What is to be Done about the BBC?

Forget, if you can (though the BBC doesn’t want you to), about the sex pay gap among BBC performers who earn vast amounts of money. Don’t get hot under the collar because Ms X is only paid £300,000 a year when Mr B takes home millions. OK, if you feel strongly about it, do go on a demonstration demanding that poverty stricken female presenters should be paid millions rather than merely hundreds of thousands. But spare a moment’s thought, not about the sex of the people being paid these ludicrous sums, but about whether such sums ought to be paid to anyone at all by a public broadcaster. Continue reading

The Censors are Back

“Portrayals which reinforce outdated and stereotypical views on gender roles in society can play their part in driving unfair outcomes for people. While literature is only one of many factors that contribute to unequal gender outcomes, tougher literature standards can play an important role in tackling inequalities and improving outcomes for individuals, the economy and society as a whole.”

OK, I confess. I changed one word, twice. For “literature” read “advertising”. The words were written by a preposterous man called Guy Parker. He runs the Advertising Standards Agency. He is proposing to ban advertisements which portray women doing cooking and washing up or men doing DIY. His reasoning, if that word can really be used to describe his thought processes, is that we will go on adopting “outdated” theories of the roles of the sexes if advertisers are permitted to portray family life as it often actually is, rather than as the state wishes it to be. Continue reading

Does it Matter that Chris Evans is Paid Vastly More than any BBC Woman?

In so far as the BBC can be said to have an opinion on sex (or “gender” as it illiterately calls it) equality, we can safely assume that it thinks it to be a jolly good thing. All its enormously well paid male current affairs presenters and reporters are, I am sure, convinced that any corporation which pays women less than it pays men for doing the same job is thoroughly evil. Does it follow, now we now that the highest paid BBC employees are nearly all men, that the BBC is hypocritical? Continue reading

Do English Courts Really Believe in the Sanctity of Life?

At last I have plucked up the courage to read the Charlie Gard judgments. For ages, just because the story is so unutterably sad, I couldn’t bring myself to plough through the lengthy judicial pronouncements. I guessed what they would say, but I couldn’t bear to read them. Well, now I have done it and, though I will be despised and ridiculed by almost all of my three readers, I am going to speak out. Continue reading

Is British Tennis Doomed?

At this time of year the sports reporters on our newspapers turn their small minds to tennis. For most of the rest of the year they write about association football, a subject about which, to be fair to them, they seem to know something. Indeed, one gets the impression that they actually enjoy football. And they particularly enjoy, as I believe many football fans do, demanding the sacking of managers and players when a match is lost. The long view is not one which sports reporters or football fans are capable of taking. The loss of a match is a disaster which must lead to the crucifixion of players and managers immediately. Continue reading

Religion in Fiction

Most sensible authors steer clear of religion when they write their novels. That has been the case for a very long time. Trollope, for instance, never once strayed into theology, even in his Barsetshire books. But there have always been authors, and there are more these days, who have foolishly decided to be theologians. Continue reading

Judge Required for Judicial Inquiry – No Member of the Middle Class will be Considered

A ritual is now played out every time a public inquiry into some disaster is set up. A highly respected judge is appointed to chair the inquiry. Then a group claiming to represent the victims of the disaster says it has no confidence in the judge and will not cooperate with him or her. In the case of Theresa May’s ludicrous sex abuse inquiry the complaint was that the judge was a member of the “establishment”. The objection to the judge appointed to chair the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster is that he is white, middle class and male. Continue reading

Just how Evil are the Tory Councillors of K & C?

The Council of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea was never going to come out of the Grenfell Tower tragedy smelling of roses. The residents of North Kensington have always looked on the Council as being one run by aliens who have no understanding of the endless problems created by poverty which are faced by the typical North Kensington council tenant. Throw in the McDonnell/Corbyn eagerness to blame Tory councillors for the fire itself (deliberately according to McDonnell, recklessly according to Corbyn)  and all those poor double-barrelled millionaires from the south of the borough who make up the majority on the Council were bound to become the villains of the piece. And now we have the government, just as eager as everyone else to find a scapegoat, laying into the Council for allegedly not doing all it could to help the victims in the aftermath of the disaster. Continue reading

Is there a Future for Civility?

Someone I used to admire rather a lot has just told me, on Face Book, that I am “talking through my a–e “and should “shut the f—k up” (he spelt the words out in full). He objected to my piece in which I suggested that it was wrong of Jeremy Corbyn to make political capital out of the awful Grenfell Tower tragedy. As it happens, my complaint has turned out to be a reasonable one. It has transpired that many Labour councils have clad their tower blocks with combustible material. The theory that the appalling tragedy in Kensington was caused by evil, murdering Tories no longer holds water. But that isn’t my point. Continue reading