Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Does Trevor Phillips Have a Conflict of Interest?

There's a lot of fuss in the papers about Trevor Phillips being paid to advise Channel 4 on equality issues, while at the same time he is chairman of the body which regulates equality issues. He was on the Today programme this morning defending himself, somewhat unconvincingly. He said that he only worked for the Equality Commission for three days a week and was therefore free to do what he liked the rest of the time. John Humphrys made the point that he ought to do work outside equality-related issues. Either he didn't get the point or choe to ignore it as he repeatedly asked Humphrys is he was saying he should sit on his hands all the time.

The point here is not about there being an actual conflict of interest, it's about there being the appearance of one. Trevor Phillips is being paid by a company he in theory regulates. I actually think that in his case he is able distinguish between the two roles, but to the outside world it is another case of having your cake and eating it. Imagine if it was a politician, rather than a quangocrat...

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Never had any time for Trevor Phillips who has made a fat living out of the race relations industry over the years. It's only very recently he's tried to distance himself from the so-called multicultural lobby, which encourages enclosed communities. Those outside the communities were supposed to celebrate the wonderful diversity they saw springing up in this fair land.

Incidentally, I heard that the CRE was made up of 50% blacks and 50% asians, and the two groups couldn't stand each other.
No whites of course. What do they know about racial issues?

Alex said...

If he does any work for another organisation he has a potential conflict of interest, but that conflict arises only if that other employer comes before his Commission, so this is largely a non-issue.

The type of work he undertakes is not necessarily relevant.

Anonymous said...

Channel Four asked him because of his position. He should not have accepted monies for doing.....his job!

He should repay the money or resign.

I do hope the Conservatives will bring to an end this little man's empire!

Desperate Dan said...

I don't know about conflict of interest but I do think the last thing Trevor Phillips wants is equality. If he was white we'd be able to tell him what we think of him.

Head of Legal said...

What do you think of the CEHR's intervention in the 42 days debate, Iain? I'm against the 42 days; but I'm unimpressed by what the CEHR are up to. First, I think their legal view is wrong, and that (however wrong it is) what the government's proposing probably is human rights compliant.

But apart from the legal details, should a body like the CEHR be lobbying by means of timed announcements of legal threats, based on long and technical legal opinions that few MPs will be able to follow, in the hope of swaying some of the wobbliest? I think this is different from lobbying by simple persuasion on the merits. If Trevor Phillips had written an article in the papers today explaining his opposition to 42 days on the merits, I'd have no complaint.

Richard Nabavi said...

Yes, based on what you say I'd say he does have a potential conflict of interest.

Suppose Channel 4 were to be accused of some serious breach of equality legislation. Their defence might be 'well, we have an acknowledged expert in the person of Trevor Phillips as our adviser, and our policies are therefore exemplary'. And if the alleged breach were to be referred to the Equality Commission, the conflict would be undeniable.

In their own interest, people in senior positions in public life should avoid getting themselves into any position where there might be even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Why put yourself into a potentially awkward situation?

Torymory said...

A clear conflict of interest.

If you are a Councillor on a Council Scrutiny Committtee you cannot sit on any partnership board your committtee scrutinises.

e.g. A member of a Councils Public Protection and Safety Committtee cannot be a member of the local Police Partnership Board even though they clearly have an interest in and knowledge of the issues.

Anonymous said...

Trevor Phillips should be sacked and the Commission for Equality and Human Rights should be abolished as being a force for institutionalised racism, unfairness and prejudice.

Our society should be colour-blind to create social cohesion, otherwise we are heading for society disaster.

Trevor Phillips and the Commission are doing the very worst thing for our society and causing terrible damage by dividing and emphasising our racial differences when instead we should be stressing what unites us.

Our society needs uniting and healing. The CRE is a monster and an outrage. It does not have any answers for today's world and as an out of date institution it should be abolished by the Tories if they want to promote fairness in our society and promote social cohesion.

There is no room for racism in our society and the CRE is Labour's front body for institutionalised racism.

For goodness sake, abolish it before it does any more damage.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Trevor Phillips is a fully paid up member of the great and the good so he is beyond criticism.

On the other hand, he has now come out strongly against multiculturalism so I guess we may have to cut him a little slack.

Are there really no whites on the CRE? Shocking, if true.

Hugh said...

"Imagine if he was a politician" - Yes, indeed. If he was a politician, he would have subcontracted the work and put the fees on expenses.

Chris Paul said...

Was the CRE and is the CEHR actually a regulatory body or is it in fact an advisory body? Does that make a difference in terms of this supposed conflict of interest? Don't like Phillips. He was against the body he now leads and prevented the full decentralisation from London too.

But Torymory is probably wrong? Since council scrutiny bodies can call any other body in if they wish and those that they will call in are unknowns when they are formed.

A member would have to declare an interest and either be excused from such business or take part with the interest in the open.

Penfold said...

How much does Trev get for his 3 days a week?
Public servants, and i include those that sit on Quangoes and Committees should not have 2nd jobs within their sphere of operations/influence. Indeed, if they earn more than the average salary then they shouldn't have second jobs. It's far too incestous and usurps our democratic traditions of having accountable functionaries and a un-politicised civil service.

verity said...

His empire, as someone said above, should be demolished. He's a nasty individual who has turned the "race relations industry", of which there should be no such thing, into his personal fiefdom.

He and his organisation are de trop. We have the law.

People other than Caucasians will have to accept that the indigenes have prior ownership of this country and we are in the vast, vast majority in our own land. Of course there should be laws to protect people who aren't white from abuse, but we already have those laws, and we have a police force eager to prosecute white people. We don't need Trevor Phillips.

When someone said above the CRE is

50% "Asian", I assume he is using the term "Asian" the way Americans say "tid-bits" because they can't bring themselves to say tit-bits? In other words, he means Pakistanis?

He can't mean Muslims, because a religion is not part of genetic make-up. (Except in the case of Jews.) No one is coded genetically to be a Muslim or a Catholic or a Buddhist. That the ordinary British public is so ill-educated they cannot define things in their own heads is quite depressing. They just swallow any misinformation the thugs in the British government hand them.

There was no "racism" against that Indian woman Shipla something. Being from N India (and her looks tell me she is from N India), she is an Aryan, like us.

Peter Harrison said...

Anonymous @ 10:25 - the CRE is NOT 50% blacks and 50% Asians. Try looking at their website. Of the 17 commissioners, at least 12 are white.

I'd better declare a marginal personal interest first - I was at Imperial College when Trevor Phillips was president of the IC students union, on his way to becoming president of the NUS. I found him to be very fair minded and determined to stop the left wing students having it all their own way, despite being on the left himself. I particularly remember him defending an ex-soldier who had served in Northern Ireland when the soldier was speaking in a debate about the IRA and the left were trying to howl him down. Trevor Phillips made sure that the ex-soldier's comments got a reasonably respectful hearing and protected him from demands that he should reveal sensitive information.

To be honest, I think Trever Phillips is in a no win situation here. He is only employed by the EHRC 3 days a week, so either he twiddles his thumbs the rest of the time or he gets another part time job. ANY other job could raise a conflict of interest. If C4 are investigated by the EHRC, it matters little whether his role is advising them on equality issues or buying paper clips - there would still be a potential conflict. He would have to recuse himself from the investigation.

I agree with you that he is able to distinguish between the two roles. However, it is clear from comments here that people generally don't approve of this kind of thing. What do they think people in part time senior roles in the public sector should do with their remaining time? That is a genuine question. If there is no satisfactory answer to this, the only solution is to make all such posts full time.

Anonymous said...

Verity said ... "I assume he is using the term "Asian" the way Americans say "tid-bits" because they can't bring themselves to say tit-bits? In other words, he means Pakistanis?"

You seem to have a problem with the way we use the term 'Asian' in the UK. I don't know about the Mexican usage but in the UK it doesn't refer just to Pakistanis but also encompasses Indians, Bangladeshis, Sri Lankans, etc.

