Judgements shouldn’t be cast aside

First published in Our View by

There are clearly highly-sensitive issues arising from the decision by the European Court of Human Rights to overturn British courts and rule that a Bradford bus driver should not have been sacked from his job because he was a member of the BNP.

But it cannot be right for the Strasbourg court to be able to cast aside the legal judgements made in this country that ultimately upheld the decision by Serco to dismiss Arthur Redfearn.

The British legal system decided that the company were within their rights to sack him because of his membership of the Far-Right party and many would rightfully argue that our courts should be sovereign in this matter.

The real question is should the company have been allowed to dismiss someone for holding and representing views which could clearly cause offence to his passengers and their families, particularly as a number of them were Asian? And the answer must surely be a resounding Yes.

This decision on a point of law does not take into account the diverse needs of a multi-cultural society. Allowing Mr Redfearn to remain as a bus driver in a diverse community could have been inflammatory in the extreme, and this ruling – as MP Gerry Sutcliffe says – will simply re-open old wounds.

The ECHR says that we are all entitled to hold political views – but we are all, here in Bradford, only too aware that the abhorrent views of the BNP are not just “political.”

Sadly, the failure of the Court to understand this will be seen by many – not least the leadership of the BNP – as an endorsement of their vile intolerance.

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