News, Culture & Society

RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Would you feel comfortable applying for a job when you know odds against you?

White men need not apply. That’s the not-so-subtle message from a leading investment company striving to increase its quota of female and ethnic minority staff.

Jess McNichols, head of Inclusion, Diversity and Corporate Citizenship at State Street — which employs 39,400 people worldwide, including at Canary Wharf, in London — said: ‘This is now front and central, it’s on every executive’s scorecard.’ They can take that as a threat, not an aspiration.

Senior managers who fail to meet targets for BAME and women recruits will have their annual bonuses slashed.

Yesterday, the American-owned firm was trying to backpedal, saying it would still hire white males but only after they had been interviewed by a ‘diverse’ panel including at least one woman and one ‘person of colour’.

But be honest, chaps. Would you feel comfortable applying for a job when you know the chips have been stacked against you in advance? Why bother?

Is it coz I is white?

Be honest, chaps. Would you feel comfortable applying for a job when you know the chips have been stacked against you in advance? Why bother? Is it coz I is white, writes Richard Littlejohn

And how many execs with one eye on their trebles-all-round bonuses will be bold enough to hire a white man ahead of a woman or black applicant?

Some of us saw this coming. In 1995, the introduction to my first book, You Couldn’t Make It Up, read: ‘I was born in 1954, white, male and in Essex. In 20 years’ time, any baby answering that description will be found hidden in the bullrushes.’

As usual, I exaggerated for comic effect. But my attempt at satire anticipated the modern trend towards blaming straight white men for all the evils of the world.

For the record, I absolutely support any sincere attempt to ensure that the workforce reflects the people it is designed to serve. Back in the mid-1990s, I was presenting a late-night show on London Weekend Television.

I can remember walking through the building with my executive producer Trevor Phillips, who went on to become head of the equalities commission, and is currently enjoying a third act as a brilliant breakfast TV host and newspaper columnist.

It didn’t take me long to realise that apart from Trevor, virtually the only other black faces were pushing brooms or working in the canteen. We did our best to make sure the production team, the audience and the guests on the programme looked as much like London as possible. We didn’t always pull it off, but we gave it a go.

A quarter of a century later, 40 per cent of London’s population is from a BAME background. It would be commercial madness for employers to reject the best-qualified job applicants on the basis of their skin colour or gender. Local TV news programmes and dramas set in London, like Lennie James’s superb series Save Me, rightly reflect those demographics.

Yet the self-regarding metropolitan ‘elite’, which largely controls everything from government to the broadcast media, advertising and big business, tends to forget that the rest of the country doesn’t look much like London. That hasn’t stopped them from trying to impose their cynical woke agenda everywhere.

For instance, at least eight out of ten people still define as ‘white British’, despite the untrammelled immigration of the past 20 years. According to the most recent official statistics, just 2.7 per cent identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

But if you watch TV adverts you could be forgiven for forming the impression that half the population is either black, gay or in a mixed-race or same-sex marriage.

If you watch TV adverts you could be forgiven for forming the impression that half the population is either black, gay or in a mixed-race or same-sex marriage

If you watch TV adverts you could be forgiven for forming the impression that half the population is either black, gay or in a mixed-race or same-sex marriage

White, heterosexual men are routinely portrayed as imbeciles. This isn’t advertising, it’s proselytising. Every cop show features a tough female detective inspector, despite the fact that whenever you see a senior Scotland Yard officer giving a press briefing outside the Old Bailey, he’s almost always a balding white male.

Yet in TV Land, it’s diversity all the way. In Vera, set in rural Northumberland, even the gamekeepers are black.

Look, I don’t object to colour-blind casting. It’s called ‘acting’. And, as I said, I applaud any attempt to further genuine inclusivity and stamp out discrimination.

But you shouldn’t advance the interests of women and ethnic minorities by demonising white males, especially when survey after survey shows that poor white boys are the most economically and educationally disadvantaged group in the country.

When Greg Dyke, my old boss at LWT, became director-general of the BBC, he famously described it as ‘hideously white’. While that has undoubtedly changed on screen these days, the upper echelons are still pretty pale and male. Hideously, you might say.

