11 Oct 2010

Still no equal pay and cuts loom – but will people protest?

The serendipitous timing of the release of “Made in Dagenham” could prove awkward, especially with any student audience. Not long after the 187 women machinists struck at the Ford plant, my student generation were on the streets protesting anything we could think of.

I think I did Biafra in Liverpool, Vietnam in London, and an anti Springbok Rugby number in Manchester. Heaven was it to be alive. We had not a care in the world except that we were convinced that we alone had every care for the world, and those around us.

One senses the fire has gone out of protest since the Iraq war “million march”, as if that was the moment that it was discovered that it didn’t work – protest, I mean. And of course although it looked as if it worked at the Ford plant in the 1960s, the bid by the women to be paid equal wages to the men didn’t work either.

What the film fails to point out is that despite Barbara Castle’s Equal Pay Act, the majority of women are still paid less than men for equivalent work.

A report out today concludes that progress in closing the gender pay gap is “grinding to a halt”. The Equality and Human Rights Commission says that on average women earn 16 per cent less than men, widening to 27 per cent for women aged 40. There’s little likelihood of any Dagenham-style action on this front however. Hence the question posed by the threat to student well-being by tomorrow’s report by Lord Browne into university funding.

If the rejigging of student fees goes by without major protest; if the cuts on October 20th go by without French style protest in the streets, we shall be able to say with certainty that the “Dagenham age” is over. Some will also be able to claim that Britain is a quiescent state in which the public accept that the welfare system is too generous, that we don’t need (in the military jargon) to punch above our weight, and that university student populations need to be cut back because we can’t afford them.

But if “Made in Dagenham” doesn’t turn them on, and reveal – as the film does – some bitter truths about “union fat cats”, then very little else will.

It’s a stunning period piece – the lead character, Rita, is a sensation. The casting generally is fabulous, the plot excellent, and the direction magical. I regretted finding no tissues in my pocket. The film deserves an Oscar, will probably get nominated for “Best Foreign Film”, and, like today’s female worker, won’t get it.

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48 reader comments

  1. adrian clarke says:

    It is not a film i am likely to see.If i did i might enjoy it ,but at the end of the day although it may contain many truths,it is a directors view on history, not a truly historical fact.
    I grew up in the sixties,detesting the marchers , believing they knew it all and sod the country i was serving in the Navy.A young generation , who believed they and only they would change the world.The Union leaders who led their men like first world war generals,on causes that in the end doomed them to more job losses than were inevitable.CND marching to denude the country of its defenses in a volatile and dangerous world.If any of the marches were successful,perhaps the one against apartheid was .It successfully altered the climate in S Africa,but it is debateable whether that place has benefitted.
    Where are the marchers now ?Fighting the Europanisation and Ismalisation of our country?

    1. Jon Snow says:

      Adrian I suspect the reason they aren’t on the street is because ‘they’ are ‘us’ with vested interest in our hugely successful multicultural society. Thanks God for diversity..have you ever thought how dull we must have been in our caves befopre the Romans came; on in our dorb and whattle shacks before the Normans made some sense of us? So now it’s Bulgarian and Botswanans or some such so what?

    2. adrian clarke says:

      Nice to see i provoked you into an answer Jon,In many ways you are right, we always were a multi cultural society with a religion and beliefs honed over many centuries from our Saxon, Angles,Roman,Norse,and Normanand Pict ancestors. That is Our Britishness and it is not European,Or Islamist and can ,or should only become so ,because we accept it or can not resist it.We are a small isle of limited resources,and those that parade the streets protesting at the war in Iraq,against the cuts,nuclear weapons or any other event should be aware we are British and be just as volatile in the protection of that Britishness.

    3. Hannah Rose says:

      What’s a ‘truly historical fact’? One that you agree with?
      Many of the marchers are still marching and there is a new generation of marchers too. Unfortunately, the politicians are still not listening.
      South Africa will not change in the blink of an eye, because you cannot reverse decades of injustice without going through upheaval but it will change eventually.
      Being part of a multicultural society benefits everyone. It makes this country vibrant and interesting. Perhaps if you stopped seing every European and Muslim as a threat, you might recognise that as a society we are better for being open-minded and accepting of each other’s differences.

