Hook in the west
THE use of force and coercion as a means of correcting a social imbalance often lends itself to stubborn begrudgery, which, in itself, flies in the face of the original purpose.
Generally speaking, the human brain is hard-wired to seek out equitable resolutions as a matter of course and if a person is forced down a particular path in the guise of ‘fair play’, it is almost certain that they will treat the ‘handcuff approach’ with contempt and ill-will.
This type of rallying against authority we associate with juvenile or childlike mentality: tell a child that they cannot do something and, chances are, they will only push more forcefully to do it. Give them a free reign to come to their own moral conclusion, however, and there is a reasonable expectation that they will reach an equitable terrain of their own volition.
The trick, of course, is to find a subtle method of guiding the hand that wants to control it’s own destiny. In other words, a gentle persuasion in a certain direction, which still leaves the subject to it’s own conclusion, is a better approach than a straight-jacket march down the right path.
It is clear that, after last weeks gender quota proposals here, the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport has no appreciation for the art of gentle persuasion. Patrick O’Donovan announced last week that 30 percent of all Irish sporting boards must be made up of women from 2019, or face financial cuts to their funding. Incredibly, the Minister of State did not see fit to consult with any of the leading sports bodies in the country before making this announcement.
First of all, there is no doubt that Ireland has a problem with it’s lack of female representation on sports governing bodies. As it stands, there isn’t a single woman sitting on the board of the FAI, IRFU or GAA. This is not acceptable and I absolutely agree that something needs to be done to address the imbalance. But gender quotas are not the answer.
Gender quotas are, by their very nature, sexist. I am quite certain that the majority of women in this country would find the idea of enforced representation, regardless of qualification, experience or ability, an abhorrent slight on their position.
How would the compulsory appointments of women to sporting bodies enhance the cause of gender equality in Ireland? Surely, the best person for the position is the right person for the job? Are we really suggesting that a woman gets appointed to a sports board ahead of a more qualified man, just so the Minister can tick a box? It is the very definition of reverse discrimination.
And how does Minister O’Donovan propose to handle the inevitable backlash that will come with such gender quota enforcement? To use a sporting analogy, if I may, one only has to look at the mess South African rugby is currently in, to understand how much damage this type of nonsense can cause.
Race and music
The Springboks are mired by in-fighting and apathy as the South African Government continue to insist on racial quotas for the national squad. Black players are being jettisoned through to the national team ahead of white players with better form and ability.
The result is a South Africa team that is grossly under-performing, where morale among the squad is at an all-time low. For the black players selected on the quota system, many are struggling to match even their own best form. Imagine the extra weight of pressure they must feel, knowing that they are not being selected on merit? It is nothing short of a disaster.
Quotas are rarely a good idea, in any spectrum. Take the latest push by musicians in the Dáil to demand a quota for Irish music on Irish radio stations. What a load of horse manure. If music is good enough and people want to hear it, it will be played. That’s the way the system works. It is the age-old law of supply and demand; why should Irish musicians take preference over others, if their product is not deemed good enough by the listening public?
Commercial radio stations have to make money, just as Irish sporting boards have to act in the best interests of the bodies they represent. If a board has to dilute the quality of its members, just to satisfy a gender quota, it cannot possibly provide the optimum return for it’s task.
Similarly, a commercial radio station will not receive an optimum profit return on its advertising, if it plays music that the public does not want to hear. Slapping a quota down in some sort of screwed-up attempt to adhere to equality, for the sake of it, is more akin to Stalin’s Russia, than a democratic Ireland in the twenty-first century.
It was ironic that, in the week when the UN decided to revoke its brand ambassador for women -Wonder Woman - because some complainants deemed the super hero too scantily dressed to be an appropriate role model (have you ever heard such prehistoric balderdash in your life?) Minister O’Donovan decided to press ahead with a gender quota, without the first consideration for the sporting bodies it would effect. This type of act first, think later politics belongs in the orangutan cage in Dublin zoo.
Yes, my friends, this is just another case of the screeching PC brigade shooting from the hip, without the first clue of what the consequences will hold. Another fine example of Irish politicians running head-first into the mist.