When Greg Dyke, my old boss at LWT, became director-general of the BBC, he famously described it as ¿hideously white¿. While that has undoubtedly changed on screen these days, the upper echelons are still pretty pale and male. Hideously, you might say

When Greg Dyke, my old boss at LWT, became director-general of the BBC, he famously described it as ‘hideously white’. While that has undoubtedly changed on screen these days, the upper echelons are still pretty pale and male. Hideously, you might say

So, TOO, the multinational corporations, political parties, police forces, advertising agencies, banks, financial firms, and the fat cats who run professional football currently peddling their patronising wokery — everything from ruinous Net Zero propaganda to ‘trans rights’.

As I’ve said before, when Daniel Levy, the chairman of Spurs, stands down voluntarily in favour of a black lesbian from Tottenham’s Broadwater Farm council estate, I might actually accept that the club’s ‘taking the knee’, BLM, rainbow laces posturing is sincere.

Similarly, when Ronald P. O’Hanley, the white, Harvard Business School-educated chairman of State Street has his bonus slashed and is replaced by a black woman from across 110th Street in Harlem, I will take his ‘inclusion, diversity and corporate responsibility’ doctrine seriously.

Until then, sadly, in most boardrooms everywhere, women and ethnic minorities need not apply.

Flights to the U.S. resumed yesterday after the lifting of Covid restrictions. It’s a welcome boost for airlines struggling to make up the money they lost during the pandemic. 

They could do worse than copy Vietnam’s first female billionaire, who has just given £155 million to Oxford’s Linacre College, which will now be renamed in her honour. 

Part of Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao’s (usual spelling) fortune is down to a budget airline which featured air hostesses in skimpy bikinis. 

Virgin Atlantic boss Richard Branson is never one to miss a trick. He could always persuade his long-haul stewardesses to hand round the hot towels wearing nothing but two-piece swimsuits.

I’m sure he’d have no trouble talking some of his more flamboyant male flight attendants into pulling on Borat-style mankinis. If that proved popular, he could extend it to his Virgin Voyages cruise ships.

Welcome aboard the Bikini Line! 

Is that a large hippocampus or are you just pleased to see me? According to a new study, London’s black cab drivers have a hyper-developed part of the brain which governs memory.

That’s thanks to The Knowledge, the test which gives them encyclopaedic recall of thousands of addresses and the fastest routes around town — now gridlocked as a result of mayor Genghis Khan’s anti-car crusade.

According to a new study, London¿s black cab drivers have a hyper-developed part of the brain which governs memory (stock image)

According to a new study, London’s black cab drivers have a hyper-developed part of the brain which governs memory (stock image)

This doesn’t surprise me. I worked at LBC radio with the great Fred Housego, the cabbie who won Mastermind. None of his traffic reports about congestion on the Hanger Lane gyratory system was complete without an obscure reference to George III or how many bricks it took to build Wembley Stadium in 1923.

Never mind rapidly disappearing Uber, your best bet is always to use black cabs in Central London. At least they know where they’re going.

Mention hippocampus to the average mini-cab driver and you’ll probably end up at the Hippodrome Casino on the Charing Cross Road.

She nearly swooned at his macaroons

The RSPCA is investigating video footage which appears to show a huntswoman punching a horse. Both animal welfare activists and the pro-hunting lobby have condemned the incident.

That’s Blazing Saddles cancelled, then. Fans may remember Mongo riding into town on a steer and decking a horse with a right-hander outside the saloon. Where, too, does that leave Two-Ton Ted, from Teddington, who drove the baker’s van in Ernie (The Fastest Milkman In The West)? When Ted discovered Ernie’s cart parked outside the widow Sue’s house in Linley Lane, at Number 22, he leapt down from his van . . .

Hot blood through his veins did course,

And he went across to Ernie’s cart and he didn’t half kick his horse.

Sounds like another job for the RSPCA.

How long before the wokerati come for Thomas The Tank Engine?

The railways are accused of spreading ‘colonialism’ by the statute-toppling classes. It can only be a matter of time before they demand that all trains are cancelled, for ever. That’s if the Network Rail engineering department and ASLEF don’t beat them to it.

How long before the wokerati come for Thomas The Tank Engine? The railways are accused of spreading ¿colonialism¿ by the statute-toppling classes

How long before the wokerati come for Thomas The Tank Engine? The railways are accused of spreading ‘colonialism’ by the statute-toppling classes

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