Monday, January 14, 2008

Sexism in the monarchy

I have to say that if your priority, as an MP, is to worry about male primogeniture in the British monarchy, then you really don't have enough to do.
James Windsor, Prince Edward's first son, overtaking of his sister, Lady Louise, as eighth in line to the throne has today been referred to the Equality and Human Rights Commission by newly appointed Lib Dem Youth & Equalities Spokesperson Lynne Featherstone MP.

Following the common law practice of male-preference primogeniture that sees male heirs take preference over their female siblings in the line of succession, James Windsor (Viscount Severn) who was born in December now comes before his 4 year old sister in succession to the throne.

Ms. Featherstone has written to the chair of the Commission requesting an urgent investigation into the legality of displacement in the light of recent equality legislation.

To be honest, Lynne, I have fuck all interest in funding an "urgent investigation" into the monarchy's succession.

Apart from anything else, all law is made in the name of the monarch so I seriously doubt that equality laws apply, even if they do originate in the EU (our true government).

But wait! Lynne has more to delight us!
It may not be the nuts and bolts of discrimination against women in terms of equal pay (appalling - 144,000 cases waiting for tribunal), rape conviction rates, funding for carers and so on - but it is completely unacceptable.

If you are really worried about inequality, how about setting some priorities? Further, if you are going to make judgement calls, would you mind letting us know your understanding of the figures?

Because the state of pay equality is not "appalling", as Timmy continues to point out.
Women, on average, who work part time. get paid 38% per hour less than men who work full time. Men who work part time also get paid less per hour than men who work full time. In the private sector, the difference between male and female part time pay is around 11%.

And, as he points out again, this pay gap is not to do with sexism per se.
Whether discrimination is at the root or not is what we want to find out, not our starting assumption. When we do look in more detail and we find that there is no pay gap for lesbians, that never married no children women earn more than their male counterparts, that the pay gap is very small indeed, widens considerably in the prime child bearing years and then shrinks again we might in fact come to the conclusion that the gender pay gap has something to do with…..children!

However, Featherstone is only an MP and I don't expect her to actually have read any of the actual studies as that might require something a little more than knee-jerk bigotry.

And, let's face it, which sector is actually the worst for discrimination: private or public? Well, let's just have a little look at which sector is having to cut wages in order to meet the employment legislation, shall we?
Public sector unions are threatening strike action over equal pay deals for council workers after proposed cuts of up to £35,000 for thousands of male staff, The Times has learnt.

Unison and Unite, the largest public sector unions, are balloting members in Birmingham over industrial action because nearly 5,000 staff face salary cuts to fund rises for low-paid women.

Birmingham City Council, the biggest authority in the country, with 60,000 staff, will prove a test case for other council employers, where town halls are trying to reach similar equal pay agreements.

Oh, look, the public sector: what a fucking surprise! Because private companies have to make a profit, they tend to hire the best person—be that man or woman—for the job. Further, they will then pay that person whatever they need to retain them. The public sector, quite obviously, has no such priorities.

Lynne also implies that all 144,000 tribunal cases are concerned with equal pay; unfortunately, she provides no evidence that this is the case. And, naturally, she does not elaborate as to whether these are public or private sector cases.

And rape conviction rates are an indication of sexism, are they? Gosh, I really hope that you can back that up, Lynne. Because I would point out that the low conviction rates for rape are reliant on a number of factors; not least the fact that, since it tends to be one person's word against another's, it is very difficult to convict beyond reasonable doubt. Another factor is that of the "date rape" being equated to "stranger rape". Timmy again...
One of the more pernicious ideas of modern times is that all rape is rape, that all and any sex (although rape is more properly thought of as a crime of violence, of power over someone, but that’s another matter) against the will of a woman is the same and must be treated and punished equally. Finally, even The Guardian is getting the point that this isn’t actually the way to deal with it:
A more fruitful approach might be a two-tier offence, with the highest penalties reserved for "aggravated" rapes, allowing juries to convict in more typical cases without fearing that this would lead to the maximum life term.

Currently, when tried, the possible sentence for a drunken misunderstanding over consent is the same as that for a violent stranger rape. No wonder juries are hesitant to convict. A gradation of offences will do much to remedy at least that part of the problem.

That is, an acknowledgement that not all rapes are equal.

But a failure to convict is sexism? I don't think so: quite apart from anything else, last time that I looked, there were twelve people on the jury and the chance (and they are picked at random) of all twelve of those people being sexist men (who are so sexist that they would rather indulge their bigotry than convict a rapist) is pretty fucking low.

And the lack of funding for carers is sexism? Fucking hell, what are you on, Featherstone?—because I want to legalise it.

I mean, none of us expect much of the idiots who infest the House of Commons, but judging by Lynne Featherstone's priorities, we could easily do away with half of them and never notice the fucking difference.

You see, this is the problem with MPs: they don't actually have enough honest, worthwhile work to do and so they have to prat about at the edges, agitating for all sorts of pissy little ways to impose on us their personal vision of what the world should be like. And the worst of it is that they cannot even be arsed to look at the facts or, indeed, even to engage their brains before shooting their big mouths off.

Do these fucking little monkeys not see how dictatorial their stance is? I think that this should happen and I think that I have a perfect fucking right to force you all to act in the way that I think is correct.

Fucking hellski, people may not agree with my libertarian ideals, but at least I acknowledge that people's priorities might be different from mine: were I in power, I would advocate letting everyone live in the way that they, personally, see fit.

Since we seem to be having something of a debate on the subject, I would like to propose that MPs' pay is performance-related. The longer an MP shuts the fuck up and doesn't propose some illiberal fucking bollocks, the more they get paid. I mean that we should literally pay our MPs to do nothing: the world would be a much better place, and we would have considerably more freedom. Oh, and a lot more money in our pockets too.

Failing that, every time an MP fails to use evidence or uses some fucking specious argument based on their own pathetic prejudices to attempt to force through some piece of shit law, we start docking their pay.

Hell, but I hate them, the lazy, sanctimonious little pricks.


Surreptitious Evil said...

And, anyway, they wouldn't be arguing about eighth in line 'cause the Princess Royal (more power to her) and her two would be 4, 5 & 6.

Martin Keegan said...

It's a shame she wants to waste taxpayers' money getting the Equality Commission to see whether it can eject Britain from the shared crown of the Commonwealth, as Lynne Featherstone is pretty sound on ID cards.

JuliaM said...

"...judging by Lynne Featherstone's priorities, we could easily do away with half of them and never notice the fucking difference."

Have you seen televised sessions? Somedays, you could be forgiven for thinking we had!

Roger Thornhill said...

If the lass in question objects to being eighth in line, she can always relinquish her claim. Done.