After School Detention

Back in August 2017 I wrote a post about a teacher in my old school who’d been jailed for sexually abusing boys when he was at previous schools. I didn’t link to the original news story or name the guy because I didn’t want my old school associated with him on the basis of my blog post. However, I can now say his name is Jonathan O’Brien and the story of his conviction is here. I am able to do so because of this new report:

A former teacher from Bosham has been jailed after being found guilty of indecent assault on a teenager.

Jonathan O’Brien, 61, was sentenced at Guildford Crown Court on Friday (24 May) having pleaded guilty to two counts of indecent assault in the 90’s when he worked at a West Sussex college.

PC Yvonne Daddow said: “This offending came to light when the victim contacted us for the first time in 2017. Having courageously come forward he supported our investigation and was ready to give evidence in court if necessary.

“It became clear that O’Brien had used an allegedly mutual interest in computers to in effect gradually ‘groom’ the boy into sexual activity, in O’Brien’s study at the school and his home in Oxfordshire. The boy kept the distressing experiences to himself for more than 20 years until an chance family discussion to some media coverage on the general subject of sexual offending triggered him into coming forward.”

I learned about this because my school sent a letter out to its former pupils informing us. This happened while I was at the school, and I have a good idea who the boy was. I have an even better idea of which other boys he may have been eyeing up for similar treatment, which earned him a reputation of a wrong ‘un among the pupils and at least one or two of the staff. I’m glad the boy in question came forward, and it’s a shame we were all a couple of years too young to have sorted O’Brien out ourselves. I hope the boy – now a man – feels a bit better now.


Anger Stirrer Spitter

Is everyone equal before the law in modern Britain? Judge for yourselves:

A man who spat on the front door of a mosque twice in the space of a week has been sentenced.

Police said Graham Marshall, of Birkin Avenue, Hyson Green, Nottingham, was caught on CCTV spitting at the Jamia Islamia Mosque on 16 and 22 December.

The 70-year-old was found guilty of two counts of racially-aggravated criminal damage following a trial.

Marshall was given a one-year community order and fined £200 at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court.

I actually don’t think the sentence or fine is harsh: spitting on the door of a mosque is a pretty disgusting, anti-social, and unnecessary thing to do. I just wonder whether the police would be as interested if anyone spat on the door of a church, synagogue, or ordinary front door.

Insp Riz Khan, from Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Marshall showed a complete disregard for the faith and belief of others in these highly offensive incidents.

Inspector Riz Khan seems to think showing a disregard for the faith and belief of others is a punishable offence. Like it is in Pakistan.

“The force takes any incidents of this nature incredibly seriously and they will not be tolerated.”

Burglaries, on the other hand, probably will but I suspect that too depends on who’s been burgled.


Pride Hailing App

In April last year I wrote a post about Uber hiring Bo Young Lee, an Asian lady who started her professional life as an Accenture consultant and thereafter spent 15 years working in diversity-related positions, in the new role of Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer. I suspect she’s had a strong hand in this:

As an asexual, Vietnamese-American, Heather is a force to be reckoned with on and off the road. When she’s not driving, Heather spends her time pursuing an acting career with the interest in bringing stories of powerful women to light.

I think this Twitter user puts it best:

There’s a whole page of this stuff, with each employee carefully placed in their little sexual identity box in front of the corresponding flag (it seems this heads-up and subsequent post came just in the nick of time).

Simply by sharing her story with us, Heather is already inspiring others. “I think I’ve always identified as asexual. Even when I was little. Because my crushes on people are usually aesthetic attraction, attraction to people’s personality, kindness or intelligence. But never sexual,” Heather said.

Uber’s Diversity & Inclusion department have handpicked Heather for special mention because she’s discovered this thing called friendship.

Whether about her race or sexuality, Heather makes an effort to change the way we communicate. “I think we could alter the language we use in our conversations with others. Ask people questions in a way that doesn’t imply something.” With her family and friends by her side, Heather’s unique view is empowering so many others.

Her view about as unique as a portrait of the Kims in a North Korean army base.

From an early age, Dom knew she was different from her friends. And in some ways, that may have made coming out a little easier, because many of her friends and family had already been suspecting.

