Do you have a right to express your religion or beliefs at work? Having trawled through much of the press coverage of the four Christians who have taken their claims of religious discrimination to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), I can confidently say that I don’t know. As with a lot of the law, what may seem like a straightforward question doesn’t always have a straightforward answer.
I have a cat. I’m quite fond of him and I like having him around, but, if I’m honest, I don’t think he’d be too upset if I moved away and left him. He’d probably just go and live with the neighbour up the road where he seems to spend most of his time anyway. It’s what cats do. So it’s surely common sense that a cat couldn’t be a reason not to deport someone? Apparently not.
The Dale Farm saga has the power, it seems, to invoke passions as few other recent events. It has unleashed streams of vitriol on Twitter and in the blogosphere and a glut of contradicting information and claims. As well as the main protagonists, the Dale Farm residents and Basildon Council, a range of other supporting players have emerged to underline this isn’t just a legal, but a moral debate.
Normally I associate the 1980s with the Thatcher government, the miners’ strike, the Falklands war and alarming fashion decisions. I often forget it was also the decade that saw the end of apartheid in South Africa and the Berlin wall. But watching the Arab Spring spread across the Middle East has reminded me that these international events had as big an influence on me as did events on my own doorstep.