To: Libby Brooks and Shelley Jofre, Co-chairs, Women in Journalism Scotland.

Dear Libby and Shelley,

Thanks for your letter in response to my column questioning Zoe Ball’s suitability for the Radio 2 breakfast job and, in effect, its all-women shortlist, which although places me in the stocks of public accountability, is most welcome.

It offers the opportunity to explain why your pitching arm, while strong and vehement, fails to splat a contrite face. Indeed the rotten fruit of fulmination (“misogynistic ranting”) is wide of the mark.

Despite Nicola Sturgeon’s tweet in support of your views and her description of my attitude as ‘outdated’ and my column ‘awful’ here’s why you are wrong. You write: “He [me] conveniently bypasses the fact that hard work and talent are no match for structural inequalities like those experienced by women in many workplaces.”

Come on, are you saying talent is not essential criteria for landing a job that pays £1m a year?

You want more women in the media but are you seriously arguing that redressing the gender balance in the workplace should come at the expense of talent? There may be an argument to be made for positive discrimination but this is not it.

You also write: “Publishing Beacom’s misogynistic ranting points to an editorial assumption that sexist content merits equal prominence to feminist opinion.”

Sexist content? What is sexist about hoping women and men have a fair crack of the whip? Is “sexism” called into play when the person reading an opinion doesn’t like it?

I’m worried that the organisation which you head seems, to me, to wish to deny the right to free speech and close down legitimate debate. What worries me even more is the pitching of men and women against each other in a never-ending gender war that benefits no one.

You are both perfectly within your rights if you want more women on radio at, presumably, the expense of male stalwarts. It isn’t something I agree with, yet I respect the view is subjective. However, by your own terms, this criticism of ‘overpaid male presenters’ suggests misandry, and possibly ageism.

I have another concern heightened by your letter. I’m worried about the defenestration of middle-aged white men.

I’m worried about the lack of widespread concern about the eight men each week who take their lives and the statistic that men are three times more likely than women to shut down the engines of hope.

Rising Scots comedy star Fern Brady said recently that there’s never been a better time to be a woman.

Axiomatically, this suggests there’s never been a worse time to be a man in broadcasting.

I’m also worried about the easy conflation in your argument that in blowing up the Ball argument I’m deflating the obvious talents of women in journalism in Scotland such as Kirsty and Kaye and Shereen. And, as such, limiting women’s progress.

Wrong. On both counts. These women hold their own with the best in the business. The business of broadcast journalism. My column was focused on the pop medium. To compare Zoe Ball to Kirsty Wark is to compare Tiger Tim to Eddie Mair.

And while on the subject of championing women in broadcasting, here’s a hard truth. I would have been the first to suggest Jane Garvey or Sarah Montague for the vacant Eddie Mair PM role. I would have voted for Emily Maitlis or Kirsty Wark to take over the Question Time chair, rather than Evan Davis.

But by your criteria (ie, if I don’t fancy Ball for the breakfast show I’m a misogynist) does the fact I thought Nick Grimshaw to be a soggy cornflake on Radio One’s breakfast show make me homophobic? Or do I now have to underline how bereft I’ve felt since fast Eddie Mair slinked out the BBC door?

Here’s another admission; far from standing firm and tall for the patriarchy, I thought Wogan and Brucie to be past their sell-bys. I’d have Mark Lawrenson out the BBC door as fast as a keen ref’s whistle, to be replaced by Jacqui Oatley or Alex Scott.

But again these are subjective opinions, which we should all be allowed. Yes. Opinions. Which makes me ask did you really mean to skelp me about the head with the term “misogynist”?

The Independent’s Rachael Revesz wrote recently: “When white men feel they are losing power, any level of nastiness is possible, and much power has been ceded recently.”

That should have read “some” white men. “Misogyny” is about contempt for women.

Growing up in a house with three females, having a daughter and two granddaughters makes me entirely thankful to be surrounded by females.

Now, you also suggested I, like many men, had been promoted beyond my talent. I respect your right to hold this view. But I’d like to think I have a talent for listening to opposite arguments, (and detecting a whiff of self-aggrandisement. )

So let’s disambiguate what equal rights means and hold hands. Let’s put the smelly tomatoes back in the box.