Monthly Archives: April 2018

Equal Pay  and political correctness

Robert Henderson

Calls for equal pay for women are often not calls for equal pay  for equal work.  Rather,  they are demands for  equal pay with men regardless of  whether the jobs women do are  the same,  the experience levels are the same, the natural ability is the same and the diligence and conscientiousness is the same.

The legal definition of equal work  under the Equality Act 2010  does not simply say there should be  equal pay if the woman is doing  a job identical with that of a man at the same employer. Instead it includes different types of work being judged as being   work of  equal value.  Here is the relevant section of the Act:

65Equal work

(1)For the purposes of this Chapter, A’s work is equal to that of B if it is—

(a)like B’s work,

(b)rated as equivalent to B’s work, or

(c)of equal value to B’s work.

(2)A’s work is like B’s work if—

(a)A’s work and B’s work are the same or broadly similar, and

(b)such differences as there are between their work are not of practical importance in relation to the terms of their work.

(3)So on a comparison of one person’s work with another’s for the purposes of subsection (2), it is necessary to have regard to—

(a)the frequency with which differences between their work occur in practice, and

(b)the nature and extent of the differences.

(4)A’s work is rated as equivalent to B’s work if a job evaluation study—

(a)gives an equal value to A’s job and B’s job in terms of the demands made on a worker, or

(b)would give an equal value to A’s job and B’s job in those terms were the evaluation not made on a sex-specific system.

Such evaluation introduces a considerable degree of subjectivity and can result in what most people would not think were  jobs of equal value  or difficulty being judged as of equal value or difficulty,  for example, a clerical assistant and a warehouse operative or   an occupational health nurse  and a production supervisor have been  judged to be equal  of equal status and value.  ( I remember some  years ago a senior person, a woman, within the Equalities body policing the system at the time giving an interview on the BBC in which she said that an example of jobs of equivalent value were a school carpenter and a school dinner lady, the  former  being a job requiring a long apprenticeship and the latter a few days experience at most. )

Is there really a pay gap between men and women?

The official UK figure for the average differential between full time male and female pay  is 9% according to the latest official figures. That is not surprising when the propensity for women to take time out from paid employment to have children, their greater role on average in caring for their children and their smaller representation in more senior jobs (a c consequence of less experience due to   child bearing and childcare) is taken into account.  To those factors can be added the dubious equivalence of work mentioned above. It is  conceivable that the pay differential is not a differential of remuneration for the same work but a differential based on ability and experience.

Types of working which make equal pay impossible

There are large sections of the working population in countries such as the UK  who are remunerated in ways which makes equal pay impossible. These are:

Self-employment,   which is a large and growing  part of the working age population in the UK.  The latest official figures are  4.8 million.

Piece work – A sizeable proportion of the population receive all or part of their income from piece work.

Commission –  A sizeable proportion of the population receive all or part of their income from commission.

Bonuses for meeting targets. These are found in both private enterprise employers and public service employers.

Loyalty and experience pay rises. Much of public sector employment includes  graduated increases based on the number of  years served. These serve as rewards for experience and loyalty. Some private businesses operate the same type of schemes.  Women on average will be less likely than men to get such increases  because  they will probably have some sort of break in their careers if they have children. But that does not mean women are being discriminated against. Rather, it is simply that they are not meeting the qualifying criteria.

These types of remuneration cover many  millions of people in the UK.  Is anyone seriously going to suggest making them illegal?

Differential Ability

But even where the  form of remuneration makes equal pay in principle possible,  there may be good reason not to give equal pay even to people employed to do the same job. These reasons are:

Not all workers are equally able .

Not all workers are  equally diligent.

Competence will grow with experience.

The value of a person may rest on their reputation. This is particularly true of people in show-business or modelling. It would plainly be absurd to, for example,  expect that actors and actresses  should  be paid the same   simply because   they are working on the same film.  A film is a commercial enterprise and the employment of a particular actor of  actresses can make a considerable difference to its commercial success. A similar argument applies to models.

The selection of someone to do a job

In the end the qualities  required do a job and their assessment of an applicant have to be  a matter of judgement by the employer who will be trying to satisfy themselves on these points:

Does the person have the any necessary  formal  qualifications for the job?

Is the person overqualified for the job?

Does the person have the right experience?

Does the person have good references from previous employers?

Does  the person seem to be someone who  gets along with people generally?

Does the employer feel they can get on with the person?

Does the  person seem to have initiative?

The consideration of these questions give rational grounds for differential pay before an applicant has even begun work.

