An item in the Daily Mail’s Ephraim Hardcastle diary has engendered a stiff letter of complaint from a leading academic.
Hardcastle (aka Peter Mackay) wrote on Wednesday:
“Newsnight’s Guardian-trained editor, Ian Katz, is keen on diversity. So, two women were invited to comment on the report about (white, male) American scientists who’ve detected the origins of the universe – giggling Sky at Night presenter Maggie Aderin-Pocock and Sri Lanka-born astronomer Hiranya Peiris.”
What could be wrong with such an observation?
Professor David Price, vice-provost for research at University College London (UCL), was not prepared to let the matter pass.
So he has written an open letter to the Mail’s editor, Paul Dacre, about the implications of Hardcastle’s malicious comment on the race and gender of his UCL colleagues:
“I am writing to express my deep disappointment in the insinuation in your newspaper that Dr Hiranya Peiris was selected to discuss the Big Bang breakthrough on Newsnight for anything other than her expertise. “
Clearly, we shouldn’t even entertain the idea! Perish the thought!
Aderin-Pocock, an honorary research associate in the UCL’s department of physics and astronomy, said:
“I find Ephraim Hardcastle’s idea very interesting, I now picture the Newsnight team flipping through their Rolodex, saying ‘too white, too male… ah, two ethnic minority females, perfect!’. “
Now, if you truly are the highly-educated woman you claim to be, why would that response surprise you, in an age when quotas and positive discrimination are demanded to advance the cause, and the left-wing press is full of articles demanding gender and race ‘balance’ in every form of media?
I mean, seriously, you couldn’t see this coming? Not even with your telescope?