Monday, 30 September 2013


So there I was, happily engaged in my pretend intellectual antidote to all those awful reality shows, killing the time between Andrew Marr and The Daily Politics by idly watching Sunday Morning Live, when it suddenly came to me. I’ve got it all wrong. Everything; my entire world view is just… wrong.

Simon Fanshawe stated that instead of hiring the best man/woman for the job, you should hire for diversity. He justified that because ‘research’ showed that companies with diverse workforces were more creative and thus more productive, recruiters should forget about competence and instead rely on their conscience. Their conscience of course, having been infused with the established, soothing, lentilly mantras about the inherent goodness of divers thynges.

Hmmm, chicken and egg, surely? Are diverse companies successful, or do large, successful companies with worldwide trade naturally become more diverse? And anyway, diversity for its own sake cannot be automatically good. Should every football club be compelled to field teams with at least a proportion of the players being selected more for their abstract thinking than for their footballing skills? Or should we insist the fashion industry be represented on the catwalk by, say, 10% of models being selected from the morbidly obese?

You can’t just legislate for diversity, no matter how much the likes of Fanshawe insist. If, for instance, your trade was an Indian restaurant I doubt very much that anybody would dare to insist you employed sullen white teens to diversify your enterprise and inject a bit of spice. In fact you’d probably get a flash mob of grievance-for-hire protesters demanding you be allowed the right to discriminate and employ as many illegal immigrants as you could smuggle in. Such is the moveable feast of diktat.

Anyway, I Googled Mr Fanshawe and his Wikipedia entry has him down as a comedian, media luvvy and general gob for hire – in other words a career (and an honour, no less) based on un-provable opinion, baseless claims from spurious research and general, all-round frippery. Nobody cares for facts or instinct or common sense any more – that sort of knowledge is given away freely wherever you look and in the world of commerce, politics and vested interests if it doesn’t cost a packet it must be worthless. As Lord Ashcroft said this morning on the radio, in politics, perception IS reality.

The apparent logic is that it is far better to pay for expensive studies, carried out by earnest sociology students to reach predetermined conclusions about what people want than to actually, you know, ask people what they want. Much more effective to throw tons of money at a problem that may not exist, creating millionaires from the extracted taxes of people with no say in how their money is spent than to, you know, ask people whether they actually want what you’re making them pay for.

All these years I’ve been stupid enough to believe that making something and selling it for more than it costs to make, yet at a price the market will bear, thus yielding a profit from which I can take a wage, leaving funds to reinvest in more of my industry was the right way to make a living. But why not cut out the uncertain parts of that process – the sourcing of materials and fabrication of the products – with all the vagaries of prices and labour and competition?

No, sod that; I could just sell ideas. Better than that, I could sell people’s own ideas back to them; become a one-man think tank or pollster or even better, become an ‘expert’. And it works; in the face of little or no evidence, I could create beliefs, from which I could profit. Just like the ‘experts’ have done with global warming, management consultancy, psychology, homeopathy, the EU and the cult of celebrity. As an expert I could garner state funding for research with which to engender beliefs that could influence policy and divert yet more funds to my cause. I smell the diesel scent of the gravy train.

From spurious beliefs was conjured up the rag-tag army of militants to spit at, shout scum and generally harass ordinary, sincere people attending the Conservative Party conference. By ramping up the rhetoric of ‘suffering’ a multitude can be called on to protest, convinced that living within our means is now cruel hardship. And despite more and more money being thrown at a poorly managed state behemoth, the same mob believes the NHS is at greater risk from the Tories than from the party that managed to spend the entire country into ruin.

Diversity - the same old shit, repackaged

So, I reckon I’ll have some of that. Coming soon, my learned papers on Aromapolitics, Homeosocioversity, Diversinetiks, Politicorrectity… Whole new ways of thinking; of creating synergistic solutions for the uploading of axiomatic conversations about the interconnectivity of life systems and wellness, of cyber-societal satisfaction… There’s a whole new world to pay for. And boy, will you pay for it…


  1. And, if the best person for the job is a Bulgarian immigrant ?

    1. Think creative! Make him a diversity consultant!

  2. So an Asian and a Caribbean walk in-- whom do you hire? Absent any other consideration? You have either (a) none at present or (b) an equal number at present, consistent with the demographics of your hiring catchment area. No white applicants-- let's take that out of the mix. Both are of the same sex/gender-- let's take that out of the mix. Both are similarly physically capable-- let's take that out as well. Both are roughly of the same age cohort.

    There are not enough non-white lesbian peglegs for every business to hire, assuming they can perform in the job for which they're being hired at, at least, a minimal skill level (would you want someone who COULDN'T do the job?). You've got to make certain choices which come down simply to who can do the job, right?

    So I'm afraid that, should either an Asian or Caribbean offer me diversity counselling services in the above dilemma, you're out of the running. Now my only problem is whether I should hire an Asian or a Caribbean to advise me on whether I should hire the Asian or Caribbean. I should probably make that determination on the basis of their CV and form, but I don't want to be accused of racism-- oh dearie me, what to do?

  3. A little story, but I'll change the names slightly to avoid any legal action.

    I worked for a national security and communications company, called Horrocks, where I gradually trained to be Dilbert's Disciple. In order to satisfy the need to write a number in the 'percentage of mentally disabled people employed' box (usually for Local Authority Select List of Contractor status), they hired Mark and stuck him in Stores.

    Mark was very accident prone, and he smashed a lot of things. He was quite dangerous to be around, and mostly a complete tool, but he did help tick that box.

    One day Mark, after a string of smashing stuff up incidents, for which he received no disciplinary action, he jumped in to a fork lift truck that he didn't have a license for, and reversed it directly in to the visiting MD of a major client's brand new Mercedes Estate. Our company was doing millions of pounds worth of business with them but that was irrelevent really, because had the Mercedes not stopped Mark in his tracks, he could have quite easily killed someone with it. He was partially blind, and had about as much spacial awareness and IQ as a tomato.

    Mark kept his job and became all the more confident in the event that he made mistakes, because despite his mental incapacitation, he was still clever enough to explain to me 'fuck it, they can't fucking sack me, cos I'll take 'em to fucking court'. He didn't say it that clearly though, because he had a cleft palate.

    That's a true story, and in case anyone thinks I'm being cruel, I once picked him up and walked him home when he pissed himself in the pub after his Mum died. A bit of the smell rubbed off on me, and I couldn't go back in the pub later because I smelled of his wee, and I missed last orders. Selfless.