FREEDOM OF SPEECH | WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO POLICE YOUR OPINIONS?


At the end of last year, I had a business consulting contract summarily terminated by a British management consultancy, PA Consulting; I was working as a sub-contractor. It transpired that I’d had my contract terminated not for any professional or disciplinary reasons; instead, I was to all intents and purposes fired for my political views. My summary dismissal as a high-performing and well-respected management consultant was a case study in the latter-day stampede by individuals and organisations towards displaying, above all else, one’s ‘woke’ credentials. Here is an open letter to my sub-contracting colleagues, some of whom have been wondering what happened to me.

Dear Colleague

You may have noticed that at the end of last year I disappeared suddenly from the cohort of Specialist Advisers. I was deleted from all distribution lists and excluded from communications – for reasons which I couldn’t fathom at the time. I’ve been asked where did I go? Well, the answer is that my contract under the Specialist Advice Programme was terminated summarily by PA Consulting because of my political views. Specifically, I was eventually told that ‘comments within your blog are not aligned with PA’s values’.

During last year’s General Election campaign, I was selected as a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate. Inevitably, my views were interrogated by the press. I received some short, sharp hostile press coverage in a low-circulation newspaper (9,000 readers) which, in fact, came to nothing as such.

However, without any reference to me, PA took steps behind my back to terminate my contract as a direct result of the adverse coverage I had received. Politics is dirty and I was subjected to a smear campaign; that’s how politics works and I’m not complaining about that. The issue is that nobody in the PA team had the courage to speak to me and explore the matter with me face-to-face, nor by any other form of communication. PA’s decision was taken unilaterally and on the basis of a press article. Indeed, I have since discovered that PA had no intention of informing me of its decision, which will have been taken without my knowledge between August and October of last year.

That is until 19 November 2019 when I was heading to a scheduled PA Consulting Adviser Training Day. I don’t know exactly what happened on the day itself, but somebody panicked when they realised that I was on the attendee list but should not have been – because of views expressed here on my blog. I received a telephone call when I was 15 minutes from the seminar venue to be told I was unwelcome, my contract had been terminated and I should go home. So, I did.

Since then, I’ve been in correspondence with PA’s CEO and the Company Secretary and have taken part in two conference calls on this matter. PA has confirmed that my views as reported in the press relating to my blog – which I write under a pseudonym – were unacceptable to PA and, therefore, my services were no longer required. This despite the fact that for at least 5 years my professional performance under the Specialist Advice contract had been exceptional and unblemished, with testimonials to substantiate the value I had brought to client companies. Furthermore, without remuneration, I took steps to add value to PA’s performance and reputation by assisting whenever and wherever I could with delivery of the prime contract to our principal client. In other words, I worked above and beyond the requirements of my contract with PA.

It’s ironic, therefore, that PA dismissed my services on the basis of me allegedly breaching its core values. PA’s core values include a requirement for its employees and sub-contractors to act with ‘honesty’ and ‘integrity’, to do ‘the right thing’ in difficult situations and to treat people as ‘prized assets’. In my case, the indisputable facts are that PA acted dishonestly (by taking significant actions, damaging to me, behind my back), without integrity (ie lacking moral fibre) and, therefore, did the wrong thing by treating me not as a ‘prized asset’ but, rather, by treating me with contempt. The effect on me has been financially damaging and, moreover, it’s difficult for me to know whether or not PA has impugned me in any way. PA asserts that it hasn’t defamed me, but why under the circumstances would I trust their word on this point?

To be clear, it was always PA’s prerogative to terminate my contract and I accept that. As with the bad press levelled at me, I’m not complaining about PA’s decision per se. The point is that this incident raises several discussion topics, such as:

Companies like PA Consulting brandishing the significance of, and boasting about their ‘core values’ – and then flagrantly breaching those values when it suits them.