    4. adrian clarke says:

      Hannah,my comment “truly historical fact” was a hypothetical comment that most film directors in their interpretation of events do not stick to absolute facts.
      As for South Africa,Apartheid was totally unacceptable.I was there at its height in 1961.It was obnoxious,but the country was a well run prosperous entity.It has not been handed over to its indiginous people(the Zulus)but to a majority ,based on colour and excess breeding. There is no indication that it is now well run nor likely to be in the forseeable future.
      Your comments that being multi cultured everyone benefits, will you say that when because of population explosions , Muslims become the majority and take over our laws,or do you believe those settling in this country should abide by our laws and beliefs
      The alternative is a recipe for riots and anarchy as recently seen on French streets.

    5. Tom Wright says:

      I’m not going to defend Adrian’s mildly xenophobic post. But I do feel obliged to point that the view of history painted by Jon’s riposte is rose tinted.

      The British went back to shacks shortly after the Romans left, the economy ruined,and no army or tradition of military service to preserve them for a dangerous future.

      The Anglo Saxons, invited in as mercenaries by Vortigern, betrayed their paymasters, seized their land and drove them into the fringes.

      The Norsemen came to rape and plunder, then settled on the burnt out wastelands they had created. These guys believed you got into heaven by dying in battle with your sword in your hand.

      The Norman conquest was a disaster for the English – resulting in the total concentration of wealth in very small number of people and the feudal class structure. Not good if you are a peasant, which, statistically, is where most of us come from. For twenty years there was at least one serious uprising and the repression was staggeringly brutal.

      I’m not in the Enoch Powell camp. And yes we benefit from cultural diversity. That is not the same as saying it is without risk, or, suggesting those voices that oppose have no kernel of truth.

  2. the-Richard-of-Nottingham says:

    “…my student generation were on the streets protesting anything we could think of.

    I think I did Biafra in Liverpool, Vietnam in London, and an anti Springbok Rugby number in Manchester. Heaven was it to be alive. We had not a care in the world except that we were convinced that we alone had every care for the world, and those around us.”

    My word Jonny, what a “right on” political adolescence you had. It’s a shame that rather than change the world, your generation invented derivatives, the credit default swap, power-point, political-spinning, big-brother, the X-factor, political-correctness, surveyeillance cameras…

    Generation-Hippie turned into generation-$’s. Where did all that freedom and love go ?

    It’s time you came back down to Earth Jon. It’s only a film.

    1. Adrian clarke says:

      double thumbs up Richard

  3. margaret brandreth-jones says:

    The effusive Jon thankfully always supporting women.
    Inequalities though are not so clear cut, there is not only a gender divide , but an age , experience and qualification divide.

    I have a few degrees, worked for 40 years , continually updating and profiling in my profession, which is predominanatly women , have experience at all levels , but it is easier for the system to give me lower pay than a newly qualified who arrogantly think that they are the ‘same as me ‘ now: me having put a life into the profession and them just beginning. Ageism and experienceism is more prevelant.

    This is the same in many trades and professions . Its called use and abuse.

    The film will probably take me back to those days, where I looked at all these well payed workers ,striking, whilst I was taking a few quid a week home for a job which held more responsibility than most.

    They have a separate courses now for nearly every aspect of my job and specialise it , then get huge salaries .. ah well, c’est la vie.

  4. Kate says:

    When Sir Paul Stephenson, (the Metropolitan police commissioner) has the gall, in the light of such cases as Jean Charles de Menezes and Ian Tomlinson et al, to ask for “greater police protection from lawsuits”, you realise that Britain is indeed a “quiescent” nation. We put up with it all now and so are a pushover for those who weild the authority.

    1. Tom Wright says:

      Paul Stephenson was promoted to Chief Constable shortly after authorising the raid on Tory MP Damian Green’ office – the raid which caused such a furore. Linked do you think?

