Talk about Newsnight

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Thursday, 23 November, 2006

  • Newsnight
  • 23 Nov 06, 05:34 PM

funeral_203.jpgOn the day of Pierre Gemayel’s funeral, we ask whether Syria might really have had a hand in his murder? British Airways answers criticism of its decision not to allow Nadia Eweida to wear a cross; how synthetic phonics is working in Scotland; Gongolo land dispute; and the Ashes.

Comment on Thursday’s programme here.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 10:35 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • john wrote:

22.38 and Newsnight link no worky.

  • 2.
  • At 10:59 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • John wrote:

The link doesnt work - good to see the been concntrating on quality again rather than real news! A message would be good!

  • 3.
  • At 11:00 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Ken Evans wrote:

Gavin Estler asked "who had complained". The BA man said that some staff had complained.

Who are the people who complained and what were their grounds for complaining?

Surely, that is the real story!

Go get them Gavin!

  • 4.
  • At 11:02 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • john wrote:

Did you forget to turn the server on tonight?

  • 5.
  • At 11:03 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • john bailey wrote:

I entirely agree with Gavin Eslers attempts to get the BA spokesman to justify their stupid decision on the cross.
I will avoid any use of BA and look forward to their takeover by anyone,hopefully Ryanair. Maybe that is what these hidebound executives need to bring the airline managment back into the real world.

  • 6.
  • At 11:04 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Neil wrote:

I have just watched the interview with the British Airways executive. It was an extradinarilly unprofessional piece of journalism with the interviewee immediately giving a strong argument in his defence and the interviewer persistently ignoring it.

An oppurtunity to investigate the issue was entirely missed and I gained nothing from seeing it.

I'm involved in a student television station at university and never have I seen an interview there conducted so poorly.

  • 7.
  • At 11:04 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • rob wilson wrote:

Ref the BA cross issue. There is little or no support for this woman within BA`s workforce. Rest assured had there been, then the might of the BA unions would have been mobilised. It is clearly an internal uniform issue and BA should be left to deal with it.
When we have a serious multitude of other problems to deal with it is incredulous that any time at all shpould be devoted to it in our parliament, clearly by politicians jumping on a bandwagon.

  • 8.
  • At 11:05 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • anthony wrote:

The interview with the british airways representative about the wearing of the cross was the most pathetic, embarrassing interview i've ever seen. I'm far more likely to boycott the bbc than I am british airways after seeing that. The BA representative repeatedly said it was a uniform issue and not a discriminatory issue, which to me seems perfectly obvious, but the interviewer didn't seem to be able to grasp this concept, and as a result seemed to ridiculed the interviewee. He accused the interviewee of saying the same thing over and over, but that's only because the interviewer was being pathetic and terrible at his job. What happened to decent newnight presenters?!

  • 9.
  • At 11:05 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Mark wrote:

Thanks BBC, another clever production! Everything works - sheer incompetence!

  • 10.
  • At 11:06 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Simon wrote:

The title to the graph on phonics is wrong - the first graph title is missing the word "not" - so that the trend has gone down on the 37% and 21% figure and therefore got better - not worse as the title implies. So the graph was showing the reverse of what you intended - I think.

All the best, Simon

  • 11.
  • At 11:07 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • A. Howlett wrote:

This 'synthetic phonics' business is getting ridiculous. Obviously the government wants us to think it invented it, but my generation (now in our 50's) learned to read by *exactly* this method. It is also the method used by my wife at her school. I suppose this proven way of reading was ousted by the usual suspects - the Guardianistas and Islington trendies?

  • 12.
  • At 11:07 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • David Webb wrote:

I have just seen Newsnight about BA not being too keen on anyone who wears a cross.
I feel this is very stupid, sadly for a UK company it no longer represents the UK I know, and I feel that people should boycot BA, allow the firm to die as soon as we can, it can be done, and even share holders who pull out of BA swill be the start of the firm being killed off, let alone the many who will fly with proper UK firms who like the UK better than dead BA.

