One of the few traditional Conservatives to have served on the Tory front bench under Cameron, Paterson was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland before being promoted to the more high profile role of Secretary of State for Defra.

Candidate of the day

Owen Paterson

One day to go and Sir John Major has weighed in. “Labour divides to rule. To win votes they will turn rich against poor; north against south; worker against boss." We hope we don't wake up with them on Friday.

Hero of the day

Sir John Major

Another awful Labour woman. The fact Ed Miliband’s carved his pledges in stone doesn't mean he might not break them, campaign chief Lucy Powell has said.

Villain of the day

Lucy Powell

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THE REAL CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO

Back marriage. Restore grammar schools. Leave the EU.

David Keighley’s BBC Watch: Forget bias, Ministers fret over the meaningless ‘gender pay gap’

The Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (as it is now known), it seems, has finally been galvanised into contemplating action against the BBC. It has a dragon to slay.

Is it the relentless barrage of anti-Brexit bias emanating from the Corporation? It continues unabated, as is illustrated adroitly here – yet again – in analysis of Andrew Marr’s relentlessly anti-Brexit questioning of his key EU-related guests. The vast majority of 44 questions put to them over the past three weeks were negative about Brexit.

No. In DCMS’s world, it seems, there are bigger fish to fry. Too few of the the BBC’s top earners – in a list due to be published this week - are women.

Shock horror! There’s ‘pay disparity’ between the sexes in the higher echelons of the BBC gilded cage and now ministers, it is claimed, are ready to take action to ensure the balance is redressed.

‘Tilting at windmills’ is here totally appropriate. First, because the BBC has been discriminating against men for years to the extent that, according to the ONS, 48.7 per cent of its 21,000 staff are already women, and the eventual target for its workforce may be as high as 60 per cent.

Second, because the BBC receives such massive levels of income from the public purse that it pays its 3,000 staff in journalism roles – at least half of whom are presumably women - well over the going rate. Such BBC staff are on an average of almost £42,000 a year, which, according to UK Press Gazette, is heading towards 40 per cent higher than equivalent posts in the commercial sector.

The BBC headlines the Labour agendas of ‘austerity’ and ‘spending cuts’ at every opportunity. But the Corporation is thus seemingly totally immune from any such pressures.

That, however, as already noted, is not the problem. For the Government, no, the DCMS is up in arms because too few women are among the top Corporation earners, the 109 who pull in more than £150,000 a year earned by the Prime Minister.

Is not the key point here why the BBC is dishing out such huge salaries in the first place? It is reported, for example, that political editor Laura Kuenssberg  is paid between £300,000 and £350,000 a year. That’s heading towards £1,000 a day for her to offer what many would say was rather mundane bread and butter analysis. By contrast, James Harding, the overall boss of the 7,000+ staff in the news division earns £340,000 a year. Is that gender discrimination in Kuenssberg’s favour?

Another indicator of the Corporation’s continued gilded-cage largesse with the public purse is that – hard on the heels of the £1 billion spent on the rebuilding of its West End HQ - they are splashing out £120m on a Norman Foster-designed new HQ for BBC Wales in Cardiff.

And meanwhile, as noted above, the BBC anti-Brexit negativity churns on unchecked.

David Keighley

  • Bik Byro

    Since the recent appointment of the new “Doctor Who” by the latest “right-on” casting staff, the number of women has gone up by 1. Bring back Tom Baker!

    • Timmy

      Tom Baker. Yes.

  • The Department of “Culture, Media, and Sport” should be shut down immediately. It is beyond ridiculous that the government has a hand in any of those things, let alone a whole department devoted to them. And the far-left BBC won’t be satisfied until their employees are 100% women (or transsexuals, of course).

    • Adrian Johnson

      News flash: there are now 6 official genders, so the 8% of the LGBT will have one of each gender; plus a cat-fight for the other 2%.

  • Aaron D Highside

    The BBC is not biased against some males, in fact one tiny specific group seems to be extremely well represented.

  • Liberanos

    I understand that a BBC question form, attached to any job application to the BBC, is being circulated. Among the questions are apparently these:
    Are you Muslim, black, immigrant or other minority suffering prejudice?
    Regardless of gender, do you have a vagina?
    Would you like a version of this questionnaire in your language? (Please state.)
    How safe do you think you will be after this country leaves the shelter of the European Union?

    • Drax Cog

      “Regardless of gender, do you have a vagina?”

      If this is true it needs to be highlighted, the social justice warriors/loonie left will go berserk and they’ll eat themselves alive if they think the BBC are going by genitalia rather than their chosen gender.

      • Liberanos

        There’s just a possibility I made it up, I’m afraid!

        • paul parmenter

          May not be too far from happening. Nothing would surprise me.

  • Colkitto03

    To much money actually leads to lower quality output. The BBC’s most popular show are Great British bake off, Call the Midwife, Strictly Come Dancing and Eastenders. Mundane stuff.

    What they would actually love to be producing is shows like Broadchurch and Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones. But they don’t.

