Identity Politics Fights Back

identity-politics

Sensing a growing backlash against their toxic ideology, identity politics cultists are preparing to mount a fightback

Check out this epic rant in the New York Magazine, in which TV producer and playwright Elizabeth Meriwether fumes that even contemplating whether the rise of identity politics may have contributed to political division and a Trump presidency is so dangerous that she needs to seal herself off in a sleeping pod to protect herself from further betrayal by the traitorous “white liberal males” asking the question.

Bear with me…

I’ve decided that the best thing for Democrats to do for the next four years is to stop caring about “identity politics” and focus on the needs of white men all around the country. From now on, as a woman who makes her living and pays taxes in the blue bubble of California, I will shut up and enter a medically-induced coma and only come out when liberal white men ask me to come out. I will develop a special, secret knock that these liberal men can use to wake me up inside my sleeping pod when they deem it safe for me to emerge and start ruining elections again.I hope that other women and minorities will do what I have done. Democrats can either care about income inequality or we can care about “women and minorities,” but we can’t do both. It’s impossible. Just try. Close your eyes right now and try to care about creating jobs, offering debt-free college, redistributing wealth, and protecting the rights of minorities and women. Do you see what I mean? It’s impossible. You either care about class or you care about civil rights. I am being fitted for my sleeping pod as we speak. And, because I am an elite, it’s entirely made from reclaimed wood and the tube that will pump food into my stomach will do so in the form of small tapas-style plates that are meant to be shared. Bon Iver will be playing nonstop, and I will be covered in organic cotton and sprinkled with chia seeds. My rescue dog will be hermetically sealed into my sleeping pod with me, and the whole thing will be plugged into an outlet like an electric self-driving car that also cuts off dicks. I will be allowed out of my sleeping pod if and only if I choose to have sex with a white liberal male. But the terms of this agreement include listening to him monologue about what went wrong in the election and allowing him to prove me wrong with various facts and figures and statistics. I will not be allowed to look any of those statistics up on my phone under any circumstance, although I will be allowed to disagree with him if I quickly concede the point and if I am squeezing my tits together into a pleasing butt-shape.

Way to miss the point. The point of criticising identity politics is not to suggest that we stop trying to fight for genuine egalitarianism and equality of opportunity. The point is that continually dividing Americans and playing off various “victim groups” against one another – and always against “white males”, no matter how desperately poor or marginalised they may themselves be – is actively feeding the toxic political atmosphere which has led to two Americas which can now barely tolerate each other’s presence.

Meriwether then continues her long digression about sex, for no reason other than the fact that people like her seem to have to shoehorn the subject into every political conversation – part of the identity politics cultist’s desperate need to make all politics personal, I suppose.

The diatribe continues:

Finally, talking about protecting the rights of minorities makes white guys feel like we are not talking enough about them — see above when I explained that we can’t care about more than one thing at a time — so it’s better if we all stop seeing ourselves as part of separate groups and start seeing ourselves however white guys want us to see ourselves. That would honestly just make it easier for everyone, and as I said before, is really the only way that Democrats will ever win another election again. The only way to come together as a party and defeat Trump is if we blame women and minorities for everything. This is the end of “identity politics,” by which we mean that this is the end of women and minorities being allowed to talk about issues that white men don’t care about.

Yes. Opposing identity politics means secretly wanting to construct a giant woodchipper, rounding up all the Evil Minorities and dropping them into the machine, one by one. The only possible reason that anyone might oppose the Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics is a desperate desire by white males to get their boots back on the face of women and minorities. No other possible reason.

Of course we can care about more than one thing at a time. I don’t know of one serious commentator or criticism of identity politics which has argued otherwise – that identity politics or economic growth, identity politics or national defence, identity politics and healthcare reform are zero-sum games, with only one able to prevail. The problem is not that identity politics crowds out other issues. The problem is that for true believers like Meriwether, identity politics becomes the prism through which every single issue must be considered.

The problem with identity politics is that it empowers a select clerisy (the SJWs and politicians who court them) by encouraging everybody who is not a “white male” to consider themselves peculiarly fragile and vulnerable to physical and mental harm, either from normal everyday encounters or from offensive and unpleasant behaviour which would otherwise be written off in a dignity culture, confronted in an honour culture but which are taken as grounds for public complaint and petitions to higher authorities in our increasingly victimhood culture-oriented society.

The problem with identity politics is that it infantilises fully grown adults and teaches them that they are without agency or responsibility for their own lives and decisions – that anything bad which happens to them is the result of oppression (by the afore-mentioned bogeymen, “white males”) which can only be lifted by enacting a suite of leftist policies and laws which restrict what people can say and how they behave, often in ways which run completely counter to the spirit of the US Constitution. And the feedback loop of self interest ensures that

As regular reader of this blog, AndrewZ, put it in a recent comment on another blog post:

If people from a designated victim group are able to overcome difficulties and succeed by their own efforts then they can’t be as “oppressed” and “marginalised” as the theory demands. Therefore they must be indoctrinated into a mentality of helpless victimhood in order to protect the theory from inconvenient realities.