How dare you criticise British Airways in the way your very rude presenter did tonight! British Airways have a VERY clear policy regarding the wearing of jewellry and this woman is clearly in breach of that policy. British Airway's view is the same regardless of religion - their policy is that no jewelry can be worn over their uniform. Their employees agree to this when they are employed and BA rigidly enforce the policy at all times. If she wishes to wear the cross it can be worn under her uniform. I think the woman is making mishchief and I believe that you were wrong in your approach to this interview tonight. Your rude presenter just did not listen or allow a reasoned answer to his questions. Shame on you BBC and shame on the politicians for becoming involved in a clear domestic issue about staff discipline!

  • 14.
  • At 11:11 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • maggie wrote:

I think Gavin was wrong in his constant pushing, of the BA representative, trying to make him say they , BA would change their policy.

Everyone has got this wrong , as I did in the beginning, however I do now understand , this is NOT a religious argument.
BA are sticking with a JEWELLERY ruling, imagine if their 35,000 staff all started wearing all kinds of jewellery, this would range from huge hoop earrings to big jangly fashionable crosses, bangles etc.

So to prevent this they made a rule , no jewellery in their offices & airports right across the world.
This is obviously easier to police . The woman at the centre of this could easily have buttoned her shirt & avoided all this.
She has made it a religious problem.

  • 15.
  • At 11:15 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Philippa Calver wrote:

I am absolutely dishearted but the interview of the BA individual.
I have always believed newnight to be an independent body, sometimes using awkward questions to get good answers. But with this interview the gentleman was not listened to on any level and was purposely made a joke out of.
This issue is a uniform one obviously, and the policy has not been suddenly changed. It is a basic health and safety issue. Under no circumstances is wearing a neck chain on a moving vehicle safe. It is purely common sense.
I do not understand why this has become such a big deal, and why newsnight would possibly follow the press’ story. Let alone these MP’s who are obviously up for re-election in may.
Within schooling, students and staff, due to health and safety, no chains are to be worn above clothes, although religious bangles and turbans are allowed. The police force, restaurant staff, office workers, hospitals staff, and within the fire service as many other public services the policy is also similar.
This is a pure example of political correctness working against common sense and safety.

  • 16.
  • At 11:16 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Michael Perry wrote:

Quite clearly from Gavin Esler's interview, Mr Want began the interview with a large spade in his hand and continued digging his own grave throughout. The issue is not about the cross, BA has an issue with Nadia Eweida in that she is a Christian and has probably expressed her views in the workplace. I last flew with BA in the 70's and was not impressed with them then. As a national airline they are not interested in ordinary passengers, only businessmen and women and their fares reflect this. I never travel with BA, I never recommend them to anyone. In fact I do all I can to avoid BA at all costs. Fortunately there are many good competitors now in the marketplace that satisfy my needs for travel.

  • 17.
  • At 11:18 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • S.G. wrote:

BA refusing staff the option of wearing a visible cross with their uniform appears to be religious discrimination.

If staff who follow other religions are allowed to display that belief through what they wear, then this Christian woman should have been allowed to display her belief, faith and commitment to Christ by what she wears.

BA's spokesman's stumbling over reasons for this policy in this newsnight interview were telling. There appears to have been no complaint raised by BA customers about staff wearing crosses.

I can therefore see no benefit to BA in denying their employees the right to express their faith by what they wear.

  • 18.
  • At 11:21 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Daniel Davies wrote:

Re: "Phoenix from the Ashes".

I think not.



Syria: The speakers on behalf of the Syrian government are very plausible. It hasn't yet been explained properly how exactly Syria would be expected to benefit from the death of the murdered Lebanese politician.

We hear all the time that Syria are supporting Hizbollah in league with Iran. And yet tonight it was suggested that the Syrians are aiding the Sunni insurgency in Iraq. So is it claimed that Syria are supporting both Sunni and Shia militant groups - which on the face of it seem to be fighting each other? Unlikely?

Russia: I feel sad over the death of Mr Alexander Litvinenko. It is perplexing that in this day and age his poison cannot be identified. But again no-one has explained precisely how the Russian government, who seem to be the chief suspects, would benefit from Mr Litvinenko's death.

  • 20.
  • At 11:35 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • AN Other wrote:

It is disappointing that Newsnight is jumping on the religious bandwagon regarding the wearing of the cross. This is not an issue about corporate religious discrimination, it is an issue of a single employee, and I repeat, a single employee deciding that she no longer wishes to comply with the uniform code that she was willing to comply with for over 6 years. It is disappointing that the current fervour about religious discrimination has given her the oxygen of publicity she clearly craves.

Perhaps the politicians who advocate a boycott of BA will take their business to BA's middle or far eastern competitors whose idea of religious tolerance is markedly more limited.

  • 21.
  • At 11:35 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Angela McManus wrote:

I am sure I cannot be the first to have the same to say about synthetic phonics, but, just a minute here, this looks remarkably like the way I learned to read and to spell 53 years ago - so what's been happening in the meantime?
Acktewallee I have some insite, my son is now 28 and he can't spell for toffy. He has to reefer too me all the time when he want's to send an importent email.
Something went terribly wrong and thank goodness 'they' may be 'putting' it right. Cannot we just say we are going back to something which worked before, and we are sorry for introducing other methods in the meantime?

  • 22.
  • At 11:36 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Peter Jackson wrote:

Re the BA issue. I for one will be most dissapointed if BA backs down on this principle. As a passenger, who has recently booked with the airline, I'm more likely to boycott BA if it DOES change its mind. Letting this woman have her way would be just the thin end of the wedge. The BA representative was quite right to stick to his guns in the interview.

  • 23.
  • At 11:50 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Edward wrote:

Gavin Estlers interview with the
BA manager was a complete disgrace.
Normally the journalism from the Newsnight team is sound. But what I saw, was akin to what you would expect from the Sun or the News of the World. Facts Gavin, thats what its about!. Quote 'over 100 MP's have complained' The figure is actually 92 (on this website you even state 'nearly 100'. The fact is that this woman was in contravention of BA's Uniform regulations about wearing any jewellery over the Uniform. It really is a non story. For Gavin to keep harping on about the manager being in a hole, what hole?, its a figment of journalistic imagination. It was obvious from the interview from the start, that Gavin Estler was trying to pad out a story, where no story exists, even to the extent of grasping at the fcat that the office receptionist was wearing a HIV Ribbon, come on, thats clutching at straws. An office receptionist is NOT in the public domain, unlike the check in staff who are. Stop wasting air time on such trivial matters as this, stick to real issue stories

  • 24.
  • At 11:55 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Richard Harwood wrote:

Gavin Esler came across pompous and (sadly for Newsnight) rather hypocritical in his interview with British Airways tonight. 'Digging yourself into a hole' he said, when in fact no-one was digging the hole more enthusiastically than Mr Esler. And in the process stoking up ideas of religious discrimination - the last thing the BBC should be doing. A poor show from Mr Esler.

  • 25.
  • At 12:33 AM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Jane Awdry wrote:

I was so furious at Gavin Essler's treatment of the BA spokesman that I actually approached the television in a threatening manner! In fact before finding this forum I wrote directly to Newsnight to tell them just what I thought of Essler's hectoring, rude and throroughly unimpressive performance. His interviewee showed remarkable patience and restraint in the face of huge provocation.

Now that I have read some comments on this forum, I feel relieved to have found that so many people feel the same way - the kind of religious grandstanding that this woman is engaging in should be stood up to at all costs. I hope that BA stick to their guns in this one.

  • 26.
  • At 10:23 AM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Ruth wrote:

I think Gavin Esler should have pressed the BA spokesperson on "why no jewellery over the uniform?". Years ago, when I worked for another airport company, we were told no pendants or necklaces over the uniform as they were a personal safety risk. Also, should you bend over to speak to a child/person in wheelchair it would not be pleasant for them to be hit in the eye or on the nose by a swinging piece of jewellery or by long hair. Consequently, I wore a cross or fish as a tiepin to hold my cravat in place. Gavin also commented on the person wearing a silver ribbon on the lapel, I was told a cross or fish similarly placed was acceptable. Incidentally - red is for HIV/Aids awareness; pink or silver for breast cancer awareness; green for rural poverty awareness.