    Their culture means that they spend fortunes on playing safe on politically correct rubbish.
    Even Sherlock viewing figures plummeted during the last series. of three. Dr Who is nonsensical PC dross nowadays. Watching both of these is plke playing ‘virtue signalling’ bingo! Look at how boxes I can tick off!!!

    • The only BBC show in recent years that I really liked was Top Gear (the old one). Why? because 1) I like fast cars and 2) those three worked together well, and made the whole show funny and informative. The new one? Dross. Thank God for Amazon. But still it’s not as good, to take your point, I think it’s related to too much money. Both for the blokes and for the show itself.

    • rubyduck

      “‘virtue signalling’ bingo”. Indeed.

  • Mojo

    The BBC is a dangerous canker and should be avoided at all costs. Preferably it should be cut out and confined to the bin.

  • Landphil

    Kuenssberg’s sneer alone is worth £200k a year.

    • rubyduck

      She is a disgrace. I wouldn’t let her edit my note to the milkman.

  • Frank

    If the BBC were a commercial outfit, 99% of its senior management would have been sacked years ago. As for the “stars” how can any news-reporter be worth more than, say, £100K a year, or a football commentator £2M a year? As for the head of news (Harding) on £340K a year – since most of news is fake, surely one could get an average 18 year old to pull it together from clickbait!

  • noix

    Since the BBC, by its own claims, is so special, surely journalists would work for less to have the kudos? In the private sector, F1 drivers used to take a lower salary from Williams in order to drive the best car.

    • Adrian Johnson

      Interesting that they pay “Media stars” so much when there are so many eager young unemployed journalists who would jump at the opportunity to work at the BBC for a perfectly adequate 30K per year; or less, considering that their work is far less exhausting, cleaner, and less dangerous than nurses, teachers, police and firemen.

  • Muttley

    I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think the vast mass of current Tory MPs are at all worried about BBC bias. The sad fact is that they are now so left wing that some of them probably even think the bias is in their favour. It is conservatism itself which is really suffering through the absence of anyone in public life making the (very strong) arguments for it (JRM excluded, naturally).

    • timbazo

      I think you’ll find that the BBC’s champagne socialists are actually more afraid of Corbyn than of the Tories.

      • rubyduck

        They should be, but where’s the evidence?

  • Fourmyle of Ceres

    dont pay the BBC TAX

    if they turn up tell them to funk off close the door

  • Debs

    Its more of a scandal that the BBC showers taxpayers cash on their favourite luvvies no matter what their gender.They are vastly overpaid and as for their vanity projects such as the mentioned buildings its disgraceful.
    When is someone in government going to understand that the poorest,mainly women, are funding the BBC and their rich friends via an enforcement agency on threat of imprisonment ?Where is champion of the poor Jeremy Corbyn on this ?

  • Great Briton

    Join the Switch Off the BBC campaign on 18th October
    Hit them where it hurts – in their viewing figures, and show them that millions of people can manage quite easily without their biased output

    • Mill House

      Please remind us of this much closer to the day.

    • matt2568

      But I don’t watch it anyway!

    • Groan

      And end the licence fee. Publish, publish and publish again the sky high salaries. When the Doctors were flexing their muscles about pensions, and later the junior Doctors. The publication of salaries soon faded once the amounts of earnings were revealed. The folk of the “bubble” particularly those paid directly or indirectly from taxes simply forget just how very very privileged they are. This is partly made possible by the underestimation by the public of renumeration of professions. In a large scale project it was found people assumed GPs earned at most £50,000 about half the true amount. Similar underestimations were made on all “public sector” professions pay. This particular gravy train is well protected and I expect the current Chancellor will be “twitter stormed” for offering the accurate observation that the sector is paid better than the productive sectors.

  • Fubar2

    Is Laura being paid through a PSC, as opposed to Harding being a full-time permanent employee?

    Just a thought. Auntie has never stopped her “journalists” using PSC’s before. No doubt they’re not getting clobbered by IR35 in the same way that a lot of the rest of us have been in the last decade and a half. They never are.

    • timbazo

      I believe one top earner (Paxman?) in the past claimed that he was forced by the corporation to use this scheme.

      • Groan

        He was indeed. at the time it allowed the huge “salaries” to be unreported. Tus hidden from the Tax payer.

  • springmellon

    Here are the BBC diversity targets for 2020.

    15% of workforce from black, Asian or minority ethnic background, including 15% of leadership.positions.
    50% women 50% women in leadership positions.
    8% of workforce Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender.
    8% of workforce with disability. 8% disability in leadership positions.

    You will notice the glaring omission from these targets; diversity of political thought and opinion.

    Try to name programmes or presenters on the BBC that provide a conservative perspective. The only people I can think of are Andrew Neil and Michael Portillo on This Week.

    The BBC Charter says:

    “The Mission of the BBC is to act in the public interest, serving all audiences through
    the provision of impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which
    inform, educate and entertain. ”

    How, as a conservative, am I served by the BBC’s output? “impartial”? That is just farcical.

    The BBC is making a mockery of its Charter obligations and needs to be stripped of it immediately. 11 more years of the Licence Fee to pay for Leftist propaganda is preposterous.

    • timbazo

      There is one area in which national/ethnic diversity should be close to 100% and that is amongst foreign correspondents. Despite speakers of almost every language being available amongst the UK workforce, the BBC insists on employing too many Oxbridge careerists who do not speak the language of the country from which they are reporting and who do not therefore understand the culture.

      • choccycobnobs

        Hear, hear! Totally agree with you, they should speak the language of the country they are reporting from. Sometimes watching regional TV in our ethnically diverse areas, I am surprised if they speak English even with a heavy African accent.

      • Adrian Johnson

        What is true of the BBC is even more alarmingly true of the Foreign Office. But that is a story for another day.

    • Cassandra

      Impartial, my foot. An organisation with a totally politically correct, ie Cultural Marxist hiring policy which abandons merit in favour of minority status then claims it is impartial?

      What utter tripe. Can those on its staff who say these things not notice the gross contradiction ?

      Clearly not.

    • Jethro Asquith

      Why can’t they just have one quota – 100% Best people for the job

  • Sgt_Bilko

    Ministers are only fretting over matters that will win tacit acceptance from the virtue signalling PC brigade, albeit with a proviso that they must do more.

  • timbazo

    It’s impossible to determine whether the BBC discriminates on gender without knowing what is its pay policy. It’s time the BBC published it. I doubt though the old boys’ club has one.

  • Pip

    The BBC output is so poor i cannot think of enough words. They are miserable doom mongering in outlook they employ ignorant interviewers who do not understand enough to ask proper questions and question given answers. they are so busy trying to be all things to left leaning virtue signalling minority group think “customers” that they appeal to no-one. Their “comedy” should be reported under the trade descriptions act, it is an embarrassment of unamusing passive-aggressive political statement when it is trying to be cutting edge (har har) and toe-curlingly unfunny when aiiring their canned laughter filled tripe. I am ashamed that they call themselves the British Broadcasting Corporation as they are nothing of the kind and have not been for years.

    • choccycobnobs

      “Their “comedy” should be reported under the trade descriptions act”. They certainly wouldn’t make another in the ‘Only fools and horses’ style. Monty Python (probably with the exception of the lumberjack sketch), Fawlty Towers and the Goon show would have been stillborn in today’s BBC.

      • Adrian Johnson

        Don’t forget Last of the Summer Wine–
        ageist, too white, too “gender stereotypical”.

  • cambridgeelephant

    The – so called – Conservative Party has sold the pass on this long ago.

    Cameron had the ideal chance to deal with it and with predictable cowardice, he flunked the test and gave the BBC free reign. Their excruciating bias is now so obvious as to render it untrustworthy on the one hand and unwatchable on the other. No wonder Trump dismissed it with contempt.

    It is not ‘the British Broadcasting Corporation’ but is in fact, ‘the Hampstead and Islington Broadcasting Corporation’.

    Urgently required is some courageous soul to return it to what it was and always should be.

  • Andrew Mitchell

    The BBC is as bent as a butchers hook, the BBC know that its viewers think this, our MPs know this, and even in the USA the BBC is always held up when their talking about broadcaster’s being overtly bias, the fact that our government is too scared to do anything about this, just goes to prove that the BBC can and will be used as a weapon, if any MP stands up and says the BBC should have its funding ended because of their constant bias, that MP will be ridiculed and rip to bits on its political shows like the Daily Politics and made to look mentally ill on their so called “alternative comedy” shows, the word “alternative” must mean “not funny just rude”, so they keep their heads down and allow the BBC to constantly rip us off!

    • Saint Nigel Farage

      agree – jimmy carr – frankie boyle swearing leftards
      BBC are awful – biased to its core
      Andrew Neil ONLY journo who understands the full picture

  • The Wiganer

    The Tories owe a debt of gratitude to the BBC for their anti UKIP media barrage in the run up to the 2015 election, which squeezed Cameron back into office.

    So they won’t move against the BBC, as they know it will tow the line at critical times.

  • Carbonari1848

    Strangely, the BBC seem a little bit coy about telling the world what they paid Sandi Toksvig – founder of the Women’s Equality Party – during the General Election.

    How come they declare payments to all other politicians, but not Sandi Toksvig?

  • Saint Nigel Farage

    OT but – no mention of the muslim school taken over as it supported rape and domestic violence meanwhile the ASA is foisting non gender stereotypes upon us.
    I await the day I see an advert with a headscarfed woman under a car with a spanner while mr muzzie is doing the hovering –
    Stereotypes are there for a reason – they are “generally true” that doesn’t mean to say there isn’t one female muslim car mechanic in the country – for if there is you can bet the leftards at the Biased BBC will find them and put them on a pedestal like that muzzie cook
    – I am by the way not anti muslims – I just see the world the way it is
    I am as it happens anti religious and in particular anti Islam as it is not a ROP whn interpreted by too many of its cult followers. I’m also anti Moonie too and anti Jim Jones and anti Scientology – that doesn’t mean to say people can believe in whatever they like – just don’t foist your flying spaghetti monster views on me

  • KilowattTyler

    I believe that there should be absolute equality in the pay levels and in the numbers of men and women working in the BBC – zero in each case.