The BBC so misjudges the nations' mood as it's pay rises all round (for the ladies) – #DefundtheBBC

Tom Winnifrith Wednesday 16 September 2020


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The news on jobs was bad on September 15 2020. Since the start of the Government’s fascistic reaction to Covid, 700,000 folks had disappeared from company payrolls. More, who are self employed, are now without work. As Furlough draws to a close, we all know that hundreds of thousands of other workers will be handed a P45. Meanwhile, wage rates in most industries seem to be falling as companies look to cut costs wherever they can as they battle to survive. But on this grim day, there was evidence that some are more equal than others.

The BBC annual report showed averages wage increases at Pravda were an inflation-busting 3.5% last year. The BBC tried to spin this by making every newscast lead with three key facts:

1. 4 of the top 10 earners were now women
2. As Gary Lineker is now taking a pay cut, the top earner going forward is a woman (Zoe Ball) on c1.3 million for presenting 15 hours of radio a week. Zoe attracts fewer listeners than her (male) predecessor but that was not mentioned.
3. The gender pay gap has closed sharply. In part, this is because of the same demographics affecting every industry but this was also due to a deliberate policy of hiking the pay of women, notably those already earning mouth watering sums, by more than that of men.

And for some reason the BBC thinks that a country where millions are suffering true economic hardship and uncertainty will regard this as good news. It thinks that the over 75s (of whom there are far more women than men and more poor women than poor men thanks to historic work patterns and pensions) who must now pay a license will celebrate.

I am a man so maybe I am not allowed to have a view but I would have thought that big issues for feminists might focus on those women suffering FGM or sexual enslavement or on those workers and pensioners here and abroad suffering real poverty and I would have thought whether Fiona Bruce earns £454,999 and where that leaves her in the top ten earners should not really be a top concern for feminists.

But the BBC thinks that the pay of broadcasters, who are almost all millionaires, is something we should care about and that the gender based data released yesterday was something it could be proud of, something it could boast about in its news bulletins, something that would have hard pressed workers or the unemployed looking up and saying thank God Claudia Winkleman now earns the same as Graham Norton (£729,999). Perhaps in the cafes of Islington they really do imagine the workers up here in the grim North wiping sweat off their brows and throwing their cloth caps in the air to cheer on the news that Today’s Mishal Hussain earns more (£269,999) than her male colleague Juston Webb (a mere £254,999)?

Yet again, the BBC misjudges the mood of the nation and this will only add to the very justifiable calls to #defundtheBBC. One other piece of data out yesterday was that 237,000 households last year cancelled their licenses so deprived the BBC of c£40 million of income. After recent events, that number is only going to increase as the State broadcaster shows itself time and time again to have a Marie Antoinette approach to understanding how we plebs actually feel.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
[email protected]
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