Trevor Phillips, former Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, is bright, black and appealingly honest. The fact that he is black matters: it frees Phillips to say things that a white, middle-aged man in his position would be crucified for voicing. His latest admission, that the movement for equality was “in danger of choking on its own orthodoxy”, would be blasphemous in anyone else’s mouth.
Phillips, for many years the guardian of equality, has exposed the intolerance of the campaigners for tolerance. Those who would fight for gay equality, for instance, think nothing of stamping on the rights of believers. The same people who want anti-discrimination legislation see nothing wrong with victimising Christians. No wonder the Strasbourg courts are full of British cases: who can make sense of this contradictory set of principles?
Westminster certainly can’t. As Parliamentary sketch-writer Quentin Letts argued today, ”Yesterday’s gay marriage debate was a battle of intolerances… Yes, folks, it was another day in the modern politics of egalitarian one-upmanship and legal menaces, another day of MPs wagging fingers about the wickedness of not respecting minorities – and then shouting down Hon Members who disagreed with them. ”
We need to save our institutions from such skirmishes — and ban those that promote them. Let’s fund anti-discrimination campaigners who fight for all victims of discrimination equally – and not just for those whose views they share.