Now and again the Left will come up with arguments that are so breathtakingly stupid, that you have the re-read the text to make sure you are not hallucinating.
Examples include George Galloway’s dissembling over Julian Assange’s sex assault charges, the mindless support of journalist Owen Jones et al over the economic basket-case that is Venezuela, and Jeremy Corbyn’s press secretary’s defence of Stalin justifying mass slaughter by highlighting the contemporaneous economic progress the USSR made from near-feudalism to developed industry in a generation, as if rising tractor production cancels out state murder. If every country could ‘cure’ unemployment and Luddism using Stalinist methods, I am sure they could advance just as well. The world, however, would not be a better place.
The argument that made me sit up and rub my eyes in disbelief this week was the bald statement by a new contributor to the New Statesman blog, ‘The Staggers’, Rebecca Winson, that the Government’s proposed Trades Union Bill is ‘sexist’. Winson reasons this because, according to her, “TUC data reveals that almost three quarters of the union members affected by those most oppressive rules are women.”. She goes on to say. “This is because public services are largely made up of women. BIS figures show they make up 67 per cent of public sector workers, 79 per cent of healthcare workers and 72 per cent of education workers.”
Winson is, of course, guilty of the typical muddled thinking that tries to justify socialism on the basis of bogus or ridiculous arguments. The Government’s Bill is designed to curb strikes based on mandates obtained years previously on the basis of a simply majority composed of a very small portion of the electorate that normally consists of just the activists. The prime example of this is the series of one-day strikes called over a couple of years by the NUT because of one strike vote taken in 2012 that delivered a majority despite only 27 per cent of the teacher membership electorate voting, with only 22 per cent supporting striking. What her article highlights is, in fact, the inequality that exists in the state sector. But not in the way she intends.
The fact that the unionised state sector is composed mainly of women is actually irrelevant; it is the strikes that are being curbed, not the women. But the statistics quoted do lead on to the question of exactly why it is acceptable for men to be excluded in such large numbers from state-sector employment. The feminisation of infant and junior schools is a fact but the reasons for this happening are obscure. Why the State, an equal opportunities employer, seems to fail to secure an even balance of men and women in its employ is not clear. Is there a plan to deny children male authority figures during their formative years? Somehow men are clearly discouraged to apply, and if they do apply they clearly fail.
Perhaps female managers will only recruit other women. Surely not. But Winson’s own statistics seem to indicate there is a bias against men. What is also surprising is that no-one on the Left seems to mind about these clear examples of sex discrimination. Winson goes on to complain about the measures proposed taking “no account of the significant role of trade unions in promoting workplace or societal equality”. The ‘significant role’ seems to be to support sex discrimination against male applicants. ‘Equality’ is all but invisible here. Perhaps true equality would be the wrong kind. Had the statistics been reversed, there would have been demands for quotas. But because men are the victims, here there is just silence, only broken by misguided argument for the hard-of-thinking.
I fail to see exactly how there can be workplace equality if there is a preponderance of women versus the number of men in the heavily-unionised state sector. It is quite clear that, according to socialist thinking, only women can be discriminated against. Only a woman can be a victim to be protected, even if the consequence is that a man has to endure a greater chance of unemployment. Socialism is thus demonstrably hostile to men. Any man voting for socialism and looking for a job in the state sector is acting against his own interests.
The sexism in fact resides in the state-sector unions which seem to ignore this gender imbalance, except when they level an accusation that the State is sexist. That may be the case, but the victims of sexism in this case are men.
Perhaps I am giving too much publicity to Rebecca Winson and her distorted thinking. It was Brendan Behan who said, “there’s no bad publicity except an obituary”. But this does highlight the New Statesman’s willingness to promote weak writing and an editorial policy that is not based on the use of reason, but perhaps a sinister triumph of the will that permits the ridiculous twisting of facts to support a bogus argument.