But does she refrain from cancelling your trip when you’ve been waiting 40 minutes and the app says she’s now just 2 minutes away?

“I’m what people think a lesbian would look like. But I can see how that diminishes and erases half of a community,” Dom explained.

“Explained” is a little generous here, I feel.

As opposed to the pink shades of the lesbian flag, Dom more closely identifies with the rainbow flag. “What I like about the flag, is that it’s not unique to one identity. It reminds us that everybody has been in a similar situation in the past, and knowing that sort of ties us together in a community,” she elaborated.

This sounds awfully conservative. Are we sure she’s not a Trump supporter?

Now living with her fiancée in San Francisco, Dom defines success as being comfortable with who you are and living your personal truth. “You can’t measure yourself or your success against anyone else. If you can do that, the people who love you will be there.”

In the days of traditional cabs you ran the risk of a driver who’d rant about blacks taking over and would take you from Tower Hill to Soho via Thurso. Nowadays, thanks to technology, you get an Uber driver who shares their high-school intersectional philosophy with you.

With support from the Uber community, Lana found the courage to come out a second time as transgender. “It always felt disingenuous to wave around the rainbow flag because it’s largely been controlled by the gay man. The trans flag was at first a rejection of that. I like seeing the trans flag with all of the other flags. It shows we’re evolving,” Lana explains.

They’re really taking this flag stuff seriously, aren’t they? How long before factional rivalries spill over and “capture the flag” games start?

Though challenging at times, Lana’s journey has made her the activist she is today and she now stands with immense Pride. As one of the first people to openly transition at Uber, Lana pioneered the updated community guidelines for transgender employees and allies.

So Bo Young Lee delegated the writing of HR guidelines governing workplace behaviour to a trans-activist employee? What could go wrong?

Originally from Jamaica, Francois is currently a model and Uber driver-partner in New York City. “A lot of LGBTQIA+ people drive for Uber in New York City because it’s so hard to find employment where you’re actually accepted for who you are,” Francois explained.

I suspect the “who you are” in this context is more about your skills, experience, and immigration status than your sexual preferences, but it’s a neat conflation.

Identifying as genderqueer, Francois has felt misunderstood in the past. “People don’t get that being Genderqueer isn’t about me being able to wear a skirt and a dress. I have to think about all the different nuances of myself; my masculinity and my femininity. It’s not about cross-dressing, it’s about expressing who I am,” Francois said.

Does anyone else detect the strong whiff of narcissism which is common to all these profiles?

Francois feels that the genderqueer community is often misunderstood, and he encourages people to stop being shy and start asking questions.

Here’s mine: don’t you think it’s a little sad that your entire identity is wrapped up in your sexual preferences to the exclusion of everything else?

With the freedom to explore, Jacob now identifies as polysexual. “I’m attracted to a deep personal bond, I want to get to know who someone is as a person before I’m with them,” he explains.

As opposed to the rest of society which presumably gets married following a one-night stand.

Today, Trevor feels more empowered to identify as non-binary. “Some days I present as male, some days I present as more female.” For Trevor, discovering the non-binary flag was liberating. It meant representation, validation, and a place within the LGBTQIA+ community.

Does it now? In unrelated news:

On an operating basis, Uber losses widened to over $1 billion in Q1, up from a loss of $478 million in 2018.

It underscored the central challenge the company faces: Like other big tech companies going public this year, Uber has no immediate path to making money in a fiercely competitive sector.

Uber’s stock sank immediately after it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange on May 10, at the low end of its initial public offering range.

Now I’ve almost finished my MBA I think I can see the root cause of Uber’s financial difficulties: there is no polyamorous employee featured in their Pride page, and no polyamory flag. From now on I’m using Lyft, bigots!


Unfinished Izzyness

Staying on the topic of Australian labour laws and following on from this story, Israel Folau is back in the news:

Sacked former rugby international Israel Folau has launched legal proceedings with the Fair Work Commission against Rugby Australia (RA) and NSW Rugby for breach of contract.

Folau’s lawyers said under Section 772 of the Fair Work Act, it was unlawful to terminate employment on the basis of religion.