      No wonder the Tories support elected chief constables. Political placement creates an opportunity for corrupt collusion.

  5. adz says:

    I look forward to seeing the film and to be honest hadn’t actually heard about it.
    Protests in the street do nothing because as i’ve said before, we are not protesting against govenments but against the multi billionaries who run the show from behind the curtains and pull the strings attached to the peoples arms who we think make the decisions. Well we need to think again and analyse what is and has been happening since before the first world war.
    Women should be paid exactly the same wage as men if they are doing the same job and the same hours. The problem is that we still live in a very chauvinist world.
    The one million march, in a country that has a population of over 60 million? Wall street and the rest must of had a right laugh. Half the population needs to decend on the streets, then we might see some results.
    adzmundo The Venus Project

    1. bdbcks says:

      together in the national “interest”. interest repayments more like.

    2. bdbcks says:

      together in the national interest (repayments).

      bit more catchy that one innit? ;)

  6. Peter Stewert says:

    Looking at the timelines you could believe that students just abused the right to protest and by the 1990s no one in the media nor politics wanted to listen, but this desire to has always been there in. What has changed is that you now take a huge risk if you dare protest an issue in public and in numbers. How many people over the last two decades have ended up being arrested over nothing charges? How many people have been beaten bloody (and far worse) by police?

    Protesting was probably as much about the social occasion to meet like minded people & people that are wondering what the hell is going. These days just being in the general area of a protest can be a serious risk when you can end up dead and your family denied justice.

    Of course the media could be a bit more helpful. It would be nice to spend less time speculating on the potential for violence and at least sometime trying to accurately represent the views of al the many little and big groups that come together to protest. For instance, how many people do you think even know about the (to my mind unprecedented) protest march by the Scientific community on London during the weekend?

    1. Tom Wright says:

      Peter, ask the owner of any small business if they’ve lost a valuable staff member to a competitor. The answer will be ‘yes’. Now ask them if they have given someone a rise to keep them on. The answer will be ‘yes’. Now ask them, if giving one employee a small rise meant giving everyone a small rise, and the answer will change to ‘no’.

      Unequal pay is not a good thing – but pay audits are not the answer. Indeed pay audits would be a social evil, a destroyer of ambition and enterprise: why should I bother being the best at my job if it gives me no reward?

  7. Tom Wright says:

    Equality legislation scares me. That unequal pay and workplace discrimination are unjust is a given. Some of the laws created to deal with it however do more harm than good – law from the ‘send a message’ school of policy, and from policymakers who have never spend a day in a real workplace.

    It is now illegal for example, to ask an interview candidate if they have a history of illness which might interfere in their work, but not illegal to end their employment because they are too sick to do the job.

    Pay audits also scare me. All over the world, there are people doing jobs unequally. Better and worse plumbers, dentists, nurses, doctors, pilots, soldiers, teachers, managers, front line and back room staff. Performance is subjective in many disciplines, and, sometimes, the employer rewards the superior employee with better pay. This practise enables them to keep the best staff and to compete in the market better or to deliver a better service. This reward cannot be repaid by gossiping about your pay and making others jealous. Pay audits would put an end to this. We cannot end an injustice for women by creating injustice for all – particularly as it will economically damaging.

    1. Peter Stewert says:

      Pay audits (at least for my employer) are necessary to ensure _fair_ pay, and really shouldn’t be feared as any sort of soviet dehumanising/demotivating policy. The subjectivity of performance can make it hard to ensure you are not under/over rewarding any given employee… especially in a large company. Audits are necessary to smooth out irregularities (or less politely, the crapness of HR and performance management in all business sectors) that happen often by accident.

      Everyone suffers to a certain extent from not being paid fairly, but women are chronically under-rewarded no matter how many audits take place. The trouble is that even a few months per pregnancy can seriously harm a woman’s career, and even if you never have children women are still unlikely to get the big money since they tend to not have such a pronounced sociopathic/psychopathic streak.

