White men have been banned from fire brigade recruitment sessions because bosses want to hit their diversity targets.
Four out of five "open" days held by Avon Fire Service were restricted to women and ethnic minorities.
Critics last night accused the West Country brigade of discrimination. An MP said the move would fuel resentment and undermine race relations.
Avon's bosses insist their ban on white men is simply "positive action".
Well that's alright then!
It should be noted that attending an open day is not the same as being recruited - white men are still allowed to apply for jobs with the Avon Fire Service, just as much as their betters. But while this "positive action" is apparently intended merely to encourage "under-represented" groups to apply for positions in the fire service (not that there is at present anything preventing them from applying, or from getting the job, if they're the best qualified candidate), it is also likely to discourage white men from applying for such positions. After all, most people, if told that they weren't welcome at the open day, would feel rather less enthusiastic about the employer, and rather less confident of their chances of getting the job, and in consequence would be less likely to apply.
I don't suppose that a great many people who are trapped on top of a burning building really care whether the person who comes to rescue them is a man or a woman, or what race they are. Even the most hardened race hustler or radical feminist is unlikely to give themselves up to the flames because their rescuers are insufficiently diverse. But what most people in such a situation would want, would be for the people sent to save them to be the people best suited for the task. Discriminatory policies such as these, which are likely to result in well-qualified individuals opting not to apply for positions, is highly likely to result in firemen (sorry, firepeople) being selected from a smaller pool of applicants, with the possibility that those selected will be of a lower standard as a result. This is a bad thing in all circumstances, and particularly in such life and death circumstances as those commonly dealt with by the fire brigade. Still, if anyone does suffer as a result of such idiocies, they can at least console themselves with the thought that they die, that diversity might live!
Postscript: Avon Fire Service has something of a history of destructive political correctness. In October, it was revealed that four firemen employed by the service had been disciplined after disturbing a group of men who were cottaging on Bristol Downs.