Goodbye, Spectator

“No, Ben Bradley: we don’t need a minister for men”, opines Sarah Ditum in The Spectator, reacting to Mr Bradley’s speech in the House of Commons on International Men’s Day.

I fully support Sarah Ditum’s right to make her views known. I support Isabel Hardman’s perfect right to publish her objectionable piece too. Indeed, I welcome both because it is useful to know who the bigots are.

However, I do not have to pay to read such views – I can read much the same in The Guardian for free, not that I would. Consequently, I am cancelling my subscription to The Spectator.

There is an extremely good, and equally simple, reason why International Men’s Day – and the now annual debate in the HoC – are required. The reason is Ms Ditum amd Ms Hardman themselves, and the millions of similarly prejudiced individuals who endlessly repeat the same ignorant and compassionless stuff.

Yes, I know that The Spectator wants to present a broad church of opinion, but the Ditum article oversteps the bounds of what is acceptable. It is yellow journalism. And Hardman’s article hit a nerve with me because she referred to Diane Abbott’s “campaign” in which Abbott referred to a “crisis of masculinity”, consisting – in her opinion – of a generation of young men who are, apparently, Viagra chomping, Jack Daniels quaffing, porn addicts. I have reason to recall it because it was the final straw that turned me into a men’s issues blogger in 2013. “Both of us believe that women have historically been oppressed by a patriarchal society and that this oppression has in no way ended today”, wrote Hardman. Yes, I know you belive that – but I don’t, you see. I believe there are some women who are incapable of any empathy for men and that this blindness leads to a distorted, unbalanced view of reality. After all these years I should be inured to it. But I’m not. It makes me despair.

But Ditum’s article is also incompetent journalism because its central tenet includes an error so basic that the Spectator should withdraw the article and never employ Ms Ditum again. I’ll come to that.

Ben Bradley’s crime was this statement,

Why have a minister for women and not for men? Why single out one characteristic for special mention? Can we ensure that equality means just that, rather than positive discrimination at the expense of certain groups? Male as equally protected as female.”

Ms Ditum takes great exception to this impudence, apparently unaware that Mr Bradley’s claim that “males are equally protected as females” is the correct interpretation of the Equality Act 2010, though, of course, it is not the Correct interpretation in Ms Ditum’s circles.

She then tries to make hay out of the fact that the only other person in screen shot when Mr Bradley committed his sacrilege was another man. Err…excuse me, but in what way does the conspicuous absence of female MPs (30% of the House) during the International Men’s Day debate reflect badly on men exactly? It is an absolute disgrace that there were only three women present, though it does usefully display female MPs touching commitment to equality.

One woman was apparently there to make an interjection and left the debate before it was half-way through. Another was the relevant Minister (who was obliged to be present). And finally, the third woman was the opposition Shadow Spokesperson (who was also obliged to be present). She was the only Labour MP present. Likewise there was just one SNP MP present – they who, as an avowedly feminist Party, put up such a strong representation on International Women’s Day. Apart from these, all the other speakers were male and Conservative.

Let me pass over that Ms Ditum spends most of a paragraph criticising Ben Bradley’s clothes – a thing which, if the sexes were reversed, would be certain death to a male MPs political career – such is the world of double-standards we now inhabit.

Let me also pass over that Ms Ditum claims that, in Ben Bradley’s imagination, “the political system that exists is one where women are privileged while men are ignored”. He said no such thing, nor did any of the other speakers.

However, I will say it. As the author of a near-700 page book on male disadvantages, I do assert that women in Western countries are privileged compared to men. It is inconceivable that society would tolerate women and girls suffering the litany of disadvantages which are the norm for men and boys.

However…to get to the burden of my post: Ms Ditum’s staggeringly ignorant howler, of direct relevance to the very title of her article, was in response to Ben Bradley’s question, “Why do we have a Minister for Women and not a Minister for Men?

Ditum wrote.

Well, and this really is the funny bit… we don’t! There’s a Minister for Women and Equalities, who has responsibility for addressing all forms of discrimination. At the moment that’s done by Liz Truss as a sideline to the trade brief, which I’m sure leaves her lots of time to spare because it’s not like there’s anything going on at the moment with huge, consuming implications for trade. So the interests of women are represented by part of one department that doesn’t even merit a whole minister.”

Err…wrong. Totally, utterly, embarrassingly, wrong.

