Saturday, 26 September 2015

"Just" Causes Justify Lawbreaking

Superior Mortals Have More Rights

Self-righteous precious petals are at it again.  There are plenty of folk making up the ranks of those who have "higher causes" which justify the suspension of employment obligations it would seem.  A senior emergency doctor, working at the Whanganui Hospital, recently took part in a public protest against the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) presently being negotiated.  No problems so far.

But the self-righteous doctor had a higher calling than ordinary mortals.  He presented at a demonstration clothed in his work uniform, clambered up on top of a vehicle (not his own) and sat on it, refusing to move.  He was arrested by the police and later discharged with a formal verbal warning.  His employers (the District Health Board) summoned him to a meeting where they told him to cease and desist.  His union is now protesting the draconian, lawless, oppressive behaviour of his employer.  This from Stuff:

Emergency medicine specialist Chris Cresswell, who is also the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists' Whanganui branch president, was arrested at last week's protest after he climbed on top of local  MP Chester Borrows' car and sat on it while dressed in his scrubs.   He was given a verbal warning by police, but was not charged.

Now the DHB has called him in for a "please explain" meeting, prompting his association [union] to order it to "pull your head in".  ASMS executive director Ian Powell said on Thursday that the DHB's move was outrageous. "Memo to Whanganui DHB: doctors have a right, and in fact a responsibility, to speak out publicly on these matters without you trying to shut down the debate.  Pull your head in."

The DHB wrote to Creswell expressing concern at his "recent views" which, it said, "could damage the reputation of the Whanganui District Health Board".  The letter cited various documents including the DHB's Code of Conduct and the State Services Commission Standards of Integrity and Conduct, but ignored clauses in the DHB's collective employment agreement, Powell said.  "Unfortunately, the letter omitted the most relevant document of all, which is the DHB collective employment agreement signed by all of the DHBs.  This binding employment agreement includes specific clauses to protect the right of doctors to engage in public debate on matters relevant to their expertise and experience."
Powell gets the "Precious Petal" award of the month.  Is he really suggesting that the employment agreement of senior salaried medical specialists allows them to attend a public demonstration in work uniform, trespass on private property, and refuse to obey the lawful directions of the police?  Does Powell really want us to understand that such behaviour represents "engagement in public debate".

Doubtless Mr Powell would be duly outraged if, having parked his car on the main street of Whanganui, he returned to his vehicle after an absence to find a member of the local Mongrel Mob sitting on top.  He would be aggrieved, if, after calling the police, the Mongrel Mob gangster refused to comply with instructions to get down off the car and be on his way.  He would presumably have been thankful if the police arrested and removed the lawless trespasser.  But now, when those very same consequences fall upon a member of his union for breaking the law, Mr Powell measures with a very different stick.  "But we are salaried medical specialists.  We have higher rights than ordinary plebs.  Moreover, our cause is holy, just, and good.  That most certainly justifies breaking the law and damaging other people's property.  We are righteous petals.  Pleb laws do not apply to us."

And what about the actions of Mr Creswell's employer?  Doubtless if Mr Creswell were protesting on his own time, there would have been no problem.  Doubtless if he were not wearing his employer provided working uniform, it would have been no matter.  But he was emblazoned with the uniform of his employers as he broke the law--and that made all the difference.

Imagine someone wearing the uniform of a high street bank who took it upon themselves to go down to the local district court, climb up on a parked vehicle, and commence protesting a case being heard in that court. The bank employee, wearing the uniform of his employer, breaking the law in public deliberately in order to call attention to himself and his cause, was also publicly joining the bank in his cause.  Is anyone seriously suggesting that his employers would not have both a responsibility and a duty of care to discipline the bank employee for bringing the bank into public disrepute and for misusing the bank uniform?

Ah, yes, but if your cause is holy, just, and good, it makes all the difference.  The end always justifies the means, non?  It does indeed if you happen to be a precious petal, oozing unctuous self-righteousness. 

No comments: