Monday, 30 January 2017

Let Us Judge.


I couldn't agree more with a recent newspaper editorial in a British newspaper that lambasted British lawyers for criticizing the former British Prime Minister David Cameron for not doing enough to help Syrian migrants or suggesting that his offer to take in about 20,000 Syrian migrants over a five year period was not good enough.

Revisit the criticism to know where I am heading. It is not enough carrying 'We Welcome Migrants' placard, criticizing David Cameron or the Tory government handling of the crisis. To prove that you truly love migrants, the proof must begin from you. You must have to play your part too and this includes ensuring that they are not discriminated against in everyday services especially in the job sector when they arrive in the UK. Are you ready to give that assurance? I so much doubt that! The change must begin from you and not from the Prime Minister or the Tory Government. We are all agents of change and must do our bits to help these people otherwise our actions would be akin to sitting on moral high horses.

By the way, let us look at those talking. Here in the UK to be a barrister (I do not say a solicitor), if one of your parents or family member or friend of the family is not already in the profession, you probably would definitely struggle to get a pupillage and that struggle would be like a camel going through the eye of a needle or looking for a needle in a haystack.

These judges and barristers are where they are today because of the benefit of their parents discriminative attitude against those who have no barristers in their own family. Their parents overlooked merit and shamefully concentrated on bias, nepotism and 'family connection' to get them where they are today. It is because of this reason that barristers here in the UK are often sons and daughters of barristers, judges, KCs and QCs who themselves descended from long line of barristers, judges, KCs and QCs. I dare you to give me 10 names of barristers in the UK who do not fall into this category and I shall buy you a hot chocolate!

It is a shame that being a barrister is still one profession or vocation where corruption and nepotism is still very rife and nobody is doing something about it! And to think that these people are custodian of justice in the society makes you to begin to wonder about the quality of the legal system in this country.

I am therefore appalled that these lawyers have the gut to utter absolute rubbish and balderdash to make us believe that they like migrants and those from the lower class. They occupy juicy positions in the legal profession and using that influence are preventing others from climbing same ladder because they are busy making provisions for their sons and daughters and grand children and great grand children. And they still have the audacity to talk rubbish. Look at who is talking: a pot calling a kettle black!

I change my mind about Jeremy Corbyn.

The notion that some persons cannot make a good leader or do a particular job is an absolute nonsense. So far they have the necessary qualification and given equal opportunity, training, level playing ground, fair game, justice, fairness and equity and of course the moral support of those being led, anyone can be a good leader or do a particular job. However, if the leader in question chooses to be a dictator and refuses to listen to those he is leading or to leave the scene when the ovation is still at the crescendo, then he becomes a bad leader and unworthy to lead.

I am very sorry that I wrote here sometime ago that I do not trust the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. That was very fast, furious and foolish of me. The conclusion was very immature. Decency and common sense should have dictated that I first give him a chance before condemning him.

It is sad that I spent four years in the best Law Schools (SOAS and Birkbeck) in this country and yet forgot so easily that principal maxim in law that demands that the other party must be heard first or given a chance before being condemned. I sincerely apologize to Jeremy Corbyn and wish him all the best.

Meanwhile, I should be ashamed of myself. Being a black person, one of the greatest hurdles the likes of me face in this country is that the society especially employers judge as failures even before we are given the chance to try and fail. Some of these employers have the mindset that nothing good can ever come out of the black community and therefore are very reluctant to hire us. Most employers would even go as far as thinking that you would be coming to the interview with a gun or a knife. This is sad and the biggest tragedy of our time.

This stereotyping of a particular group of people based on their colour or religion or other characteristics just as President Donald Trump is doing at the moment in the United Sates is sad. It is sad that a whole race, religion or generation is being condemned without even being given an opportunity or the chance to prove themselves. It is even sadder that these people are not being given an opportunity to prove that their colour or religion or other characteristics have no relation or bearing to their ability to do a particular job. It is for this reason that the then Baroness Hale Of Richmond said in Ghaidan v Mendoza [2004]:

"My Lords, it is not so very long ago in this country that people might be refused access to a so-called "public" bar because of their sex or the colour of their skin; that a woman might automatically be paid three quarters of what a man was paid for doing exactly the same job; that a landlady offering rooms to let might lawfully put a "no blacks" notice in her window. We now realize that this was wrong. It was wrong because the sex or colour of the person was simply irrelevant to the choice which was being made: to whether he or she would be a fit and proper person to have a drink with others in a bar, to how well she might do the job, to how good a tenant or lodger he might be. It was wrong because it depended on stereotypical assumptions about what a woman or a black person might be like, assumptions which had nothing to do with the qualities of the individual involved: even if there were any reason to believe that more women than men made bad customers this was no justification for discriminating against all women. It was wrong because it was based on an irrelevant characteristic which the woman or the black did not choose and could do nothing about."

That was actually the thinking that led me not to back Jeremy Corbyn. This thinking that someone cannot make a good leader or do a particular job is absolute rubbish and I deeply and sincerely apologize to Jeremy Corbyn.

Trust me, there is a huge potential in diversity!

Few weeks ago, I read in UK Evening Standard of a black British woman of Nigerian origin who had to change her name to an English name to get a job. After graduating from the college she was not able to attract any job interview despite her brilliant CV, track records, academic achievements and work experiences. The saddest part of this story is that as soon as she changed her name by deed poll she landed a job interview and a job within one week! Isn't this sad? 

Must we all be whites? Must we all be named John Smith to get a job in the United Kingdom in 2016? Isn't this akin to ISIS or Daesh or whatever you prefer to call them or even Boko Haram wanting all of us to become Muslims and live under a caliphate? There is a good reason why evolution allowed us to evolve differently. There is definitely a good reason why we all speak different languages or even same language with different accents. In fact, our different accents and even languages could be an aphrodisiac to some people. Listen to French, Italian or even Hausa and Swahili languages and you will know where I am heading.

There is also a good reason why some of us were born blacks while others were born whites or other colours. Those reasons should be seen as a blessing and not a barrier. They should be celebrated and not tolerated. There is nothing wrong with being black, Nigerian or having a jaw breaking name or even speaking with an accent.

Nobody should have to be overlooked or denied any job in the United Kingdom in 2016 because of their language, accent, name, origin, religion or creed or even the colour of their body for these  are immaterial as to whether someone could do a job and do it very well.

It is very sad that brilliant candidates are not being hired due to their accent or the colour of their body while square pegs in round holes are being hired because of their 'accepted' name, colour, language and accent and who they know or related to in the high places. 

Same employers who employ these people would tomorrow be the first to shout that graduates of these days are not well equipped for the job market whereas the blame should be on them for hiring wrong people based on nepotism and their myopic and thwarted prejudices.

On a final note, I must reiterate that great talent can come from anywhere. See beyond colour. See potential. Employ an ethnic minority!