There is an under-Secretary of State whose title is Minister for Women: the current post holder is Baroness Berridge of The Vale of Catmose. It’s true that Liz Truss has the twin portfolio of trade and also the title Minister for Women and Equalities. But in the latter role she is assisted by two under-Secretaries, the Minister for Women and the Minister for Equalities, the latter being Kemi Badenoch who spoke in the debate.

Perhaps Ms Ditum has not yet mastered Google. If she had she could soon have discovered the remit of the Government Equalities Office, within which all three Ministers reside. Whilst it includes a catch-all reference to “reducing discrimination and disadvantage for all”, the specific instances all relate to women or LGBT. The opening sentence on their web site is,

The Government Equalities Office leads work on policy relating to women, sexual orientation and transgender equality.”

Hence, the remit of the Government Equalities Offices is misaligned with respect to the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, because the protected characteristic is actually “sex”, not “female”. The Government Equalities Office could be argued to be in violation of the Equality Duty (and I do so argue) .

The Government Equalities Office web site lists their Priorities thus,

  • Helping women to fulfil their potential in the workplace and helping businesses get the full economic benefit of women’s skills;
  • Eliminating the Gender Pay Gap (GPG) by introducing regulations requiring larger employers to publish their gender pay data, and working with other government departments to address the causes of the GPG;
  • Improving female career progression, increasing the number of women on government boards, and in the FTSE 350;
  • Addressing the discrimination and inequalities that LGB&T people face;
  • Eliminating homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying in schools;
  • Promoting the rights of British citizens abroad and using our influence to promote international equality;
  • Supporting cross-government strategies, such as; increasing female participation in the labour market, and preventing violence against women and girls (VAWG).

In conclusion: Sarah Ditum is factual wrong: there is a Minister for Women. Furthermore, whilst at least one of the three relevant Ministers in the Government Equalities Office (all women, of course) has a remit which notionally includes general equality issues, within which men’s issues would fall by default, it is clear from the above priorities that men and boys are not a priority – and hence that Ben Bradley’s call for a Minister for Men is clearly fully justified – indeed long overdue and now urgent.

14 thoughts on “Goodbye, Spectator

  1. Mariel zambrano

    At this point, i don’t think there is a single self respecting men who votes for labour or the libdems.

    Just left loathed leftwing males.

  2. Dick Morris

    There is an email for you in box-1

    I do wonder whether they read what you send them or make out they haven’t so that they don’t have to commit.

  3. AJ

    I take your point that there is in fact a fulltime if junior minister for women but the quoted statement:

    “Well, and this really is the funny bit… we don’t! There’s a Minister for Women and Equalities, who has responsibility for addressing all forms of discrimination. At the moment that’s done by Liz Truss as a sideline to the trade brief, which I’m sure leaves her lots of time to spare because it’s not like there’s anything going on at the moment with huge, consuming implications for trade. So the interests of women are represented by part of one department that doesn’t even merit a whole minister.”

    Is a truely assinine statement for reasons beyond this. Britains trade and ecoinomy have been massively affected by the worldwide pandemic and lcokdown and on top of that we have the Brexit negotiations still unresolved which means further damage from uncertainty and an urgent need to put in place trade arrangements with our trading partners and it is in those contect when there is an unprecedented combination of serious threats to trade that need resolving that Sarah Ditum states that there is nothing going on with huge implications for trade. That is a stunning statement for a suposedly educated and informed ‘journalist’ to make.

    I do know a little about Sarah Ditum through the New Statesman. Some years ago I used to read the New Statesman and one reason was that it had an excellent forum for readers comments on stories. It was this forum that opened up my eyes to male disadvanatge when I commented on a ludicrous statement that the NHS was failing women because the gap between men and womens life expectancy had closed. The reaction to my mild comment on this was what changed my perspective on men and women. Anyway the Newstatesman even won an award for the quality of the comments but after a few years they started blocking comments on stories and I made an analysis on what type of stories had comments blocked unsurprisingly to anyone on this forum was that it was stories about feminism by a large margin that blocked comments most frequently to th epoint that it became impossibel to comment on a feminism story. Sarah Ditum was one of the worst offenders.

