Monday, August 06, 2007

At Least.... Glug.... We're.... Glug.... Diverse.

Someone call Diane Abbott, because we know how upset she is by racism. If she can drag herself away from attacking the Boris National Party perhaps she could turn her attention to this case:
A teenage science student has been banned from applying for a training programme with the Environment Agency because she is white and English....

...Three days later, PATH recruitment officer, Bola Odusi, replied: "Thank you for your enquiry unfortunately the traineeship opportunity in <\[>sic] targeted towards the ethnic minority group to address their under representations in the professions under the Race Relations Act amended 2000."
Ethnic minorities in this sample included those oppressed minorities the Scottish, the Irish and the Welsh! Actually Diane Abbott is probably not the right woman for the job because the student is blonde and blue eyed, though thankfully not Finnish. Of course the big issue here isn't some hypocritical champagne socialist but rather the perversity of racist recruitment practices in the public sector, which is illegal in theory. Here is what the CRE report about how the Environment Agency conducts its race relations:

The Environment Agency is responsible for protecting and managing the environment in England and Wales. ..

Beyond 'value for money', the procurement objectives of the Environment Agency include 'best practice' and 'least impact on the environment'. For the Environment Agency, 'best value' does not always mean lowest cost.

'We're a complex organisation and we ask for a lot more now from our suppliers, not just in relation to price and quality but, for example, health and safety and environmental criteria. If we take on new suppliers, it is critical that they understand what we are looking for and we understand their requirements and limitations.'

Being a government organisation makes the agency accountable for public money. At the same time it has a statutory duty under the Race Relations Act 1976 (RRA) to promote race equality in all its activities, including procurement. The Environment Agency does not see these as conflicting demands.

'As a business, to succeed, we need to ensure that our supply base reflects the population and businesses we serve.'

In other words, "we might completely fuck up little things like building flood defences, but at least our incompetence is delivered in a suitably diverse manner". Exactly why it is important that their suppliers reflect the population is left unexplained, personally an awful lot of my purchases of late have been made in China and the nearest I get to being Chinese is a fondness for Sweet and Sour Chicken.

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