Freedom of speech and whether people, like me in this case, should be penalised – potentially to the extent of losing their job – for saying things which might offend some, but which cross no ethical or legal boundaries.

The depressing prevalence of ‘wokeness’ today and the desire by some to be seen more as social justice warriors rather than acting in the workplace with honesty and integrity and doing the right thing. Somebody in PA Consulting was more concerned with being woke than he was about living up to his firm’s core values.

As an erstwhile colleague of mine and, hopefully, a still-working sub-contractor to PA Consulting, I should be interested in your views on this matter.

Yours faithfully

Moraymint

COROLLARY

So what?’, one might ask. Bloke sticks his head above the political parapet having previously made public some arguably controversial but nonetheless legal points of view. Professional partner thinks, ‘We don’t like this bloke’s points of view so we’ll dispense with his services’. End. This is PA Consulting’s party line.

Incidentally, one wonders if I’d been a PA employee rather than a sub-contractor would PA Consulting, under the strictures of employment law, have been able to fire me? Can an employer say, ‘We don’t agree with your personal views, still less seeing them made public – albeit under a pseudonym and with no connection to us as your employer – but we’re going to terminate your employment anyway’. Would that be lawful and, if so, on what grounds exactly?

When all’s said and done, for me, this lamentable incident comes down to a question of freedom of speech and the extent to which an employer or, as in my case, a prime-contractor should police employees’/contractors’ personal opinions. In my next post I’m going to explore this question in more detail, using my experience with PA Consulting as a case study. I shall pick up on the journalist Celia Walden’s theme in her recent Daily Telegraph article, ‘Woke up, Britain! Now you can lose your job for voicing an opinion …’.

Indeed, I voiced an opinion and lost my job.

To stimulate debate, please share this post on social media using one or more of the buttons below. Tell people you share my views; or tell people I’m talking cobblers; I don’t mind either way. I just want us all to use peaceful means to effect change. Jaw-jaw is better than war-war.

Feel free to join the 360-odd other followers of my blog by clicking on the ‘Follow Blog via Email’ box over to the right of the page. I didn’t plan it this way, but Moraymint Chatter now gets tens of thousands of hits during the course of a year, so if you comment your views will be widely read. At the last count, this blog had received over 170,000 hits from readers all over the world, as well as countless shares on other social media platforms.

See you down the pub …

28 comments

  1. Sydney Wright · ·

    QUOTE
    Can an employer say, ‘We don’t agree with your personal views, still less seeing them made public
    UNQUOTE

    Well if you were living in the United States of America which does not have the nanny state laws of employment protection, then yes they could fire you for such a reason and even for even less significant matters, while at the same time upholding your first amendment right of speech to declare your (non-violent) disapproval of non-aryans, their religions, and how to respond to white genocide.

    I thought the whole point of BreXit was to remove such unecessary red tape regulation and to make hiring and firing easier, to be free of the protectionist EU and its socialist state rules, and to become a truly freewheeling laissez-faire buccaneer economy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. moraymint · ·

      Yes, I suppose it’s a question of where does one draw the line as far as an employer being able to police one’s behaviour outside of the workplace is concerned? To what extent should an employer be able to say, ‘We don’t like what you’re doing outside of the contract between us, so we’re going to fire you’?

      Like

  2. I suspect most of PA’s clients are stuffed full of Remainers, Common Purpose types and Lefties (as well as PA itself). That probably explains everything.

    Most of the UKIP/Brexit Party MEPs will struggle to find any work due their political activities.
    Fortunately for me I was retired and beholden to no one when I stuck my head above the parapet in 2014>2017.

    All the best; you’ll find a way forwards and be able to stick up the proverbial two fingers to your detractors and cowardly employers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Absolutely despicable treatment, MM! This is no longer the country I grew up in and used to be proud of. I suspect that you are not the litigious type, but to my untutored eye, I would say that you had grounds for legal action.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The trouble is, Archie, that these big companies have loads of money to chuck at legal cases, and if you aren’t really wealthy, get legal aid or crown funding, the individual doesn’t stand a chance of winning no matter how good the case.