  • 27.
  • At 11:32 AM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Alex Stephanson wrote:

I was quite against BA myself untill I saw the Gavin Esler interview. It made me realise that Newsnight it going down the road of "Daily Mail" common concensus, "give 'em what they like to hear" journalism. What is the point of giving airtime to the other side of the argument when it is clear that instead of using measured questioning to get to the real issues behind all the hype, all the interviewer did was try to hammer a square peg into a round hole again and again. . . It would of been interesting if Newsnight had surveyed other organisations that wear Uniforms such as the Police or Virgin Atlantic. Then again the fact that it is not only BA that has this policy would reduce the inteded impact of the story and take away the religious element of this run-away bandwagon that I am sad to see Newsnight hop on board so gladly.

  • 28.
  • At 11:43 AM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Brian Kelly wrote:

Civil war now dominates Iraq , yesterdays waring factions caused 200 dead & 100s injured.There are those who still insist the invasion was the correct thing...It's true Saddam was a vicious evil despot who killed/murdered 1000s...? But what now .. Blair & Bush et al still insist the Iraqis voted for a democratic country & have a Democratic government, so why are masses leaving the country & why the daily bloodbath( an estimated 600,000 killed to date)! At the end Iraq will probably end up with another despot who commands authourity to secure the country( at least they will then have security & utilities)..back to some semblance of peace. Just how do the two leaders sleep at night?.. another commented saying he felt pyhsically sick everytime he sees Blair... visiting the troops with hands in pockets , smiling, grandstanding, seemingly without any cares!
Words fail me, but i know what he means.

  • 29.
  • At 11:49 AM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • simon wrote:

I think this debate has got way out of hand.As far as i can see, british airways has a clear uniform policy and has not asked the lady in question to remove her cross,simply to wear it under her blouse!
I fly ba frequently and they champion diversity more so than any other airline and that is why they stand out as a national icon.
I ,for one, am glad to see ba not backing down on this issue

The Syrian ambassador was a little shy in pointing to who has a vested interest in creating civil strife in Lebanon. He did suggest Israel or A ... nother country.

US marines landed some months ago to evacuate US citizens from Lebanon. What other forces came in with them?

A week or so ago, too, America announced a "final operation" in Iraq for securing Baghdad. (Heavens! Haven't they done it *yet*?)

And soon we see Baghdad erupting into the worst violence since the US-led invasion. "Sunni extremists" -- perhaps al-Qaeda -- blamed for a series of coordinated car-bomb attacks that killed at least 160 Shias. (Mortar reprisals against a Sunni district killed 1 -- there's the difference.)

Qaeda, the CIA's ragtag fellow traveller from Afghanistan, which became the phantom army of -- was it 100,000? -- that operated in 60 countries and became a menace worthy, would you believe, of the Soviet bloc in the Cold War.

That became, with 9/11, the pretext for embarkation on the project for the Persian-Gulf oil empire ... a project that has increasingly, it seems, run into the sands of resistance.

To snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, but also to save themselves from the treason tree, the empire-questing masters have nothing to lose by embarking on a high-risk course which, as before, employs the strategy of profit through conflict.

Nothing succeeds like Terror. Perhaps, even a second 9/11, staged most likely in Iraq, to be blamed on Iran and/or Saudi Arabia (the ultimate oil prize, and hence home of most of the original "9/11 hijackers") -- an unholy mongrel combination of Sunni and Shia.

Gavin was right to push the BA representative over the edge of ineptitude. We all know that the hidden agenda behind the BA action is not to upset Muslims. The "jewellery" excuse is simply a politically correct lie.

Britain is, by tradition, a Christian country. (Even the atheists are Christian!) British Sikhs have worn turbans for decades. No one grumbled. British Jews wore skullcaps and ringlets. Ditto. And until recently, no one cared one way or the other whether Muslims wore their own traditional clothing.

But now, with the bombs and the ummah, non-Muslims are beginning to wonder why we have to be so sensitive and understanding about Muslim symbols, while Christian ones of over a thousand year local vintage are targeted.

In my opinion, Gavin Esler's visible irritation expressed perfectly the irritation of many, many British people who have always assumed that whatever their personal beliefs, Britain was mainly a country of wishy-washy lip-service lapsed Church of England people who have never done anyone any harm.

Mr Want (lovely name, by the way; can lead to endless puns) was indeed crushed by a bit of fully justified Eslerite Paxmanism. May Newsnight so continue, instead of turning into a second-rate pop-soundbites programme for the politically challenged.

