Permitted discrimination

We all know that we’re not allowed to discriminate against almost anyone these days, even though discrimination is, when you get right down to it, someone just making a choice. It might well be a choice that I think makes them an arsehole but the point is that it’s their choice. Still, when it comes to people who might look different, have different body parts in their underpants, worship a different sky-being or even worship the same one in a different way, it’s a choice you’re expected not to make anymore.

No, not even if they are ginger.

Not a bitch, okay?

However, the operative word in that opening sentence up there is ‘almost’ because the other thing we all know is that discriminating against the English is just fine by everybody.* And so I see that Scotland have discriminated – in the sense of a choice and in the spirit of take and take – to take the fifteen hundred quid a head extra they get under the Barnett Formula and at the same time charge English students the thick end of ten grand to go to a Scottish uni.

But only English students.

Education Secretary Michael Russell this week announced that Scottish universities would be allowed to charge students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland up to £9000 (A$13,500) a year from 2012-13, after England and Wales raised their own tuition fees.
But Mr Russell reiterated his commitment to keep higher education tuition-free for Scottish students.
This means students from the other 26 European Union member nations can study for free too, because EU laws essentially preclude members from discriminating against citizens of partner nations, but leave them free to discriminate within their own country.

So there you have it. England and Scotland, not partner nations. The Act of Union is over 300 years old and the Union itself a century older, the two countries have benefitted from each other down the years, and currently one derives a not inconsiderable financial benefit – not just the Barnett Formula but the large public sector north of the border – but whatever that makes them they’re certainly not partners because the EU says partner nations’ governments can’t screw each others’ citizens. Screwing their own is okay, and of course that’s a principle function of government. And therefore screwing different groups of citizens is presumably a domestic issue that the EU isn’t too interested in. It’s discrimination, sure, but it’s officially sanctioned discrimination which means it’s perfectly fine and above board.

So suck it up, fellow countrymen, and pay up without complaining. And please remember not to take it out on any gingers, even if it seems like they deserve it.

No, look, it doesn’t go up your nose, it … oh, nevermind

* Presumably not fine by English students wanting to study in Scotland, but I imagine they don’t really count anyway.

20 comments for “Permitted discrimination

  1. July 5, 2011 at 6:44 am

    The Barnett formula and West Lothian are excrescences which have been tabled by so many now and there are even Scots who see the ignominy of accepting these and then talking of Independence and the right to discriminate against the English.

    But that’s what this PCist society is all about – to discriminate against the majority and give all to the minority.

    • July 5, 2011 at 7:06 am

      Yes, as in many of these situations it’s only fair to, er, discriminate between Scots the people, Scotland the place they live, and ‘Scotland’ the bunch of pollie bastards running the place. No doubt you’re right that there are Scots who are embarrassed at the uneven treatment that would outrage nearly all of them if it worked the other way round, and of course if Scotland really needs it then it does weaken the case for Scottish independence a bit. Ironic then that this is happening under an SNP government and with the blessing of the EU, which from the sounds of things the SNP would surrender any newly gained Scottish independence to in a heartbeat.

  2. July 5, 2011 at 7:53 am

    I’m sure that it’s not OK. Irrespective of how the rules have been manipulated to create this inequality the Scots, by their very choice of system, have defined Scotish people as a race apart within the UK. Therefore it is racial discrimination pure and simple just as it would be if I discriminated against people born in wales. I am amazed that the NUS or similar body have not taken this to the EU court.

    • July 5, 2011 at 8:17 am

      Oh, I agree. But if I was a betting man I know where I’d put my money if it does end up in court 😉

    • john21
      July 5, 2011 at 8:18 am

      But if an English family goes to live in Scotland for 3 years, their children can go to Scottish universities for free too. Just like any immigrant who goes to Scotland. Education entitlements are defined by residency, not race. (Just like the NHS. Did you know that a British citizen who lives abroad for more than 183 days a year needs to pay to use the NHS?)

      • July 5, 2011 at 9:17 am

        Didn’t know the first bit, though I’d have certainly mentioned it if I had known. Still, how many people up sticks and move when their kids are 15 or younger just in case they want to go to a Scottish uni? I’d say probably not very many. And I never said that it was a race thing – how could it be when the English and Scots are the same race? Nationalities, yes, and the difference between residency and nationality is an inherently blurry one. If you’re committed enough to somewhere to move to it, work and pay tax there, and educate your kids there… well, is there necessarily a big difference between you and the people next door who were born there? As a migrant myself I’d say not, though I admit it varies depending on the individual and the topic.

        The second part I did know, though on a slight tangent it may interest you to hear that it hasn’t stopped the HMRC sending me a letter once a year trying to persuade me to pay National Insurance again.

        • July 5, 2011 at 9:56 am

          English and Scots are the same race

          Could be on shaky ground there.

          • July 5, 2011 at 10:21 am

            Aren’t they then? I thought everyone native to the British Isles (whatever that means) if not western Europe would be thought of as the same race. If we’re talking some Celtic ethnicity thing I’m not convinced. I’m Anglo-Irish and have never thought of myself as mixed race. Can’t see it applying to the Scots either.

          • July 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm

            Nah, both Caucasian. The Celts are not a different race from the Anglo Saxon or Viking, merely a variant of the same race – besides, the bloodlines are so mixed after a thousand years or more of interbreeding, it would be moot anyway.

  3. Rossa
    July 5, 2011 at 8:17 am

    And just what, may I ask, have you got against Gingers?

    WARNING! 6′ loud and proud ginger at this keyboard

    • July 5, 2011 at 9:01 am

      Depends entirely on the ginger in question. The one in the second picture, nothing at all really, although if you know the TV show that came from we could point out that (the notably gingery) Christina Hendricks did show a bit more skin. As for the one in the first picture… well, how long have you got? We could start with the reports that she dyes her hair to be more ginger than she really is and go on from there.