      Yet another example of globalism, I’m afraid and companies acting unfairly and or without morals.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Boudicca · ·

    I’m afraid you are just the latest scalp that the Thought Police have claimed. Business is too scared of the PC Twitter Mob to stand up for our historical freedom of thought and speech. You have my commiserations.

    When I was employed as a Civil Servant (and a UKIP activist/candidate) I was extremely careful never to comment in an open forum under my real name and I refused to discuss politics with anyone at work. On the rare occasion where a colleague noticed I was standing for local election as a UKIP candidate (with official permission) and attempted to engage me in discussion, I simply stated that as a Civil Servant I didn’t think it was appropriate for me to have a conversation with him/her in the workplace and I would not socialise with them outside of work.

    I’m afraid anyone with right of centre views is considered “fair game” by the Woke lefties and regardless of how careful you are in expressing your views, if they want to find fault they will.

    I am firmly of the view that the majority of British citizens do not support or agree with the woke agenda which is continually being pushed by the lefties and the Establishment in general. All we can do is calmly and CAREFULLY state our opinions and hope that the ballot box beats the woke bullies.

    Good luck Moraymint. And see you down the pub one day, I hope.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. moraymint · ·

      Thanks Boudicca, and I’m aware of your presence elsewhere on internet forums. It is indeed rather depressing to hold right-of-centre or libertarian views expressed forthrightly and, as a consequence, to be vilified or worse. As Sir Roger Scruton once said if, as applies to me, you’re ever ‘identified as right-wing you are beyond the pale of argument; your views are irrelevant, your character discredited, your presence in the world a mistake. You are not an opponent to be argued with, but a disease to be shunned.’ PA Consulting certainly moved very quickly to shun me …

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Great article. When I was still in full time employment, there was many a time I would feel the urge to comment on various issues. The problem though was my employer. Working in A&D meant it unlikely my views, expressed publicly, on just about any issue would be considered benign. Since it unlikely I was not the only one in such a position, it begs the question just how many people do comment and who. There must be many, if not a majority, in a similar position in all sectors, since most people work and may feel equally constrained. if I am right, and I think I am (your experience tends to be supportive), there must be a majority who do not share the media and chattering classes’ views on any number of diverse issues. Hence, why we all wonder about how absurd minority views get so much airing.

    While writing this, I am struck by how much effort I am still exerting to avoid any consequences similar to the one to which you were subjected. And I work for myself now! Freedom of speech? Yeah, right.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. moraymint · ·

      Thanks fleetwoodchap. Yes, I share your observation that at times I think I’m going mad. Am I the only person on the planet who doesn’t ‘get it’ when it comes to embracing the myriad minority interests and identity political issues which seem to overwhelm us on a daily basis? Should I be adoring Islam; recognising that if I want to assert myself to be a woman and walk into the Ladies toilets I can; crying myself to sleep at night because we’re all going to die of global warming in the next few years; wishing that my village would triple in size regularly so that I can be culturally enriched; hoping that the BBC survives in perpetuity; demanding that the UK re-joins the European Union immediately if we’re not all to disappear up our own exhaust pipes?

      One could be forgiven for thinking that being normal is to be insane.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No, you are not the only one, but as you well know, freedom of thought and expression is reserved for those who think the ‘correct’ way and express themselves ‘correctly’ – Mao Tse Tsung must be chortling in his particular branch of Hell.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear MM, my reaction to what happened: horrified, but not surprised, sadly.

    One wonders what would happen if you would protest by publicly digging up some of a local University’s lawn for instance? Or sending up drones at a nearby airport? How about gluing yourself to PA Consulting’s front gate?

