BRADFORD Council has recently set its 2021/22 budget and with its typical disregard for hard-pressed local residents has again raised the council tax by the maximum amount allowed – 4.99 per cent.

Bradford Council needs to look at making savings – the grandiose vanity projects in the city centre would be a good start – and it can certainly find savings in some of its politically correct shibboleths such as its promotion of the so-called “equality and diversity agenda”. Unfortunately, this was never likely to happen especially because, at the end of last year, Bradford Council consulted on their “Draft Equality Objectives and Equality Plan 2020-24” cementing their commitment to this whole agenda. I have had all kinds of people contacting me to say that they absolutely oppose what the equality and diversity agenda has become but would literally lose their jobs if they objected and did not comply. So, I will keep on challenging this dangerous nonsense on behalf of those very teachers, nurses, police officers, firemen, social workers and other council employees who can’t.

In the plan, the Council reinforces the point that there is no room for dissenting voices amongst employees saying: “We must all live and breathe this agenda if we are to deliver change and everyone has a part to play.”

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Straight out of an Orwellian nightmare, the plan talks about the need to “eliminate any unconscious bias and lack of cultural awareness” …. ensure “staff are trained on the Anti-Rumour and Critical Thinking campaign” ….and of the need to use “up to date terminology”. In other words, nice decent people need to be petrified as to what word they use in case some politically correct zealot takes exception to it. Who decides what terminology is OK isn’t clear, but I am sure that will be another needless job being created.

The plan confirms that it will have overall targets for the percentage of staff who simply tick certain boxes based on various characteristics.

They are as follows: 33 per cent of employees from BAME backgrounds, 27.8 per cent of top 5 per cent of employees by income from BAME backgrounds, 65 per cent of top 5 per cent employees who are female, 2 per cent of employees from LGBTQ+ backgrounds and 5.4 per cent of employees who have self-declared they are disabled.

Never mind how they even came up with these percentages in the first place, once you start having targets or pre-determined outcomes like this the agenda is guilty of the very thing it is allegedly trying to eradicate. What’s wrong with just saying we will give the job to the best person for the role irrespective of their race, gender, religion or sexuality? That’s the equality that I believe in.

To make matters worse, this is all going to be backed up with performance appraisals with an equality and diversity target. The Council says they will also work to ensure they have diverse interview panels. This kind of identity politics - fostering the idea that only people of the same colour or sex as someone else can identify or be fair to others of the same tick box - is as patronising as it is wrong. The Council is also going to extend this theory to suppliers and commissioned providers of services as well as partnership boards as it says they too should “reflect our diverse communities in their workforce” or “reflect the make-up of the District.” What a load of old codswallop. Who cares what the staff of suppliers look like as long as they employ the best people for the job, and are providing a good service to the Council and to taxpayers? If two per cent of people in the district are criminals, do Bradford Council really expect every employer to be forced to have two per cent of all its employees as criminals just so it “reflects the make-up of the District”? Ironically, there is one line in the whole plan that I totally agree with. It says: “We will ensure that every talented, committed and hard-working employee has the opportunity to rise to the top, whatever their background and whoever they are.” It is just a shame that this was not the only thing the plan said otherwise I could have supported it. For none of that will actually apply as a result of everything else in the plan.

Basically, the Council are saying that if you are a white working-class boy in Windhill, don’t bother applying as you don’t tick the right boxes. Instead, the Council think they should be going on a course to be taught about white privilege. This is why, seeing as I believe in real equality and fairness, I fundamentally oppose the council's whole money wasting equality and diversity agenda promoted by Bradford Council which is also hugely damaging to community cohesion in the District.