10 July 2013

an inversion of whistle-blowers

● The constant output of il-liberal legislation makes it difficult to keep up. (It may have slowed since the hysterical Noughties but hasn’t returned to the pre-Blair rate.) Once, legislation promoting whistle-blowing might have been attacked as a snooper’s charter. Now it’s apparently seen as desirable, perhaps in response to the suppression of unsavoury facts within the NHS.
Via the Oxford Times, I discover that the existing legislation has recently been amended to make an employer liable if a whistle-blower is bullied by fellow employees. Absurd.
The change apparently aims to parallel similar provisions in the ludicrous Equality Act (employer liable if member of protected group insulted by employee, and so on). That figures.
The idea that you can facilitate criticism of the state, or one of its many arms (‘education’, ‘medicine’, etc), by creating laws seems flawed. The state has a monopoly on legally sanctioned coercion, and can always interpret, or change, the rules to suit itself.
What you are certain to generate is more red tape for businesses, as well as reinforcing the usual pro-size bias. A billion-dollar behemoth is better placed to cope with new legislation than an SME. Plus, the behemoths have probably been lobbying to make sure the changes are in their favour.
What the changes also illustrate is the readiness with which liberalism is converted to anti-liberalism. One seems to move very quickly these days from tolerating things – in the sense of abolishing legal barriers and prohibitions – to coercively promoting them. It’s the customary fate of new ideas eventually to become dogma that it’s illegal to question, as T.H. Huxley might have said.