Dickson slams Government on human rights…

AS he prepares to stand down in February, NI Human Rights Commissioner Brice Dickson accuses the British Government of acting in an “immoral” manner by using rights issues as a bargaining chip in political negotiations to restore a devolved Assembly.

Dickson also effectively accuses the Government of institutionalising cover-ups through the Inquiries Bill, politicising rights issues that should be above politics, and neglecting the Commission, as well as using its powers (or lack thereof) as something to be negotiated in political talks.

  • Michael Shilliday

    He’s standing down?

    I wonder if the next guy can make the NIHRC even more irrelavant than Brice has managed. I doubt it, he’s done a very good job.

  • ctron

    A bit rich from an Ulster Unionist the which established the commission.

    I think in time Unionists might regret not supporting Professor Dickson in his hour of crisis – I think the alternative will prove much worse

  • Michael Shilliday

    Never mind, seeing as the DUP promised me they would smash the agreement, the days of the NIHRC must be numbered!

  • cg

    Michael Shilliday
    Why does it not suprise me that certain sections of the UUP don’t want equality. Sad, really pathetic.

  • Davros

    Chris, when we talk of equality what do we mean ?
    Universalism or the Politics of Difference ?

  • cg

    “Chris, when we talk of equality what do we mean ?
    Universalism or the Politics of Difference ?”

    All man and woman treated equally regardless of sex, politics, race, creed etc

  • Michael Shilliday

    I don’t remember passing comment on the equality commission!

  • D’Oracle

    Is Michael Shillday having a short-term memory lapses ..or just engaging in a spot of harmless semantic gymnastics? – cf his 6.53 up top.

    He knows what cg meant !

  • aquifer

    His offices had glass doors. Nice gesture.

  • Davros

    Davros:
    “Chris, when we talk of equality what do we mean ?
    Universalism or the Politics of Difference ?”

    Chris – All man and woman treated equally regardless of sex, politics, race, creed etc

    That there Lawyer training isn’t being wasted then !

    I think within that measured reply is that you favour Universalism, showing that, deep down you are a Unionist 😉

  • cg

    “That there Lawyer training isn’t being wasted then !”

    Defiantly not, it’s helping me to buck the system on as many fronts as possible. 😉

    “I think within that measured reply is that you favour Universalism, showing that, deep down you are a Unionist ;)”

    Now THAT is below the belt.
    What I described is the policy of Sinn Féin and as for me being a unionist I think we both know that’s never going to happen. 😉

  • Davros

    Being serious for a moment Chris, I thought Sinn Féin favoured the politics of difference ? Universalism is very much the province of Trad. Unionism.

  • cg

    “Being serious for a moment Chris, I thought Sinn Féin favoured the politics of difference ?”

    Can you give me examples?

  • davidbrew

    Simple-you’re a nationalist i.e. believe in nationalism-the irish people , or the volk, being dustinct from the rest. Unionism is universal-it accommodates Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and the other minor section of the British people whom we all supported and sustained. It’s like European Union-ism except a much more democratic and culturally distinct structure. Nationalism excludes (“Brits -i.e.me-out”) Unionism accommaodates -equal citizenship.

    Whether the adherents of either philosophy properly practice them doesn’t alter that fact. As for the unlamented Brice what’s the story?
    “Old hippy hates 21st century” ?
    Off to your teepee you grumpy old git

    Davros has you bang to rights

  • Michael Shilliday

    I think someone may wish to read up on the role and functions of the equality commission and the NIHRC. You are clearly confused.

  • Davros

    Chris – David could have put it less ‘confrontationally’ 🙂

    I’ll quote Culture and Identity Politics in Northern Ireland,Máiréad Nic Craith, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, pp 19-20

