Gender quotas are discrimination too

Missive to the Independent after a particularly whiny leader piece moaning about the pace of change in getting women appointed to executive boards:


I disapprove of discrimination in any form. The thing is, discrimination itself has many forms – both negative and positive. All are wrong.

Just as it is wrong to block a board appointment due to gender, it is also wrong to force one for the same reason. The cause of equality will not be furthered by having token uteruses on executive boards to fulfil some politically-correct and arbitrary quota system.

If that is the answer to the problem, then I respectfully suggest that the problem has not been sufficiently analysed or understood.

Paul Harper

A degree is important these days

Missive to the independent in response to this :


Like Lisa Markwell, I did not go to university. I joined ICI in 1977 straight from school and have just recently taken early retirement from the company having worked as a computer programmer for them for over 30 very happy years.

But things were different back then. Companies trained-up young employees, company cultures and attitudes were very different, and there were more opportunities.

Few of these exist any more. The idea of a 30+ year career, the idea of on-the-job training, even ICI itself all no longer exist.

A degree is now the only way of demonstrating to companies in this harsh and cut-throat employment environment that an individual is even worth looking at. Not getting one is not the end of the world, but it is a setback.

Paul Harper

… and they printed it, with the usual tweaks


… Then it was nicked by the Belfast Telegraph :

Morons exist in offices as well as on the streets

Letter sent to the Guardian:


You tweeted: “@guardian: Help us update our #Londonriots map. Tweet, leave a comment or contact sam.jones [at] with your report”

Really, Guardian? We’ve got brain dead morons in one borough already trying to prove they’re harder than the next borough’s brain dead morons and you want to supply a map for them to stick pins in? It looks like morons exist in offices as well as on the streets.

Totally irresponsible journalism of the type I would expect of the Daily Mail. You should be ashamed.

Paul Harper

Questions on the Tottenham Riots

Letter to the Independent sent after some low-life types took the opportunity to get their 15 seconds of fame by shouting at television cameras after disturbances in Tottenham:


I understand that there have been some disturbances in Tottenham after an armed man who shot at police was killed in return. This does not seem unreasonable to me, but apparently the criminal element in Tottenham disagree.

It seems that the police are currently talking to community representatives. What I want to know is who elects these so-called “community representatives”; do they speak for the entire community or just the subset that matches their skin colour and/or religion to the exclusion of all others; and finally, why do they always seem to do such a crap job?

Or are they, as I suspect, merely self-important unelected motor gobs who contribute nothing to situations that are totally outside of their control?

Paul Harper

Which they published, having substituted “crap” for “poor”…

When did government supersede parenting?

Another one The Independent isn’t going to print…


Sorry, but no. Mitch Winehouse is getting as irritating as the McCanns. For some reason, a failure in parenting is now seen as a problem that is an issue for the wider population and something that needs solving at a governmental level.


It is time people started taking responsibility for their own lives and for the lives of their own offspring. I don’t care – I really don’t – how popular Ms Winehouse was among those people for whom music is important. Her addiction to drugs and alcohol is an issue that could, and should, have been addressed and resolved at a family level. Retrospective wisdom is as cheap as it is unconvincing.

I am by nature left-leaning, and am a paid-up member of the Labour party, but things like this really should not be something left for society in general to deal with. If it ever gets to that stage then it is a total failure on the parents’ behalf and should be acknowledged as such explicitly.

Paul Harper

Absentee bosses and efficiency


Susie Rushton’s “Notebook” today really struck a chord with me, having previously worked for nearly 30 years in the London headquarters of ICI. It was very obvious how much smoother departments, and entire businesses, ran when managers were away and people were left to get on with their jobs without unwanted and un-needed interference.

The same applies to the running of the country. It sticks out like a wart on a nose just how much smoother the country runs itself in August when the self-important busybody MPs are all away.

I would even go so far as to suggest that they should work in August when the rest of us are on holiday, then take the rest of the year off, leaving the running of the country to the people who do it best, and do it anyway, the Civil Service.

I think I just cured the UK’s stagnation problem. Next?

Paul Harper

… and bless ’em, they published it almost unedited: