Bishop Hill — on 26th March, 2010 at 1:10 pm  

    And close down all those hotels for gays too.

  17. Rumbold — on 26th March, 2010 at 8:08 pm  

    David O’Keefe:

    The problem is, how do you draft the law?

  18. KJB — on 27th March, 2010 at 12:21 am  

    Oh, I’m loving Laban’s and Trofim’s comments! Laban can’t find evidence of things that happened well before the Internet on the Internet – so they must be a liberal myth. Do you turn everything you dislike into a ‘liberal myth’ and ignore it/rail pointlessly against it, then? Sounds like the standard right-wing strategy that’s worked so well for the Republicans over healthcare and the Vatican over child sex abuse.

    Whereas Trofim thinks that the Daily Mail reader is seen as a ‘whipping boy.’ Awww, yes, poor Daily Mail readers. How dare the government try to pander to them, especially on issues like immigration! Let me guess, you don’t happen to be white, do you?

    And your comment at #7 is nonsense – no-one is asking them to ‘suppress human nature and human impulses.” It’s a basic question of following the law. I may want to murder my brother at times, but I know that there are laws against it. If you’re going to run a business, it’s vital to engage one’s brain and check what the law is beforehand instead of thinking that you’re a special snowflake. How on Earth did this woman manage to get them booked in and everything and only realise they were gay when they wanted to share a bed? She doesn’t sound the brightest. Furthermore, it’s not like she would be sharing the bedroom with them, is it?

    Rumbold – congratulations on being the only (white male) libertarian who remotely manages to handle reality! I’m quite pleased that you at least understand, or care about, how the process of entrenching prejudice works. Those who fight for equal treatment don’t care about the likes of Laban and Trofim – they’re more bothered with the rest of the population (like yourself), and bringing them up to speed with the nature of reality.

    As you have the right to your self-indulgent, self-deluding prejudices, so the rest of us have the right to mock your bigotry. I can almost hear the quiver in Laban’s voice in his final paragraph. Haha.

  19. Sarah AB — on 27th March, 2010 at 6:28 am  

    Going back to David’s comment (1) I thought Rumbold articulated the *limitations* of a ‘libertarian’ approach – I think I went through the same patterns of response when the relevant laws were passed a few years ago.

    I remember being quizzed very searchingly by a prospective landlady in Scotland about whether I was *really* married (I was). Then she asked if I could produce a reference from a clergyman! I went elsewhere.

  20. Trofim — on 27th March, 2010 at 8:06 am  

    I can’t for the life of me, understand why someone shouldn’t refuse to have me as a visitor in their house, for money or otherwise, on whatever rationale they wish. It’s their choice. If they don’t want an Englishman, a person with a pale complexion, or a Daily Mail reader in your territory, why not? That’s fair enough. Why force people who feel animosity towards each other to endure each other’s company? If they don’t want you, you go elsewhere. That’s what the market means. I used to go to this asian barber. I sensed that he didn’t feel comfortable with me in his chair, as he responded to my conversational attempts monolingually. I decided not to impose my presence on him, and went to another one.
    As I said earlier, I don’t see why you can’t give fair warning in your notice in the window thus: “Bed and Breakfast. We detest people with pale complexions/black people/people in burqas, but we accept their business, because the law compels us to”.
    I would put: “Bed and Breakfast: I detest the sound of an estuary accent, but people who are unfortunate enough to have one are welcome here”.

    KGB @ 18:
    me white? Please, please KGB. I might have done some bad things in my life, I might have dashed children against walls, I might have killed my granny and made her into a sandwich (with French mustard and lettuce), I might have a pale, slightly pinkish complexion (quite reddish-pink after exercise, and brownish in the summer) but I beg you, please, don’t call me white. It’s so hurtful. Hang on, I think I might have disregarded the comment guidelines. Don’t they say that you shouldn’t attempt irony or humour with members of the easily upset community?

  21. MaidMarian — on 27th March, 2010 at 11:19 am  

    I’ll tell you what the problem is here Rumbold. It is a problem that raises it’s head in any number of areas – legislation for motive.

    I don’t know these guest house owners. They may be KKK members or they may be the nicest people you could wish to meet for all I know. And because I don’t know them I don’t know if their motives were hate, religious dogma or something else. What I do know however is that legislating for their motive is a mug’s game.