But if the whole world is divided into victims and oppressors then it becomes immoral for a member of a victim group to be strong and successful, because the theory says that they can only succeed by becoming part of the system of oppression. Equally, a person who does not belong to an official victim group can only make themselves socially respectable by embracing a victim identity.

The problem with identity politics is that it has become so much more than a simple struggle for egalitarianism – a cause which nearly everybody (save the real racists in society) should be able to happily get behind.

Hence we find people like Liz Meriwether – successful screenwriter and TV producer, and oh yes, a wealthy white woman – and taking to the pages of New York Magazine to wail that life is so tough for her that she needs to take to an escape pod for the next four years – not to escape from Donald Trump, but from normally like-minded “white liberal males” who committed the heretical thought of asking whether we really need to consider a person’s race, gender, sexuality, and horoscope before assigning weight to their words and arguments.

This is the corrosive power of identity politics. This is why we need to fight back against it with every ounce of strength we have. Because the Cult of Social Justice and Identity Politics takes strong, successful, independent adults (and adolescents perfectly capable of becoming strong, successful and independent themselves) and convinces them instead that they are weak, pitiable victims in need of constant rescuing by external authority figures. And the authority figure is inevitably the government, and the government inevitably seeks to protect each one of the victim groups petitioning for redress by further restricting the freedoms of the general public.

Identity politics is cancer. What else to call it, when somebody as outwardly successful as Liz Meriwether can write a nonsensical, stream-of-consciousness rant about she suffers systemic oppression when her white male liberal contemporaries fail to linger long enough while engaging in oral sex with her, and have that piece published with all seriousness in New York Magazine?

Identity politics is cancer. And it needs to be surgically removed from our political discourse, and any remnants blasted with whatever rhetorical equivalents of chemotherapy and radiotherapy we can lay our hands on, lest it return.

 

identity-politics-us-presidential-election-donald-trump-white-working-class

Support Semi-Partisan Politics with a one-time or recurring donation:

Agree with this article? Violently disagree? Scroll down to leave a comment.

Follow Semi-Partisan Politics on TwitterFacebook and Medium.

Advertisements

U2’s Bono Named Woman Of The Year

bono-glamour-woman-of-the-year

Glamour magazine is so hard-stretched to find enough worthy female candidates for its Women of the Year shortlist that any progressive male with a decent track record of philanthropy is now in with a shot of winning the prize

Meanwhile, back in SJW-land, life goes on as normal… Glamour magazine has named Bono as one of its Women of the Year.

Now, parents can tell their daughters that one day they too can grow up to be Bono, that designer stubble-sporting, wraparound sunglasses-wearing crooner. Though of course in the age of identity politics, this was always self-evidently the case – it simply involves standing up, declaring that “I identity as the lead singer of Irish rock band and celebrity philanthropist U2” and then demanding that everybody else bow down and play along with your delusion, lest they be accused of intolerance or oppression.

But of course Glamour magazine is doing this to make a Worthy Point, and so we must all nod our heads at their little stunt and murmur “how provocative and brave”.

Christiane Amanpour gushingly writes in the magazine:

When humanitarian and rock icon Bono learned that he was being honored by Glamour as the first-ever Man of the Year, he called his wife of 34 years, Ali Hewson, to give her the news. “I asked did she think I deserved it. She wasn’t sure,” Bono tells me with a laugh. “She said I’ve work to do!”

U2’s front man has no doubts. “I’m sure I don’t deserve it,” he says. “But I’m grateful for this award as a chance to say the battle for gender equality can’t be won unless men lead it along with women. We’re largely responsible for the problem, so we have to be involved in the solutions.”

I’m on Glamour’s side: I think Bono is the perfect choice for this first-time honor because, now 56, he’s been trying to do good for as long as he’s been making music. I first met Bono, born Paul David Hewson, in Sarajevo over New Year’s 1996, shortly after peace accords ended the Bosnian civil war that November. It was the first time in four years that the guns were silent and the people of that beautiful city could celebrate by taking to the concert halls and cafés. I got pulled into a crowded car one night, heading for a party, and there was Bono. Our two-decade humanitarian friendship was launched.

And while my friend has sold 170 million albums and won 22 Grammys, what I admire most about him is his extraordinary talent for tackling problems that seem intractable—and making mighty and measurable gains. It’s not every superstar (or, for that matter, statesman) who can bring about $100 billion in debt cancellation for 35 of the world’s poorest countries, or persuade the U.S. government to pony up the largest contribution ever for lifesaving AIDS drugs in Africa, as President George W. Bush did in 2004.