I had a feeling he might do this. Folau got into trouble for expressing views which form the basis of several mainstream religions, including his own, on his private Instagram feed. I don’t have much faith in any Australian judge not just ruling however progressives demand, but on the face of it I think he has a case. How can an organisation claim it does not discriminate on the grounds of religion – which is a set of beliefs – and then fire someone for expressing those beliefs outside the organisation?

RA and NSW Rugby released a statement confirming they would maintain their ground following Folau’s decision to launch legal action.

The organisations stated they “did not choose” to be in this position but they were committed to upholding the values of “inclusion, passion, integrity, discipline, respect and teamwork”.

Inclusion? That’s the word you’re going to go with here? And I notice you didn’t include tolerance.

“We will defend those values and the right for all people to feel safe and welcome in our game regardless of their gender, race, background, religion or sexuality,” the statement said.

We welcome people regardless of their religion provided they don’t express its underlying beliefs, even in a private capacity. This article does a good job of explaining the Gordian Knot identity politics has tied for itself:

Sport is to be commended for striving to uphold the best values of a modern society, but what happens when those values clash — the human right of sexual orientation versus the human right to freedom of religion?

Does quoting from the Bible constitute hate speech? Was Folau inciting violence?

There is little to no distinction between the “public face” of a sport and the “individual” who may want to express his or her own views or religious beliefs — as they are entitled to under the charter of Human Rights.

His Instagram account doesn’t describe him as a Wallaby or mention rugby at all. It says, “Israel Folau. Living for Jesus Christ. #TeamJesus.”

All eyes will be on the outcome of this court case. I hope Folau wins, but I won’t be holding my breath. Ultimately, it will come down to who sits higher in the victim hierarchy and we already know that gays outrank Christians by a mile and a half. But the courts are going to have to tread carefully because gays don’t outrank certain other religions, and unfortunately for progressives discrimination laws lump all religions in the same basket. The head honchos at world rugby must be praying Sonny Bill Williams doesn’t tweet anything similar before the world cup starts.


HR Case Study Answers

Thanks to everyone for their responses to yesterday’s HR poser. I think most people got halfway to finding a reasonable outcome, but I don’t think anyone got it completely. So first, here’s how I answered the question for my assignment.

My Approach

Let’s call the English blogger Tim, the Nigerian Adewale, and the Frenchman Gilles.

1. Gilles needs to read the article so he can discuss it factually. This will help him understand Adewale’s objections and, if he’s experienced and properly trained, understand the cultural context of the conflict.

2. Gilles should pass the article to legal, HR, the ethics committee or whichever department in the organisation is responsible for determining whether employees have broken the law or a company code of conduct. For information, the Company Code of Conduct states under “Political Activity”:

Employees who could be considered to represent the Group shall refrain from political activity in countries where they are not entitled to exercise political rights and where the Group operates. In addition, employees must refrain from doing anything that would be contrary to such countries’ traditions or cultures.

and they strive to uphold the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19 of which states:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

The Code of Conduct also says employees shall “refrain from intervening in the political arena of the countries in which they have no civil rights.” The company guideline on human rights states that:

By virtue of international Human Rights standards (notably the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), every individual has the right to freedom of opinion and expression. The right to freedom of opinion guarantees that no one should be harassed due to their opinions. All individuals also have the right to freedom of expression, which includes the freedom to seek, receive and disseminate any kind of information, provided that the privacy and reputation of third parties and the company are respected.

The reason Gilles seeks guidance on this is not to act on the information which comes back (necessarily), but to understand what his options are should reasonable attempts to solve the conflict fail. In negotiation terms this is called the Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA). I’m not a lawyer, but I think a good one could successfully argue my writing the blog post fell within the acceptable behaviour set out by the company’s governing documents, especially if it were in front of an Australian tribunal.

3. Gilles needs to talk to Tim and find out why he wrote the article, what he hoped to achieve, and to clarify certain points. In other words, intentions matter in these cases. So let’s say Tim gives his perspective (which I think you all know!).