    But this is deeper – it speaks to some of the worst trends in society and the legislation it has demanded. We have wanted to legislate for the motives of groups who meet on street corners, people drinking alcohol, buying products that may or may not be used for bombs and so on. What this has left us with is a situation where our worst fears and paranoias are indulged and we knee-jerk suspect everyone.

    Ask the neighbours, ‘is it OK for my Dad and myself to stand on the corner and talk about Wigan crushing Leeds last night?’ and, ‘would you mind if a few people gathered on that corner to talk about a few things,’ and see how different the reactions are.

    It has also left us with a situation where people who know who to tick the boxes of spurious ‘tests’ and ‘criteria’ gain most whilst those at the bottom of the pile are treated badly because of the suspicion being a driving factor of legislation. Hence the benefits system often fails to help whilst radical preachers get thousands.

    The only area I can think of where avoiding legislation for motive is impossible is immigration.

    What the story in the article speaks to is a near total lack of trust in people and a belief that the role of the law is to legislate to protect us personally. It’s cobblers. The business in the article is private and, provided they did not get the shotguns out, it would be wrong to legislate for the motives of the owners, like it would be wrong to legislate for the motives of the four hooded young men on the corner outside my window right now.

    I would however add, if they are reading this, that whilst it is not my place to legislate for their actions I am entitled to say that they disgust me.

  22. Edwin Greenwood — on 27th March, 2010 at 11:44 am  

    “One small guest house’s policies won’t affect anything. However, what if this happened in a different setting on a larger scale; would it be okay for the market to decide in a, say, a BNP-supporting village with five shops, all of whom decided not to serve non-whites?”

    Then I guess the non-Whites would have to go somewhere else to shop. After all, you were quite happy with that free-market outcome in your earlier post about KFC’s trialling of a halal-only outlet in Burton-on-Trent, Rumbold.

    “A private business decided not to sell an item which it is not obliged to sell, and had stopped offering in that branch. KFC are responding to what they see as market signals. Nobody is obliged to eat there:

    Mr Phillips was told he would have to travel to another KFC five miles away to buy his bacon burger. He protested that this was too far for him to travel.”

    You seem curiously selective in your arguments. Both cases involve discriminating against customers on the basis of religious belief.

    Suppose someone set up a guesthouse targeted at gay male couples and excluded straights on the grounds that their presence made the gay guests uncomfortable? How would you respond to that? On balance I favour Graeme Archer’s approach: allow the proprietor to freely advertise the guesthouse as “No poofters” if they wish and let the market decide.

  23. damon — on 27th March, 2010 at 11:58 am  

    Maybe all B and B proprietors should be sent on diversity awareness courses. Some aunties of mine in Ireland have run them since the 1970s and I would reckon that they are in real need of what KJB calls ‘bringing up to speed’.
    Just as well that my granny died years ago, as she used to live with one of my aunts and might not get all these modern ways.

    I’m not sure about these fast track tactics to achieving equality in every sphere of life. Should churches and mosques be forced to preform gay civil partnership ceremonies?

    The next logical step might be to go after people in professions who don’t have the ‘right views’ on a whole host of issues.
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php/site/article/8338/

    And I didn’t think Laban’s comments were so bad here.
    I thought he was just making a couple of fair points.

  24. Edwin Greenwood — on 27th March, 2010 at 12:08 pm  

    KJB:

    Laban can’t find evidence of things that happened well before the Internet on the Internet – so they must be a liberal myth.

    Ridiculous argument.

    On the whole I agree with Laban’s conclusion. The “No Coloureds, No Irish, No Dogs” phenomenon, to the extent that it existed at all, has been much exaggerated for political purposes. I was a child in the 1950s and an adolescent in the early 1960s. I certainly don’t remember it being an issue. Not that there were any Blacks or South Asians where I grew up, but there were loads of Irish. (Actually, as I recall 1950s/60s Manchester, Irish Catholics were in the political ascendancy and used to discriminate against us English Protestants.)

  25. MaidMarian — on 27th March, 2010 at 12:36 pm  

    damon – Well, yes. Those dreadful diversity courses and the thinking that inspires them are assuming motives, that people are likely racist etc.