Men and women are not interchangeable in the workplace

Clearly there are significant numbers of  jobs which women cannot do at all or as well as men on average  for reasons of bodily strength.  strength. It is true that the numbers of such jobs are considerably fewer  than they were 50 years ago, but there are still plenty of them, for example in construction, where the average woman would struggle to match the average man. To that type of job can be added work  such as police officers which require people  who can deal physically with violent offenders.

Then there are jobs which in principle  men or women could both do with equally facility  but which are favoured by one sex or another. Primary school teachers tend to  be  women; engineers tend to be men.

On the grounds of biology alone  the idea that men and women would naturally have  the same desire on average to gravitate in the same numbers  to the  sorts of jobs is  dubious. Most nurses are women and  for some years  most of those training to be doctors in the UK have been women.

To start from the most obvious difference, women have babies. Amongst mammals  it is overwhelmingly the female who  takes the main burden of rearing  the young.  It would be very odd indeed if homo sapiens was radically different in terms of a basic biological driver such as the maternal instinct.

Women  with children tend to work in jobs which fit around childcare. Many of those jobs are low skilled and even when skilled   are often  part-time. Either from choice or necessity women take these jobs  to attend to the care of their children.  As most women want children and have children this inevitably means that the average pay for women is going to be lower than that of  men.

Legislation banning discriminatory pay  in the UK has been around for since 1970 when the Equal Pay Act was passed.   Since that time there has been a huge amount of public urging  by politicians, the media and academia to get women to aspire to  traditionally male work. The idea of the working mother is no longer looked down upon,  at least in public discussion. More and more women have gone on to higher education until they now substantially outnumber men.  In addition the shape of the UK economy has changed considerably with manual jobs much reduced. All of these things would seem to bolster the idea of male and female pay equality.  Yet women still show a marked preference for traditional women’s jobs, part time working and taking career breaks to have children.

None of this means that no women will want to do jobs which are considered traditionally male jobs or that no men will want to do jobs considered traditionally female jobs. But it does mean that most women and most men will be drawn to jobs traditionally occupied by   women not because there are societal barriers against it but  as a result of biologically driven circumstances and motivations.   Once that is accepted the fact that on average  the pay of women is significantly less than that of men will  not mean that employers are often wilfully underpaying women but instead are simply reflecting  female choices.

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The BBC and the Rivers of Blood speech at 50

Robert Henderson

The BBC recently broadcast Enoch Powell’s 1968 speech about immigration which is known popularly as the Rivers of Blood speech.  The speech is forthright in its treatment of mass non-white immigration and couched in terms which  prompted the onetime Labour minister  Lord Adonis  to attempt to have it banned by Ofcom  on the grounds that  “If a  contemporary politician made such a speech they would almost certainly be  arrested and charged with serious offences.” Ofcom refused to intervene but only because they did not act until material had been broadcast.

On the face of it this might seem a strange programme for the  assiduously politically correct  BBC to air because the . However, it served two purposes for them. First, the BBC likes to maintain the pretence that “all views are represented”. Programmes such  as this  allow them to say, see, we allow views across the political spectrum. Second, the shape of the programme allowed the BBC to have the last word on what Powell foretold.

The breaking up the speech into sections which were commented upon by commentators who were in the main unreserved critics of  Powell  – Simon Heffer, Powell’s biographer, was the token  Powell supporter and even  he attempted to put his support within a  politically correct envelope.

The interruptions to the speech  inevitably  diminished the force of the speech  but the great lack was a failure to  address much of Powell’s predictions. .For example, Powell’s forecasts for  the growth of black and Asian minorities in the UK were pretty accurate as the 2011 census shows, viz:

 “Amongst the 56 million residents in England and Wales, 86% were White, 8% were Asian/Asian British and  3% were Black/African/Caribbean/Black British.”

In his speech Powell made these predictions:

“In 15 or 20 years, on present trends, there will be in this country three and a half million Commonwealth immigrants and their descendants. That is not my figure. That is the official figure given to parliament by the spokesman of the Registrar General’s Office.

There is no comparable official figure for the year 2000, but it must be in the region of five to seven million, approximately one-tenth of the whole population, and approaching that of Greater London. Of course, it will not be evenly distributed from Margate to Aberystwyth and from Penzance to Aberdeen. Whole areas, towns and parts of towns across England will be occupied by sections of the immigrant and immigrant-descended population.”

Powell was also correct in predicting a  lack of integration and  the creation of de facto ghettos by immigrants and their descendants.

In addition Powell foresaw the effects of state enforcement of  censorship on anyone who spoke out against immigration and its effects  is only too visible today when thousands of people every year  find  themselves in criminal courts because they have said or written something  deemed to be  racially or religiously “hate speech”.  ( It is worth adding in passing that the constraints on what may be said about  race  and immigration have acted as a springboard for political correctness in general to flourish.)