4. At this point, if he is experienced and trained, Gilles should understand:

i) Tim sees a clear dividing line between his work and private life.

ii) Tim is aware of his rights under Australian law.

iii) Tim knows that he writes in a provocative, robust manner but did not intend to offend any individual, nor did he write it in the expectation any Nigerian would read it. In short, he did not deliberately set out to write an article which would upset his colleagues.

iv) Tim is displaying a degree of self-awareness and even social awareness, but self-management is lacking with the result that his relationship management is poor.

He should immediately recognise that Nos. i) and ii) are a product of Tim’s cultural background, i.e. the UK. Britain is (or was) a country of rules whereby people are generally free to engage in behaviour which is not explicitly prohibited (and yes, this applies in companies, clubs, and other organisations too). He thinks if the company says freedom of expression is allowed, then he is allowed to freely express himself.

By contrast, Adewale is from a culture where power is invested in the person, rather than distributed through institutions like in the UK. He therefore believes rules and procedures are subordinate to the will of the project director, and hence sees no reason why Gilles just can’t fire Tim. But Tim thinks Gilles has no such right as his power is severely limited by the company rules and national laws. And it is this cultural difference which is the root cause of the conflict.

5. Gilles needs to invite Adewale for a formal, structured conversation. He needs to try to get Adewale to specify exactly which words or phrases he found so offensive. This will help diffuse the anger and emotion from the conflict, effectively shifting it from an affective to cognitive conflict.

6. Gilles then needs to ask Adewale if he might soften his views in light of the fact Tim didn’t deliberately set out to upset his colleagues, nor was he targeting any individual. He was just sounding off as Brits tend to do. Perhaps arrange a phone call between the two, in which Tim can apologise?

7. If Adewale accepts, the conflict is resolved. If not, Gilles has 3 options:

i) Issue Adewale with a disciplinary warning for being unprofessional. This is probably unwise in an already heated situation.

ii) Do nothing and let Adewale resign (or not). This is dependent on how vital Adewale is to the project and how easily he can be replaced.

iii) Agree to fire Tim.

Let’s say he does No. iii).

8. If Gilles just fires Tim from the project, he risks at best a highly disgruntled employee and at worst a costly lawsuit. So it’s better to negotiate.

9. He should first ascertain how happy Tim is in his position in the first place. Maybe he doesn’t like Australia and would rather be somewhere else anyway? He should speak with the career managers and find out if there’s a half-decent position on another project, and then have a chat with Tim. He should start by saying there’s not a whole lot wrong with the article, but it’s inadvertently caused him a big headache and he’d really, really appreciate it if Tim would consider just stepping off the project to perhaps go and take up this other position. Gilles would consider it a favour, and he’d owe him a beer or two when they next meet up in HQ.

10. If Tim agrees to this – and he would – the conflict is resolved. However, Gilles’ authority in Nigeria has been severely undermined. This is was probably the plan all along: the Nigerians sensed weakness in the French manager and wanted to test it. This is once again cultural: it is unlikely a Nigerian would have threatened a fellow Nigerian in the same manner, and I expect a Chinese manager who brings such a conflict to a Chinese project director would have mere seconds to survive in the firm. The same goes for Koreans, Japanese, and probably Russians.

My Professor’s Comments

Bear in mind here my professor is a man with considerable experience running companies of all sorts, not some academic who’s never left the Sorbonne. His approach is:

1. Gilles thanks Adewale for bringing the article to his attention, and says he will deal with it.

2. He passes the article to legal/HR/ethics/whoever and gets back to running his project.

3. The end.

I wouldn’t have got a whole lot of marks if I’d answered my assignment like that, but he made some very good points. Firstly, he said a project director is there to direct a project, not waste time reading blog posts. Secondly, he is neither experienced nor qualified to ascertain whether a blog post breaches the law, company rules, or generates reputational damage for the company. His opinions on the post are therefore utterly irrelevant. Thirdly, the whole thing is likely an exercise on the part of the Nigerian to determine “who is the dog and who is the human”. As soon as Gilles starts even discussing the matter with Adewale, that question gets answered. He shouldn’t even open the subject, as by now it is off his desk and into another department where it belongs. Finally, he presumed that if Gilles had the competence to manage the situation in the way I suggested he’d probably not be assigned to a project in Nigeria in the first place. To paraphrase Donald Trump, they’re not sending their best. At that I could only grin broadly.