      Hasn’t really got anything to do with them being ginger but that’s kind of the point. You really can get in trouble for poking fun at ginger people – the road safety campaign here a couple of years back, for instance. But while that generated complaints nobody thinks twice of referring to the million or so English expats here as “poms”. 6′ loud and proud pom at this keyboard and I haven’t yet met a single fellow pom who has a problem with it either, yet I don’t doubt that some would worry about anything perceived as gingerist.

      And to be honest if that scene with Jewel Staite crossing her eyes and appearing to be about to jam a strawberry up her nose had never made it to air this post wouldn’t have included any mention of gingers at all. I just like the picture and wrote it into the post as a joke about sticking fruit up one’s nose. Again, if you know the show you’d know that of course Kaylee ate the strawberry, and in a way which Marks & Spencer would probably have paid a lot of money to have in their food porn adverts and which would have caused many teenage boys to go and lock themselves in the bathroom for ten minutes.

      (Edited to expand on strawberry sniffing)

      • July 5, 2011 at 10:00 am

        As for the one in the first picture… well, how long have you got?

        N1 – she’s Marxist. No need for Ns 2, 3, 4, 5 etc. The only thing she’s done right is not legalize gay marriage, on the grounds that it is not “marriage” per se. It can only be civll partnership. In that she shows astounding perspicacity. Only in that though.

        • July 5, 2011 at 10:45 am

          Actually I think she missed a trick there. Not that she should have legalised gay marriage as such, but I don’t think the state (or the State) has any business in defining marriage in the first place. If you include gays it offends those who believe marriage means man, woman, one of each. If you don’t it offends those who think it should mean two loving adults. If by some miracle you find a compromise that both accept you’ll just get the polygamy mob wanting to be accommodated too. I thing the libertarian solution would be for the government to wise up, repeal the Marriage Acts, and say that the definition of marriage is no longer its concern. Without a state definition of marriage two gays could call themselves a married couple if it was that important to them, but there would be no law demanding that anyone else agreed. Unfortunately as long as marriage is a factor governments like to use to determine the redistribution of other people’s money it will remain something they think they should get to define. Julia Dullard is no different from any other politician, pro or anti gay marriage.

          • Budvar
            July 5, 2011 at 1:54 pm

            “Those who believe marriage means man, woman, one of each”.

            Belief has nothing to do with it one way or the other. There’s no such thing as a gay marriage, end of.

            A marriage is of 2 parts, the ceremony and the consummation. Both parts need to be fulfilled as part of a contract of marriage.

            Hence same sex couples can never be married on account of of their union lacking one or the other bits of tackle required to fulfil the consummation part.

            Yes the government could legislate the definition of a marriage to be whatever it so chooses, in much the same way they could legislate the definition of a dog to be a cat, but the reality is the dog is still a dog.

          • July 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm

            For some reason I can’t reply directly, Budvar. I guess there’s a maximum for nested comments. Anyhoo, discussion of marriage definitions is a post in itself but to be brief I think we’ll have to agree to disagree. Marriage and the criteria for being married have been defined differently down the ages and across the world, and has included polygynous and polyandrous relationships and certainly those we’d now call gay. Even now it does not refer exclusively to a formalised relationship between one man and one woman, and where it does so it’s only because lawmakers at some point (only about 250 years ago in England’s case) believed it should and not enough people since then have ever believed differently. As a libertarian I feel that it’s not a matter for the state to define but individuals, and there is no reason why two, ten or twenty people should all have to agree on what marriage is if none force any of the others to accept their view (and only consenting adults are involved in the marriage itself, of course).

      • Lord T
        July 5, 2011 at 11:05 am

        Although I prefer her as a redhead Christina is a natural blonde. He has dyed her hair red most of her life. So not a ginger.
        Kaylee was not a redhead either so I guess that the second picture was for a different purpose. Perhaps decor? AE?

        • July 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm

          Really? I had no idea. Seems I’ve gone about it all wrong and should have been making blonde jokes instead. yes, at least three blond people I know who I could have upset, one of which I normally expect to see over Christmas dinners, so that’s all covered 😉 For what it’s worth I’m inclined to agree about Christina Hendricks, though maybe that’s just because I can’t picture her as anything but gloriously redheaded. But Kaylee? Come on, she’s a bit red. Might be only a bit, and certainly not much compared to Saffron – hardly surprising now you tell me that her hair colour came from a bottle anyway – but I’m sure there’s a bit there.

          Wasn’t there?

          Damn it, I’m just going to have to watch it again now.

          Edit: “Decor?” Hey, what are you implying? You saying that the interwebs are not the place to put a picture of a good looking girl who like to get dirty around engines in more ways than one? It would be the end of the world, sir 😀

          • Lord T
            July 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm

            Kaylee, played by Jewel Staite, wasn’t a redhead as far as I remember. Although now I have an excuse to rewatch the series myself just to check.

            Christina has a very nice shade of red which looks natural too. Since that episode of Angel I had the hots for that lost waif face and, err…, less waify body.

      • July 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm

        Depends entirely on the ginger in question.

        Gillian Anderson? :mrgreen: I think I need a quiet lie down now…

  4. Andrew Duffin
    July 7, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    It’s interesting to speculate that if Wee Eck gets his way and achieves his “indendepence”*, he’ll have to give up this piece of spiteful trouble-making, because at that point English students will be just like those from any other member of the EU like France, Germany, et al, and by European Law he won’t be able to discriminate against them from then on.

    * Unless, of course, he’s planning actual REAL independence, in which case he could do whatever he wanted; but it’s OK, he isn’t planning that at all.

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