One of the guiding beliefs of the modern Left is that we should be treated according to what we feel on the inside, as opposed to what people see on the outside. So, if you reckon you're a capable, hard-working person, it shouldn't matter if everyone else sees you as a oafish layabout. If you want to be considered beautiful, then that's what you are, even if you're pig-ugly. And if you're a man who thinks he's a woman, then a woman you are, in spite your penis.
Whenever someone is bold enough to call a spade a spade (or a penis a penis, for that matter), the Left cries ‘discrimination’ in order to preserve the lie that everyone is what they say they are. This is one reason why leftists are forever pushing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour: because once you put enough unpalatable ideas beyond criticism, it becomes hard to deny people their inner desires, however narcissistic or grotesque they may be.
Which brings us circuitously to the kerfuffle over the gender pay gap at the BBC. The corporation’s release of star salaries has prompted plenty of feather-spitting among leftists, who are appalled to learn that female presenters are generally paid less than their male counterparts. This is, we are told, further evidence of the patriarchy’s relentless campaign of oppression against women. Or something.
Prior to the uncovering of this supposed scandal, the gender pay gap theory had already been thoroughly debunked, but like so many ideas useful to the Left, it continues to be brought to the stream as if it still holds water. Every new ‘exposé’ of pay discrimination is put up in lights, as though it adds weight to the original argument and the previous debunking never happened. Tell a lie enough times, and all that.
The BBC is a public body, of course, so it routinely indulges all manner of PC insanity, but it still has to compete for an audience against privately-owned rivals. As such, it's pay structure must have some grounding in reality. Its most marketable stars will receive large enough salaries to dissuade them from going elsewhere, and its lesser lights will be paid according to their value in terms of talent and popularity.
A celebrity who hosts a successful flagship programme, the appeal of which is largely down to their personality or the expert insight they provide, is likely to be paid more than the host of a less popular show which is more about content than the person presenting it. The Chris Evans show without Chris Evans is not the same thing. The host of, say, a sports programme, who introduces links, asks someone else's questions, and offers little personal insight, is probably interchangeable with any number of other presenters, and won't command the salary of a Chris Evans. That's the reality of the marketplace. Get over it.
According to its press release, Clare Balding, an outspoken critic of the BBC pay gap, earns between £150k and £199k, compared to John Inverdale who is in the £200k to £249k range. Both are BBC sports presenters, so the argument goes that they should be on similar money (which they will be if she's at the top of her pay bracket and he's at the bottom of his, but let's assume otherwise for the sake of argument).
The BBC is one of the most arse-achingly PC organisations in Britain. They're also the same people who gave Balding her first job in broadcasting, then pushed this rather dull lesbian into the limelight, so they're likely to be guided by something other than sexism when determining her salary. Who, then, between Inverdale and Balding, is the more valuable asset? Who would rival stations prefer to snap up, and who has had the longer broadcasting career? The answers are not irrelevant to a person's earning potential, but wage gap obsessives have not bothered asking these questions, let alone answered them.
If Clare Balding is really as bankable as she seems to imagine, she should be able to get a better-paying job with a different employer. After all, commercial stations want presenters who bring in an audience, and they wouldn't get very far if they denied themselves this advantage out of a commitment to sexism. But since Balding hasn't jumped ship yet, she is either wrong in her estimation of herself, or she has prioritised working at the BBC over earning more elsewhere. Perhaps she'd prefer to stay where she is and be paid more, but the BBC isn’t at fault for not letting her have her cake and eat it.
This brings us back to the Left’s belief that an individual should be treated according to their wishes, rather those of the person doling out the treatment. According to this reasoning, Clare Balding should be paid what she thinks she deserves, irrespective of any other considerations, because her opinion of herself is irrefutable. And if she isn’t, then it’s an open-and-shut case of discrimination.
I dare say the BBC is not perfect in its assessment of people’s worth. For instance, it pays Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker £1.75m a year, although it’s highly questionable whether anyone tunes into the programme to see him in action, or would stop watching if he left the show.
I’m sure such bad judgment isn’t confined to Lineker. Some of the women on the BBC payroll may well be undervalued, but others - perhaps a greater number - may be overrated. No organisation will ever base its pay structure on employee self-estimation, so the only alternative to the status quo is to pay by job description alone.
On some level, I suspect those calling for closure of the wage gap know this, which is why they prefer equality of outcome to true fairness. God forbid they ever got the latter, because as Hamlet said, “Use every man after his desert, and who should ’scape whipping?”