My professor also made the quite accurate comment that if a company really wants rid of you, they’ll do so one way or another.

What Actually Happened

1. Gilles caved immediately upon hearing Adewale’s demand and ran me off the project, hence I was forced to leave Australia and go to France.

When I reminded him of the corporate policies I cited above, he replied by saying: “But this is a project. You’re not being fired from the company, just removed from the project.” I went back and had a look, but failed to find a footnote saying corporate policies don’t apply to those assigned to projects.

When I suggested he might have approached this as per No. 9 in my proposal, he said with considerable annoyance: “I don’t have to do that, I’m the project director.”

I was actually quite happy to go to France, it’s just the position they assigned me was rubbish. Although I could have sought legal redress in Australia, frankly it wasn’t worth it.


HR Case Study

Yesterday as part of one of my HR modules I did a presentation on a conflict situation  I’d encountered during my career, and how I thought it should be solved. One of the professors made some interesting remarks afterwards, and I’d like to know what you lot think.

So I had worked for almost 3 years for an international company in Nigeria before they transferred me to Australia, but assigned to a Nigerian project headquartered in Lagos. I was employed in Australia under an Australian work contract, subject to Australian law. My position on the project was a largely administrative one with no public interface, and I had nobody reporting to me. A couple of months into the assignment I wrote this post on my blog, which a Nigerian newspaper scooped up and republished without telling me. The post was passed around the Lagos office and read by pretty much everyone. A few days later a senior Nigerian assigned to the project burst into the office of the French project director and demand I be fired, saying he could not work in the same organisation as someone who holds such views of his country.

The question is, how should the project director handle it?


Lead, follow, or get out of the damned way

This is interesting:

The Royal College of GPs has rescinded Julia Hartley-Brewer’s invitation to speak at its 2019 conference after doctors complained about a tweet defending Enoch Powell.

Hundreds of people signed a petition calling for the cancellation over her “highly controversial views”.

Ms Hartley-Brewer said “Twitter offence archaeologists” were punishing her.

The RCGP said it “promotes inclusivity” and her views were “too much at odds” with its “core values”.

In his conversation with Jordan Peterson, Milo Yiannopoulos made a remark about this story:

Cambridge University has rescinded its invitation of a visiting fellowship to an academic whose views on gender have been condemned by critics.

University of Toronto psychology professor Dr Jordan Peterson had planned to be with Cambridge’s Faculty of Divinity for two months in autumn.

But on Wednesday the university took the invitation back after a review.

A university spokeswoman said: “We can confirm that Jordan Peterson requested a visiting fellowship, and an initial offer has been rescinded after a further review.

“[Cambridge] is an inclusive environment and we expect all our staff and visitors to uphold our principles. There is no place here for anyone who cannot.”

In a statement to the Guardian, the university’s students’ union said: “We are relieved to hear that Jordan Peterson’s request for a visiting fellowship to Cambridge’s faculty of divinity has been rescinded following further review.

“It is a political act to associate the University with an academic’s work through offers which legitimise figures such as Peterson.”

Yiannopoulos rather bluntly said that Peterson had set himself up for this by putting himself out there as a dissident while still wanting to take part in polite society. Milo contrasted Peterson with himself (who else?) who accepted some time ago he was not welcome in polite society so refuses to play on their terms. I thought it was a good point, one Peterson had no response to. I expect this is because Peterson doesn’t consider himself a dissident, thinking himself a moderate centrist who only upsets hard-left snowflakes. The problem is the institutions have lurched so far to the left, and so embraced lunatic progressive ideology (or proven themselves utterly spineless in the face of an SJW mob), that Peterson sits out there with Mussolini as far as they’re concerned.

