The appointment of Sir Martin Moore-Bick to lead the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster has raised strong objections from certain quarters. Emma Dent Coad, the Labour MP for Kensington, said that she could not understand, “how anybody like that could have empathy for what those people have been through”. She went on, “we need somebody who can understand human beings” (Sir Martin, a resident of Planet Zorg in the Alpha Centauri system, was unavailable for comment). David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, said, “It is a shame we couldn’t find a woman to lead this inquiry or indeed an ethnic minority to lead the inquiry in 2017”. And the group ‘BME Lawyers 4 Grenfell’ dismissed Sir Martin’s appointment as “astounding”.
These statements go so much further than simply suggesting that our present legal system is not objective: they in fact demand a subjectivity to their liking, suggesting that such a turn away from objectivity would be a good thing. How else are we to interpret calls for a certain ‘type’ of person to lead the inquiry? If those doing the calling did not believe that this would in any way lead to a different outcome then why would they be calling for it?
Let us put aside the rather vile suggestion that Sir Martin, as a white male, can feel no sympathy whatsoever for his non-white fellow humans; the positive case being made for a black or a female inquiry-leader is that he or she will have more empathy. They will feel the pain of the victims, thus allowing a greater level of emotion to enter into their conclusion-reaching process, edging objective analysis ever-so-slightly off centre-spot. A hundred years ago women weren’t allowed to vote because they were considered too emotional, yet here we are in the twenty-first century, after decades of progressive thought, listening to ‘progressives’ suggesting that women and black people would make the more emotional inquiry-leaders, and that said emotionality would improve the operating of a sober, forensic investigation.
If I, a white male, were to suggest that such groups are generally ‘more emotional’, I would be dismissed as a sexist, bigoted dinosaur. But the purveyors of identity-politics have no problem in taking us down these dark and dangerous avenues, where fundamental differences between ‘the races’ mean that we all arrive at our own respective ‘race-based truths’ and notions of ‘justice’.
These campaigners want to end the concept that justice is blind. For them, the opposite is in fact true: supposedly superficial appearances are fundamental. Is the judge the right sex/colour? In such a reality, legal constancy (fairness) would end: different judges would reach conclusions born of their perceived identities. Indeed, in order to strive for consistency we would have to employ judges from only one ethnic group and sex. They would all have to be either black or white, male or female. Or all Chinese men. Or Chinese women. There is a strong argument to be made for more diversity in the judiciary. This logic, however, takes us in the opposite direction.
Thankfully, however, we are not all homogenous automatons adhering to certain racial or sexual characteristics, but are, in fact, fully formed individual humans. As such, there will never be a need for judges to be selected primarily on the grounds of their gender or race. That does not, however, mean that those consumed by the politics of identity will not keep trying to warp the system to meet their worldview. They must not be allowed to win.