Monday, 19 January 2009

Do McIlveen and Simpson want to establish a general principle?

Free P tub-thumper David McIlveen and DUPe gospel singer and occasional MP, David Simpson, have called on Translink to ‘respect the feeling of Christian bus drivers’ by allowing them not to drive buses with humanist adverts on the side. I wonder do they wish to establish a new principle whereby employees can vet all the advertising carried on the side of public transport?

Perhaps conscientious objectors should have been exempt from driving buses with those noxiously disingenuous ‘that’s why we need a Bill of Rights’ adverts resplendent on the side. Maybe temperance advocates should be allowed to opt out from promoting Harp lager by means of 12 feet high pints on the back of double-deckers. There’s no reason Christians should get special treatment after all!

My feeling is that whilst drivers are entitled to their convictions equally the company is entitled to carry legal advertising without consulting each employee. If the rigours of someone’s conscience are incompatible with free speech on the side of a bus, naturally they have a decision to make. If they feel they can’t do their job then the company must look for another employee.

5 comments:

fair_deal said...

The principle/concept of offence, even if it is a questionable and often impractical principle, is not new.

Offence was one of reasons given for opposing a SF event at Stormont and welcomed its blocking:

"Good sense has prevailed and the Assembly Commission have ensured that an event to celebrate the life of IRA bomber Mairead Farrell cannot be held in Stormont’s Long Gallery. All parties other than Sinn Fein objected to the premises being used. An outcome Jennifer McCann MLA must have known was ineivitable even as she initiated her attempt to organise this deliberately offensive and provocative commemoration at the seat of Northern Ireland’s government."

http://threethousandversts.blogspot.com/2008/03/because-principle-of-consent-has.html

There is simply no valid reason why this agenda should be indulged and it would be manifestly wrong to allow it to take place on public property.

http://threethousandversts.blogspot.com/2008/02/offensive-event-hidden-behind-sf.html

"If the rigours of someone’s conscience are incompatible with free speech on the side of a bus, naturally they have a decision to make. If they feel they can’t do their job then the company must look for another employee."

Now imagine if the SF event hadn't been stopped, would it have been legitimate for the Stormont caterers Mount Charles to sack a staff member who refused to work at an event?

Chekov said...

Clearly making an argument is not the same as glorifying murder.

fair_deal said...

Chekov

"Clearly making an argument is not the same as glorifying murder."

Which means you are drawing a distinction about the manner of the offence. Some will consider questioning the existence of God as insulting as the glorification of terror. It is the problem with using offence as the rationale.

I ask again "Now imagine if the SF event hadn't been stopped, would it have been legitimate for the Stormont caterers Mount Charles to sack a staff member who refused to work at" the event? (Sorry used 'an' instead of 'the' in first post)

Chekov said...

I'm not answering the question because it isn't a valid comparison.

fair_deal said...

"I'm not answering the question because it isn't a valid comparison."

Worth a Paxmanesque yes ;) An employee is objecting to something they find offensive in their workplace.