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A flickering candle in the darkness

In the 21st Century – bombarded by media scare stories, examples of unequal treatment and strident opinion on ‘how things would be in a perfect world’ – we tend to take it as read that political correctness rules. It’s reached the point where traditionalists like myself (call us old fogies or Neanderthals if you will) are so used to being brow-beaten on the subject that these days we barely bother to ‘register’, let alone protest at, each new development of the phenomenon.

As you might suspect, I’m trying to be annoyingly out of touch here in order to offend those of a sensitive disposition, but I ought to add a caveat.

Over the past thirty years, gradually creeping up on me has been a personal ‘improvement’, as the PC brigade might style it. I now accept as perfectly normal several ‘equality’ or positive discrimination initiatives that formerly I would have regarded as madness and contrary to human nature. [Please don’t ask me to list examples here because, as I type – and I really have been trying – I cannot think of any(!), but hopefully my readers can spare my embarrassment by inserting their own.]

Nevertheless, I did spot a report in The Independent recently written by Jonathan Owen on the theme that a recent analysis of official government figures has shown that the ‘macho’ culture [‘the Gordon Ramsay effect’] endemic amongst top restaurants – and more specifically, top restaurants’ kitchens – puts women off working in that industry.


I’d love to be taking the odds on just how long (or should that be ‘how soon’) it will be before some well-trained politically-correct Government minister brings forward legislation designed to outlaw ‘long working hours’ and excessive pressure being imposed upon employees in top restaurant kitchens, just so that women can fulfil their potential at cooking, i.e. at the same time as doing all the other things that ideally they’d like to be able to do in their lives, including having regular month-long holidays in the Seychelles, running their families 24/7, beginning interior design businesses and going shopping up the West End whenever they feel like it.

The point I’m making, of course, is that the issue is being approached from entirely the wrong end.

Businesses don’t exist to provide jobs – and especially not jobs that suit every convenience of the employee ahead of that of the customer. Before long, if things continue like they are, people interested in fine dining (potentially including several of our Rust columnists) will be told that they can only dine between noon and 2.00pm … and perhaps just possibly between 8.00pm and 9.00pm … because restaurant employees with families – or elderly relatives to care for, or yoga classes to get to – would find it inconvenient to be at work in time to cook outside those short windows of opportunity.

Now warming to my theme, how long will it be before there’ll be a blanket ban introduced preventing all world class potential 1,500 metres Olympic medallists from training four or more days per week … because (obviously) that would be unfair on those athletes who, for whatever reason, cannot train more than three?

Oh well … I’m just mentioning it.



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About William Byford

A partner in an international firm of loss adjusters, William is a keen blogger and member of the internet community. More Posts