Now Bono has created Poverty Is Sexist, a new campaign specifically aimed at helping the world’s poorest women—those who survive on less than $2 a day. “Women bear the burdens of poverty,” Bono says, meaning they are far less likely than men to have access to food, clean water, education, and health care; laws in many parts of the world don’t protect them from sexual violence or allow them to own the land they work. By establishing Poverty Is Sexist, Bono is making it clear that powerful men can, and should, take on these deep-rooted issues.

Poverty is sexist? Give me a break. By this alarmist logic, anything impacting men and women differently is inherently sexist, and therefore in need of immediate corrective action by government or other actors. Pregnancy? Utterly outrageous that women are left to bear the burden alone. Money should be poured into womb transplant research and artificial gestation technology so that men can either be surgically forced to bring 50 percent of new life to term themselves, or all of humanity can outsource the job to technology in the name of equality.

Real, grinding poverty – better thought of as the absence of wealth – is debilitating and responsible for nearly all of Beveridge’s famously identified Five Giant Evils. It should be tackled on that basis, not devalued and politicised by slapping an additional identity politics label onto poverty, as though calling it names will make it go away.

But a man winning an award designed for women?

The Telegraph’s Radhika Sanghani is unconvinced:

Glamour’s editor-in-chief Cindi Leive, tried to justify the decision: “We’ve talked for years about whether to honour a man at Women of the Year and we’ve always kind of put the kibosh on it. You know, men get a lot of awards and aren’t exactly hurting in the awards department. But it started to seem that that might be an outdated way of looking at things and there are so many men who really are doing wonderful things for women these days.”

Yes, there are. And none of these men who do “wonderful things for women these days” become women themselves by doing so.

Sanghani continues:

I know these decisions come from a good place. The UN’s appointment was probably meant to be a symbol to raise awareness, while Glamour referenced the #HeForShe movement as part of their reasoning for choosing Bono – saying gender equality will never be achieved unless privileged white men get on board.

Yet underneath the humour (see Tweet embeds for the best Bono jokes going around today) there is an uncomfortable feeling that no woman was good enough for the position. That Glamour couldn’t find a tenth inspiring woman deserving of the award, while the UN couldn’t find another Emma Watson to make empowerment appealing to the masses. Even Bono, gets it, telling the magazine: “I’m sure I don’t deserve it.”

There you have it; straight out of the 2016 Woman of the Year’s mouth – a man doesn’t deserve to have an award celebrating women. Who would have thought it?

I am less confident that these decisions come from a good place.

When Caitlyn Jenner won Glamour’s Woman of the Year award last year, at least the former Bruce Jenner made the effort to physically transition from male to female and begin living as the latter before being given her award. But those who worried about excessive fluidity in gender identity didn’t realise how quickly things would develop. Fast-forward just one year and now one might find oneself publicly declared a different gender just for doing a bit of charity work.

Together with some other individuals from my old firm, I once spent a day re-painting a community centre for elderly residents in east London, and another day teaching employment and job-searching skills to young NEET (not in employment, education or training) teenagers. Does that entitle me to be named as a contender for either Septuagenarian or Disadvantaged Kid of the Year?

We can trace this kind of stunt back to Bill Clinton – he who spoke of “super-predators” and did as much as anyone to promote mass incarceration – being lauded as the “first black president” back in 2008.

At one time we could dismiss stunts such as this from the Congressional Black Caucus as isolated incidents. But we seem to have reached critical mass with this phenomenon where it is now considered hip, edgy and provocative to deliberately misgender people, both as a way of generating controversy to keep public attention fixed on something increasingly irrelevant (print magazines) and to further undermine the idea of biological gender altogether.

This is becoming ridiculous. It is one thing for grown adults to declare that they wish to identify as a different gender – to which the polite response should be to comply with their request, no matter one’s personal stance on transgender issues. But it is another thing entirely for the media to start bestowing new gender identities on unwitting people as a signal of approval of their actions.

Gender is innate, and means far more than simply being a pat on the head for good work, even for a lifetime of charitable service. If U2’s Bono actually wants to be a woman, there is a clear and well-trodden path laid out for him to do so and many people will light the way with glowsticks and strew it with petals.

But assuming that he does not in fact want to become a woman, Bono should demonstrate real respect for women by refusing to participate in this insidious game, and decline the Glamour award.

 

glamour-women-of-the-year

Top Image: Rene Romero, Wikimedia Commons

Support Semi-Partisan Politics with a one-time or recurring donation:

Agree with this article? Violently disagree? Scroll down to leave a comment.

Follow Semi-Partisan Politics on TwitterFacebook and Medium.

 

Isabel Hardman Is Right To Criticise The Labour Party’s Toxic Brand Of Feminism

Isabel Hardman has a great piece in The Spectator in which she rightly castigates Harriet Harman and the Labour Party for their narrow, possessive and parochial attitude towards feminism and gender equality.

Hardman writes:

Harriet Harman also described the Prime Minister as ‘no sister’, arguing ‘we’ve got a new Tory prime minister – and she’s a woman. But like Margaret Thatcher before her, Theresa May is no supporter of women’.

Now, it’s probably quite irritating for Labour to have to hold a women’s conference while the Tories are still crowing that they’ve got another female Prime Minister. But is this sort of ‘you’re not a real feminist’ moaning very, well, feminist? Naturally, Theresa May has a different interpretation of what a feminist politician should do to some Labour MPs: though perhaps not as different as they might think. After all, she did set up Women2Win, which has increased the number of female Tory MPs in parliament by lobbying the Conservative party and mentoring candidates. And after all, she did do quite a lot of work on domestic violence when in the Home Office, including working with the now Labour MP Jess Phillips when she was working as a national adviser on domestic abuse, and introducing the offence of coercive and controlling behaviour. And she also introduced a number of measures on female genital mutilation and forced marriage. But still, she’s not a Labour MP, so that means that obviously she’s not really a feminist.

Sorry, ladies, but feminism is even more important than partisanship. If you start claiming that only women who meet with your politics are real feminists, then you break into the People’s Front of Judea when feminists haven’t run out of problems to solve. You also alienate those on the right who are feminists but who you tell aren’t welcome in your special exclusive left-wing ladies’ club. Feminism has to span the political spectrum, otherwise it gets stuck in one party. And given the Labour party isn’t going anywhere right now, that’s not much use to the women who still need a politician who’ll show them what a feminist in government looks like.

Amen to that. Feminism (or egalitarianism) is much bigger than the Labour Party – thank God. And Lord knows that it needs to be.

Labour’s brand of feminism views women as weak supplicants and perpetual victims, helpless waifs entirely dependent on government largesse, social protection and financial support from the state.

It is a toxic creed of inferiority which imagines that women cannot make it on their own without help from enlightened white knights in the Labour Party to vanquish their foes and smooth their path in life. And that’s why Harriet Harman and other left-wing feminists hate Theresa May, and hated Margaret Thatcher before her. For here are two unapologetically conservative women who strove and succeeded on their own merits, and and overcame an (at times) extremely sexist culture and workplace by quietly getting on with the job rather than exulting in their own supposed fragility and victimhood.

Harriet Harman views Theresa May as a traitor to Proper Socialist Feminism because Theresa May (and other independent conservative women like her) never asked for Labour’s help on her path to success, and because Britain’s new prime minister is a living, breathing example to girls and young women (and men, for that matter) that success and full equality are not contingent on swallowing Labour’s nasty, backbiting politics of identity and victimhood.

For in reality, it has been the Conservative Party who have put egalitarian and meritocratic principles into practice when it really counted, electing not one but two female party leaders. Labour is the party of the all-woman shortlist, affirmative action, gaudy pink minibuses and thinly-veiled misandry. The Tories are the party of Britain’s two first female prime ministers.

So three cheers for Isabel Hardman reminding us that believing in gender equality should not and does not also require swallowing whole Labour’s politics of grievance, weaponised victimhood and government dependency.

Feminism and egalitarianism are bigger than the Labour Party, which is probably just as well – because Labour’s leading feminists are looking mighty churlish and downright small right now.

 

harriet-harman-labour-party-pink-bus-feminism-identity-politics

Support Semi-Partisan Politics with a one-time or recurring donation:

Agree with this article? Violently disagree? Scroll down to leave a comment.

Follow Semi-Partisan Politics on TwitterFacebook and Medium.

Sincere Congratulations To The Spectator For Their All-Women Cover Issue

Fraser Nelson - The Spectator - Westminster Media - Journalism

A brief rant before normal service resumes…

The Spectator editor Fraser Nelson today felt the need to publish a self-congratulatory humblebrag remarking on the fact that their latest print edition’s cover page apparently features only the work of female writers, despite no conscious decision having been made to indulge in affirmative action.

Nelson gushes:

Just before The Spectator went to press yesterday, my colleague Emily Hill pointed out that I’d just taken away the only male name away from the cover: all seven of our coverlines were stories written by women. Did I really want that? I hadn’t thought about it until then, and for a while I did consider engaging in tokenism and slapping a man on for the sake of it. But why bother? Spectator readers don’t really care about gender, just good writing.

In fact it hadn’t occurred to any of us, until that point, that we were about to run what Ariane Sherine, who writes our cover story, today hails as the first all-woman cover in The Spectator’s 188-year history. But this wasn’t a patronising attempt at a ‘wimmin’s issue’ or some other awful tokenistic wheeze. Our all-women cover wasn’t deliberate, it was just the way the cards fell. Each week we want to get the best writers on the most original topics: this week, they all happened to be women.

That’s not to say there’s no difference when it comes to getting hold of good writers. As Emily will tell you, women don’t put themselves forward as much as men. To get the full range of talent from all available writers can mean people like Emily going to great lengths to find and encourage new writers – like Ariane Sherine. As so often, Fleet Street follows up. As I write, two national newspapers are vying for the right to republish her cover story.

Full disclosure: I have a bit of a beef with lead article author Ariane Sherine (a one-sided affair; she, I’m sure, has no idea who I am) following her previous effort for The Spectator, an appallingly condescending report about how she performed a comedy gig in the heart of UKIP-supporting coastal Essex and somehow, miraculously, was not ripped to shreds by the rabidly racist, evil Brexiteers who dwell there.

It is interesting, too that Sherine (and apparently other women writers published in The Spectator) had to be sought out, coaxed and persuaded to write for the venerable magazine because “women don’t put themselves forward as much as men”. Funny, that. I, a despicably privileged man, have pitched to The Spectator before – it was actually a terrible piece from a few years back when my writing was very green, not at all worth publishing – but then I never had the pleasure of being sought out and implored to honour The Spectator’s readers with the fruits of my keyboard. That must be quite a nice feeling.

I don’t normally do this, but let’s just muse on the topic of gender equality for a moment, particularly as it relates to journalism. Regular readers will know that I spent pretty much every spare moment of the past year campaigning for Brexit in the EU referendum, initially rather haphazardly but (I hope) increasingly coherently as I read Richard North’s peerless eureferendum.com blog, learned about Flexcit and fell in with The Leave Alliance. I claim zero credit for any of the specific ideas this blog has supported around Brexit and the future of international trade – my tiny bit part in this effort consisted merely of standing on the shoulders of giants, particularly Richard North and Pete North, whose technical mastery and polemical writing I admire enormously.

The point, I suppose, is this. For some time now, a group of independent, citizen bloggers have churned out consistently better analysis and commentary on the EU referendum and Brexit on any given day than the mainstream media has given the British people in an entire year. Even now, dim-witted publications like the Guardian and FT are scrambling to catch up and think through some of the ramifications and issues which the people in my circle have been writing about for months. And what mention or recognition has this work prompted from the Westminster media? How many links to our widely-read and shared articles have appeared in mainstream outlets like The Spectator?

I think you know that the answer is zero.

Now, you don’t have to rate Semi-Partisan Politics at all – though I am personally quite frustrated, this issue is much bigger than little old me. But doesn’t it seem slightly odd that the entire Westminster media managed to somehow overlook the hard work of a small army of pro-Brexit bloggers on the biggest political issue to face Britain, just when fresh analysis was sorely needed, and yet The Spectator has time to scour Britain at great length for underappreciated female talent to promote to the front page?

Fraser Nelson claims that The Spectator’s all-women front page was entirely accidental, and I take him at his word. But isn’t it telling that this feat was achieved at the height of silly season, the summer recess, when the political news which is the Spectator’s bread and butter is almost entirely absent? When MPs come back from recess and things get serious again, let’s see how many months or years it takes for the next unintentional all-women issue to go to print. My guess is that it will be some while; that when PMQs is back and party conference season gets underway we will be seeing a lot more of James Forsyth, James Delingpole and Rod Liddle on the cover. Just a hunch.

So what was the amazing piece which made the cover of The Spectator anyway, you ask? Well, it was a thrilling exposé of a growing trend among millennials whereby single women stop looking for a suitable man and choose to marry themselves instead.

A snippet:

As far as the bride was concerned, the wedding was perfect. Her dress was beautiful, the vows were traditional and she changed her name after the ceremony. The clifftop scenery was breathtaking, the seven bridesmaids were encouraging and supportive: move over Princess Di. There was only one thing missing: the groom. Like a growing number of single women, Sara Starkström had decided to marry herself.

‘I thought about people marrying other people without loving themselves first,’ says Starkström, a writer, explaining what many would call a bizarre overreaction to finding herself single at the age of 29. ‘How could they pledge to do all this stuff for another person when they couldn’t promise themselves the same thing? I decided to marry myself to celebrate my independence and strength. I did it to promise to be my own best friend.’

[..] While many commentators make scathing judgments about sologamy (the feminist blog Jezebel ran a dismissive piece called ‘Single women, please stop marrying yourselves’, chiding, ‘You should be aware that you’re no trailblazer and you’re sure as hell not thumbing your nose at the system. You’re buying into it’), this hasn’t stopped increasing numbers of women from taking the plunge. For Starkström, self-marriage was a liberating act for which she is quite happy to take all the jokes ‘about me carry-ing myself over the threshold and making love to myself’.

And the thrilling conclusion:

Perhaps this is the crux of the sologamy issue: self-marriage is harmless, cheap compared to the £20,500 average cost of a classic wedding, and the union seems to make the bride very happy. If only the same could be said for the majority of traditional marriages which feature a groom. Princess Diana’s fairy tale fell apart when she found that there were three people in her marriage. Now, for an ever-increasing number of determined modern women, one is more than enough.

This isn’t even original. Even I know – don’t ask me how – that Sex and the City featured a similar storyline nearly fifteen years ago, in which protagonist Carrie Bradshaw decides to marry herself as a way of recouping the money spent on friends’ engagements and replacing an expensive pair of shoes which were stolen at a previous party. This kind of story is “and finally…” fodder on the TV news, not lead article material for The Spectator.

This may be silly season, but British politics is hardly dull at present – we have the ramifications of the EU referendum result to pick through, and the slow-motion car crash that is the Labour Party’s self-destruction, while America continues to wrestle with the Donald Trump phenomenon. In these circumstances, I’m sorry to say that Sherine’s story about sologamy has more than a whiff of affirmative action about it.

Before the inevitable feminist lynching begins, another disclaimer: I have long believed that The Spectator’s Isabel Hardman is the outstanding political journalist of her generation and, based on my couple of conversations with her, a genuinely nice person in the SW1 bubble. If The Spectator had ten Isabel Hardmans on staff, I wouldn’t expect a male-written cover story any more than once a year. It shouldn’t be necessary, but I want to put any idea that this rumination is some alt-right, anti-woman rant quickly to bed.

Note too that even when quoting the established feminist blog Jezebel, The Spectator fails to provide a link to the article Sherine cites by name. This is how unwilling the establishment British media are to share readers, clicks and opportunities. It is selfishness beyond measure, and is ultimately counterproductive – the American political blogosphere grew and thrives today not only because bloggers link to one another, but because there is a dialogue between what were traditionally the “legacy” print media outlets and alternative voices.

Readers aren’t forever lost to a publication which dares to link. In fact, readers often respect the original source all the more as a curator of other worthwhile information across the internet, thus increasing their loyalty. Maybe this doesn’t easily show up in the monthly SEO and web traffic reports which now seem to drive all media behaviour – and which have turned the Telegraph from a respectable broadsheet to a sensationalist purveyor of clickbait – but it is a real factor nonetheless. My own personal blogging hero, Andrew Sullivan, built the most influential political blog in history based entirely on this philosophy of curating the web for his readers and also providing fresh commentary which was picked up by the legacy media.

To this day, if there is a worthwhile piece of commentary or analysis on an American political blog, it is not unusual to see it linked to in a piece by an “establishment” journalist on the staff of, say, the New Republic or the National Review. Semi-Partisan Politics has been cited in the National Review a couple of times, a courtesy not once extended by any major British publication, and this despite the fact that 80 per cent of this blog’s output concerns UK rather than American politics.

So how should the British media interact with the blogosphere and promote new talent? Well, call me old fashioned but I believe that a simple commitment to meritocracy can’t go far wrong. Sure, The Spectator will always hire the likes of Pippa Middleton to write vacuous society guff about hunting for truffles in their Christmas issue, and that’s fine. But when it comes to political coverage, one wishes that established British publications would at least pretend to aspire to genuine meritocracy, seeking out the best analysis and commentary regardless of race or gender rather than indulging as they do in flagrant nepotism on the one hand and leftist affirmative action on the other.

I’ll speak plainly, because it’s better than dancing around the issue, from my perspective as someone no longer in the first flush of youth trying to build an audience and reputation as a writer. It is frustrating to pour every spare minute into this blog, providing (I dare to hope) sometimes original and refreshing commentary – particularly I think on the 2015 general election, the ongoing Labour leadership saga, free speech or academic freedom issues and the EU referendum – and see what is  objectively weaker commentary from nepotism beneficiaries or the obvious fruits of affirmative action benefit from a prestigious platform, greater recognition, and – oh yes, from monetary reward too. It’s just a little bit hard to take day after day.

I could play the minority card too, if I wanted to talk up my BAME working class background, but I would never compromise my principles by demanding that I be given a platform based on who I am rather than what I have to say. I won’t go there – it would be a violation of everything that this blog stands for. Others sadly seem happy to do so.

I write because I love to write, and because I think I have slowly created something quite small but precious here at Semi-Partisan Politics; because I have a small readership whom I love to serve, write for and debate with; because it is better than ranting into Facebook 24/7 as I used to before I opened a WordPress account. But sometimes it is a bit galling to see an inferior product exalted and given prominence when I and several of my good writer friends toil in obscurity.

Building a reputation and audience as a writer should be hard – it rightly takes time, effort, humility and perseverance. It has taken me over four years to even begin to get a sense of who my audience is / should be, and how best to serve them – and I claim no special skill at what I do, only a great deal of enthusiasm for it. But whether it is Twitter interactions, links to my site or other interactions, the amount of support I have received from American journalists and publications on the other side of the Atlantic vastly exceeds what little help or hand up I have ever received from the British media class – despite the fact that at least 80 per cent of my written output, networking and outreach efforts are focused on British politics and the Westminster media.

And I think British journalists and editors should be made to feel a little bit ashamed of that fact. Not for my sake – I’ll be just fine, and 95 per cent of the time I am happy to keep plugging away without a murmur of complaint. They should feel shame because my situation is far from unique, and because there are writers in my acquaintance whose insight, bravery and raw talent would enrich our country’s entire political discourse if only it had the bully pulpit it deserves.