The same thing has happened with Julia Hartley-Brewer. She wants to be considered a moderate conservative, someone who can hold right wing views but still participate in polite society and be invited to speak at prestigious institutions. She’s not yet understood that in this environment you can’t do both: if you want to swan around people with letters after their name giving talks in old buildings, you’d better adopt progressive ideology wholesale or you’ll find yourself on the end of a humiliating rejection. That she didn’t see this coming speaks volumes for her ability to gauge the current political climate, and no amount of bleating in The Spectator will change that.

Milo pointed out in the podcast that when he got picked off, conservatives said nothing. They then said nothing when Alex Jones and Sargon of Akkad got taken down. If prominent right wingers said anything at all, it was to punch right – as Ben Shapiro habitually does. As I’ve said before, those who consider themselves moderate conservatives police the boundaries of right wing political discourse tightly, afraid of being outflanked by proper conservatives and desperate to retain the lucrative label as an “acceptable” right winger who gets invited onto talk shows. This is why Hartley-Brewer fell over herself to condemn Trump on Twitter last April: she thought it would win her points among her enemies and prove she wasn’t a nasty right winger like that Robinson chap. She was wrong, and what she and other conservatives should have been doing is closing ranks against their enemies on the left, not sucking up to them in the hope the mob won’t stop them getting Establishment favours.

Milo warned Peterson in his podcast that thanks to the disunity and lack of courage on the right, the mob will pick them all off, one by one, including Peterson. He reckoned that Peterson has been allowed to build himself up only because his inevitable fall at the hands of the left wing mob will be that much harder. His point was that Peterson and others have no idea of the battle they are in, and that he should snap out of it if he wishes to save himself a grisly fate. I think he might have been onto something, and even if his predictions are wrong he is correct that conservatives need to start thinking and acting like dissidents, not people desperate to be accepted into institutions which are unrecognisable from their former glories save the buildings. Another example of this muddled, unserious thinking popped up this morning from the normally sensible Eric Weinstein:

The IDW refers to the Intellectual Dark Web, a term used to describe a bunch of moderate academics, commentators, and thinkers who have set themselves up as an antidote to progressive lunacy. Their movement, if that’s what you’d call it, has already suffered a casualty as some of them turned on David Rubin for having Lauren Southern on his podcast, Southern of course being the sort of right winger “acceptable conservatives” consider beyond the pale. Now with Weinstein you’ve got another supposed voice of reason publicly dressing down one of his colleagues for the heinous crime of interviewing the elected president of Hungary. These people are not serious, whereas the left, despite their lunacy, are.

Little wonder the right has lost so badly, and continues to lose. I don’t know who will wrest control of western civilisation back from the Cultural Marxists who currently run it root and branch, but I’m confident it won’t be the “moderate” right wingers who still haven’t understood the nature of the fight they’re in. If I were to guess, it’ll be those who understand the battlefield, refuse to play the game on the left’s terms, and don’t set themselves up for humiliating rejections by trying to ingratiate themselves with those who despise them. They might also be quite unpleasant, but winning ugly is probably the only option left at this point.


Sick for the Cure

From the BBC:

Ann Widdecombe has come under fire after she suggested science could “produce an answer” to being gay.

In an interview on Sky News, the newly elected Brexit Party MEP was asked about previous comments she made concerning gay conversion therapy.

She said she had “pointed out that there was a time when it was thought impossible for men to become women”.

Labour MP Luke Pollard said Ms Widdecombe was “continuing her sick anti-LGBT campaign”.

I can’t be bothered to look at what Widdecombe actually said, but I’d put a hundred quid on her words being twisted by the media so the ranks of the permanently offended and grifting MPs like Luke Pollard have something to be outraged about.

What would be interesting, though, is how many gay men and women would choose to take a “cure” for homosexuality if one existed. In his recent interview with Jordan Peterson, Milo Yiannopoulos said he wishes there had been a simple cure for his own homosexuality because it would have made his teenage years much easier to bear. I am sure he is not alone, and I suspect there is a large number of married men who wish they could suppress the homosexual urges which threaten to destroy their family. If a simple and effective “cure” could be found, I think it would prove extremely popular among both men and women, even in the enlightened west.