    That said, organised religion (as per your example) is rather different from a B/B in that organised religion is not something where you can use another service as such. To the extent that you are talking about organised religion is not the private sphere as is a B/B.

    This is not to say that religion should be forced to respect gay partnerships, just to say that religion is not the same set of arguments as for a B/B.

    Edwin Greenwood – What part of Manchester is that/ Certainly Newton Heath in the 1970s had plenty of Asians, my grand parents Neighbours were Asian.

  26. Philip Hunt — on 27th March, 2010 at 12:50 pm  

    The BNP typically polls 2-3% in elections, and 70-80% of the public disapprove of them. So it would be very surprising if all 5 shops in a village supported them.

  27. Rumbold — on 27th March, 2010 at 1:56 pm  

    MaidMarian:

    What the story in the article speaks to is a near total lack of trust in people and a belief that the role of the law is to legislate to protect us personally. It’s cobblers. The business in the article is private and, provided they did not get the shotguns out, it would be wrong to legislate for the motives of the owners, like it would be wrong to legislate for the motives of the four hooded young men on the corner outside my window right now.

    I would however add, if they are reading this, that whilst it is not my place to legislate for their actions I am entitled to say that they disgust me.

    I agree with you that it is nigh on impossible (or desirable?) to legislate for motive. That is why I am uncomfortable when ‘hate crimes’ get tougher sentences that the same crimes carried out for different motives.

    I also would like to agree with you wholeheartedly that the decision on Ms. Woodward should be left up to the market. But I can’t. Not because of the impact on that one couple, but the wider societal ramifications if plenty more people discriminated against group x or group y (which history shows us is decidedly possible). The burden of proof should of course be on the allegedly offended party, and they should have to prove how they were discriminated against. I don’t know what the punishment should be (probably a fine, certainly not jail), but the burden of proof should be high. This, coupled with the free market, should suffice for the most part.

    Edwin Greenwood:

    The two stories are completely different. One is about the decision of a shop not to sell a particular product, the other is about a B&B turning away a couple after agreeing to let them stay because of their sexuality (an inherent quality).

    Philip Hunt:

    It was a hypothetical example.

  28. Trofim — on 27th March, 2010 at 2:15 pm  

    Gays of my acquaintance have tended to feel most comfortable in a milieu where straight people are a minority, if present at all, which is why there are gay clubs. Come to think of it, I’ve definitely come across holiday retreats run by gays with gay people in mind. They don’t ban straight people, but I’m sure that at the time of booking a little “Oh, incidentally, most of our guests are gay” would suffice to deter the intolerant.

    And the 1950′s are hugely misrepresented in the media, but that is part of a general meme now, because in the worldview of the chattering classes, particularly the metropolitan ones, life was barely tolerable until Windrush and after, when at last it gradually became worth living.
    I do know there was a certain amount of misinformation in the 1950′s. My relatives wanted to have me stay for a few days in far-off Birmingham, 26 miles away, but a completely different world from the rural idyll of my Worcestershire home. It turned out that Sparkhill didn’t have fireworks as the name had suggested to my mind, and the promise of seeing coloured people turned out to be a lie. They weren’t like rainbows at all, but they were just various shades of boring brown. I can still remember my disappointment.

    And as for diversity courses, with their “listen up Whitey, it’s all your fault” ethos, I’ve never seen such an effective way of turning people rightwards. Could we have a big nationwide one on May 5th?

  29. Edwin Greenwood — on 27th March, 2010 at 2:51 pm  

    MaidMarian:

    What part of Manchester was that?

    Moston. Which is of course adjacent to Newton Heath. But remember that I was referring to the 1950s and early 1960s, not the 1970s. I don’t remember seeing any Black or Brown people at all in Moston in the Fifties. There may have been a few there, but if there were, they were keeping a very low profile. There were a few Poles and Ukrainians left over from the Second War, a sprinkling of Italians and more Irish than you could shake a stick at.

    My primary school in Moston was certainly 100% White. In 1959 I started at grammar school (in South Manchester), which seemed excitingly cosmopolitan at the time: at least six out of the 630 boys on the roll were from visible ethnic minorities.

  30. douglas clark — on 27th March, 2010 at 2:54 pm  

    I find the arguement about ‘markets’ a bit hard to understand in this context.

