Angus Take House

Worst Take of the Week: 'There Is No Pay Gap' vs Lord Sugar on Corbyn

This week, lots of men got mouthy on Twitter.

Welcome to Angus Take House – a weekly column in which I pit two of the wildest takes the world's great thinkers have rustled up against each other. This is your one-stop shop for the meatiest verdicts and saltiest angles on the world's happenings. Go and grab a napkin – these juicy hot takes are fresh from the griddle.

TAKE #1:

What’s the story? In compliance with the government’s gender pay gap reporting, all large UK companies have released data comparing men and women’s pay in their organisation.
Reasonable take: Pay women footballers' wages.
Lobster Bisque: Actually, this empirically proven thing is a myth!


The gender pay gap refers to the disparity in pay across an organisation between men and women. When you read, for example, that the BBC have a 9.3 percent pay gap, that means women are paid 9.3 percent less than men across the whole company. It’s a stark reminder that we are a long way off equality – and best of all, it has got the whole country talking about an issue so vast it has historically slipped ignored into the grey fog of inertia.

Yet, this week, lots of very clever people have taken it upon themselves to denounce the data as "meaningless". They argue that because the percentages are an average across companies, they group receptionists in with CEOs, drawing unfair comparisons. These clever people think that anyone talking about a gender pay gap is being misleading, by making it sound like women are being paid less for doing the same job as a man – which is, of course, illegal.

Look above. There's a clever man called David Vance – a sort of red-pilled Wallace from Wallace and Gromit – picking it apart. And he’s not alone. The Times' Kate Andrews has described the figures as "unhelpful" to working women, along with LBC's Ian Collins, who believes the data "tells us nothing". Even dad-vlogger Jonathan Pie – whose run of condescending shouting masked as satire continues unabated – has had a pop.

The trouble with all these takes is that they’ve become the very thing they set out to destroy. It's all very well denouncing the data for not being representative or overly simple, but that criticism isn’t representative either. The point of this survey is not to prove that individuals are being paid more or less than other people in the same job – rather, it is to illustrate how structural and cultural inequalities have led to massive unevenness in how wealth is spread between the genders, across industries. It’s not a perfect, detailed measure, but rather a way of publicly highlighting how tipped the scales are in one direction, from beginning to end. Cradle to grave.


TAKE #2:

Image via Lord Sugar Twitter, since deleted.

What’s the story? Jeremy Corbyn has come under fire for his failure to tackle anti-semitism in the Labour Party.
Reasonable take: Would be good if we could talk about this very real issue without everyone going postal and printing headlines about beetroots.
Sponsored by the BBC One's The Apprentice Take: Hitler memes? Hitler memes for my 5 million followers?

Labour’s week in anti-semitism has been an absolute mess for all involved. For publications like the Mail and Guido Fawkes, who have sought to turn problems – both real and imagined – into attacks on the Labour leader’s authority, and also Corbyn and his office, who have understandably caused a lot of people to lose faith in the party’s leadership and haven’t been totally proficient in restoring it. However, topping the "state of that" stakes is Lord Sugar, or Alan to his friends (of which, sadly, I am not one).

Lord Sugar – or "daddy" – has long had one of the wildest TLs on the internet. Whether posing in front of his massive TV like a lifetime Dixon's employee who can’t shake the game even in retirement, or simply "pens", his tweets are genuinely thrilling for their unpredictability. This week, however, he set his sights on Jeremy Corbyn, a man he has long thought an unsuitable leader on account of having never heard of him before.

Now, Sugar is a high-profile one-time Labour party member, and is also of Jewish descent, so it’s completely reasonable he would have felt extra call to speak on the ongoing tribulations. Whether the best way of doing that was through an image depicting Corbyn in a car with Hitler – or this relatively extensive poem slagging him off for everything from his support of Arsenal to his "fifty quid Matalan suits" – is up for debate. Oh, he also tweeted a very funny JEWISH JOKE on Sunday. You can tell it's a JEWISH JOKE by the way he says JEWISH JOKE at the start – despite the fact it isn’t a joke. GET IT?

Lord Sugar clearly doesn’t like Jeremy Corbyn, and sadly his giddiness to post dank memes about the man betrays this completely. Regardless, whatever this man does or says he will still have my support. These smear tactics won’t work. It doesn’t matter if he’s linked to offensive images through old social media activity, or even if he appears to renege on his principles, I will still watch The Apprentice next year.

See what I did there? TOPICAL JOKE.

Prime Cut: The "gender pay gap is a myth" crew. Next week: are children really younger than us? Or are they just small adults who won’t pull their weight?