by David Hodges
Richard Keys and Andy Gray deserved to be sacked. Their idiotic claims judged a professional on the basis of gender instead of aptitude and ability. There is no place for that in the pub, let alone within a national television studio. Apologies accepted by Sian Massey, it is now time for their vilification to end. They have rightly paid a heavy price.
Since then, two loosely-termed political commentaries have proven that idiocy on this issue is not confined to either gender. This began with the bigoted man’s response in a quite superb article in yesterday’s Daily Mail by Giles Coren. He articulated that Keys and Gray were in the wrong, not because their comments were sexist, but merely as “You shouldn’t pass unflattering remarks about women behind their backs because it is not a well brought-up thing to do”. What a quaint upbringing Mr Coren must have endured.
He then purported to follow in the footsteps of Tory MP, Dominic Raab, in proclaiming that men are the real victims of oppression. That argument is bereft of evidence and highlights the intellectual malaise behind the defenders of the status quo. For instance, in 2008 average women’s hourly pay (excluding overtime) was 17.1 per cent less than men’s.
Coren quite offensively concluded, “I suppose, in a way, British men are like white people were in nineties South Africa or young Germans after the second world war”. I have no analysis that can do justice to how ridiculous a statement that is.
To show that there can be equality in idiocy we were treated to the failed Apprentice candidate, Katie Hopkins, on BBC Question Time on Thursday. In a memorable performance, she proposed to the audience that the unequal gender pay gap was a fact of life, stop moaning and get on with it. Keys and Gray have been unfairly sacked for “banter” and all-women shortlists are an outrage for giving women “special” not “equal” treatment.
First, the unequal pay gap is plain unfair to both sexes. Women, doing a job of equal worth to the same ability, are rewarded less for their efforts due to chromosomes selected at a prenatal age. Men, able to do a job of equal worth to the same ability, are undercut in the employment market in the same circumstances.
As a semi-professional footballer, I’ve encountered football ‘banter’ on many occasions. It is never acceptable to discriminate against somebody on the bigoted assumption that because they are this or that they are good or bad at this or that. Katie Hopkins has a severe misunderstanding of “banter”.
I have argued previously with opposition party supporters about the value of all-women shortlists. The laissez-faire Liberal attitude to equality is to accept that there is a problem and do nothing about it. Labour quite rightly took the view that where discriminatory barriers existed, positive action was needed. In a perfect world there would be no need for all-women shortlists – that world does not exist. Labour’s results speak for themselves. We now have 81 female MPs, 31% of our total, with the Tories lagging behind with 49 and the Liberals with a shameful seven. Furthermore, Labour was quite rightly lauded in government for its family friendly policies.
Forget Keys and Gray. They are history. Coren and Hopkins are the real calamity duo. Gender equality is not just some leftist dream of creating a utopian society. It’s in everybody’s own interest to support equality, even Coren and Hopkins.