Rod Liddle

Women’s pay could bankrupt the BBC

20 January 2018

9:00 AM

20 January 2018

9:00 AM

I hope you are enjoying the BBC drama series Hard Sun. It is described as pre-apocalyptic science fiction, set in the present day UK. The head of MI5 is a Nigerian woman and everybody else in it lives in a mixed-race family — so, if you are a racist, you might well query that aforementioned description pre-apocalyptic: it’s upon us! The rest of us will simply think it’s ludicrous and bears no relation to the country in which we live, and might become irritated by the BBC forcing this PC social engineering down our throats at every possible opportunity. Although we may already have filled up our beakers of irritation on the leaden, portentous dialogue, the sadistic revelling in violence, the grim and annoying characters and the imbecilic plot.

Hard Sun presages an earth which will be destroyed by a solar cataclysm five years from now. I suspect there is an element of schadenfreude on the BBC’s part here: it will surely have lost its licence by then. These are hard times for Auntie: it staggers like a dog with a broken back from one self-imposed catastrophe to the next, urged on its fervent quest for extinction by those who are its enemies for either commercial or ideological reasons. The latest crisis is women’s pay, where it has dug itself a very deep hole and is currently calling for more shovels to continue the job.

This spat was launched by the BBC’s China editor, Carrie Gracie — an excellent journalist who has, of late, been borne away into the ether on the furiously flapping wings of her own self-importance. In a very principled manner she has resigned from her post but is continuing to work full-time for the BBC in alternative employment, which is a bit like showing your displeasure at the food served in a restaurant by moving to a different table. Carrie was angry that she wasn’t paid as much as the other BBC foreign editors, such as Jon Sopel, who runs the US bureau. But since when were editors paid the same salary? Does the editor of the Times get the same as the editor of the Hartlepool Mail? Or the editor of the Today programme receive the same as the editor of Newsbeat? Of course not. The USA team is on the major news programmes every day, without fail. The China editor, what … once a week? But not only that. If you were to write a job description for the post of BBC China editor, what would be one of the first things you’d jot down? I think ‘Must live in China’ would be near the top. Jon Sopel lives in Washington, and not the one near Sunderland. Carrie Gracie lives in London. It may well be that she orders the occasional take-away from Wong Kei, but it’s not, in my opinion, quite the same thing.

But Carrie’s plaintive squeals and denunciation of her bosses as liars and criminals has been taken up by ‘BBC Women’, a loose alliance of female journos and superannuated gobs on sticks who think they are being mistreated by Da Man. Most recently they were discomforted to hear the Today presenter John Humphrys joking rather acidly about Carrie Gracie’s campaign in a private conversation with his friend Jon Sopel. All Humphrys did was express a degree of astonishment that Gracie was trying to have the salaries of male journalists reduced. But BBC Women demanded that he be sacked and were ‘appalled’ that he could have held those views.

Listen, very stupid BBC Women: simply because you believe something, it doesn’t make it the truth. Other people are still allowed opinions, even if they dare to counter your own. My view about people who work for a news organisation yet have a totalitarian approach to diverse opinions is that they should be sacked immediately. That probably includes one of the leading lights of BBC Women, Jane Garvey. It is fine for Ms Gravy to subject the nation to the outdated, boring, misandrist, middle-class moanfest of Woman’s Hour (which she does on those days when her domestic schedule allows), but heaven forefend if someone challenges the tendentious victimhood rot her show puts out every day. Sack him!

The BBC, to its credit, has refused to sanction Humphrys, although one apparatchik said his views were ‘ill-advised’. My own view is that they were ‘well-advised’ and that in any case they were private. How about you sack the malicious little toad who leaked them?

But the BBC wimmin problem goes deeper and may end up bankrupting the corporation, for two reasons. First, in an attempt to ensure gender equality throughout the BBC, they have promoted an awful lot of women into senior positions recently. But as they are finding, this is not enough. Now those women want the same money the men are getting, even if they have been doing their jobs for far less time and thus have less seniority. And second — and this applies only to television — there are literally hundreds of women who were appointed to presenting jobs for purely sexist reasons, i.e. they were considered as fit as a butcher’s dog, but who are also utter dimbos. The years pass, and the women are now, frankly, minging and they have not notice-ably sharpened their IQs. But they cannot be discarded for reasons of ageism and sexism and must be kept on in the same roles, with increased salaries, probably for ever, wittering witlessly at the camera in some horrible parody of their former selves.

All this, then, without getting into the subject of the gender pay gap and whether or not it is a myth. I think we shall have to get into that ticklish subject very soon, preferably before some awful solar event suddenly extinguishes all human life, quite regardless of what chromosomes they possess.

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