When Powell spoke of the black man having the whip hand over the white man he was thinking of  how the 1968 Race Relations Act  would affect the existing relationship between the population of the UK.  He saw that those who were from  racial and ethnic minorities would have a new  form of privilege deriving from the fact that such people would be able to insist that they be served or employed  in a way the native white population would not be able to insist. For example, a native white Briton would  not normally  be able to cry racism if he was denied a   job because the vast majority of employers were (and are)  white.  Anyone who was black or Asian would have huge opportunity to make a claim of racism because most employers were (and are) white.

Here is Powell on  the disadvantaging of the native British:

“But while, to the immigrant, entry to this country was admission to privileges and opportunities eagerly sought, the impact upon the existing population was very different. For reasons which they could not comprehend, and in pursuance of a decision by default, on which they were never consulted, they found themselves made strangers in their own country.

They found their wives unable to obtain hospital beds in childbirth, their children unable to obtain school places, their homes and neighbourhoods changed beyond recognition, their plans and prospects for the future defeated; at work they found that employers hesitated to apply to the immigrant worker the standards of discipline and competence required of the native-born worker; they began to hear, as time went by, more and more voices which told them that they were now the unwanted. They now learn that a one-way privilege is to be established by act of parliament; a law which cannot, and is not intended to, operate to protect them or redress their grievances is to be enacted to give the stranger, the disgruntled and the agent-provocateur the power to pillory them for their private actions.”

In his speech Powell quoted the Labour minister John Stonehouse on the subject of communal privileges which minority groups were already demanding when Powell made the speech. Stonehouse had written this

“’The Sikh communities’ campaign to maintain customs inappropriate in Britain is much to be regretted. Working in Britain, particularly in the public services, they should be prepared to accept the terms and conditions of their employment. To claim special communal rights (or should one say rites?) leads to a dangerous fragmentation within society. This communalism is a canker; whether practised by one colour or another it is to be strongly condemned.’”

None of these issues were addressed  meaningfully or at all in the discussion breaks which interrupted the reading of the speech.

On Powell’s prediction of violent racial clashes  with “the Tiber foaming with much blood”,   it is true that  has not yet occurred in the sense of large scale fighting between the native population and the minority immigrants. However, there has been a series of  serious riots by non-whites since he Powell gave the speech, the most recent in 2011.  Moreover,  it is worth pointing out Powell put no time limit as to when   such violence might occur. Common sense  suggests that the larger the racial and ethnic minorities become the greater will be the racial tension  because the minorities will demand more and more privilege for their own group. It  is also worth noting that  non-white immigrants have brought a disproportionate amount of crime to the streets of Britain, much of it violent. That propensity for violence  could easily be harnessed to fight racial/ethnic disputes.

As for the general effect of   non-white immigration, it has undeniably resulted in a fractured and vastly less cohesive society.

The “Windrush Generation” – There should be plenty of evidence to show residence in the UK

Robert Henderson

Much is being made of  the plight of  immigrants  resident in the UK before the 1971 Immigration Act (commonly referred to as  the Windrush generation) who are  being required to provide evidence of their long-term residence in Britain to avoid being treated as aliens.

How difficult can it be to collect  such evidence ? Consider the many possibilities for doing so:

Educational records from nursery schools, primary schools, secondary schools,  universities and their ilk, evening classes and vocational training.

Medical records from GPs to hospitals.

Work records, especially those from public employments, substantial companies and  not-for-profit agencies such as charities.

Volunteer work.

Benefit records.

Tax records.

Vehicle records such those held by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Utility bills such  as those for energy, water and the telephone. 

Bank and building society accounts.

Mortgages.

Rent records

Loans. 

Hire purchase.

Credit card accounts.  

Police and CPS records ranging from reports of crimes in which the person is the victim, reports of crime which have led to the person being investigated as a suspect  but not convicted of a crime and criminal records acquired by the person. 

Reports in the media about the person.

Membership of clubs or other groups which have a formal membership requirement. 

If there is any difficulty in getting an organisation  the person thinks  is  holding the data they require,  there is a simple process which will force them supply it if it exists. This is known as a subject access request which is made under the Data Protection Act. A lawyer is not needed to do this so the cost is minimal, perhaps £10.

Anyone who has lived in the UK for most or all of the past 50 or 60 years really should not have that much difficulty providing multiple proofs of residence.

If these types of check are not made  and the word of the person involved is simply taken as all the  proof needed,  the regularisation of the status of genuine long-term residents without citizenship would be open to straightforward abuse. Anyone who was of the right age could simply claim that they had been in the UK over the relevant period and gain a permanent right to remain.

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