    It seems that the free marketeers that have commented here are willing to use the private sector as a wedge strategy in attempting to reverse the far wider anti-discrimination legislation.

    Personally, I’d have made the same decision as Sarah AB @ 19 had I encountered that level of prejudice. If we are merely looking for a pragmatic solution, then that’s it.

    However, if I was forced to make a stand, I would come down on the side of anti-discrimination legislation. There are quite a lot of examples of ethnic and other minorities – whether white or brown or black – that have been discriminated against by folk that lump themselves together into a spurious ‘majority’. That discrimination was as evident in the private sector as it was in the public sector.

    Slightly off topic, I know, but it is not that long ago that female bank employees were paid off if they ‘fell pregnant’. And that was the married ones!

  31. earwicga — on 27th March, 2010 at 5:30 pm  

    Also off topic – I was interested in Laban’s comment that NINA and NINB signs are an urban myth as I have come accross this in many books I’ve read including Peter Tyrrell’s ‘Founded on Fear’ which I am reading at the moment.

    Apparently these signs are to be found in Poland today: http://www.independent.ie/national-news/no-irish-need-apply–polish-builders-get-their-own-back-1589265.html

    And just about every accomodation to let advert today says ‘no dss, no dogs’. Wonder if that will be dismissed as an urban myth in 50 years…

  32. KJB — on 27th March, 2010 at 7:46 pm  

    earwicga – Ta.

    Trofim – reading comprehension is useful when responding to a comment. My name is KJB – or perhaps you were making a particularly shit joke?

    Don’t they say that you shouldn’t attempt irony or humour with members of the easily upset community?

    You tell me – your overreaction to my question about you being white was hilarious. It is certainly an unwritten rule of blogging and commenting that one should be able to read and process complex sequences of information before responding. You’re just one of those CIF-style ‘rebels’ who fails on that front, though, aren’t you? Your comment at #28 is also beyond parody – I love it.

    Edwin Greenwood – Majestic. The only thing you have to ‘attack’ my argument is that you don’t agree with it. Follow the advice above about learning to read – oh, and anecdotal evidence is not ‘proof’. Plus, I don’t ever take BNP-loving trolls seriously as a rule. So you can punctuate? Bully for you!

    Oh, and as both of you are self-important pub bores – unlike the vast majority of white British people, (including many of our readers and commenters) as I mentioned earlier – you might not want to visit a blog that’s not all about you in future given that your precious opinions will be tested against reality.

  33. Trofim — on 27th March, 2010 at 8:54 pm  

    32
    According to your blog you don’t frequent pubs, ipso facto your acquaintance with pub bores must be limited? I don’t go in the pub enough to be a bore, really, except the Camp Inn at Grimley – you know, off the A443, the one where you go down the track a mile or two, as far as the hop-fields, and there’s a sign saying “No dogs, no Londoners”. You know the one, surely? We had a black bloke in there once. He’s my nephew-in-law.

  34. damon — on 27th March, 2010 at 9:07 pm  

    Dublin is providing a lot of services for its poorest and homeless communities. And the Eastern European people are more than ‘well represented’ at the Salvation Army Hostel called Cedar House, and all the other night shelters …. and at ”Brother Luke’s” center run from a catholic church which provides berakfast and dinner, seven days a week to hundreds.
    I know because those are the places I go to sleep and eat.
    I hope the Polish and and other East Europeans will remember this too when/if they return home.

  35. Naadir Jeewa — on 27th March, 2010 at 11:35 pm  
  36. MaidMarian — on 28th March, 2010 at 12:26 am  

    Trofim – No dogs, no Londoners.

    If I ever own a pub, I would probably welcome dogs, but not Londoners. Have you ever seen Withnail and I?

    ‘Help us…We’re not from London!.’ I love it.

  37. Trofim — on 28th March, 2010 at 8:28 am  

    Maid Marian @ 36
    Only kiddin about the sign. Don’t report me to the equality people. When you’re sitting in the balmy sunshine under willow trees, the lapping of the river Severn against the bank, surrounded by clucking hens, quacking ducks and peacocks, the sound of cockney smart-arses grates on the ear.
    I’d never heard of Withnail and I. Must be a gap in my education.
    What strikes me, in the context of this post, is KJB’s words: “you might not want to visit a blog that’s not all about you in future given that your precious opinions will be tested against reality”. Sounds like an invitation not to impose my presence here.