  • 32.
  • At 01:19 PM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:


Neil Robertson, BA's people director. He is 52 years old & joined the airline in 1976 as a graduate trainee, becoming Director for People in 2002.

On 20th November 2006 he decided to dispose of 185,241 BA shares according to The Telegraph [1]

Q. did the British Airways HR Director know something we don't, perhaps an issue that will effect share price?

... or wholly unrelated, just asking as a former customer.

- Exercise price - Executive Share Option - 157p
- Sale price 480.57p

You could buy a lot of silver jewellery for Christmas, religious or otherwise, perhaps Neil Robertson may decide to buy a Kara & wear it at work *

* taken from BA Religion & Belief HR produced Diversity statement, "The current uniform already provides flexibility to meet some religious requirements for example in the provision of turbans and wearing of the kara (Sikh bangle)" [2]


Interviewed by Newsnight, Geoff Want has been the BA spokesperson on the matter of the Religious Jewellery (the cross as large as a 5p) also has a large share stake:

As of June 2006 as a result of a BA grant of nil priced option - it was 40,931 shares, according to The Telegraph]

But as far as I can tell, Geoff has kept hold of his BA shares, so that's alright then :)


Q. will BA also ban the wearing of Poppies & various pins/badges of other charities & NGO's and/or collecting boxes, campaigns & events **

** esp as in the UK these tend to be Christian & therefore religious

BA - "The World's favourite non Christian Friendly Airline"



  • 33.
  • At 03:16 PM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Samuel Philips wrote:

I am exasperated with the BBC and Newsnight for giving legs to this tabloid-driven, misreported story. It is not a case of BA arbitrarily banning crosses. If they allowed crosses on a chain to be worn, they would, by law, be required to allow any other piece of jewellry to be worn, which would clearly be ridiculous. This is a larger political/legal issue so why are the BBC continuing to lambast BA, who are simply acting within the the employment law? BBC and Gavin Esler should know this, surely?

  • 34.
  • At 03:27 PM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Patricia Last wrote:

I feel this hype is entirely erroneous I have no truck with BA and never use them if I can help it But as the spokesman said this is UNIFORM not RELIGION for the same reason policeman use clip on ties . Irate customers cannot grab a necklace to threaten staff. Surely every girl above a certain age - I am - was not allowed to wear any jewelry at school - rings, crosses, star of David etc etc.

I realize the media has it in for BA but on this occassion they are wrong.

Thank you Angela for your comments. I started school aged 5 in 1923 and was taught by the "old fashioned phonic" method. I'm very pleased they are going back to that system.
During my time at school they brought in "joined up script" Luckily, if you were aged more than a certain age you were exempt after having spent a number of years learning to write using the old "Copper Plate" system My children, and as far as I can see, most younger people have awful handwriting. It also seems obvious to me that children are not taught to hold their pens, pencils correctly

  • 36.
  • At 04:23 PM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Liam Coughlan wrote:

The commotion about BA's ludicrous action made it to the house of commons so it was of legitimate public interest. There is a creeping culture of political correctness gone mad in Britain. Gavin quite properly tested the BA position, and found them wanting. BA is run by and for the benefit of its staff and shareholders, and this explains in part the appalling service and high prices. People stuck in BA's endless queues care more about staff doing their jobs and less about their appearance. As usual, the needs and wants of passengers feature least at BA.

  • 37.
  • At 05:45 PM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Andy Gil wrote:

The Syrian ambassador was lying through his teeth. His attempt to blame Israel for the assasination was despicable.

  • 38.
  • At 05:54 PM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Andy Gil wrote:


Richard Branson's Virgin Airlines seem to have no problem with allowing employees to wear a cross. BA are making utter fools of themselves.

The real problem is that BA are afraid of offending Muslims (most of whom would not be offended anyway) but they are too scared to say so.

Well done Gavin!

  • 39.
  • At 06:08 PM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Steven C. Philips wrote:

I refer to the recent interview of the head of British Airways' ground operations by Gavin Esler.

As a christian I disgaree with BA here - the wearing of a cross is more than a simple 'uniform issue'. It's actually an opportunity for this national institution to increase it standing in the community by contributing more visibly to worthy causes and encourage thousands of christians working for the legacy carier to cooperate and contribute individually and as a group to the success of the airline.

