When it comes to the question of positive discrimination, I tend to err towards a similar view to the one that Lib Dem MP Jackie Ballard expressed a few years back: it doesn’t sit well with me but in the face of persistent inequality, fuelled by people’s prejudices, I believe it could become necessary as a short-time option. In my view, it’s one thing to be concerned about it because it is, by definition, a form of discrimination and quite another to be concerned because, really, you’re afraid of the old privileges being toppled. I’d argue that, for a lot of people, it’s the latter. One only needs to see how upset some people get when a mere recruitment drive to attract under-represented groups in a profession takes place to see that.
Currently, positive discrimination is illegal. The issue of whether it might actually be called for was the topic of a debate I briefly took part in, along with Simon Woolley of Operation Black Vote and Personnel Today’s Tony Pettengell, on the Richard Bacon show last Tuesday. You can still listen to this discussion on-line until later on 25 March.