The Westminster media establishment should be ashamed because the way they seek out and promote writing talent fails the British people, serving them an often substandard and derivative stream of written output and unoriginal thinking from the pens of the well-connected (either by parentage or ability to fill the checkboxes of a Diversity Officer’s form) while effectively pretending that the struggling political blogosphere – the primary outlet for so many talented, aspiring writers – doesn’t even exist, and certainly not as a source worthy of links or interaction.

Okay, rant over. I don’t have the energy to bring this piece to a neat end.

Normal business will now resume. Read it here first, or three months later from someone who gets paid to do this kind of thing.

 

Political Blogging 2

Top Image: The Spectator / Sky News

Support Semi-Partisan Politics with a one-time or recurring donation:

Agree with this article? Violently disagree? Scroll down to leave a comment.

Follow Semi-Partisan Politics on TwitterFacebook and Medium.

Enough Carping About Gender Pay Inequality In Sports – End Segregation And Let The Market Determine Wages

Olympic Games - Rio de Janeiro - Gender Pay Equality - Sports - Athletics

As the Olympic Games get underway in Rio de Janeiro, in place of the usual social justice nonsense about gender pay equality here is a bold proposal to make gender equality in sports a reality

As Olympic fever starts to build in the run-up to the opening ceremony of the Rio summer games, the New Statesman is distracting itself with a long meditation on why female athletes are usually paid far less than men.

Tim Wigmore ponders:

In March, male and female cricket teams from across the world descended upon India, where the men’s and women’s World Twenty20 competitions were played simultaneously. The International Cricket Council funded all the men’s teams to fly business class, but only paid for the women’s teams to fly economy class.

The integration of the men’s and women’s tournaments only highlighted how differently competitors were treated. The total prize money for the men’s event was $5.6m – 16 times the $400,000 for the women’s tournament.

[..] Women’s treatment in sport has always been a manifestation of wider gender inequality and, as sports evolved and professionalised, became self-perpetuating. The huge funding disparity between male and female sport means that women have had fewer opportunities to play sport, have suffered from inadequate coaching and facilities compared with those enjoyed by men, and have been paid meagre sums, even for playing international sport. This has damaged the quality of sport – and therefore the attractiveness of the product to fans and broadcasters – in two ways. Those that have played have often not been professional, so had less chance to hone their skills; and the lack of financial rewards mean that many leading players have retired prematurely.

Women’s sport has been shaped by administration being almost exclusively a male preserve. This explains why, from 1928 to 1960, women were not allowed to compete in races of more than 200 metres, because it was felt that running for longer made them too tired. It took until 1984 for women to make up one-fifth of competing athletes in the Olympics.

But surely if we are going to look at issues of funding at the school and amateur level (Title IX issues, to an American audience) then we should be more animated about improving equality of opportunity at the grassroots rather than tearing our hair out because Serena Williams (a millionaire many times over) is paid less than Roger Federer?

If we could drop the leftist insistence on equality of outcome then it might be possible to have a meaningful discussion about precisely how the issues raised  by Tim Wigmore (inadequate funding, male domination of sports administration bodies etc.) actually filter through in terms of take-up of sport and the technical levels achieved. And we could then consider if measures should be taken upstream to address the gender disparity, and what (if any) role the state should play in correcting the imbalance, considering that this is supposedly a time of “austerity”.

But time and again the discussion seems to drift back to the question of prize money awarded at top professional events, which is frankly ridiculous. Wigmore continues:

Yet the most lucrative sports remain far away from equalising renumeration. Even in sports with equal prize money for marquee competitions, there are often huge discrepancies lower down. In tennis, Novak Djokovic, the men’s number one, earned twice as much as Serena Williams, the women’s number one, last year – although both won three of the four grand slams, the less prestigious men’s tournaments pay far more than the women’s events. In football the differences are even starker: there was £22m in prize money for the last men’s football World Cup, but only £630,000 for the women’s tournament.

The differences are far greater in club competitions, in which women’s teams have struggled to gain a following. The total attendance for the last season of the Women’s Super League was 57,000; for the Premier League, it was 13 million. The stark discrepancy explains why Steph Houghton, the best-paid female English player, earns around £65,000 a year, while Wayne Rooney receives £300,000 a week. Similar forces are at work in professional basketball in the US: last season, the maximum salary for a female player was $109,500; for men’s players, the minimum salary was $525,093, and the maximum $16.407m.

Wigmore answers his own question here by citing the attendance differentials between the men’s and women’s leagues in British and American football (soccer). The gulf in public interest between the two leagues is huge (even if unjustified – one of the most entertaining football matches I have seen was a women’s game at the 2012 London Olympics). If we are to break the link between popularity and pay, why should the link between talent and pay not be similarly abolished? Why not pay every football player, male or female, a flat salary regardless of which league they play for and which position they play in? If teams can no longer set wages based on value added then we essentially end up with communism.