    I wrote to the editor pointing this out and suggesting that they reverse the policy. The reply I got was that there had been a problem with abusive comments on feminist stories. This was, at leats for the publiched comments completely untrue, However there were three of four commentators including myself that commenet don teh articles that had egregious errors or internal contradictions and the feminist articles were the most frequent targets because of the articles themselves. Apart from the original article which claimed the NHS was failing the group with the highest life expectancy that had the most money spent on it the other classic I remember commenting on was about a French immigrant woman who had accused a group of men of rape. The only evidence was her testimony and several were convicted but some were found innocent. In the story it was revealed that she had made an earlier accusation against a group of men some years earlier which she later admitted to the polcie was a false accusation. To summarise a woman had admitted to making a false accusation of rape but despite this accusations against a different group of men by her were taken seriously and on her word alone several men were convicted. The conclusion of the story, based on the fact that some men were found innocent was that claims of rape by women were not taken seriously, that there was a rape culture in France which gave men free rein to attack women and women’s complaints were not taken seriously. My comment pointing out the contradiction between the facts of the story which showed that accusations made by women, even those with a history of false accusations were taken seriously and even preffered above that of multiple men without a record of deceit was one of the last it was possible to make. I think it was this sort of comment that was in fact the reason for supressing all comments. They didn’t like being made to look like stupid bigots.

  4. Philip Griffiths

    It amazes me that Sarah Ditum can boast of being ‘hardcore misandrous’ on her blog and yet still have a voice on ‘mainstream media’. Reverse the sentiment to hardcore misogynous and guess what would happen.

  5. Labour_is_bunk

    “working with other government departments to address the causes of the GPG”

    If we accept that that some kind of pay gap exists (like the author of this blog, I don’t believe in the GPG as such) then simple biology must be a main suspect.

  6. David Eggins

    I’m with you on that, William, and I’ll be cancelling my subscription, too. I did however think that a little light shone through some cracks in the door from the FNF webinar yesterday. Of course the speakers were talking to their audience but just maybe there was a slightly more open discourse. On the downside I read that Pritti Pat seems to have given the money to the police commissioners that Mrs Phillips was asking for and which was firmly voted against by the conservatives. I’m nearly ready to get your Drive observations into a clip.

  7. Callum

    I burst out laughing whilst reading Isabel Hardman’s article at the point that she says she set up a fundraising page for “a charity which helps male victims of domestic abuse”, then revealing that the charity in question was Respect. I confess it was a macabre laugh due to the obvious absurdity and the depressing thought that most people don’t understand the joke.

  8. Wise Manner

    The reason Labour and the Libdems treat males with contempt is because they know their male supporters will continue to vote for them, anyway. Either out of a refusal to vote Conservative – even though they are the only party likely to do something for the males in the land, or because they have more important things than their rights on their minds – such as the sports results – they will take any amount of abuse or ghosting and vote the way they have always done. My guess is that most, if not all, of the males jailed for controlling behaviour, did not even know there was such a law. Indeed, most other males in the land are probably still unaware that it is now effectively a criminal offence to refuse to let your female partner spend your money. And it’s getting worse.

    1. Nigel Johnson

      Well for socialists feminism was right at the begining of Marxism, from Engels. Though I’m not so sure Conservatives can be relied upon. They have been the party in power for most of my adult life. I have seen no particular urge to help men and an awful lot of jumping on the help females band wagon. Perhaps for some the animus is that deep need to protect females, and be seen to do so. But the result is that often it is the Conservative party and governments who have enacted feminist policies.

      1. Logan

        I agree with this. I used to think the Conservatives would be a bulwark against the kind of pro-feminist badly thought through policy Labour seemed to love, but I haven’t seen anything like that. I think the problem is we still think of Conservatives as being Thatcherite or Right-Wing in some way, but the overton window has shifted so much they’re actually slightly Left-Leaning now. There isn’t a single mainstream party who doesn’t either want to maintain or increase the heavily pro-female policies women’s groups continue to push for year on year.

  9. Mike Bell

    After the successful Pearl harbour attack, Admiral Yamamoto is reported to have said “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”.
    I feel something similar today: Feminists have sneaked in, almost undetected by most men, and smashed up our world. But now the giant of men’s resolve is awakening and is filled with a terrible resolve.

  10. Nigel Johnson

    In the process of ” mainstreaming” equalities the “group” that actually really gets forgotten is disability. The people who have actual real practical difficulties in doing many things in our society. Of course disabled people are both sexes, all ages, all races etc.
    And in the list tte first three points are included in the last point. Seems the Equalities office should simply say they are the VAWG Strategy because, hard as it may seem, preferencing women in employment, pay and promotions is part of the strategy to reduce violence against women!


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