Free Speech Win: Railway Conductor Wins Suit Against Being Fired for Questioning ‘White Privilege’

West Midland Trains
Wikipedia Commons

In what is being hailed as a victory for free speech in Britain, train conductor Simon Isherwood has won a suit for being wrongfully fired from his job over remarks questioning so-called “white privilege”.

Mr Isherwood, who was supported in his case against the West Midlands Trains (WMT) by the Free Speech Union (FSU), had been fired in 2020 for questioning left-wing ideology after being required to take an online diversity course on “white privilege”.

Forgetting to turn off his microphone after completing the course, Isherwood turned to his wife and said:“I couldn’t be arsed because I thought, ‘You know what, I’ll just get f***ing angry.’ You know what I really wanted to ask? … and I wish I had, ‘Do they have black privilege in other countries? So, if you’re in Ghana?’”

The railway conductor said that he made the comments because he felt that the diversity training officers were trying to indoctrinate the workforce into believing that all white people are inherently racist, an idea which he rejects, maintaining that he personally is not racist.

Yet, merely questioning the dogmatic beliefs surrounding race and the Marxist concept of privilege was enough for his colleagues who overheard the remarks to file a formal complaint, resulting in him being suspended later that day and eventually fired for gross misconduct.

However, on Tuesday, an Employment Tribunal found that he was wrongly dismissed, with the presiding judge stating: “Freedom of expression, including a qualified right to offend when expressing views and beliefs (in this case on social issues), is a fundamental right in a democratic society and one that is protected by the Convention rights under the Human Rights Act 1998.

“In this instance, however, there is the added significance that these views were being expressed in the privacy of the claimant’s home to his wife. They were never intended to be heard by those who attended or ran the course… Whilst undoubtedly contentious, the remarks he expressed (albeit in an unguarded fashion because they were made to his wife) were akin to expressions of views not infrequently heard on radio and television or read in some newspapers.

“A significant section of society may of course disagree with those views, consider them narrow minded and may also take offence at them but undoubtedly there will be another section of society who hold a contrary view.”

The prevalence of so-called diversity training programmes like the one Isherwood was subjected to has been spreading throughout British society, with even the publicly-funded BBC and the deep state civil service forcing employees to attend diversity training.

Celebrating the victory for Isherwood, Toby Young, the General Secretary of the Free Speech Union — which paid for Isherwood’s legal costs at the tribunal — said: “Next time an employer is urged to dismiss someone by woke activists for challenging their progressive dogma, I hope they’ll think twice. Mr Isherwood is now due for a five-figure payout.”

“I’m delighted we were able to help Simon win a landmark victory for free speech,” Young added.

The chief legal counsel at the FSU, Dr Bryn Harris said: “This is a tremendous victory for Simon and for free speech. The lesson is clear: if you’re a member of the FSU, make sure your employer knows it. And if you’re an employer – don’t bully our members, or we’ll come for you.”

Fair Cop, an organisation set up by former police officer Harry Miller, who successfully won a case against the dystopian recording of “non-crime hate incidents“, said that Isherwood’s victory at the tribunal represented “another ringing endorsement from the court about the fundamental importance of free – and offensive – speech.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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