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Campaign for Merit in Business – let’s get political

[Updated 28 February 2013]

The Electoral Commission has just registered our political party, Justice for men & boys (and the women who love them). More on this later in this post.

Campaign for Merit in Business, which was launched early in 2012, has made a remarkable impact in a relatively short time. We’ve proven beyond all reasonable doubt that the ‘glass ceiling’ is a baseless conspiracy theory. Through exposing as fantasies, lies, delusions and myths, the arguments which said that increasing gender diversity in the boardroom (‘GDITB’) will improve corporate financial performance, we’ve destroyed the long-vaunted ‘business case’ for GDITB. We continue to publicise five longitudinal studies, all of which show that GDITB leads to declines in corporate financial performance. What else would we expect when businesses aren’t free to select the best people for their boards, regardless of gender? Proponents are left with little other than misrepresenting correlation as causation in pursuit of their social engineering programmes.

The Conservative-led coalition no longer challenges our assertion that the impact of GDITB on UK plc will inevitably be a negative one. And yet it continues to actively pursue GDITB. DBIS continues to refuse to have a minister meet with us. What might explain this extraordinary state of affairs? We believe there are a number of strands in the answer:

1. David Cameron has an exaggerated fear of the ‘women’s vote’. He showed his feminist-friendly credentials soon after coming to power in 2010 by appointing the Labour peer Lord Davies of Abersoch to report not on whether to give effect to GDITB, but on how to do so. Indeed he showed those credentials in the autumn of 2009, when he announced he was setting up some all-women prospective parliamentary candidate (‘PPC’) shortlists. I’d once worked for the party at their London HQ (2006-8) but resigned my party membership in the autumn of 2009 when David Cameron announced his willingness to introduce all-women PPC shortlists for the forthcoming general election. I was later informed, by a senior officer in the party, that I was far from alone in having done so.

2. The leading minister at DBIS, the Lib Dem MP Vince Cable, holds extreme left-wing views, and is on record as saying that if he were Prime Minister, 50% of his cabinet would be women. He has publicly used – in his speeches and writings – utterly discredited research ‘evidence’ in support of GDITB.

3. The CBI, which should be defending its members’ rights to appoint directors as they see fit, is a part of the problem. For some years it’s actively promoted GDITB. Its current President, Sir Roger Carr (chairman of Centrica) is on record as stating that while he doesn’t personally believe GDITB improves corporate financial performance, he thinks it improves meeting ‘atmospherics’.

4. GDITB is being pursued vigorously because FTSE100 companies are under threat of legislated quotas (Davies Report – 2011) if they don’t ‘voluntarily’ achieve 25% female representation on their boards by 2015. This has resulted in a more than fourfold increase in FTSE100 female director appointments, from 12% of new appointments before the quotas threat (2010) to 55% (2012). Virtually all of the new female appointments have been as NEDs, an indicator of how shallow the available pool of qualified women is compared with the available pool of qualified men.

5. For some years government inquiries into such matters, while seeming to be open, have been deeply flawed. The most obvious recent example was the 2012 House of Lords inquiry into ‘Women on Boards’ which heard only from witnesses in support of GDITB. Many were professionally involved in the initiative. The level of witness challenging by the peers, including the Conservatives, was embarrassing to watch. In our written evidence to the inquiry we included details of four longitudinal studies which show that GDITB harms corporate performance. The final inquiry report explicitly rejected the idea that GDITB can lead to declines in corporate performance, without explaining why. We wrote to the inquiry’s chairwoman, Conservative peer Baroness O’Cathain, asking for an explanation, and didn’t receive one.

6. The House of Commons inquiry into ‘Women in the Workplace’, to which we gave oral evidence, is still ongoing, and we’re hopeful of more attention being given to our evidence than was the case with the House of Lords inquiry. But virtually all the witnesses before this inquiry, as with the House of Lords inquiry, have been pro-GDITB. We’ve made formal complaints about the misleading testimonies of a number of ‘witnesses’, one of whom amended her evidence as a result.

[New entry, 22 July 2013: The report of a House of Commons inquiry – ‘Women in the Workplace’ – was outrageous in its curt dismissal of our evidence base and arguments, and those of the renowned sociologist Catherine Hakim. The committee blindly accepted feminist arguments in relation to the genders in the workplace, while traditional Conservative perspectives on issues such as meritocracy were nowhere to be seen. Our critique of the report is here.]

The area of GDITB is but one of many areas in which governments actively discriminate for women and against men, because they’re fearful of the potential impact of ‘women’s votes’. Let’s consider just one example of that discrimination. Two-thirds of public sector workers are women, and the Equality Act (2010) effectively enables public sector bodies to discriminate on the grounds of gender in terms of recruitment and promotion, where one gender is ‘under-represented’. In practise only women in the sector are using the legislation, and only to advance women. Positive discrimination on gender grounds is illegal, so the government terms the phenomenon ‘positive action’. It amounts to exactly the same thing in practice.

Men have signally failed to co-operate effectively to defend ‘men’s human rights’ over many years, but this is changing. Politicians of all parties have left us with no choice. We’ve taken the only logical step. We’ve formed a political party to challenge the government in numerous policy areas – including GDITB – where there’s relentless special treatment for women at the expense of men. I shall lead the party.

On 30 December the leading broadcaster and Daily Mail columnist Quentin Letts exclusively revealed our intention to launch the party.

The name of the party was revealed in an article published by the world’s most-visited and influential men’s human rights advocacy website, A Voice for Men.

If you believe in this cause, then please support us by making a donation or possibly by making a contribution in other ways. A qualified accountant has taken care of finances both before and since the party’s establishment. 100% of donations will be used to finance our campaigning work. Nobody associated with this campaign or our party derives any personal income from donations. Thank you for your interest in our work.

Mike Buchanan

mike@j4mb.org.uk

07967 026163

The government will force companies to inflate women’s earnings and deflate men’s earnings

We recommend to anyone foolish enough to believe the feminist gender pay gap narrative, that they read a blog piece by William Collins – Gender Income Propaganda.

We have some key advisers who were of the view that the feminist-friendly agendas of the 2010-15 coalition were attributable (in part, at least) to the influence of the Lib Dems. I never believed that analysis. David Cameron made his pro-feminist / anti-male leanings perfectly clear before coming to power, most notably by announcing his intention in the autumn of 2009 to introduce all-women shortlists for prospective parliamentary candidates. Along with many other members I cancelled my party membership that day, and the proposal was dropped following uproar among Conservative MPs and other party supporters.

Following the government’s ‘success’ in bullying FTSE100 companies (through the threat of legislated gender quotas) into ‘voluntarily’ achieving 25% female representation on their boards – the figure is an average over all the companies – the government is going to extend its anti-male and anti-business agenda, by bullying companies with 250 employees or more into calculating and then publishing the gap between male average earnings and female average earnings. Today’s Daily Mail report on the matter is here. You would search in vain for criticisms of the initiative from the paper itself, even in the four-page-long business section. The rules are expected to come into force by the end of 2015.

The most intelligent contribution to the article was this:

Last night Len Shackleton, research fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: ‘The current Government shows no more understanding of the gender pay gap than its predecessors.

The gap is not caused primarily, if at all, by discrimination – but largely by career choices and family decisions.

The reality is that the measures announced by the Government will do little to reduce the gender pay gap – and in the case of the National Living Wage, may actually cause higher unemployment among women. They will however add to the burdens imposed on firms by this allegedly pro-business government.’

This is yet another feminist-inspired initiative which goes even further than the Labour party went in its last administrations (1997-2010). Both of our major political parties are dancing relentlessly to the feminists’ tunes.

In my 30 years in the business sector I recruited, managed, and promoted many people. Frequently people with the same job titles had different salaries, because of the different contributions they delivered, or the difficulty or ease with which roles in different specialisms could be filled.

The outcomes of the new rules are all too predictable. We’ll have the ‘equal pay for work of equal value’ farce, in which the factors that disincline women from particular jobs (risk, unpleasant working conditions, unsociable hours…) will be disregarded, so women’s earnings will be inflated to match those of men who are prepared to accept those factors.

We’ll have vexatious claims from women maintaining their contributions are as important as those of their male colleagues, regardless of the truth or otherwise of the claims. Wary of negative publicity, firms will settle out of court.

None of this will be accompanied by increased sales of the companies’ goods and services, of course, so the only way for firms to compensate for the increased earnings of women – without reducing profitability – will be to deflate the earnings of male employees.

An extract from the Daily Mail article, written by Daniel Martin, Chief Political Correspondent:

Writing in The Times, he (David Cameron) said: ‘Today I’m announcing a really big move. We will make every single company with 250 employees or more publish the gap between average female earnings and average male earnings. This will cast sunlight on the discrepancies and create the pressure we need for change, driving women’s wages up.

Higher pay is something we want for everyone. That is why the Chancellor announced the National Living Wage, which starts next April at £7.20 and will reach over £9 by 2020. This will primarily help women, who tend to be in lower paid jobs.

It will help close the gender pay gap. But we need to go further, and that’s why introducing gender pay audits is so important.’

David Cameron was the winner of our ‘Toady of the Year’ awards four years in succession – 2012/3/4/5. Details of all the awards are here. With this new initiative, Dave’s made a strong bid to win the award next year too.

Chris Blackhurst, former Editor of The Independent, is presented with our Toady award

Three weeks ago we publicly challenged Chris Blackhurst in connection with an article he wrote for the Evening Standard, in which he urged Sajid Javid MP, Business Secretary, to pressure FTSE100 companies into ensuring that 25% of their executive directors were women, within three years. We gave him until 5pm yesterday to respond, and – predictably – he didn’t. Details of the challenge are on his award certificate.

Our public challenge of Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

From time to time people ask why we don’t seek to engage with government ministers privately, rather than issuing public challenges. The fact is we have sought to engage with ministers on numerous occasions since the establishment of Campaign for Merit in Business in 2012.

More than four weeks ago I wrote to Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, requesting a private and confidential meeting in relation to the government’s continuing threats of legislated gender quotas for FTSE100 companies. I haven’t received even an acknowledgement of that letter, nor of an email I sent to his department earlier this week.

Today we shall mail a public challenge to Mr Javid, in the form of a Freedom of Information request. Under the law, responses to FoI requests have to be made within 20 working days. My original letter to Mr Javid is in the same file.

Our public challenge of Chris Blackhurst (Evening Standard)

This challenge relates to the drive to increase female representation on major corporate boards. I thought it might be timely to explain why we cover this topic so frequently given – as people sometimes point out – it would appear to affect relatively few men, and well-off men at that. There are a number of reasons:

1. There is clear evidence (from longitudinal studies) that increasing female representation on boards leads to corporate financial decline. This is only to be expected. Far fewer women than men have the work ethic and professional experience and expertise for major corporate board positions, so to increase female representation better-qualified men have to be sidelined.

2. Given the opportunity, women’s in-class preferences will lead them to appoint and promote women in preference to better-qualified men. This phenomenon was well described in Steve Moxon’s The Woman Racket (2008).

3. Campaign for Merit in Business remains, to the best of my knowledge, the only organisation in the world campaigning on this issue, and we’re not in the habit of dropping initiatives we believe to be important.

4. My experience as a business executive over 30 years (1979-2010), much of it in business consultancy roles, told me that feminist narratives on the ‘glass ceiling’ and the ‘gender pay gap’ were ludicrous. My book The Glass Ceiling Delusion: the real reasons more women don’t reach senior positions was published in 2011, at a time my understanding of feminism was a fraction of what it is today. It’s still available to buy on Amazon and elsewhere.

5. The government continues to press FTSE100 companies to appoint more women to their boards, despite having been presented with the evidence of the likely impact on corporate financial performance by me in House of Commons and House of Lords inquiries in 2012.

6. The government’s bullying of companies is profoundly anti-meritocratic and therefore unConservative.

7. The government has a longer-term goal of gender parity on FTSE350 boards. This will require a tenfold preferencing of women over men. Put another way, for every 10 women appointed in a bid for gender parity, nine of them could be replaced by better-qualified men (probably many better-qualified men).

8. The capitulation of major businesses to these initiatives embarrasses me, as a former business executive. Perhaps driven by chivalry, some businessmen may have believed the relentless stream of propaganda about increasing female representation on boards being good for corporate performance. But I doubt that businessmen as a class have suddenly become less intelligent than they were formerly, and I think there’s a more troubling explanation for their lack of resistance. To the best of my knowledge, not one FTSE350 executive has raised any objections publicly, and organisations such as the CBI have long been keen on increasing female representation on boards. Our suspicion is there’s a Faustian pact going on here. FTSE100 companies aren’t raising objections, in return for the government’s private assurances that ever-smaller companies will be affected over time. Smaller companies will be disproportionately badly affected than larger ones, so FTSE100 companies support the government’s anti-competitive policy direction.

9. Big businesses share with the government a wish to see ever more women in paid employment, which has a deflationary impact on salaries, and leads to increased demand for goods and services as well as higher tax revenues for the government.

This brings us to an article written by Chris Blackhurst and published by the Evening Standard last Thursday. Astonishingly, he’s calling for the government’s target for FTSE100 companies of 25% female representation on their boards by the end of this year – the proportion reached 24.6% on 14 May – to be replaced by a 25% target for executive directors (mainly chief executives and finance directors).

Last Friday we sent Chris Blackhurst a public challenge. If he doesn’t respond by June 24, or his response is deemed inadequate by the Awards Committee – which is due to meet the next day – he’ll become a Toady award winner.

Our public challenge of John Timpson, Chairman, Timpson Group plc

For the past 30 years John Timpson has been Chairman of Timpson Group plc, a retailer with over 1,300 branches in the UK. The company has five directors on its board, none of whom are women. He has a small column in the Daily Telegraph, ‘Ask John’, which I happened to catch today. In it was a piece titled In 50 years, the women on boards debate will be over.

The piece is woeful on a number of levels. We’ve penned a public challenge of John Timpson, which I expect to lead to us presenting him with a Toady award on 25 June.

Our public challenge of Mark Carney, Governor, Bank of England

We’ve just posted a public challenge of Mark Carney on the J4MB website – here.

Is Ruth Sunderland (Daily Mail journalist) willing to engage with evidence showing that placing more women on corporate boards leads to financial decline?

[Note added 2.8.14: Ruth Sunderland has been on holiday, but I see from an article in today’s Daily Mail that she’s now back at work. I’ll email her a link to this piece and ask her if she’s now willing to engage with the evidence we presented to her.]

[Note added 2.7.14: I’m pleased to say Ruth Sunderland has asked for materials supporting our position, and I’ve just emailed some to her.]

Ruth Sunderland is a business journalist with the Daily Mail, one of many journalists who relentlessly peddle the idea that having more women on boards is ‘a good thing’ and refuse to engage with the evidence which shows that driving up female representation on boards leads to corporate financial decline, a matter covered exhaustively on this website. Our briefing paper with the Abstracts of five longitudinal studies is here.

I’ve posted and commented on one or two of Ms Sunderland’s articles before. My thanks to Jeff for pointing me to her recent article on Glencore’s appointment of its first female director. It contains a gem of a sentence, and I’ll comment on its two constituent parts:

There is no hard evidence that having women on the board causes better performance…

Almost correct. If you remove the word ‘hard’ these words are true, but still misleading. As our briefing paper shows, placing more women on boards leads to declines in corporate financial performance. Onto the second part of the sentence:

…but there is a strong correlation.

Ms Sunderland is clearly leading us to believe this correlation is of significance in supporting the promotion of more women onto boards. In all the reports we’ve analysed – including those from the feminist campaign group Catalyst, to which Ms Sunderland refers – it’s made crystal clear that correlation isn’t evidence of causation, and can’t even be taken to imply it.

I think we could agree there’s a correlation between how much wealth men have (or are expected to have one day) and the attractiveness of the women they marry – but we don’t say that attractive women make men wealthier, do we?

Yesterday I called the Daily Mail and left a message on Ms Sunderland’s answerphone, explain I head up J4MB and C4MB, and outlined why I’d appreciate a phone discussion. Not having heard from her, I left a second message this morning. She called back about half an hour ago, but unfortunately I didn’t have my mobile with me at the time. She left the following message:

I very much doubt whether either I will convince you or you will convince me (laughs). This is not a subject I’ve just hit upon and not given any thought to. I’ve done a lot of reading, a lot of discussion, and a lot of thinking about it, and I very much doubt given the organisation you come from (laughs) and the fact you seem to think women perform worse than men, we would really move the situation much further on, so personally I think we would be better off just to agree to differ.

I called back and left another message on her answerphone, explaining this isn’t an issue on which we could ‘agree to differ’, because the evidence base shows her convictions to be demonstrably false. I asked for her email address to present that evidence, and sent it to her. I’ll update this blog piece if she responds.

Use all-women shortlists for top jobs to solve chronic shortage of female executives, says Vince Cable

To call Vince Cable an idiot would be to insult idiots:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2634502/Use-women-shortlists-jobs-solve-chronic-shortage-female-executives-says-Cable.html#ixzz32KlAFVGT

This is the man who once said that if he were prime minister, he would follow President Francois Hollande’s example and have a gender-balanced cabinet. Well, that’s worked out well for France, hasn’t it?

Our associated organisation Campaign for Merit in Business https://c4mb.wordpress.com has presented concrete evidence to Comrade Cable, the department he leads – Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills – as well as House of Commons and House of Lords inquiries, showing that increasing the proportion of women on corporate boards leads to financial decline.

We’ve put in FoI requests seeking evidence for the government’s previous claims that putting more women on boards will lead to performance improvement. None has ever been forthcoming. This hasn’t stopped the government from continuing to threaten legislated gender quotas for FTSE100 boards if they haven’t achieved female representation on their boards by 2015. In fact, they’re going further. We know from a recent report that next in the firing line will be the FTSE350, and that gender parity on boards is the longer-term goal.

As we’ve said repeatedly, it’s time to sell FTSE100 and FTSE-listed shares.

 

Mike Buchanan on a panel discussing ‘women in senior roles’ on London Live TV

‘London Live TV’ http://londonlive.co.uk was launched last week. It’s run by a sister company of two left-leaning papers, the Independent and the Evening Standard. I was invited onto a discussion panel on one of their flagship lunchtime shows. The presenter, Claudia-Liza Armah, emailed me the following beforehand. My thoughts are in square brackets:

“We’ll be asking why we need quotas to get women on boards.”

[We need neither quotas, nor the threat of them, given we know that increasing female representation on boards leads to corporate financial decline. Our briefing paper on the matter:

https://c4mb.wordpress.com/improving-gender-diversity-on-boards-leads-to-a-decline-in-corporate-performance-the-evidence/ %5D

“Is enough being done to encourage and help women to progress to senior roles?”

[Too much is being done, mainly at taxpayers’ expense, although men pay 72% of the income tax collected in the UK, women only 28%. Given that on average women in senior roles perform less well than men – and virtually all the women on FTSE100 boards are only non-executive directors – NOTHING should be done to ‘encourage’ or ‘help’ women.]

“What effect are initiatives such as this having on men in the workplace?”

