Ed Lines – April 13, 2018

Ed Lines – April 13, 2018

I AM “incandescent with rage” – to borrow the teddy-throwing outburst of BBC presenter Sarah Montague – at the insulting gender pay gap at the BBC.

I recently appeared on their flagship current affairs show Newsnight. It involved four hours of travel and preparation, the ordeal of having my head rendered with industrial strength ladies’ foundation, all before my starring role on the headline segment.

Pray tell, fellow TV licence payers – I was paid how much exactly? Go on, take a guess. ‘How mooooch’ as we say in Yorkshireland?

Bugger all, that’s how mooooch! Exploited, clearly because I’m just a ‘man’.

A free bed in a hotel round the corner from Broadcasting House, adjacent to a 24-hour tube line (free earplugs at least) and that was it. The only other thing I received was a pleasant ‘thanks’ from the Newsnight staff, which I took as a coded sigh of relief that I hadn’t slapped the insulting other guest.

Going back 20 years I used to get a nice wedge from the BBC for spots on their Radio 4 media show The Message. 

When the Newsnight request came in I was too polite to mention money – but there you are, the sum remuneration was nowt. 

In fact when I went for a brewski in the Green Room afterwards with reporter John Sweeney the fridge was full of chilled bottles – but no bottle opener!

Auntie Beeb (and isn’t that sexist?) sure is looking after your money folks.

It meant that my party trick of opening bottles with my teeth was much appreciated but I doubt my three bottles of Carlsberg Export scratches the estimated £500 an hour presenter Emily Maitlis gets paid.

Now I accept – Political Incorrectness alert! – that the lovely Ms Maitlis has lots more going for her. For starters she has a far, far nicer bum, which you viewers don’t tend to see, but we guests do. So speaking literally in ‘hindsight’, that was as close as I got to benefits in kind from the BBC.

(I guess they won’t be inviting me back after that, but at least I won’t be out of pocket!)

BACK to my shared incandescence with Sarah Montague who departed the Radio 4 Today programme over revelations her £150,000-ish wage is far below that of fellow presenter John Humphrys.

I can’t stand Humphrys, like I can’t stand Manchester United star Paul Pogba, but I appreciate their star quality. And that is the entire point.

Man Utd are starting a ladies football team and I confess I wouldn’t recognise a single female Premier League player if I tripped over her getting a shave and a haircut in my barbers. But if you follow Montague’s logic, Man Utd’s best lady player ought to be on the same coin as Paul Pogba.

Both are footballers, with the same employer, both kick balls to greater or lesser effect, so why the inequality?

Sarah Montague will say that, aha, she was on the self-same team as Humphrys, whereas the female Man U player isn’t in Pogba’s and there’s the difference! 

No Sarah, actually, again, there’s the point.

Lots of Man Utd players make less money than Pogba in a week, than you make in a year.

It’s obscene money, you say? Absolutely, no question there – and so is what John Humphrys gets, too. 

But it isn’t about gender, it’s about talent and reputation, which is entirely subjective, often unfairly so. 

It’s about people’s subjective likes and what they will pay to watch or listen to, – which equals market forces, which in turn equals subjective remuneration. 

Which is why despite my reasonably tight, age-defying buns, in journalistic terms Emily Maitlis is worth obscenely more money than I am. I have seen her in action, close up, and I was in awe – of the journalistic professionalism, not the pert derriere. Because they are ten a penny, while her talent isn’t.

PS: I’ve done the gender pay gap exercise for my businesses. There’s total equality on one, a 10% deficit on another, and an embarrassing 25% male-female gap on the last. I will take immediate action to remedy the situation and level the playing field – but I don’t think the ladies will be best pleased at having to stomach a pay cut in the name of gender equality.

I LOVE my sport. I’m not so keen generally on billionaire soccer players diving about crying, but that bloke Ronaldo is something special. 

The Masters golf at the weekend was terrific. But I haven’t watched a single minute of the meaningless Commonwealth Games; nothing against the good old Commonwealth, it’s just all a bit third division – the Home Nations against the Aussies, Kiwis, South Africa and India.

Any lingering doubts I might have had disappeared when reading about Kiwi weightlifter Laurel Hubbard, who was in gold medal position until sadly blowing her elbow out. Sad for her, not for the actual women competing. You see, less than six years ago and already a weightlifting champ, she was called Gavin, complete with the full meat and two veg.

This is not about gender or confused.coms, it’s about a fully mature bloke, with all the physical and muscular benefits Mother Nature bestowed, changing sex overnight to compete against women with barely a chance.

Sorry folks but if that’s sport, the I’m the Queen of Sheba. On second thoughts...

SO, THE Donald is going to let the Syrians/Russians have it – rockets, new ones (I can’t imagine second hand ones are in much demand) and ‘smart’ too. 

Well, if the rocket gets off the ground it will be smarter than that dangerous idiot.

Should Theresa May support Trump? In this weird world, it might depend how much she wants a Brexit trade deal with the USA. Madness, isn’t it? Still, if it was Jeremy Corbyn in No.10 you would have a problem, because the communist fool would be quietly turning our rockets to point at America.

His equally stupid MP colleague, Naz Shah of Bradford, tweeted her praise of the South African gangster and murderer Winnie Mandela, quoting her infamous comment “With our necklaces and boxes of matches we shall liberate our country.”

Winnie was referring to car tyres, filled with petrol, used to put round the necks of opponents – black people – and burn them alive. That’s the quality of politician who would run the UK folks.

I WISH I’d had the courage of my convictions last week after the masked Dewsbury SWAT teams blew the doors off two Headfield Road houses, and half the neighbourhood out of their beds in the dead of night, before carting off two men as suspected terrorists.

I messaged former local councillor Jonathan Scott the following day with this scenario: Given that Tuesday April 3 was the so-called ‘Punish a Muslim’ day, imagine at the weekend maybe at a Savile Town mosque, a couple of blokes understandably angry, say ‘**** that, we should blow up the White Rose centre and give them something to punish’. A community-spirited local overhears it, calls 999 and boom, doors are kicked in before three days later police find nowt and embarrassingly release the suspects…

Well, I was wrong. It took five days for the innocent men to be released, and for the gun-toting cowboys of NE Counter Terrorism to leave poor Kirklees Police Chief Supt Steve Cotter to state: “Public safety remains our utmost priority and I want to offer my reassurance that we will continue to serve and protect the public of Kirklees.”

He went on to encourage local people to report any suspicions, which as much as confirms to me what actually happened – and why he was the poor schmuck left with the lame explanations.

The reason I didn’t write my suspicions last week was because the police called it a “pre-planned, intelligence-led operation” as if they’d been watching these men for months.

It’s clear they had no intelligence worth calling it and no patience to undergo proper surveillance. 

On one hand, you can argue that immediate, route-one action was required, but I’m also minded that these blokes jump at any chance to pull up their paramilitary masks and go flash, bang wallop with their guns and stun grenades.

Share this post