February 9, 2012
I love women. Women are great. I’ve married one, I’ve personally bred one and I’ve got lots who are my friends. And after years of close observation, here’s what I’ve concluded: chicks are definitely the superior species. They’re more intuitive, more versatile, more articulate, more competent. Plus, of course, they have breasts.
Given that all this is so, I really don’t understand why David Cameron feels he needs to impose quota systems on boardrooms. Not for the reasons he gives anyway. I could understand it if he said: “Look, I have no shame, no principles, no moral or ideological core in my blubbery, spineless, Heathite body. My Coalition government is run by Lib Dems, a marketing man and focus groups. And what they all tell me is: “Suck up to the female demographic.” So that’s why I’m saying this crap.”
But that’s not what Cameron has said in Stockholm. He’s actually trying to claim that he’s doing it for the good of British business.
Government figures suggested that Britain’s slow progress was costing the economy more than £40 billion in lost potential each year, roughly equal to the defence budget.
Yeah right. I’m sure there are also “government figures” which suggest that green technologies will create millions of new jobs; “government figures” which suggest wind farms are a vital part of Britain’s energy package; “government figures” which suggest that a 50 per cent upper band tax rate is really healthy business.
Doesn’t make it so, though does it?
The argument for compulsory female quotas for boardrooms was neatly skewered in Standpoint by Jamie Whyte, in a column called Picking Losers.
The usual objection to such policies is that politicians are no good at “picking winners”, which is quite right. But those who bother to make this argument are being earnest dupes. The politicians themselves do not believe they have picked winners. If they did, rather than forcing others to make investments, they would make them themselves.
Harriet Harman, Labour’s deputy leader and shadow culture secretary, goes even further. She claims employers discriminate against women and pay them less than they are really worth. By proposing to pass a law that imposes compulsory female quotas in boardrooms, she forgoes a wonderful business opportunity. She could start a business, hire all these brilliant but underpaid women and kick the butts of competitors that employ mediocre men at the same wages. Or Mr Cameron could let some of his mates know about the banks’ mistakes and they could make a killing lending to small businesses.
If you had the prescience that allowed you to pick winning Lotto numbers, would you pass a law forcing everyone to select those numbers? Would you even announce the numbers in public? Are you that selfless? Politicians who claim their bullying is merely an attempt to force unnoticed profit opportunities on to stupid business people would have us believe that they are.
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- Spectator: Women can’t do comedy
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