'Consistency in [their] approach' to staff sends the wrong message. It speaks volumes about management styles - it stifles creativity and cooperation the driving force of great (not just good) airlines.

This head in the sand attitude ignores the very real threats facing top heavy organizations like BA - looming threats to the air transport sector include the eco tax on emmissions, higher fuels costs which are macroeconomic and can't easily be managed in-house as can 'other' threats.

How about calling this a missed approach and develop a win-win community centric strategy?

  • 40.
  • At 06:33 PM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Alex Stephanson wrote:

Mr Gil is obviously unaware of Virgin Atlantics uniform policy.
To correct him. No Necklaces are allowed at Virgin Atlantic unless hidden by the scarf! Will people be boycotting them in future?
Will Newsnight now interview Virgin Atlantic or BMI for that matter?
After all, now that BA has had to cave into this hysterical Anti-PC outburst, these Airlines are now the new "Christian haters!"
I doubt it very much.

  • 41.
  • At 11:11 PM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:


Diverse package of stories (some breaking) - overall a sound 7/10 nearly an 8/10

Liked the Phoenix 'Ashes' Cricket reconstruct :)

8/10 Gavin Esler - Presenter
8/10 Tim Whewell - Correspondent (Beruit)
8/10 David Grossman - Correspondent (Baghdad)
7/10 Dr Tommy Mackay - Consultant Psychologist
7/10 David Loyn - Correspondent (Beruit)
7/10 Reem Sadek - Free Patriotic Movement [1a]
7/10 Reem Harajli - Hezbullah supporter [1b]
7/10 Fahmi Shuman - Future Youth support [1c]
7/10 Anne Docherty - Headteacher St Eunan's Primary School [1d]
6/10 Andy White - Leader Dunbartonshire Council [1e]
5/10 Dr Sami Khiyami - Syrian Ambassador [1f]
4/10 Geof Want - BA, Director of Operation, UK [1g]


Dr Sami Khiyami (Syrian Ambassador)

Answering his phone - on vibrate? for an answer text? - priceless :)

His statement of Syria having secure borders with Iraqi is about as believable as Syria not having a underhand involvement with dark & wet going's on in Lebanon.


The continuing willingness of Muslims to murder other Muslims in a burgeoning sectarian holocaust goes uncommented by anti-war brigade in the UK or esp by British Muslims.

Instead, they urge coalition forces to cut & run & look solely to attribute blame to the allies for the historical behaviours of this different warring factions.

Personally, redeploy forces yes & start a wind down & get Iraqis to take responsibility of their affairs (as was always the plan).

But leave a large sways of the Iraq nation in the lurch - is rather morally repugnant.

However, the Northern Kurdish example, could be the model for peace & prosperity within Iraq, esp if it has to separate into 3 states (proactively) or reactively after a civil war.


After reading some of the pro BA posts on this thread (the majority) reminds me of the orchestrated 'Hitz ut tahrir' responses the other week … very sameo post constructs - coincidence? *

* I recall underhand BA dirty tricks campaign against Virgin? - a blog would be small fry [2]

I wonder how many of these pro BA posts are genuine.

How many of these alleged individual posters are atheists, esp of the Left variety, whose desire to eradicate all religion (esp Christianity) in their 100% secular dream world.

This BA decision smacks of:

1) BA snr mgnt tied to having to back up jnr mgnt decision?
2) BA immobile due to poorly thought out employee regulations & contracts.
3) other agenda going on here?


A 'veil' does not equate to a 'cross' in the workplace.

Utterly ridiculous that its ruled that a legal adviser Ms Shabnam Mughal can wear a veil / Niqab dress (burqa lite) & attempt to argue a case in court (where body language & voice are essential to legal agreement) [3a]

But airline check-out staff cannot wear an extremely small cross - which one interferes with the job?

Esp given the ruling in Pakistan's High Court the same week, ref the veil for female lawyers - they banned it [3b]

All rather ironic given that Shabnam Mughal was then removed from the case [3c] [3d] by her firm, The Law Partnership Solicitors in Coventry [3e] [3f]


If her sofa covers are anything to go by, would not ideally like to sit next to her exchanging views during a long haul flight.