    2. sianushka says:

      do you know what scares me tom?
      knowing that because i may want to have a baby, i am likely to earn a lot less than my husband.

      knowing that i am likely to suffer a 16% pay gap because i was born a woman.

      knowing that the government have happily created a budget that disproportionately affects women because they couldn’t be arsed to look at a little thing like a gender equality duty.

      that is a lot scarier than equality legislation.

    3. Tom Wright says:

      Sianushka. I beg to differ. As a man I fear that women who leave the workplace for (their choice) having children are then parachuted into senior roles for the sake of gender equality. Is it fair that women expect to leave the workplace for long periods and have NO impact on their career? I don’t think so.

      If fact we have a great deal of legally enshrined discrimination already, particularly divorce and custody:- more divorces are initiated by women, not because they are independently minded, but because they know they will get the kids and the house. And that scares me – ask any bloke in his forties if he knows a dad who has lost contact with his children and the answer will be ‘yes’. Not because he’s a bad guy, but because access was deliberately frustrated.

    4. sianushka says:

      tom, is it fair that men aren’t given equal time off as women when they have children? no. it takes two to make a baby, and generally two people choose to make a baby. why are women still expected to take most the time off, and men (who often would like to spend more than 2 weeks with their baby) are expected to go back to work straight away.

      if we treated childcare as the equal responsbility of men and women, then the pay gap may well lessen.

      and your comments on divorce are ridiculous. the real tragedy of parents splitting up are the number of men who leave and never pay a penny towards that child’s welfare, or even try to see that child again. yes there are some women who frustrate access and that is wrong. but that is not the whole picture.

    5. Tom Wright says:

      Sianushka my comments on divorce are simple facts: the majority of divorces are initiated by women, and, in the vast majority of cases, the woman is awarded both the family home and custody. Do you dispute this? Do you approve of it? To my mind its a travesty of justice.

      The law says that the interests of children are paramount, and divorce should involve as little trauma for them as possible. Custody is therefore awarded to the partner who has current care. However, in the event of a relationship breakdown, society expects the man to leave the family home. This retrograde Victorian sexual more means that the vast majority of custody cases go against men, effectively for doing what is considered to be the decent thing. This is what you emotively call ‘abandonment’.

      The law provides women with endless capacity to deny or frustrate fathers’ access and gives fathers no effective redress. Many are left broken and suicidal. Men’s campaign groups are villified and ridiculed, and the underlying feminist orthodoxy can be summed up in Marilyn French’s maxim ‘all men are rapists’.

      But then there’s no such thing as sexism against men is there?

  8. sianushka says:

    great piece jon.

    however the last two years i have stood in the freezing autumnal weather of bristol protesting the pay gap on the fawcett’s ‘no pay day’ which this year will be on 2nd november. this is the last day of the year, on average, when women get paid, with a 16& pay gap.

    and i, and many women all over the UK, will be standing on the streets again this year, demanding for an end to the pay gap. the dagenham age isn’t quite over yet!

  9. Ian Statham says:

    On 26 April 2010, in the case of Barker and others v Birmingham City Council (case ref ET 1305819/2006), more than 4,000 female workers employed by the council won their equal pay claim in an employment tribunal.

  10. Paul Begley says:

    “Getting Noticed” at demonstrations about employment or equal pay rights doesn’t look like a great career move these days – not when we have employers compiling lists of blacklisted workers (as recently in the building trade), zero job security, and most of the country covered by CCTV.

  11. Vanessa says:

    Thank you for highlighting this issue.

    It is a huge problem. It stems from pregnancy and all the consequences that flow from it. Many employers perceive pregnancy and caring responsibilites as a burden to their business. Fathers have very few rights and this exacerbates the situation.

    There is a tacit acceptance in society that this type of discrimination is acceptable. Somebody out there in the media needs to take a lead on this and highlight this issue and continue to keep flagging it up. We need policies to encourage greater equality and a strong message from government that this type of discrimination is unacceptable.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      I wonder if they ran a small business, how many bloggers would be interested in employing a female on equal pay in the knowledge that:
      a.)Under 30 there would be a high chance of losing them to pregnancy in the forseeable future
      B.)they would have to give paid maternity leave
      C.)they would have to keep their job open
      D.)if they returned to work, they would be entitled to flexible working.
      E.)they may have to supply creche facilities
      F.)they will have to implement equal pay.
      I know what my advice would be, and that is do not start a small business that employs someone.
      I do not understand why females want offspring ,that they will then leave with carers,to bring up.To my mind that is partly responsible for the breakdown in society and youngsters roaming the streets out of control.

    2. sianushka says:

      adrian, why do men have children then? it isn’t just women who have children!

      also, last time i checked, not all women under 30 have babies, in fact not all women at any age have babies.

      finally, the government will reimburse employers some of their maternity leave costs.

    3. adrian clarke says:

      Sianushka.men do not have children.Biological fact.Men create children , it is part of a carnal process,that make men feel they have accomplished something.
      There was no suggestion that all women under 30 have babies,just a suggestion there was a high chance they would and be lost to employment , often from a very important job to a small company.
      As for the government reimbursing costs that is totally immaterial and does not recompense for the later costs of saving jobs , providing flexible working and tempory replacement staff
      You obviously have no idea of the needs of business in a market economy.

  12. Darren Ball says:

    The figures you quoted on today’s news were very misleading and there was nobody there to put the alternative view. There is an underlying assumption, that when men and women are given an equal right to choose, they will choose in equal numbers the same things. This is based upon the doctrine of the blank slate, in which nature has no role. Recent research, such as Prof Simon Baron-Cohen, Dr. Suasn Pinker and Dr. Steven Pinker, argue that male and female brains have natural tendencies to make different choices (generally – not always). There is no reason to assume therefore that salaries should be identical, if for instance men and women tend to opt for different lifestyles.

    To get to the sorts of differences quoted on your news programme, you have to conflate part-time working with full-time working – of course there will be a difference, even to the hourly rate. More women are living on pensions because they qualify for retirement earlier and live longer – neither of these reasons can possibly be taken as disadvantages. I could go on…

  13. Mudplugger says:

    The interesting end-story of the Dagenham equal pay dispute is that, within a short time, those women’s jobs just disappeared. Once Ford’s management worked out that paying them the equivalent of other male employees would change the economics of seat-stitching, thus making pre-moulded seats a more cost-effective option, they changed to moulded seats, and the women left.

    So the ladies may win a battle, but they lose the war.

    That’s not an argument for discrimination but rather a recognition of the real economics of the workplace – any job (in the private sector) only exists so long as there is not a more cost-effective method available. If the employees set out to make the operation uncompetitive, the job is at risk, if not the firm. Management’s job is to avoid the latter.

    It is entirely right that a woman doing the same job as a man, to the same output, should enjoy the same employment conditions – but no group of commercial workers will ever be immune from the underlying economics of the operation. And sometimes those underlying economics are in their own hands. That is the real lesson of the Dagenham episode.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Mudplugger you are so right.There will be an outcry over the forthcoming cuts , but when you see the anomolies and mis spending highlighted by Philip Green , you realise just how careless the public sector is with our money or money that is not their own.If that profligacy loses them their jobs they will be blaming everyone but themselves.
      Those also that delight in multi culturism and diversity ,probably also believe local authorities should be employing Diversity Officers at over £60k per annum.What a complete waste of money,and non jobs.

  14. Jim says:

    Mmm, I reckon once all the budget cuts kick in there will be more than a few protests. Particularly in Northern Ireland where the ‘pay gap’ can be very easily recognised by the colossal 25% cut of the block grant. Tiny Tim got leftovers here! There’s a real risk to security in the North if communities remain underfunded. Lack of jobs and opportunities create unrest. I hope someone sensible in the house of commons realises the employment gap between N.I. and the mainland is even bigger and taking a proportionately larger chuck of cash from the kitty is not helping anyone. But then equality has always been lower on the agenda over here.
    Tough times ahead that’s for sure.

  15. Darren Ball says:

    I’m curious to know why my posting is still awaiting moderation despite others, posted much later, having been cleared.

    I wonder if you could let me know?

    1. adrian clarke says:

      Darren it is annoying when waiting to be posted .My recent comments were being moderated for two days , but i believe the backroom staff are working on putting our thumbs back on
      ps. i also believe in flying pigs

  16. Jim Flavin says:

    ”Getting Noticed” at demonstrations about employment or equal pay rights doesn’t look like a great career move these days ”. Good point – the emphasis now is on Obedience to Big Brother – and if u dont – u will pay for it . Toatlly different attitude now . The protests in USA helped bring Vietnam war to an end – and the French studets Rebellion nearly suceeded- great hope then . It was an age of hope and Optimism – things would get better . Now is an age of ” how bad are things going to get ” . Cuts are acceted with little protest . Its just IMHO – most of society has gotten more Right wing and accepting of the rubbish politicins spout . A few bright lights on Horizon . Soon California will vote to legalise their huge Cannabis Crop – the implications worldwide are enormous ..44% of US population are in favour of legalisation – not one politicin is willing to say so openly .

  17. Darren Ball says:

    So my posting of yesterday not allowed – hmm. Certainly nothing rude in there, so I can only assume that you don’t like dissent very much.

  18. Darren Ball says:

    Sorry, please ignore previous blog – I can see that you’ve inserted it up the page.

  19. Meg Howarth says:

    Would like to extend unequal-pay/protest discussion to the country’ housing situation and start by congratulating C4 on its buy-to-let piece on last night’s news. More, please, investigating: second-home situation (on which reduced level of council tax (CT) payable!); numbers on housing waiting-lists; the London property-price/rental obscenity; the number of UK’s empty properties, routinely estimated at around 800,000 – as above, all paying reduced rate of CT; and the need for land-value tax (LT), a way of bringing down property prices, bringing brown-field sites in to use as it would be more expensive to keep same undeveloped. (Would like to develop more thoroughly but time currently short.)

    Wholeheartedly support Jon’s ‘multi-cultural’ response to Adrian. The glory of London’s diversity is plain for all to see.

  20. sianushka says:

    Darren Ball:
    Recent research, such as Prof Simon Baron-Cohen, Dr. Suasn Pinker and Dr. Steven Pinker,

    Research that is being discredited all the time. i’d recommend you read the second part of living dolls to see a thorough debunking of the myths surrounding essential difference. some of the most famous ‘experiments’ conducted by baron cohen were done without really vigorous controls, and the infamous pink and blue experiment completely ignored social conditioning!!

    sadly, the media is loath to report science that suggests male and female brains are pretty much the same at birth, and difference is a matter of socialisation and instead portray science that upholds sexist stereotypes that damage men and women as somehow revolutionary. even if they offer the same thinking as has been standard since time immemorial.

    1. Tom Wright says:

      Sianushka, I rather doubt you have children. If you did, you would know the differences between boys and girls because you would have observed them first hand. If you do have children, and still hold this opinion, I shudder to think what conditioning YOU are giving them! Your earlier post notes an affiliation with the Fawcett Society. Are you of the uber-feminist persuasion?

      Boys and girls are different – I don’t know the authors Darren is is quoting, but I strongly recommend you read the work of Steve Biddulph (Raising Boys – incidentally recommended to me by a feminist friend and highly succesful businesswoman).

      The ‘Girls and Boys are identical bar external genitalia’ school of thought belongs in the 70s.
      The application of this theory in education policy is the primary reason for the relatively superior achievement of girls in education today – a reversal from a generation ago. I say this not to justify a return to the old approach, but because the needs of boys must also be served – gender equality cannot be achieved at the expense of justice for men, revenge should not be confused with justice.

    2. sianushka says:

      tom i don’t have children no.

      and i don’t know what uber feminist would mean.

      but i think i have every right to point out where scientific research has been discredited.

  21. Saltaire Sam says:

    Surely Saint Vince’s proposals on university tuition fees will get students (and parents) on the streets?