For your information, there are more Indians than Pakistanis in the UK and you will find that only a minority of the Asians employed in the public sector are of Pakistani origin.

Gman said...

Classic behaviour of the 'shake down artist'. Al Sharpeton and Lee Jasper have a true mentor........

verity said...

2:09 - Figures, please. There are around 2m Pakistanis in Britain. So given that the government are liars, let's assume 2.5m The Indian population is 12.15 lakh. One lakh is 100,000.

In the UK,in my experience, the British try to avoid saying "Pakistani" in case they are accused of a hate crime and get a knock on the door from the UK Thought Police, and instead say 'Asian', referring to the entire vast continent.

You write that you don't know what the Mexican usage is. Neither do I! I would take a bet that they don't have one! Mexicans spend 24 hours a day not thinking about Britain and know nothing of British social problems.

You seem to be a rather fanciful person.

Dave H. said...

to anon 14:09,
most of the world thinks a 'typical' Asian is Chinese.

The whole business of defining and labelling ethnic groups is a real can of worms, but to name a single ethnic group after the largest and most populated continent on earth was bound to lead to confusion.

Speaking of confusion, it wasn't so long since we were using 'West Indian' instead of 'Caribbean'. There's no need to keep repeating a bloody embarassing mistake in 1492.

Anonymous said...

Dave H. said...
"to anon 14:09,
most of the world thinks a 'typical' Asian is Chinese. "

Maybe, but we are talking about the use of the term in the UK.

I know that the Chinese are Asian. They form only a tiny percentage of the UK population and are covered by the 'etc.' in my list.

Anonymous said...

Dave H. said...
"Speaking of confusion, it wasn't so long since we were using 'West Indian' instead of 'Caribbean'. "

Most people in Britain still do.

verity said...

Well, I don't blame the Native Americans for having demanded a change of name. How infuriating it must have been to be named after a mistake!

roman said...

Except people from British Guyana hate being called West Indian, because it lumps them in with Jamaicans whom they despise - told to me by several Guyanese.

verity said...

Trevor Phillips doesn't have a conflict of interests because his only interest is himself.

Anonymous said...

verity said...
"Well, I don't blame the Native Americans for having demanded a change of name. How infuriating it must have been to be named after a mistake!"

What has that got to do with the West Indies?

Anonymous said...

roman said...
"Except people from British Guyana hate being called West Indian, because it lumps them in with Jamaicans whom they despise - told to me by several Guyanese."

That is true. They should not be referred to a "West Indians".

The West Indies are the Caribbean islands.

Anonymous said...

verity said...
"Trevor Phillips doesn't have a conflict of interests because his only interest is himself."

A glib statement which has no basis in truth.

Verity said...

9:58 - Prove it! The man is a greedy egomaniac with a strong power streak. Otherwise he wouldn't be in an absurd non-job.

9:53 - Why should it have anything to do with the W Indies? The discussion began with Pakistanis being labelled "Asians" because the word "Pakistani" has become verboten. I pointed out that this is absurd because Asia is a vast region of the world.

Someone then brought up the W Indians and the Guyanese. I brought up the Native Americans.

It's all to do with false labelling of people. Geddit?

Anonymous said...

Verity said...
"9:58 - Prove it! The man is a greedy egomaniac with a strong power streak. Otherwise he wouldn't be in an absurd non-job."

The onus is on you to justify your absurd accusation.

Anonymous said...

Verity said...
"9:53 - Why should it have anything to do with the W Indies? "

The West Indies issue was raised by Dave H. Nothing to do with you really.

Anonymous said...

Verity said ... "Pakistani" has become verboten.

If you lived in the UK you would know that isn't true.

Anonymous said...

Verity said .. "It's all to do with false labelling of people. Geddit?"


So how would we label you?

Ancient?
Pompous?
Arrogant
Fascist?
Hyper-critical?
Self-deluding?
Batty?
Barmy?