If more people watch the male version of a sport (generally because it is played at a higher level in terms of physical capability and endurance, if not technical skill) then surely this should be reflected in the prize money awarded? Prize money, after all, comes from ticket sales and television revenues and commercial opportunities. If male players draw in a disproportionate amount of total revenue, why should the fruit of their labour be redistributed to women?

Equal Pay Sports - men and women

The New Statesman even concede the point here (my emphasis in bold):

The greatest cause for optimism is in the rising quality of female sport: the gradual increase in spending on women’s sports is now being reflected in a product that more spectators want to watch. When England Women played Germany at Wembley in November 2014, the match was a 55,000 sell-out. Dramatic improvements in the standard of women’s cricket led to the England team turning professional in 2014.

Rising quality. Dramatic improvements. These are blatant concessions that the current (or past) standard of female sport has in many cases not yet reached the level of the men’s game. But even if it did, and there was no discernible difference in terms of technical standard between men and women, why should privately owned sports leagues and teams be compelled to pay the same wages if attendance and viewing figures have not also equalised?

And here we are back to the leftist mindset of wanting to control how people think. Men and women are of inherently equal value, that much is indisputable. But the leftist believes that they must be equal in all regards and at all times, including in the outcomes they experience (such as prize money at top sports tournaments). And if the market does not value the women’s game as highly because the technical standard or endurance is lower, then the market (and the people who make up the market) are wrong and their views should be overridden in the name of equality of outcome. Until we all hold hands underneath a rainbow, singing Kumbaya and assigning equal worth to unequal products in the name of gender equality, the People Who Know Best must step in and set equal wages.

But when has the  coercive approach ever actually truly worked? When has it done anything more than patch over inequalities rather than truly removing them?

Would not the better approach to tackling “inequality” be for sports governing bodies to look at the potential for growth in the female game and then chart a practical, ambitious path to increase female participation and retention in the various sports from school and grassroots level upward, therefore feeding the pipeline with more future stars who would in turn attract more earned revenue?

The danger is that by doing what Wimbledon bosses did and unilaterally setting equal prize money for men and women (despite the fact that women play a maximum of three sets while men play a maximum of five in grand slam tournaments), we not only perpetuate an injustice (male players have to work harder for the same monetary reward) but we also take our foot off the pedal of change; we feel satisfied that we have “tackled” gender pay inequality before we have even looked at the systemic issues which create it in the first place.

So here’s a genuinely egalitarian idea (which the New Statesman will likely never go for, obsessed as they and nearly all leftists are with identity politics and competitive victimhood) – how about we scrap male and female segregation altogether and have mixed teams and leagues based purely on sporting ability and merit?

Sure, there would likely be fewer women than men on the field at, say, the football World Cup, but those who did take the field could say without dispute that they earned their place and their (equal) prize money. In some cases (or at least in some positions in team sports), women may even possess an advantage over men and drive them out of the top leagues and pay grades altogether. Why not find out?

When it came to racial segregation, those fighting for equality through history never satisfied themselves with “separate but equal”. The racist Jim Crow laws had to be fought and overturned and the Civil Rights Act passed in order for the American Founding Fathers’ decree that “all men are created equal” to be deepened and fulfilled in practice as in spirit. Why should we settle for any less when it comes to gender discrimination?

In the workplace, the just cry from those campaigning against pay discrimination is “equal pay for equal work”. So let’s make it a reality in sports. No more bleating for unfair privilege (equal pay for less-watched female athletes, playing at a lower technical level). If we are to be truly blind to gender, let us abolish gender segregation in professional sports altogether, and let women compete with men for places in clubs and teams, and for the top rankings in integrated professional leagues. And let every one succeed according to their merit.

But of course the leftists and the Social Justice Warriors don’t want that. They don’t want people to be blind to race or gender or any other characteristic, but rather want us to exalt in our identities as variously oppressed minority classes. The SJWs derive all their power from policing the boundaries and arbitrating the disputes that inevitably arise from the very toxic culture of competitive victimhood they perpetuate – and if we strip it away then they, together with the entire equality industry, suddenly lose their raison d’être.

But all people are created equal. So let us do what we can and what we should to ensure equality of opportunity in sports (commensurate with interest and good sense), and then end gender segregation in sports to unleash the world’s best female athletes to compete at the very highest level of the game. That would be the egalitarian thing to do.

Let anyone who opposes this step now come forward and explain why they believe women are too fragile and vulnerable to thrive in integrated sports, and why they should continue to be patronised and humiliated by being given unearned equal pay in segregated teams and leagues.

Let the equality campaigners Social Justice Warriors come forth and make their tawdry, outdated and morally dubious argument for the status quo.

 

WWCup Los Angeles Rally

Top Image: BBC

Support Semi-Partisan Politics with a one-time or recurring donation:

Agree with this article? Violently disagree? Scroll down to leave a comment.

Follow Semi-Partisan Politics on TwitterFacebook and Medium.