    No, no, I have it – you must self-declare as a woman, and lodge a complaint against PA for unequal and discriminatory treatment!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. moraymint · ·

      Ha, ha! Food for thought …

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Many companies publish their ‘values’ – they are almost invariably much the same as any other companies’ and always talk about “Doing the Right thing” etc etc etc .
    How close they come to the real values the company works by is never clear and they often bear little relation. For them, it all fits into the same category as advertising and self-promotion, nothing more.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. moraymint · ·

      Yup. In my direct dealings with PA’s directors, it became clear to me that the executive at the centre of PA’s handling of its relationship with me had no interest at all in adhering to his firm’s ‘core values’ – certainly not as far as my contract was concerned, anyway (obviously): ‘Core values? What core values?’

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Old Goat · ·

    The mycelium of liberal left SJE-ism and- snowflakery creeps ever onward, largely underground, but breaking to the surface occasionally, and continues to destroy careers and reputations.

    We are told by the likes of Dr. Steven Turley in his upbeat videos, how the tide is turning against leftism, and Marxism, and how populism and nationalism are surging, and that we are winning, and have got them on the run. In my view, this is far from the truth, and the undercurrent of this insidious leftist programme is slowly gaining a stranglehold. Only in America, where Trump holds sway, is it all being kept at bay – but for how long, one wonders. Some eastern European leaders have the message on board, but will they have the nerve to spike the EU and extract themselves from its clutches? We also had high hopes for Matteo Salvini, but he has (temporarily, hopefully) lost his authority and faces prosecution, when in fact, it is his people’s wish that he lead them.

    Then there is the Jupiter despot in France, who intends to acquire the EU for himself, and his various ends.

    And then COVD19 ruins everything.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. What Steve said….

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Jeff Wyatt · ·

    Alas what you have experienced here Mr Mint is happening all over every day of the week.

    Something that I heard historian Dr David Starkey say a few years back, springs to mind, he said one of the reasons he can be so opinionated and prepared to confront is he is financially independent and beholden to nobody.

    You suggest employed people maybe more protected. Amazingly this is not the case. I know many that have lost their jobs in similar circumstances. It seems that people are not prepared to utilize the 2010 Equality Act alongside employment law to seek justice. Until a high profile employee does I fear the persecution will continue.

    Maybe the Harry Miller litigation will encourage some to do so.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I’m delighted that I’m retired and am free to campaign politically, even if I don’t, and I no longer have to keep quiet at work except with one or two others who shared my views in the early morning before the others arrived.

      Would I have survived these days, I have to wonder. Certainly Brexit and social media have changed the atmosphere and not for the better, but it shows how deep the woke agenda has been pushed, and I think this is particularly the case in schools, universities and many public bodies such as the Quangos, police, civil service and others. Common Purpose is also apparently deeply embedded and I wonder how long it will be before it is dug out by the roots and destroyed, but I guess that will not be in my lifetime. It seems that the only people who can comment without any comeback are those on the left, everyone is labelled thick, racist, Gammon and so on.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. […] FREEDOM OF SPEECH | WHO HAS THE RIGHT TO POLICE YOUR OPINIONS? […]

    Liked by 2 people

  12. If you had used your own name and PA Consulting didn’t like it, then at least they should have talked to you first or given you a written warning, but they didn’t. It is unbelievable how sensitive these organisations and certain individuals have become to anything which doesn’t represent their views. Funnily it seems to be those largely on the left of the political spectrum, the pro-EU, globalist loving pro-CBI and pro-BBC that cannot accept a different point of view, and the world is much poorer for it. Thank God I knew life before the EU.

