Another day, another “full and unreserved apology” forced on someone in the public eye by the leftist Offence Police.
This time the mea maxima culpa comes from a minor government minister called Lord Freud who, apparently, has been caught out saying something truly, dreadfully, almost unforgiveably evil about disabled people.
His statement says:
“I would like to offer a full and unreserved apology. I was foolish to accept the premise of the question. To be clear, all disabled people should be paid at least the minimum wage, without exception, and I accept that it is offensive to suggest anything else. I care passionately about disabled people. I am proud to have played a full part in a government that is fully committed to helping disabled people overcome the many barriers they face in finding employment. I am profoundly sorry for any offence I have caused to any disabled people.”
We all care about the disabled. But “passionately?”
This is no ordinary apology.
It’s redolent of the kind of thing you might write with a knife held to your throat by Islamic State; the sort of confession you’d make after months of reeducation in a North Korean POW camp; the stuff you might say at a Kim Jong Un show trial, shortly before being thrown into a cage of fifty starving dogs. What it most definitely isn’t is the language you’d expect any person to have to use anywhere outside a totalitarian state. It’s just not how real people talk. Not only is it too strained and hyperbolic but it’s intellectually dishonest and politically extreme.
Why, for example, is it “offensive” to the point of total unacceptability to argue that there are some occasions where it makes sense to pay disabled people below the minimum wage?
Surely there are times when it is both economically sensible and compassionate?
Sam Bowman makes a good case here:
Many severely disabled people who would like to work thus can not do so. Markets are amoral. If a severely disabled person cannot produce more than the minimum wage’s worth of work, no employer will be able to profitably employ him. Some generous ones might do so at a loss, but we cannot assume that there will be enough of them.
What Bowman is restating here is the point that Lord Freud was trying to make at a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference, where his remarks were recorded by a Labour party activist and then used by Labour leader Ed Miliband in parliament yesterday to ambush David Cameron.
Lord Freud’s point was a perfectly reasonable, caring and practical one: how do you best incentivise employers to take on disabled people who want to work but whose productivity rate may not be the equal of able-bodied employees?
Read the rest at Breitbart London