You might remember the story of Colin Atkinson from a few months ago. He is the 64 year-old former soldier who ended up in serious trouble from his employers, Wakefield and District Housing (WDH), for keeping a palm cross on his company van’s dashboard.
Now another Christian, Adrian Smith, who works for another housing trust, Trafford Council and Trafford Housing Trust, has been demoted, with a 40% pay cut, for stating on his own personal Facebook page that ‘gay church marriages’ are “a step too far”. Apparently, the only reason he wasn’t sacked is because of his eighteen years of service.
We are becoming a nation of informants:
Mr Smith was disciplined after a second colleague complained to the Trust’s ‘equality and diversity lead’, Helen Malone.
A few days later, Mr Smith was summoned from his home to a meeting at the Trust’s headquarters in Sale, where he was told he was being suspended while the complaint was investigated.
He was warned that even though his Facebook page could be viewed only by registered friends, rather than by the general public, those readers included colleagues who had taken issue with his comments.
Perhaps there is more to this story than meets the eye. It seems his ‘friends’ and colleagues were ganging up on him and perhaps using his rather unassuming comments as an excuse to get rid of someone they don’t like. If he was homosexual and being bullied and harassed, it would have been a totally different matter. One phone call to Stonewall would have left his bosses and colleagues panic-stricken.
A shocked Mr Smith, who managed a team looking after local housing issues, immediately removed the reference to where he worked from the page.
Why remove it? I have a feeling that allowing yourself to be cowed by these creeps will be seen as a sign of weakness. The Trust has 350 employees. Many of these will likely share Mr Smith’s beliefs and most will be afraid to speak out. And I hope those who grassed him up don’t get too complacent, or they could also find themselves the subject of a witch hunt if they are caught uttering a non-PC opinion (if they are capable). I would not have too many drinks at the office Christmas party if I was them. The walls probably have ears. (They will probably have a ‘Winterval’ party, of course, so as not to ’cause offence’.)
The following month he was called to a disciplinary meeting before Mike Corfield, the Trust’s Assistant Director, Customers. Although Mr Smith was allowed to put his case, insiders described the meeting as ‘tense and fraught’.
I can imagine. He would likely have been made to feel like scum by his interrogators. Like there was something wrong with him.
According to legal documents lodged at Manchester County Court, Debbie Gorman, a ‘neighbourhood manager’ also at the meeting, said Mr Smith’s comment could cause offence.
Indeed. A comment could ’cause offence’ but that is sometimes the price we pay to have freedom of speech. The alternative is far, far worse.
But because of his loyal service, Mr Smith was instead demoted to money support adviser, handling rent collection. His pay was reduced to £21,396, phased in over a year, and he was given a final written warning.
Mr Smith’s solicitor has said that, ‘Nothing he said was offensive or abusive. His comments were calm, measured and reasonable.
That doesn’t matter anymore. Freedom of speech has gone. You will comply – because someone, somewhere might be offended, especially when there’s money to be made.
‘Adrian has been treated disproportionately. Even those who disagree with his opinions will surely agree that he has been treated badly.’
I doubt it, actually. Some people are too far removed from reality now.
Last year, the Trust, which employs 360 staff, was awarded a ‘quality mark’ from a gay support group for its work training staff in recognising homophobic hate crime.
But it has also angered a number of elderly residents by ordering them to remove garden benches and flower pots from outside their flats for health-and-safety reasons.
Yes, they are clearly drugged up on a heady cocktail of political correctness gone mad and health and safety taken to insane extremes.
This is the future for everyone if this nonsense isn’t dealt with once and for all. David Cameron promised to end this sort of persecution, but as we know, he is a joker who has actually meted out similar treatment to some of his party members. It is no exaggeration to compare what is happening in the UK and EU to China and Soviet Russia. Clearly, it won’t just be Christians who will be browbeaten, but eventually, everyone but the most mindless drones will be forced to conceal their true feelings. For example, there are some people who want criticism of the EU to be a criminal offence. That would probably make criminals of the majority of the British people at the moment, but imagine it being an actual crime. How many detractors would remain?
One thing is for sure: I will never be employed by a housing trust. Nor would I want to be.