Friday, 7 August 2009

Doncaster starts flushing itself down the toilet

Recently elected Mayor of Doncaster, Peter Davies, has been in office for about two months, and has already been making headlines. He was the English Democrat candidate for the position, standing on a platform of cutting "PC non-jobs", cancelling funding for Doncaster's Gay Pride march, and reducing the number of councillors in Doncaster to a third of what they were before his election. Before he had even managed to take up the role, he was pretty dramatically batted about by BBC Radio Sheffield's Toby Foster, and he has since done an about turn on one of his election promises, as Doncaster Council has now released the funding they had earmarked for the Pride march. A great start then. Boateng & Demetriou have a look through the rest of his policies here, as well as making predictions as to how successful he will be.

Mayor Davies is striding ahead regarding one of his manifesto points, though. The Sheffield Star announced today that Davies has brought in Laura and John Midgeley, heads of the Campaign against Political Correctness, to go through the services the council offer and decide which ones are PC, and which ones aren't. Apparently, the couple are "experts on the subject". One look at their website, which appears to have been designed in 1997 and shows no signs of being willing to come into the 21st century, will tell you otherwise. The Campaign feasts on half-truths and myths (the changing of Christmas to a Winter Festival by some councils is a favourite, even though such a thing has NEVER HAPPENED), believing that a few people occasionally getting the wrong end of the stick or being a bit jobsworthy constitutes a menace to society. My favourite part of the site is "Not in my name", where you can send in your details of who you are, and why you're against PC, and they'll detail it in a nice little table for you, categorising you by your minority, and thereby completely missing the whole point. They've even got a Twitter account, although they've not actually said anything on it. Or maybe they have, and it's been deleted by the PC Brigade.

One of the PC departments the CAPC are targeting is the Ethnic Minority Welfare Rights Service, which assists those of Ethnic minorities to gain benefits they are entitled to. This was set up following the Gus John Report of 2002, which showed that black people in Doncaster felt keen racial divides in the city and that the Council was institutionally racist and would not give the same assistance to ethnic minorities as it would the white population of Doncaster. The report itself was seen "as a watershed in Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council's relationship with black and minority ethnic communities". Now two people want to
close down something that is attempting to bring minorities into the community.

Not just 2 people though, two people unelected by the people of Doncaster. A better place to have this debate would be in the council offices of the city, where people of the borough, elected by people of the borough, could discuss it. Bringing in 2 people who don't live in Doncaster, who have no ideas of the needs of the people of Doncaster, and who have a pretty obvious agenda already, and letting them put big marker-pen crosses against jobs with the words ethnic, minority, and diversity, is not a great way to run a democracy.

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