  38. Rumbold — on 28th March, 2010 at 10:21 am  

    Naadir:

    I would be interested to hear your take on the matter. I don’t agree with Hannah Arendt, not least because schools are in the public sphere (paid for by you and I).

  39. Edwin Greenwood — on 28th March, 2010 at 10:22 am  

    KJB:

    Edwin Greenwood – Majestic. The only thing you have to ‘attack’ my argument is that you don’t agree with it. Follow the advice above about learning to read – oh, and anecdotal evidence is not ‘proof’.

    My apologies. Your “argument”:

    Laban can’t find evidence of things that happened well before the Internet on the Internet – so they must be a liberal myth.

    struck me as self-evident nonsense which required no explication beyond drawing attention to it. OK, then: You were implying that the Internet (or more precisely perhaps the Worldwide Web) contains little or no data that predates its establishment. Ridiculous. The Web is just a medium, not an autonomous data-gathering entity. It is stocked with data by people, who have been busily adding historical information to it over the years. Much of the older data is not in searchable form yet and is therefore less accessible, but it’s getting there.

    Your argument was a vacuous throwaway. A simple rhetorical trick. OK?

    Plus, I don’t ever take BNP-loving trolls seriously as a rule.

    Cor! People have the infernal gall to disagree with you, so they’re “BNP-loving trolls” who should go away and stop disrupting the Righteous Love-In? You are a sockpuppet of sally at Liberal Conspiracy AICMFP. If the comment threads at PP consisted solely of folk saying

    “Bravo Sunny/Rumbold/Jai/earwicga! Excellent post, old fellow!”

    there wouldn’t be much point to them except perhaps to impart a warm glow of solipsistic self-satisfaction to the participants, would there?

    So you can punctuate? Bully for you!

    Reply of the month! Thank you, I shall treasure that. What you mean is that (a) I disagree with you and am therefore a fascist monster while (b) I fail to fit your cozy stereotype of “fascist monsters” as knuckledragging uneducated thugs who can barely string two words together.

    Your prejudices are showing, dear.

  40. damon — on 28th March, 2010 at 12:54 pm  

    I know that the members of my wider family in Ireland who run B/Bs are wary of having Irish Travellers staying.
    They don’t have signs in the windows saying ”No Travellers”, but being down by one of the ferry ports, they have had some encounters down the years with Irish Travellers going back and forth from Britain.

    Is that blind prejudice?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjiqE5mr_eg

    Same with the Roma from Eastern Europe here in Dublin.
    I think a lot of landlords might be reluctant to take in Roma families. Landlords tend to be a bit fussy about who their tenants are – and I’m afraid the Roma have not endeared themselves to the Irish.

    Dublin always has had a tradition of begging. Sitting in the street with a cup. It would seem from just walking around even this Sunday morning, that Roma make up the majority now.

    Again; is that pure prejudice?

    As for the ”No blacks, no Irish”… my Irish parents will talk of it also, though I’m not sure if they ever actually saw them themselves in late 50′s London.

    But there are certainly ”No DSS” on the card’s you get in shop windows for rooms and flats.

    As well as people suggesting their flat was suitable for ”professional people” or a ”single non smoking woman” – and there used to be signs saying ”No workmen”.

    And maybe that’s what the ”No Irish” signs meant back then. That the little old English landlady had a couple of rooms in her house but didn’t really want Irish bachelor labourers staying there.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQT3uhyHiYo&feature=related

    I was in Dubai in November, and it seems that this ”prejudice” is rampant amongst the poorest labourers who advertise for room mates from signs like this stuck all over the city.
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_Hq0IJdSo9-4/Rzq-rfGb_RI/AAAAAAAAAhw/sK_YqoZ9R9c/s400/Racism+c.jpg

    Understandably they want to share a living space with people who share their language, religion and diet.

  41. earwicga — on 28th March, 2010 at 1:01 pm  

    Damon – a quick google search shows this: http://www.communityha.org.uk/smartmove/no-dss Plus a quick search of my local paper shows that practically every advert says ‘no dss’ – it takes about 3 months for the council to sort HB claims round here and nobody wants to wait 3 months for rent, and neither should they have to.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:House_to_rent_no_dss.jpg

  42. damon — on 28th March, 2010 at 3:34 pm  

    nobody wants to wait 3 months for rent, and neither should they have to.