But that is not the point, she works on Check-In & a simple silver CROSS no bigger that a 5p piece does not rebellion make.

What options are available to her:

- Stage (1) internal HR procedures with appeal
- Stage (2) Employment Tribunal (what is her Union & what will be the claim - presume 'Religious Intolerance' ; 'Human Rights' issue) **
- Stage (3) private prosecution *

** I am presuming no shortage of sponsors & backers on this one (esp from the US).

To date, there has been:

- general outrage amongst population.
- poor support for BA in the press.
- 100 MP have signed an Early Day Motion
- what next, organised mass protests, placards campaign?


Robust Gavin Esler, well done & appropirate.

Geoff Want, repeating his rehearsed script like a scratched record only went to show how out of depth he was.

For BA to put up such a front man to repeat 'ad nauseum' a press statement, displays a real contempt for the notion of an 'interview'.


This issue seems a singularly weird issue for an international company to founder & sacrifice its hard won reputation on.

Given different nationalities of BA staff:

Q. which alleged BA staff complained about the wearing of the cross?

Q. what are the nationalities of those alleged BA staff who complained?

Q. what are the religions of those alleged BA staff who complained?

Q. what was the grounds for these alleged internal complaints from other members of Staff?

Q. did Nadia Eweida do more than simply wear the cross, was she communicating her views & faith in other ways behaviour / attitude / relationship?

Q. what religion and what nationalities are BA biggest / most profitable customers?

Q. can the Queen as Head of The Church of England, or Royal Family or clergy fly BA now?


Me, a proud Brit, & British Airways offer a good reliable above average service, but you pay more for it, quality costs.

Will I be happy to continue to add to the coffers of a supposed national British airline, which holds British sense of fair play & the national religion in such contempt - NO

I for one will boycott British Airlines & at the very least I hope British politicians & dignitaries will fly Virgin on state business (Sir Richard Branson an opportunity awaits).

Big business 'moon walk' themselves out of tricky situations all the time.

BA's solution? presuming poor decision making, ill thought out rules & poor local management got BA into this mess, then a pragmatic amendment of the rules & how they are implemented can save the day - simple :)

Meantime, given its an international company, I also urge other Christian nationalities & other faiths to boycott British Airlines (esp American market)

BA - currently "The World's favourite non Christian Friendly Airline"-

The 'B' in BA should stand for British ….. not BIGOT.




  • 42.
  • At 09:54 AM on 26 Nov 2006,
  • mano singh wrote:

The BA director when asked why a sikh is allowed to wear a turban replied that if it was not so then all the sikhs will be ineligible to work for BA. This is absolutely false as the majority of sikhs in this country do not wear a turban. The height of ignorance shown by a person in such high position is absolutely incredible.The BA should get the facts straight

It's a shame that you only have a "Complain about this post" link after entries.

Why not "Say nice things about this post"? Or even, dare I suggest, "Reply [to this post].


  • 44.
  • At 07:40 PM on 27 Nov 2006,
  • vikingar wrote:

Ref Frank Freeman #43

Nice One Centurion.

Though latter 'Reply to this post' metamorphosizes existing NN blog (thread title & simple reply) too more of a talk/msg board, with splinter threads/replies.

But wholly valid as a form of social networking.


  • 45.
  • At 12:07 PM on 09 May 2007,
  • Nicky Rodrigues wrote:

I must remove studs from my daughters ears now for PE twice a week if I forget she will be put aside and wont be able to participate . So if I as a parent screw up and happen to forget she will pay ! Never heard of little studs hurting anyone in school !
I am forced to do it , yet on the issue of headlice which is a persistant problem the school wont even strongly recomment treatment to parents 2 letetrs a year saying there is an outbreak . The head teacher response is - RE: Studs -I am sorry that you dont care to keep your child safe ! RE:headlice - I had to come my severly disable child's head every day for a year because of head lice -it's life .

Do we need to just accept everything we are made to do and those things those in control refue to do for us ?

Spam e-mails should be, should not be outlawed - Or: can, can not be outlawed, are examples of persuasive speech topic variants

Live with your lover before getting married

Parents have no right in spanking you - Or do they? That could be another persuasive speech topic

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