Theresa May’s call to eliminate ‘the burning injustice’ of the gender pay gap has met with widespread exasperation. ‘Hasn’t she got something better to worry about?’ was a common theme in comment sections. ‘You begin to wonder how many times gender pay gap claims have to be debunked,’ said Kathy on TCW on Wednesday. Not just for years but for decades, the issue has been intellectually and morally buried so deeply it should be sizzling at the earth’s core by now. Will the pay gap myth ever die?
The answer is no, because no matter how pernicious it is, it remains very good politics. Britain is not a democracy in any meaningful sense and most of our votes count for extremely little: what matters is the micro-targeting of niche demographics based on their location and behaviours. The old and middle-aged vote more than the young, the professional middle class more than the workers. Crucially, women vote more than men and are more likely to be floating voters. Put all that together, and tapping into the desires of the professional, middle-aged, middle-class woman living in a swing constituency is electoral gold dust. Hence the hugely disproportionate emphasis given to issues such as childcare and the gender pay gap. So what if in the long term the measures taken cause terrible social damage, injustice and male alienation? In the short term it wins elections, so it’s someone else’s problem.
Say what you like about the Left, but there has always been a fair amount of genuine if largely misplaced idealism in its driving motivation. In contrast, the dominant culture within Toryism is not conservative but the parasitical acquisition of office, and that is Britain’s great tragedy. Whereas ideological zealots refuse to give up their dreams in the face of all evidence, parasites have no real interest in their host beyond keeping it vaguely alive.
Thus there is no corrective mechanism until things get very bad indeed: what we are experiencing now is essentially a tragic re-run of Britain’s post-war history until the late 1970s. The game was up for economic socialism well before then, but the Tories continued to go with the flow of the Left’s catastrophic ideas rather than risk short-term unpopularity. Today, the zealotry of political correctness is reaching new levels of authoritarianism as utopia fails to arrive. Those bewildered that May’s response is to double-down on such cultural Marxism are perhaps too young to remember that in the 1970s Tory governments were happily setting prices and incomes policies. The Tory Party could have used the psychological wrench of Brexit to remould our society away from the politically correct failed state it has become. Instead, it saw only threat in the disruption, and crowned a visionless technocrat instead. It is exactly the behaviour one would expect of a parasite. It is classic Toryism.
Of course the reckoning, when it comes, will lead to huge and unnecessary scars on our society, just as it did when Thatcher gave out the long overdue but necessary medicine in the 1980s. May’s genuflection towards militant feminism will probably damage relations between the sexes for decades, and that will be the subject of my next blog.