    I agree Earwicga.
    I’m pretty sure too that the ”No DSS” stance can also be a landlord prejudice against people who are signing on.

    I know from some family members who have had buy-to-let flats, that as landlords they have a lot of prejudices.
    Not about race or religion or sexuality, they just don’t want (what they would see as) ‘deadbeats’ in the property which is the biggest financial investment in their lives.

    As for ”no blacks” back then in the 50s and 60s, I look back and wish it could have been different.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pYQQW5jMEw&feature=related

    But I can’t condemn those white people too much, as they never knew any different.

  43. earwicga — on 28th March, 2010 at 3:46 pm  

    damon, you’ve reminded me of Andrea Levy’s ‘Small Island’ – think I’ll dig it out and read it again, ta.

  44. Trofim — on 28th March, 2010 at 9:39 pm  

    If you’re ever in Cardiff, this place is hetero-friendly:

    http://tyrosa.com/

  45. earwicga — on 28th March, 2010 at 10:35 pm  

    Looks good Trofim, but the website says rosa is Welsh for pink – which it isn’t, unless it is a particular thing to Cardiff.

  46. damon — on 29th March, 2010 at 5:17 pm  

    Maybe British Army recruits should be brought to stay at places like Ty Rosa as part of their basic training/conditioning.

    And be encouraged to hang out for a couple of nights in what Ty Rosa’s website calls ”Cardiff’s gay scene”.

    It might work wonders for breaking down homophobia in the ranks.

    Back in the ”bad old days” The Green Howards Regiment used to get called homophobic names like ‘The Gay Gordons’ by other regiments.

    Just as well the regiment was amalgamated with others and the name lost to history.

  47. douglas clark — on 29th March, 2010 at 5:38 pm  
  48. Trofim — on 29th March, 2010 at 6:07 pm  

    earwicga @ 45:

    So you’re Welsh are you? No offence, but I can’t help but think of Forficula auricularia when I see your name. I don’t know whether this is by design or accident. They are admirable creatures, being, I believe, the only insects which look after their young after birth.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forficula_auricularia

    I like the use of “generally” in this article:

    “They mostly appear frightening because their name literally means that they crawl into one’s ear and are rumoured to burrow into the human brain, but this is generally false”.

    That’s reassuring.

  49. KJB — on 29th March, 2010 at 10:16 pm  

    Trofim – Perhaps if you deal directly with the topic of the post at hand sooner in future, I might be more inclined to consider what you’re talking about. You got there eventually, I guess. Which is more than I can say for Mr. Greenwood…

    Dogwash:

    You were implying that the Internet (or more precisely perhaps the Worldwide Web) contains little or no data that predates its establishment.

    No – I wasn’t. I was mocking Laban for his ignorance in suggesting that ‘No Blacks’ etc. signs were a ‘liberal myth’ because he couldn’t find proof on the Internet. Anyone who makes such a sweeping and contentious generalisation wants to do their research first – by using things like properly-researched books, newspaper articles, archival material etc. Then again, racists and extremely right-wing bloggers are not big on intelligence or analysis, so I wouldn’t have expected you to realise this.

    Cor! People have the infernal gall to disagree with you, so they’re “BNP-loving trolls” who should go away and stop disrupting the Righteous Love-In?

    Nope. YOU are a BNP-loving troll, based on the rather, ahem, unambiguous content of your blog. Oh sure, you’re smarter than most of them and clearly pleased with yourself about it but anyone who writes:

    the BNP’s “racist” membership rules

    has sounded the white supremacist dog-whistle that I and many others know all too well. I’m not even going to address the rest of it.

    I disagree quite frequently with Sunny, and Rumbold and I are quite vehemently opposed on a great number of issues. However, they don’t pop up on far-right blogs pretending to be just another commentator, unlike yourself. What is it about left-leaning blogs that gets right-wingers so excited? Do you get lonely in your self-absorbed little bubble of ‘Dogwash’? We don’t find you funny, clever or insightful in any way, though commentators here and on Liberal Conspiracy will engage you to some extent, because they have good manners.

    You are a sockpuppet of sally at Liberal Conspiracy AICMFP.

    Nice try, but no cigar.