But I am equally sure that if such a cure were discovered the LGBT lobby would fight tooth and nail for it to be banned, denying it to those who would prefer to live a straight life. You can get a hint of the underlying attitudes in tweets like this:

Who’s this we, then? Now I can understand the reaction of gays to anything which smacks of “conversion therapy”, but if men can supposedly undergo treatment to become women and vice versa it’s hardly beyond the realms of science to come up with a cure for homosexuality, particularly for those who aren’t too far along the spectrum. Unless this is forced on people I don’t see why it’s a bad thing, let alone discussion of it.

The answer, of course, is the LGBT movement is nowadays a political movement seeking power, money, and privilege at the expense of everyone else. If something comes along to thin their ranks of unwilling footsoldiers, they’ll naturally oppose it. This stopped being about freedom a long time ago.


Negotiated Stalemate

It speaks volumes about the state of Britain’s political leadership that it takes Trump to come over and state the obvious:

Nigel Farage should be involved in the government’s Brexit negotiations and the UK should be prepared to leave the EU with no deal, Donald Trump has said.

In a Sunday Times interview, the US president was critical of government’s Brexit negotiations, saying it left the EU “with all the cards.”

I think it’s pretty generous to describe what has taken place so far between May’s government and the EU as negotiations. It looks more akin to a conspiracy between both sides to hobble Brexit against the wishes of the majority who voted for it. The charitable view is May was too weak and incompetent to do anything else; the harsher view is she deliberately sidelined her Brexit minister and sent in the odious Olly Robbins who was working for the other side.

Thus far the EU hasn’t done anything irrational: if the May government is incompetent or willing to betray the British people, then why should they not go along with it? However, they ought to understand that the negotiations are not yet over and indeed might just be beginning. One of the basics of multicultural negotiations is to understand who all the players are, including those who might not be seated at the table. This is the basis of the consensus approach to negotiations, where all interested parties must be brought on board before a lasting deal can be struck. If the EU thinks agreeing a deal with May is the end of it, they don’t know much about negotiations.

They were clearly hoping May’s government would ram the Withdrawal Agreement down the throats of the British public, seemingly oblivious to the historical consequences of imposing deeply unpopular and humiliating conditions on whole nations. Not that I’d argue the Treaty of Versailles was unnecessarily harsh on Germany, but one cannot ignore the role the sense of betrayal had on the politics that followed. Now that has failed, the EU ought to understand that negotiations must continue. However, they are sticking with the line that there is nothing left to negotiate.

This might not be a bad move, given how feckless Britain’s political leadership is and how clueless they are at negotiation. They might as well chance their arm that the next prime minister will be a pathetic weasel willing to do their bidding, just as the last few have been. But if someone in the Tory party grows a pair, listens to Trump’s statement of the obvious, and starts preparing for No Deal the EU is going to have to shift position or end up with the dubious honour of being the worst negotiator in this entire clown show.

One of the principles of negotiation is you should focus on interests, not positions. The EU has an interest in stopping Britain’s exit from the EU, and if they can’t do that making it as painful as possible. But their member states – those who are not seated at the table – also have interests, which may differ from those of the EU. If the British want to negotiate a better agreement, they need to make proposals which serve those interests and force the EU to either listen to the member states (and their populations) or explain why they’ve been overridden. If Britain can find a prime minister which wants to leave and is prepared to weather the domestic turmoil of No Deal, they are in a strong bargaining position. If the EU refuses to negotiate further even in the face of sensible, realistic proposals from the British side, they’ll be making the next PM’s job of selling No Deal to the public a lot easier. Whether such a person exists in the British political establishment I don’t know; the fact that Trump has suggested Farage implies he doesn’t think much of the current mainstream party leadership and who can blame him? But if they do, we’re going to get a good look at just how good Barnier et al are at negotiations. Thus far they’ve not been tested, and it’s my guess they’ll be found as wanting as our own side have been. Like wars in which peacetime generals get swapped out in favour of more competent commanders after a series of reversals, negotiations often end up with completely different teams sat opposite each other than at the beginning. I think the phony war is drawing to a close and the real one just beginning. If Britain can find a proper leader, I’m betting the next major casualty will be on the EU side.


Personae non gratae

From the BBC:

A number of US media giants have publicly stated they will reconsider filming in Georgia if the state’s strict new abortion law takes effect.

