LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
7 April 2018
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It's a Man's World

All things being equal - there needs to be a cultural shift. End of. All the statistics
with regards to the lack of equal gender pay can be repeated until we repeat
them in our sleep and wake up screaming, but at the end of the day (yes, I
know), it is simple. Woman need to be seen and heard and treated and
recognised as equals. That’s it. How hard is it to understand? It has been illegal
since the 1970 to pay men and women different for doing the same job. That
was effective.

What would help? A créche in every company – so obvious, men becoming
proper parents rather than occasional, girls in school being encouraged to love
engineering, science, maths rather than being encouraged to love being
objectified and lest we forget, please others. Oh please. It should be illegal for
little girls to aspire to be princesses. Why not queens? Quotas until equality is
achieved. And what about the motherhood penalty? What about all the
thousands of women who aren’t mothers? Oh oops. No one seems to be
considering them. “I decided to not become a mother so that I could have a
brilliant career as an unpaid carer. I rejected the idea of becoming a CEO or an
innovator or on the BBC.”

Seriously, all humour put to one side, why are there only one or two token
women on humorous game shows? Seriously. How is that justified? I’d rather
watch Ann Widdecome than Josh Widdicome any time. OK. Possibly not. She
is so irritating, but so is he.

A bit of irony here - having just read that this last week Paul Merton and Ian
Hislop of Have I Got News For You gave their opinions on gender parity on their
show to the Radio Times. Out of 11 politicians, only Ann Widdecombe – only
one you’ll notice – presented it. Who knew? And for the 55th of the series –
Josh Widdicombe is joining the guys.

Paul said: “'Arrogant' Ann Widdecombe the worst Have I Got News For You
presenter”. Ouch.  “The producers always ask more women than men. More
women say no.” Hmm. How does Paul know that exactly? Just asking. “On the
whole, women are more slightly more reticent and think, maybe modestly, ‘I can’
t do that’”, added Ian. Charmers. In 2016, only one out of 19 episodes featured
two women. In 2017, it was three out of 19 episodes. Ah, progress. Prominent,
not modest female MPs have said they have never been asked. Oh Paul….


Pay Up

“It’s all so confusing.” Is it? Really? Women can’t do maths which explains why
they are paid less and don’t even know it. Joking - not. Outraged - yes. So, let’s
try this. The numbers, which were revealed this week, showed that 78% of the
10,000 employers who responded reported having a gender pay gap. The 78%
is a gender pay gap based on median hourly earnings. The UK median hourly
pay gap 18.4%. The gap has increase continuously since 2000. So many
excuses: from women like the flexibility to women like choosing those lower level
jobs. Oh stop.

Of the 10,000, the ten worst offending companies paid women two thirds less on
average. “We don’t hire women for our top positions because the minute we see
a woman’s name, we toss the CV in the bin and then we have a good laugh
before we pop out to our favourite lap dancing club. Now there we assume those
girls are getting minimum wage. But if not, at least they enjoy their jobs. I know
we do.”

Unilever pays women 9% more than men. Ocado, BT, DIAGEO, channel 5 earn
a massive 1.3% more than men. Stop. No shrieking and jumping up and down in
those ludicrous office stilettos. Clue: robot replacement.

Theresa called the pay gap a “burning injustice”. Hmm. “Burning”… images of
women being burned at the stake as witches? Curious phrase, Theresa. But
Theresa may be in fact ‘burning’ and shrieking “injustice” after the chairman
(man) of Orpington Conservatives said Theresa was “stupid”. And not for the
usual reasons, but for collecting figures on the widening gender pay gap. Indeed.

In a private email sent to Conservative councillors, Tony Owen said Theresa’s
initiative was “driven by meaningless dogma, demanding as you do, how can
Theresa May be so stupid wasting money in this way?”  Rather than on those
slap-up meals and travel across the country by taxi then, Tony?

When asked if the council had plans to promote more women, the ever clever
Tony said: “I want the best person for the job.” Yawn. Asked if he thought
Theresa was stupid, he said: “No. I think the exercise of producing meaningless
figures is stupid. If you are trying to get me to say Theresa May, the answer is
no.” However, when pressed with regards to that private “stupid” email, Tony
said: “Well, yes. That was a private email. It was a turn of phrase, if you like,
rather than an accusation. Theresa May is quite right: women should be paid the
same as men for the same job.” Oh Tony. That was made law in 1970, and you
were where exactly? “Stupid” – a turn of phrase? And those witches when we
need them?

Oh dear. Just when you were considering moving house to Norway…Nordic
Noir and all that…you might be surprised that all is not ideal there. Forget the
snow, the freezing temperatures, the lack of sunlight, it is their glass ceiling that
can stop you in our tracks. I know, I know. Snow shoes making tracks in the
snow. Sometimes you simply have to do self-diverting.  While Norway’s image is
not exactly exciting is it?  Despite quotas for women on corporate boards,
Norway has relatively few female managers — ranking just above Romania and
Germany, and far behind countries like Russia, the United States, France and
Latvia. I am seriously losing the will to live – again.

The World Economic Forum has predicted that women will have to wait 217
years before the gender pay gap closes around the world. Oh you just know
women will have to wait longer than a few hundred years. If women aren’t
replaced….


Dead End

A myriad of reasons: from poverty to Drill music videos to missing fathers to
teenage rage to instant social media to the need for tribal belonging to no future,
ad inf to explain the national knife crime crisis. But a little blame where it
belongs. We can start with Boris and Theresa. They intentionally ignored all the
warnings and made massive cuts wherever they could.  In 2015 Theresa called
the Police Federation of “scaremongering” and ordered them “this crying wolf
has to stop”. Oh do tell that to the mothers of the murdered, Theresa. 21,000
police officers off our streets isn’t terribly helpful is it?

And Boris? When he was Mayor of London, he authorised £22m in funding cuts
to London’s outreach services for starters. The very services that spot troubled
children with early intervention. 300 additional police on the beat should solve the
problem. More stop and search should solve the problem. Oh. A study using 10
years of police data found that a 10% increase in stop and searches reduced
crime by 0.1% the following month.

Don’t deal with the deeper causes and whatever you do, Theresa, don’t involve
the community. Don’t ask past perpetrators. Just saying. Just saying what cold,
cruel, uncaring attitudes that they in turn express in actions. Nice.


Damed if You Do, Damed If You Don't

Didn’t we already do ‘enough is enough’? Well, evidently it wasn’t enough was
it? Now we have the right-wing press shrieking “Jewdas, Jewdas! Judas!” Must
we do this? Corbyn pops in to see the gang at Jewdas and the press all jump in
to question his judgement. I think we can do that on our own thank you.

Irony? Apparently the group is known for its consistent work fighting against anti-
semitism - on both the right and left. They put together this useful "How to
criticise Israel without being anti-semitic" guide specifically for fighting anti-
semitism within left-wing circles. So they say they “represent a proud tradition in
Jewish politics that is anti-capitalism, anti-nationalism, and anti-fascism”. It is a
left-wing collective founded in 2005 with members around the world. Not local
then. “Jewdas welcomes and embraces non-Zionism, feminism, and queer
identities in ways that are hard to find.” Well, that’s clear. Enough yet?


Déjá Vu

Just in time for the wedding of the century – again. ‘Best friend’, Ninaki Priddy
reminds us – again – what an ‘unpleasant’ person Meghan actually is when she
isn’t displaying her acting abilities – such as they are. Coy, submissive – you
know. Nothing new, but Ninaki adds cold and calculating. New? Not really.

Ninaki and MM have known each other since they were two years old. In fact,
they grew up "like sisters”, until NP had a sympathetic view of MM’s ex, Trevor
Engelson when MM dumped him – by text didn’t she?

“I think everybody who knew them both was in shock," NP told The Sun. "All I
can say now is that I think Meghan was calculated, very calculated, in the way
she handled people and relationships. She is very strategic in the way she
cultivates circles of friends." Oh goodness me. Think Harry will ever notice? No
placing bets on that. “Trevor definitely had the rug pulled out from under him. He
was hurt." No worries Harry.

"Once she decides you're not part of her life, she can be very cold. It's this
shutdown mechanism she has. There's nothing to negotiate. She's made her
decision and that's it.” Oh there is always more. The actress “has always wanted
to be famous. In fact, she owned a book about Princess Diana and loved the
"Princess Diaries" film.” Quelle surprise you say.

OK. You must be curious about Ninaki? OK. You aren’t. However, she is a Los
Angeles-based jewellery and accessories designer. She received the
Accessories Designer of the Year Award by Gen Art's International STYLES
competition. She has a formal background in architecture. She has been
featured in Elle, Flaunt, Harpers, Women's Wear Daily, Marie Claire, Vogue,
Foam Magazine and more publications. OK. A bit of credibility here as you
asked – or didn’t. OK. We now have a more complete picture of the wanna-be-
princess for this week. Enough is enough surely. Meghan mania continues
unabated….

Putting things into perspective, Harry&Meghan have shared their desire to
change the world. Ah. What unlimited cash, fame, privilege, entitlement and a
few titles can do. Bless. I can feel it changing already.
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