    The politics of universalism and of difference

    Even where the cultural practices of one group do not offend another, there are many issues to be addressed, not least of which is the mode of recognition that should apply. Charles Taylor (1994) draws attention to two alternative approaches, which he terms the politics of universalism and the politics of difference. The politics of universalism requires that every citizen has identical rights. In contrast, the politics of difference emphasizes the distinctiveness of each individual and focuses on positive discriminatory practices in order to ensure equality. ‘With the politics of equal dignity, what is established is meant to be universally the same, an identical basket of rights and immunities; with the politics of difference, what we are asked to recognize is the unique identity of this individual or group, their distinctness from everyone else’ (Taylor 1994, p. 38).
    Proponents of the politics of universalism seek non-discrimination so that every individual receives similar treatment. They ‘seek to protect against harm caused by prejudice and discrimination, and therefore to restore and maintain a level playing field’ (italics original in Packer 1999, p. 259). This process is perceived as essentially neutral and could be regarded as ‘colour-blind’ or ‘culture-blind’. In contrast, advocates of the politics of difference seek positive or reverse discrimination for collectivities in order to ensure that no one suffers discrimination. Their concern is ‘to protect against harm caused by identity through the effects of the normal majority rule, and also to facilitate the equal opportunity for persons belonging to minorities to maintain and develop their identity/ies’ (Packer 1999, p. 259).

    So A fundamental difference would be that Universalists would not support positive discrimination.

    So Universalism fits very neatly with the ethos of Unionism and Politics of Difference with Nationalism in Ireland.

    Also echoed in the great religious divide, where protestantism is based on the individual – hence the Iconography of the Open Bible in the Orange Order, and Catholicism is communal.

  • Davros
  • Christopher Stalford

    Maybe Brice could tell us why after six years he hasn’t managed to produce a Bill of Rights yet? What’s that? Because he wasted his time in political activism, rather than focusing on the work he was appointed to do?

    As his eminence D. Brewster would say shurely shome mishtake…..

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Good to see that after behaving like a eunuch during most of his time in the job, Dickson finally opens his mouth and criticises his employers.
    His shameful behaviour during the protestant hate fest at Holy Cross will i’m afraid for him be his legacy.

  • Alan

    “So Universalism fits very neatly with the ethos of Unionism and Politics of Difference with Nationalism in Ireland.”

    To be honest, I find that insufficient. You are suggesting that all Unionists would not support additional rights for people who are disabled, or for women, or for the elderly, something that would otherwise be seen as arising from the politics of difference. That is making sweeping generalisations about all unionists.

    Equally there is an inference that all Nationalists can only act as promoters of their own community of difference ( unless the politics of difference is simply a sub-set of universalism – which would utterly distroy your argument). That is making sweeping generalisations about all nationists.

    Is the truth about people’s understanding of human rights not more likely to lie elsewhere? Is it not more likely to lie within people’s economic aspirations, rather than their aspirations for the future of this land ( more often the arbitrary consequence of birth and parenting in this country?)?

  • Davros

    You are suggesting that all Unionists would not support additional rights for people who are disabled, or for women, or for the elderly, something that would otherwise be seen as arising from the politics of difference. That is making sweeping generalisations about all unionists.

    Of course it’s generalised. What else do you expect when discussing something as intangible a fundamental ?

  • Davros
  • davidbrew

    “Equally there is an inference that all Nationalists can only act as promoters of their own community of difference ( unless the politics of difference is simply a sub-set of universalism – which would utterly distroy your argument). That is making sweeping generalisations about all nationists.”

    well yes, but isn’t that the point of nationalism the world over-themmuns aren’t like usuns. Oh and b4 anyone says it I freely concede that Ulster nationalism (sic) is easily found within the Unionist community.Part of the genius of Unionism was the way it first incorporated Scots -as North Britons – and tried with less succes to have West Britons in Ireland.

    If Nationalism had retained the symbols of “West Britain” and built on them post 1922 the island would have been a much less divided place. The most important symbol was the commonwealth, and other threads have shown even an old cynic like Senor De valera recognised its importance.

    Just show me one example of an irish nationalist effort to accommodate the British-Irish identity, as opposed to telling us how wonderful we would find it if we only realised we were all Irish -fitting the current template of course. The dialogue of the deaf over on the world’s second longest thread proves the blindspot of nationalism still thrives

  • willowfield

    It’s slightly worrying that Dickson is going because we don’t know who will replace him.

    We need someone who will stand up to the nationalist “group rights” lobby. We mustn’t go down that dangerous road.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Just for the record, Dickson is going because its the end of his term of in office.

    Hopefully some of the wasters that constantly undermined his position in the Commission are coming to the end of their term too.