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Our Contemporary Sanctimony Puts the Victorians to Shame

Let us remind ourselves that a statement such as the one attached to the lawyers’ email did not get there spontaneously; someone, and quite possibly some committee, had to write it and decree that it should be appended to all the emails that the company sent. Indeed it probably took many sessions over breakfast or lunch to hammer it out.

What, actually, does it mean? Does it mean, for example, that the lady who cleans the offices at night after the partners have gone home, will henceforth be paid the same as the partners, that is to say hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars a year, because of their commitment to equality? Good luck for her if so, but I suspect not. Does it mean, either, that when someone applies for a job the firm will take no notice whatever of the person’s past record of achievement and ability, and will not discriminate in favor of an applicant with superior ability? Again, I suspect not; I would certainly hope not if I were a client of the firm’s.

There is a wonderful passage in Martin Chuzzlewit in which Pecksniff introduces his two daughters to a third party.

"Charity and Mercy," he says. "Not unholy names, I think?"

If he were living today, now that we have made so much progress, he would say:

"Equality and Diversity. Not unholy names, I think?"