[Men see women being promoted ahead of them, even when the women are markedly less experienced and/or have less expertise. Almost every week we’re emailed stories – from men in both public sector and private sector organisations – of women being promoted above more experienced male colleagues, and the male colleagues then having to work overtime (invariably unpaid) teaching the women how to do their new jobs! Preferencing of women for senior roles solely on the grounds of gender understandably makes men both angry and demotivated.]

I was told two other people would be on the panel. One was Helena Morrissey, the founder and still the leader of The 30% Club, which campaigns for higher female representation on the boards of major British companies. Around a third of FTSE100 chairmen are members http://30percentclub.org/members/.

J4MB and its associated organisations have presented many FTSE100 chairmen with ‘Toady’ awards. One of the first was presented to Sir Roger Carr, chairman of Centrica plc. The following piece was prompted by our learning his daughter Caroline was at the time (late 2012) Goldman Sachs’s Global Head of Diversity and Leadership, and on the club’s steering committee.

http://fightingfeminism.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/toadies-and-their-daughters/

The other person was Sarah Churchman, Head of Diversity at PwC, an international professional services firm. She was interviewed for International Business Times:

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/tv/smashing-the-glass-ceiling-qa-with-sarah-churchman-pwc-2663

I’m too pushed for time to watch the piece. Harriet Harman MP, our rottweiler, is whining again. She wants to be taken to the park to terrorise the other dogs – the male dogs, specifically. If you watch the piece and think I should watch it – e.g. if Churchman claims (or, more likely, implies) that corporate performance improves when there are more women on boards – please email me mike@j4mb.org.uk. Thank you. I’ll then publicly challenge her.

Hours before the discussion I was told Morrissey wouldn’t be joining us. Barbara Kasumu, the chief executive of the charity ‘Elevation Networks’ was replacing her. I spent time on her website and saw nothing to suggest she’d have anything perceptive to say in the discussion.

An hour before the discussion, I was in the ‘green room’ with Barbara. I explained my qualifications to talk about the subject of women (and men) in senior roles, having worked in senior roles in business for 30+ years (until my retirement in 2010) and led Campaign for Merit in Business https://c4mb.wordpress.com for the past two years. I explained I’d collected a lot of evidence showing a causal link between increasing female representation on boards and corporate financial decline, and offered her our short briefing paper (the second link in this article) to read, to help her prepare for the discussion. She declined, and spent the remainder of the hour sullenly tapping away on her smartphone.

Not long after, a young woman wearing dangerously high heels marched confidently into the room, and I was introduced to Emma Sinclair, serial entrepreneur, CEO of Target Parking, Daily Telegraph columnist. It transpired that Sarah Churchman, like Helena Morrissey, wouldn’t be joining us. Ms Sinclair promptly exited the room and next met us in the studio just before the discussion, where we were unable to talk.

The video of our discussion is available through this link – click on the file dated 4 April 2014:

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKhX1c3ow6BrzdzP3ydpeZQ/videos

The ladies were startled when I said during the discussion that if there’s a ‘need’ for more women in boardrooms, then there’s a ‘need’ for more white sprinters in the Olympics 100 metres men’s final. Emma later ‘tweeted’ about the discussion, and I pointed her to a video. It was created by the man behind the legendary ‘ManWomanMyth’ http://youtube.com/manwomanmyth and ‘Humanity Bites’ http://www.youtube.com/user/HumanityBites YouTube channels. In the video I appear along with Erin Pizzey and Steve Moxon, author of The Woman Racket (2008):

One of my favourite ‘ManWomanMyth’ videos is the one in which he explained that feminism is a female supremacy ideology:

Anti-feminist campaign targets German gender quota proposal

‘Alternative for Germany’ (AfD) is a conservative German political party, launched last year. Our thanks to the loyal supporter who’s just emailed us a link to a fascinating story about an AfD campaign concerned with gender quotas in corporate boardrooms, which are coming to Germany, and will surely harm Germany’s economy gravely:

http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201404012147-0023610

The Wikipedia page on AfD:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternative_for_Germany

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