Take your pick.

J said...

roman @ 8:01 - true, but mostly because Guayana is in South America, AIUI. (According to my ex, who's from the said country, anyway).


Trevor Phillips is adept at getting his own way, right back to his student days - he somehow persuaded the Imperial College Union to affiliate to NUS just long enough for him to get elected NUS President, after which they promptly disaffiliated again...

Anonymous said...

verity said...
2:09 - Figures, please. There are around 2m Pakistanis in Britain

At the last census(2001)there were 1,591,000 Moslems in the UK, of which 660,00 were Pakistani.

Of the Asian population of the UK 1,050,000 were of Indian origin and 747,00 were Pakistani.

What is your problem?

verity said...

Verity said...<>
"9:53 - Why should it have anything to do with the W Indies?

"The West Indies issue was raised by Dave H. Nothing to do with you really."

Are you mad? Something raised on a blog has "nothing to do" with other bloggers?

Verity said .. "It's all to do with false labelling of people. Geddit?"


So how would we label you?

Ancient? Pompous? Arrogant
Fascist? Hyper-critical?
Self-deluding? Batty? Barmy?


Take your pick.

Thank you! Any problems if I put it in the back of your neck?

Anonymous said...

Verity is correct as usual. The Thought Police have scared British (i.e. white) people into using 'Asian' when they mean 'Pakistani'. Recently there has been rather more usage of 'Pakistani' because Indian (and other) Asians resent being lumped together with terrorists.

Anonymous said...

"Take your pick.

Thank you! Any problems if I put it in the back of your neck?"

Aha, Verity -

so now we know why you live in Mexico

yours,

Ramon Mercader

verity said...

11:21- I did live in the UK, being British and all, having returned from overseas, and noticed specifically that Pakistanis were never referred to as Pakistanis or Muslims - always "Asian". It was so interesting that it forced itself on my consciousness. 10:39 would appear to support my argument. Perhaps you are so accustomed to brainwashing that you don't notice it any more.

11:37 - No point in debating unprovable numbers. The numbers vary according to what lie the government is trying to infiltrate into the national consciousness. I have read 1.8m quoted by the government, but I don't believe that either, given Pakistani birthrates. I think it is more, but we will never know.

What we do know for a fact is, Pakistanis produce 31 per cent of the birth defects in newborns in Britain. Quite an achievement for "747,000 people", eh?

12:02- Ramon,only got one surname, have you? Your post is ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

Verity
"Ancient? Pompous? Arrogant
Fascist? Hyper-critical?
Self-deluding? Batty? Barmy?

Take your pick."

Perhaps there were a few words missing at the end.

"Take your pick and stick it up your ..."

I see you don't deny any of Anon 11.26's labels.

Anonymous said...

Is Verity following in Trotsky's (or Ramon Mercader's) footsteps and has taken up residence in Coyoacán?

verity said...

Don't know what Coyoacán is. But given that I'm not panting to know, don't bother cluttering up this thread with an explanation.

We're discussing Trevor Phillips and the emptiness of his non-job (we already have laws; we never needed a "race czar") and the affront, frankly, to the British in creating this entity.

Anonymous said...

Verity 12:02- "Ramon,only got one surname, have you? Your post is ludicrous."

That post was funny.

Don't you know who Ramon Mercader is?

Anonymous said...

Every schoolboy knows that Coyoacán is a suburb of Mexico City.

verity said...

Nope, no idea who Ramon Mercader is/was. Mexico City has 12m people. I'm sure it has lots of suburbs I've never heard of.

But speaking of Trotsky - his countrymen are certainly in Mexico with a vengeance, and they are not exactly revolutionaries. They have bought up property on the East Coast/Gulf of Mexico along the Mayan Riviera costing major dinero. They are apparently enthusiastic investors in the area. Luxury condos.

Anonymous said...

Verity, Ramon Mercader was a Spaniard who murdered Leon Trotsky in Mexico in 1940 using an ice pick.

verity said...

7:48 - Thank you!