    I wish you luck in finding work with a less blinkered organisation.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I got into a debate last year with some colleagues about whether the Australian rugby union should have sacked their player Israel Falou when he tweeted what were deemed to be homophonic comments. I argued that the ARFU would not have been averse to using the players Christian values as a good thing when it suited them but the minute his PERSONAL view became something they disagreed with his contract was cancelled. It clearly demonstrated exactly your point. Instead of leaving the issue alone and allowing the wider world to make their own minds up about whether the comments were justified they chose to take action. I cannot recall the exact words but they were something along the line of God’s wrath being reserved for homosexuals. I opened up with the fact that I disagreed with the statement but would wholeheartedly defend the individuals right to freedom of speech. At the end of the day I could then choose to interpret the action as that of someone I disagreed with but still admire his sporting ability as a rugby player. It is very clear nowadays that interpretation is a skill which is being lost along with the ability to discuss difficult issues in an adult and educated manner. Anytime a discussion needs to be closed down all an opponent has to do is raise the fact that it is being aimed in a derogatory manner at some minority group. It is correct that minorities get protection but what is wrong is when the whole agenda is then dictated by the minority. I don’t often agree with your point of view but read your emails/posts with interest in the spirt of freedom of speech.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. Steven Abbott · ·

    Moraymint, you are right to expose this. There is a stench of hypocrisy about PA Consulting’s actions that by any objective assessment fall so short of the ethos and values they espouse so smugly in the public arena as to be laughable. PA Consulting’s management and more importantly, its leadership, has been craven to say the least. Utterly shameful

    Liked by 5 people

  15. I would guess you have seen Toby Young’s new initiative on freedom of speech aimed at resisting the de-platforming so favoured by the Woke.

    https://quillette.com/2019/08/01/why-i-want-to-start-a-free-speech-trade-union/

    Liked by 4 people

    1. moraymint · ·

      Yes markatlodge, I’ve seen The Free Speech Union. I’ve emailed and tweeted Toby Young with this post just this afternoon. I intend to join The Free Speech Union …

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Jeff Wyatt · ·

        ….before you do that, just ask Toby if he is warmly happy for those who criticize Islam, as I do, to do their thing ?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. moraymint · ·

          I’ll do that …

          Liked by 1 person

        2. This might be of interest:

          “A Campaign Against De Facto Hate Speech Laws – Part 1”
          http://participator.online/articles/2020/02/a_campaign_against_de_facto_hate_speech_laws_part_1_20200219.php

          Now that we have finally left the European Union, many people are turning their attention to the subject of freedom of speech.  In this new series I will be looking at particular cases to illustrate how problematic the UK laws that limit our freedom of speech have become.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. moraymint · ·

            Good, thanks Chauncey. Love Lord Pearson!

            Liked by 1 person

Derekbernard's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Great Debate

where disparate minds meet

Aisle C

I See This

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

“We do not believe any group of men adequate enough or wise enough to operate without scrutiny or without criticism. We know that the only way to avoid error is to detect it, that the only way to detect it is to be free to inquire. We know that in secrecy error undetected will flourish and subvert”. - J Robert Oppenheimer.

Chai et Rasade

The Vintage Wine Seller's Blog

Moraymint Chatter

A father's thoughts for his children ... and other stuff

Chauncey Tinker's Blog

Reversing "Western" decline with reason.

The Participator

A father's thoughts for his children ... and other stuff

The Worldview

Explaining our world in simple terms

The Brexit Door

Independent thinking for an Independent Britain

EU Referendum Blog

A father's thoughts for his children ... and other stuff

Surplus Energy Economics

How the economy REALLY works - Tim Morgan

Guido Fawkes

Parliamentary plots and conspiracy

BarristerBlogger

Matthew Scott's Legal Comment Argument and Discussion. Comment Awards 2015 Best Independent Blog

Our Finite World

Exploring how oil limits affect the economy

Independent Sovereign Democratic Britain

A father's thoughts for his children ... and other stuff

Sandy Paterson Mountaineering

A father's thoughts for his children ... and other stuff

Do the Math

A father's thoughts for his children ... and other stuff

The Archdruid Report

A father's thoughts for his children ... and other stuff

the.one&only-elspie

A father's thoughts for his children ... and other stuff

%d bloggers like this: