How do you write about the so-called BBC gender pay gap scandal without smashing your laptop into a thousands different pieces? It is difficult, but here goes.
Over the weekend we witnessed a group of some of the most privileged women in Britain complain about their pay packets. These women are paid from the public purse – their salaries depend on the licence fee which is extracted from the taxpayer on threat of imprisonment. Almost 200,000 people were prosecuted in 2012-13 for failing to buy a TV licence. 200,000.
Some of the best-known names in the industry were not on the BBC pay list, which means they are paid less than £150,000. These women include Emily Maitlis and my best friends at Woman’s Hour Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey.
So on Sunday the sisterhood got together and penned a letter demanding more of your hard earned cash. Oh, they dressed it up as wanting to act on behalf of other downtrodden women but be under no illusions that what they want is more of your money.
Just how entitled do you have to be to think this is a good idea? How big is the bubble these ladies live in where they think ‘doing the right’ thing is extorting more money from the taxpayer to cover their salaries?
Jane Garvey tweeted ‘Revolting’ and a link to the letter. For once I agree with her – it is revolting. Mishal Hussain turned these hard done women into a hashtag – #bbcwomen. Do please pray for these poor souls, the #bbcwomen.
Let’s just say for now that they are all talented and some are very talented indeed. They are also hardworking and deal with anti-social hours. So a bit like the women who clean their offices then. Broadcasting, I think, is one of the jobs that looks easier than it is, and the easier they make it look the better they probably are at their job.
In addition I have said at the outset that many of the men are overpaid and should take a pay cut. If they walk to ‘rivals’ let hem do so. Because I know they won’t. Do we really think John Humphrys is going to leave his plum slot at Today? Of course not. He has not bothered to defend his gargantuan salary (and perhaps because of his experience it is defensible) so I am not going to do it for him.
But back to the poor downtrodden #bbcwomen. Let’s ask ourselves, what do these women do for their salaries – most of which l assume for now are close to the £100,000 mark. Do they look after someone’s kids, cure cancer, change the bed ban of your elderly mother, fix your heart, plumb your toilet so you are not swimming in sh*t while having to listen to the Today programme, fix your car, make a very nice handbag/shoe/coat, build a house, fix your electrics thereby preventing you and yours from being lit up like a Christmas tree and falling over dead, or offer any of the many hundreds of thousands of services they could provide or goods they could produce?
Do they do any of these things? No. What they do is talk about current affairs and question politicians. Some talk about sports, some go rambling I think, and others actually get paid to moan about the state of womanhood – they are my besties Jane and Jenni I am talking about.
So if these ladies were to offer this service in the private sector, how much do you think they would get paid for it? You know, the chat and the ‘hard questions;’ although most of them are so left wing I never hear them ask any hard questions. How many such salaried jobs do you think really exist that consist of ‘talking of the current topics of the day.’ Not many is the answer.
The truth is if we let the market decide the salaries of the lovely ladies then they would have something to moan about – as many would be out of a job. That is the reality of this situation.
Reconfigure the whole salary pot if you want. Set up a BACS transfer between Mishal Husain and John Humphrys if that is what fills your boots – God knows the BBC men have bought into the pay gap nonsense as much as the women. But the overall salary pot should not increase. No Sir, or Madam, not by a penny.
And yes, before you ask, I have often been paid to ‘talk about the issues of the day,’ but I have not moaned about my teeny-tiny appearance fee. And if I add up all those appearance fees perhaps at the end of the year my freelance income will be also be five figures. Sadly, there will be a decimal point somewhere in there, more’s the pity.