    What you mean is that (a) I disagree with you and am therefore a fascist monster while (b) I fail to fit your cozy stereotype of “fascist monsters” as knuckledragging uneducated thugs who can barely string two words together.

    What I mean is that (a) you are a self-important racist, as stated earlier while (b) you entirely fit my ‘cozy stereotype’ of self-important, ignorant, racist, right-wing blowhards who think that they are ‘libertarian’ and pop up on blogs where people have the gall to think differently, for the express purpose of hectoring, obfuscating and circle-jerking. See also: JuliaM, Tim Worstall (who does sometimes have good points to make, and appears to have become slightly more polite recently) and Laban. I’m sure there are others.

    Ironic that you talk about a ‘Righteous Love-In’ given that you appear to have come here to give your tragic fellow Righty Laban some wind in his sails.

    Still, I’m done with you now. I try not to give such blah more than about 3 posts. I get bored.

    Your prejudices are showing, dear.

    Darling – that was the whole point.

  50. Trofim — on 30th March, 2010 at 8:05 am  

    KJB @ 49
    You mean there is no place in a blog for a bit of light-hearted interchange or fraternisation? You must be a direct descendant of that officer who, when the German and British troops played football in No-Man’s-Land at Christmas during WW1, told them to get back to their trenches or they’d be shot. I think the blog format actually encourages polarisation and hostility, because only a small part of a person, their politics, is shown. If people met face to face, they might actually get on and moderate their positions more. Mark Steel, that lefty comedian, absolutely detested everything about Bob Monkhouse, until he met him, when he discovered, to his horror, that he liked him and they got on well. Heresy is necessary, and trolls are those who speak heresy.
    “Heretics are the only bitter remedy against the entropy of human thought.” Yevgeny Zamyatin.

  51. KJB — on 30th March, 2010 at 12:10 pm  

    You mean there is no place in a blog for a bit of light-hearted interchange or fraternisation?

    No, that’s not what I mean. I don’t consider your idiotic comment at #2 or at #28 ‘light-hearted interchange,’ though. Or ‘fraternisation.’

    Heresy is necessary, and trolls are those who speak heresy.

    Riiight. Is there an admission going on here?

    Explain how anything you said was ‘heresy.’ If, as you’ve implied constantly, you’re a Daily Mail reader, I fail to see what is in the least ‘heretic’ about your views, shared as they are by a best-selling newspaper! Haven’t you made comments about the ‘silent majority’ and all that other bullshit beloved of right-wingers before?

    Why, yes you have!

    Well, Sunny, I am used to seeing you and others frequently dismiss, write off, what are in actual fact, wide swathes of the population, in various derogatory terms – the Right, Conservatives, Middle England, the Daily Mail crowd and so on.

    A nice chance find, that was. http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/6461

    Again, one must ask why, if you are representative of ‘wide swathes of the population,’ your opinion matters at all here, on a forum for people primarily from minority groups and of liberal-left leanings? I mean, the kinds of things you say in are no way useful, funny or even new. I hear and see similar stuff on a daily basis. Your view might seem ‘radical’ to you here, but it is the mainstream everywhere else. Ergo, there’s no real need for you here. I guess it’s just not happening enough for you in your own little Middle-England sphere, eh?

    Sound off, of course – I’m not bothered about censoring you, contrary to what you might be hoping to believe. I don’t mind the differences of opinion, as I already mentioned to ol’ Dogwash above – I do mind the dishonesty, however. I was challenging your deluded perception of yourself as some kind of plain-speaking, truth-bringing rebel, fearlessly bringing the light of Middle England opinion into another ‘lefty echo chamber’ or whatever it is right-wingers are calling sites like this now. God forbid that a left-wing site be operating peacefully anywhere – people like you MUST come and save us from our ‘dogma’!

    You just happened to be the straw that broke the camel’s back, for a time. I’m bored of right-wingers turning up on left-leaning sites, making all the same kind of remarks as you have, with the same sense that they are being in some way ‘radical’ and challenging some sort of ‘left-wing orthodoxy’ that they create in their own fevered imaginations.

    Still, this was a one time Whack-a-troll bonanza for me – I am really quite bored of all this now. I think I will stick to my (and other regulars’) usual tactic of ignoring commenters such as yourself. :-D

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