Mar. 21st, 2016

danieldwilliam: (machievelli)

The now traditional weekender post.

This weekend was the Captain's sixth birthday. That occupied most of the run time.

On Friday night I was pretty tired after work and going to the gym. I watched the last episode of How I Met Your Mother and had an early night.

Saturday, MLW was singing all day. The Captain and I went to football in the park then by bus to Rugbytots.

I'd usually take the bike but after the gym I find I can't carry the Captain that far on the bike. I worrly slightly that I'm losing exercise but I expect as my cardio-vascular fitness improves the bike on the Saturday will start to work again. However, there is a more fundamental problem. The Captain is now pretty much too large to go in the bike seat but can't quite manage the cycle to Rugby on his own. Fortunately the bus service to RugbyTots works well with the timetable. I'll miss the ride.

Rugby was good. The Captain suffered slightly from his reputation as a competitive bruiser. He tripped and landed heavily on a pal of his who was sliding in to score a try. The coach didn't see the trip and gave the Captain a reminder about being gentle. The Captain responded to it well I thought. He'd usually protest his innocence but he shrugged it off this time.

Home via the shops to get some lunch and an early birthday present.

Saturday afternoon - the Captain and I watched the rugby on TV / played with his iPad / built his new lego.

The Wales - Italy game was too much of a blow out to be enjoyable.

The Scotland - Ireland game was strange. Some questionable refereeing. I thought he'd attempted to make a point about fluency and quick ball so eagerly he'd unbalanced the game. Sexton's attempt to fake significant injury in order to have Dunbar sent off was frankly unforgivable. I now fully endorse any and all attempts to physically contain him by any team in all circumstances - including any New Zealand vs Lions games. It was not a classic Scotland performance. We usually lose by a) getting stuck in mid-field and losing to the sole try of the match, b) having a few interception tries or a blatant refereeing error go against us or c) forget how to do any two of the basics of rugby but this time we managed to lose through our own over aggression and ill-discipline. This is what it's like to be French.

England - France - by then I largely didn't care but I enjoyed watching the rugby with MLW and a curry. France are too unfit to win a game let alone the Six Nations.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with Scotland's performance. Some good periods of game management and far, far fewer errors. I'm not sure it's a Six Nations winning team but it is a better team then we've had for a decade.

The Captain had a friend arrive for a sleep over on Saturday night. They did not go to sleep until 10.15. Such is the way of these things.

Sunday was the big day. Up early for some lego fun. The party was at 10 in a trampolining venue south of Edinburgh. The party went well. The kids enjoyed it. The Hurricaine Simulator was a surprise hit. The parents of the children in his class are pleasant. All good and all done by lunch time.

Home with his friend to open presents then an early birthday tea at a Chinese buffet. I got to read the bedtime story - Chapter 18 of Danny the Champion of the World.

A bit of Sunday evening television - catching up with George and Arthur, a dramatisation of the involement of Arthur Conan Doyle in the George Edalji case which lead to the establishment of the Criminal Court of Appeal.

danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
Something cropped up on the radio this morning that I've been mulling over to no great effect today.

The organiser of the Indian Wells tennis tournament suggested that women's tennis was economically dependent on the draw of men's tennis. He chose to couch this view in some inflamatory language. Serena Williams suggested that this was not the case. Robustly. Novak Djokovic in a nuanced response said that he thought prize money should correspond with the financial draw of the event and the competitors.

Which got me thinking about equality and what it means and how it's measured and how it's enforced.

As a general principle I think men and women should be paid the same for doing the same work. They should be paid the same for doing equivalent work. We should systematically lower barriers that restrict people taking on work or which segregates employment by sex or gender as much as possible. A male surgeon and a female surgeon should earn (on average) the same. Office cleaners (mostly female) should earn about the same as bin collectors (mostly male). The access of women to senior positions in the professions should be facillitated and the access of men to work in nursing or primary school teaching or at home with dependent children likewise. Senior bosses are over paid. Nurses and primary school teachers under paid. Some of this is to do with the gender doing the work.

If there are significant gaps in pay between sexes and genders doing the same work that's not right and the existing legal remedies should be deployed. With vigour. I'm open to the argument that the existing legal remedies are insuffient and should be enhanced. I'm not entirely persuaded that new remedies are required rather than more vigorous use of the current remedies but there's a discussion to be had.

Where things get a bit murkier for me is exactly the situation of sports players or entertainers where the volumes of participants are so low that an element of delectus personae - choice of the person - exists. If people would rather watch Novak Djokavic play tennis against Andy Murray than watch Serena Williams play Venus Williams then, on first examination, isn't that their decision and shouldn't Djokavic be free to reap the reward of his personal draw and fandom through higher income?

Ditto a comparison of Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman's earnings.

But then, as a society and as individuals do we value tennis played by men more because it, being played by men, is *proper* tennis. And tennis played by women is, by virtue of being played by women, not proper tennis but a lesser immitation. It is certainly the case that in sports played by men and by women, the women's game is seen as less worthy and less popular. In sports played primarily by women professional wages are low.

There's clearly (to me at least) something structural going on about how we value women and the work or sport they do.

But it's not entirely clear to me how we say to Djokavic - it's all well and good that people paid a £9 million to watch you play tennis and only paid £1 million to watch Williams play tennis but we're going to pay you both £5 million. (Assuming that it is the case that more people will pay more money to watch Djokavic than Williams.)

It's certainly not clear to me how we would enforce such a decision and require a transfer of money from the Djokavic to Williams in any legal system that respects the rights of the individual to make contracts to their own benefit of their own free will.

So, I'm a bit puzzled.

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