Disney, Netflix and WarnerMedia have all objected to the legislation, which would ban abortion after a foetal heartbeat can be detected.

The so-called “heartbeat bill” has caused a furious backlash in Hollywood and led to calls for a boycott.

Georgia makes billions of dollars from film and television productions.

The state’s bill seeks to make abortion illegal as soon as a foetal heartbeat is detectable. In most cases, this is at the six-week mark of a pregnancy – before many women even know they are pregnant.

None of these companies has a problem operating in European countries with much more restrictive abortion laws than those in the US, nor Arab nations which ban it outright. Disney has a resort in China, not a country known for its liberal approach to human rights. But apparently Georgia is now beyond the pale.

It’s important to understand what’s going on here. I wrote recently about Shell’s practice of lecturing its employees in Perth on LGBT rights while enjoying the fruits of production from Brunei, which had just passed a draconian anti-homosexuality law. Oil companies will indoctrinate their staff on the benefits of diversity and then send them to Nigeria where they’re told local content is a priority and they want to see 90% of the organisation filled by Nigerians within three years. Google preaches diversity and inclusion in the US while working closely with the Chinese government who have made brutally sure everything is run by and for the Han people.

Those who think this represents inconsistency are wrong, because they’re misreading the goals of the company board and executives. They don’t care about diversity, what they care about is progressive ideology which removes straight, white men from positions of power. I’ve worked in Korean companies and found them to be staffed 100% by ethnic Koreans, with the entire top management dominated by men who I very much suspect are straight. I expect the same is true in Japanese companies, but you don’t hear lecturers at Harvard Business School saying these organisations need to diversify in order to boost financial performance. No, when it comes to non-western countries, domination by a single ethnic group is seen by progressives as a symbol of pride and independence. This is why American companies are expected to employ non-Americans but Mexican companies are encouraged not to let Americans beyond the front lobby.

An argument could be made that even if the business case fails, social justice requires companies employ minorities in senior positions. People say Koreans can’t be expected to diversify because there are no disadvantaged ethnic minorities in Korea. Which might be true, but it’s not the case for China, Malaysia, India, Brazil, or Indonesia. How many international companies are telling their Turkish branches they need to promote more Kurds to senior management positions? And where is the pressure on African, Asian, and Middle Eastern subsidiaries to increase their proportion of LGBT staff?

I think most people expect big corporations to pressure governments to write business-friendly laws, but nowadays companies have decided to engineer social change in the western world by maligning the influence, abilities, and achievements of straight, white men under the auspices of equality and fairness. Reading their corporate websites, one would be forgiven for thinking for some, engineering social change is their primary purpose. Of course, they’re just doing the bidding of the ruling classes who have subcontracted social policy out to corporate HR departments, but it’s hard to see how this will end well for them. The way the political sands are shifting we’re likely to see several anti-corporate governments come to power in the west in the near future. Who are they going to turn to for support, if the traditional capitalist white male has been told he’s no longer welcome to apply? We’ve seen this with Brexit; global corporations have been forced to rely on purple-haired lunatics and black-clad anarchists to champion their cause while the ordinary bloke on the street who would have once voted for Thatcher want to see corporate executives run out of town at the warm end of a flamethrower.

The fact is, a lot of these companies are living off legacy rents and cosy government connections, and protected by regulations they helped write which create high barriers to entry. Another lot are reaping the short-term rewards in tech, an industry which governments haven’t yet figured out how to regulate, hobble, and pillage. Without governments on their side they’re going to be facing severe competition from foreign players who take business a whole lot more seriously, and who will find an army of smart, capable people willing to work with them to wreak whatever havoc they wish. After all, why should people who are clearly hated by their ruling classes show any loyalty? Huawei has already infiltrated western governments and businesses to a degree which would never have been possible were those in charge not so hell-bent on wrecking the foundations on which their institutions and businesses are built. I expect we’ll see a lot more of this, along with big-name brands suddenly going bankrupt and the pieces snapped up by companies with funny names and which don’t care much for diversity of any sort. When it does, you’ll find my sympathy levels rather low.