Everyone can see the rich comedy in this:
Scottish sports clubs have been told to recruit disabled players and guarantee them a weekly game under a controversial equality drive ordered by ministers (via).
But there's tragedy in it too. It shows how the so-called left just don't think about equality.
If equality is to be a noble ideal, rather than a comic one, it must mean - in Dworkin's distinction - treating people as equals, rather than giving them equal treatment.
Take an example everyone should agree upon. Everyone is equally entitled to a fair trial - that is, everyone should be treated as an equal in the provision of criminal justice. But no-one thinks there should be equality of treatment, with everyone getting the same verdict.
Proper, thoughtful, egalitarians extend this distinction to disabled people. We should treat these as equals to the able-bodied. This might mean giving them greater welfare benefits because their needs are greater - in the same way the NHS spends more on the care of the very ill. Or it might mean helping them to achieve equal capabilities in Sen's sense. This would mean, say, ensuring buildings are accessible to them, or that they aren't unnecessarily discriminated against at work.
But there's no sensible principle of equality which enjoins rigid equality of treatment of the disabled - ensuring that one-legged men can play football equally with the two-legged, or that the deaf should be professional violinists*. This just reduces equality to a joke.
What's tragic here is that the Scottish executive are ignorant of this basic undergraduate thinking. They just don't think about what equality means. "Equality" for some of the left is just a tribal totem, not an ideal to be thought about.
* They should stick to the bagpipes.