    Assume for a moment that student fees are inevitable, that graduates should invest in their future. Nevertheless the current proposals remain completely unfair.

    We are expecting young people, earning say £30k pa, to pay an education ‘tax’ just at the time they are likely to be starting a family and looking to buy their first house.

    Meanwhile St Vince and his generation, many earning more than £100k on the back of a free education and grants, people who have enjoyed the growth in wealth through property inflation and a hooming economy, get off scott free. Why should they not contribute to their education retrospectively through extra tax?

    What is it about politicians that they are terrified of very high earners, tax dodgers and offshore millionaires but don’t give a toss about ordinary people? I have nothing but contempt for them, especially the mealy mouthed lib dems who have sold their principles for a ministerial jag.

    1. adrian clarke says:

      nice to see you back Saltaire :) I partially agree , but unfortunately your left wing non socialists have left us in such a mess yet again , that money has to be saved somewhere.I would sooner it be on higher education rather than education , but i understand that the poorest 30% will be no worse off and the rises will affect the more affluent.Time will tell when we see the final suggestion.I would have thought you would favour hitting the better off

    2. Mudplugger says:

      Not my job to defend St. Vince or his coalition partners but I tend to seek the bigger picture.
      The State made primary and secondary education, to defined standard, mandatory to all intents and purposes – however, at its common level it is provided without charge to the user.
      But tertiary education is, and always has been, optional – that is the vital difference.
      There follows a debate about whether the State should fully fund an optional service, from which the recipients may reasonably expect personal gain for life.
      Is it fair, for example, that those choosing not to take up the option (reputedly lower lifetime earners)should be paying taxes to fund those who do ? Hence the move to forms of direct payment instituted by the last government, necessary because they themselves had exanded the sector to an unsustainable and commercially illogical level.
      I have no problem with students paying for their optional learning services.
      I do have a problem with the deliberate devaluation of all qualifications which has fuelled this situation, in effect conning millions of kids and their parents into unreasonable expectations. That is the real scandal here.

  22. Darren Ball says:


    If we were to go with the Blank Slate as being correct, we would have to say that society is failing men in spades. Look at the jail figures,the male suicide rate, male alcholism and so on.

    The thinking since time immemorial was based, not on an interplay between nature and nurture(as Baron-Cohen et al), but nature only, leading to the divine right to rule and allowing slavery, patriarchs, monarchs and so on. What most reasonable people now accept is that behaviour is a combination of both.

    Testosterone has one effect, oestrogen another, end so on. Your views really are an affront to common sense and really only reflect your own wishful thinking rather than being based on any kind of reasonable analysis.

    1. sianushka says:

      my views are not an affront to common sense but based on reading scientific research that differs to the research you have read.
      of course hormones have an effect but many of the experiments you referenced have been discredited and shown to have massive holes in them. sadly this was not reported in the media with as much glee as the experiments themselves.

      if disagreeing with you shows a lack of common sense that seems a bit unfair! ha ha.

      i don’t recall saying anywhere that there was nothing wrong with the position of men in society. that is a simple derailing technique. of course the male suicide rate, for example, is tragic and needs to be sorted, and reduced. i have direct experience of it. but i don’t really see what that has to do with women not receiving equal pay, because baron cohen says women are born differently.

  23. Dr S Deman says:

    Former Labour Prime-Minister Mr Brown in defence of bailouts of failing Banks said, “Wealth creation is not only a privilege but also a soclial responsibility”. But when it comes to bonuses most poticians seems to forget the time to pay back and pocket handsome bonuses, i.e., rewarding their own complacency.

    I believe the same argument of applies to subsidies education as it is social responsibility to provide subsidies education as it imporves human quality of labour force and to some extent generates civic sense. All thsi tigether gives much higher rate of retuns to society than any other sector of the economy. Women education has long been justified for a very long time even if those who eventually do not becoame art fo labour force as education helps developing unbringin of the children and make them better citizens.

    Hence if billons can be paid out to bail out complacency of the private sector, like Banks/Investment Banks then why education should not be subsidies.

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