Wednesday, 31 October 2018

'Bitch-Godess Success' at M/c Royal Exchange

review by Brian Bamford

Above, is the original cross, Viburnum x bodnantense, flowering at Kew earlier this week.

BEFORE I went to review the play  'Death of a Salesman' at the Manchester Royal Exchange, I went to put out the rubbish bins in the backyard, and I was delighted to see the Viburnham Farreri in bloom with its pink and white clusters.  It is mid-Autumn and the fragrant shrub flowers at its best now.  It was Autumn when Arthur Miller began to work on :'The Death of a Salesman' (1949), and  Miller says:  'A morning in the spring.  And everything was starting to bud.  Beautiful weather.  Like this, except now it's fall.'

Before Miller began writing the play he constructed a cabin in which he wrote the play to be on his own.  He says it was an impulse to do a practical act before addressing the problems of a man who was impractical:  a salesman called Willy Loman who struggled to make a sale.  He's a salesman who in the first lines in the play tells his wife that 'It's all right.  I came back.'

Arthur Miller in an interview told John Lahr:  'It's a denial.  I mean, imagine a salesman being unable to get past Yonkers.  It's like the end of the world.'  

Yonkers is the fourth most populous city in the U.S. state of New York.

It's a play about human failure of someone confronted with an ideal 'the American Dream' which he somehow can't live up to.  Yet in his mind he deludes himself and he unsuccessfully tries to recruit others to share in his delusions. 

Here is a man who is deluded to some fixed ideas of what it means to be successful by become a different person from what he really is.  In this version of the play at the Royal Exchange he is presented as a black man Willy (Don Warrington) who is not only uneasy in his own skin but who is envious of Charley played by Tom Hodgkins, the white man, who offers him a position that could have saved him.

Here is a fixed body of cultural values which we could call the 'American Dream':  perhaps a false belief system of what the philosopher William James called 'our national disease' or the 'exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess success'.

Sarah Churchwell writing in the programme for the play almost inevitably relates the play to the present day, and she writes:  'The deterioration of American ideals from meritocracy into selfish entitlement' and she adds, 'the damage such a loss of values presents to a society, is the real moral arc of Miller's play; if Willy Loman is an American everyman, then his tragedy is not that of one man, but of a nation he represents.'

Is Willy's problem one of 'Bad Faith', such as Sartre might have called it, or do we see it in the context of Marxist 'False Consciousness'?  Is the play about a state of one man's mind or about a reaching out to a social ideal?

The moral philosopher, Mary Midgley, who died only last week wrote:  'The trouble with human beings is not really that they love themselves too much; they ought to love themselves more.  The trouble is simply that they don’t love others enough.'

The trouble with Willy is that he's not at home in his own skin.  Miller told John Lahr he wanted to have Willy in the play, so 'We should literally see, or be conscious of, his mind working elsewhere, with other people.'   

With Sartre it was the idea of the wine waiter banging the glasses down on the table, while his mind is elsewhere or the woman having sex and imagining she's with someone elseWith Willy he's hearing his brother Ben's voice in his head going on about the gold and wealth in Alaska.  Or as Miller says:  'I think we all think on two, three or four different levels at the same time.'

Sarah Churchwell, the literary academic in the programme writes of the subtitle of the play as being 'Certain private conversations in two acts and a requiem'.  She claims the play condemns the 'superficial fetishization of objects and rationalization of selfishness and greed.'  The materialisn that leaves the American dream 'rotting from the inside out'.

Miller based Willy on a family friend, Manny Newman, but the director of this Royal Exchange play, Sarah Frankcom, has staged 'Salesman' around a black family with what could well be a cultural coconut - brown on the outside and white on the inside, in the central role.

Towards the end of the play Willy tells his brother Ben 'I'm worth more dead than alive!'

And in almost the final utterance of his wife, Linda Loman, ejaculates over his grave is 'I've just paid off the final payment on the mortgage!'

When I got home I checked to make sure the Viburnham Farreri was still in flower and still fragrant..

 Go see the play!


Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Over 75s to lose their free TV licenses!

Lord Hall - BBC won't guarantee free TV licenses for over-75s

In his budget yesterday, the Chancellor announced the end of austerity. Yet there are billions of spending cuts already in the pipeline which were introduced by his predecessor, George Osborne. One of the cuts could see the over-75s, losing their free TV licenses.

Many older people may not realise that the BBC is preparing to scrap or restrict free television licences for people aged above 75 after publishing a study showing that pensioners are becoming richer. The BBC was forced to take on the free license scheme by the Tory government as part of its most recent funding deal.

More than 4.46 million homes with older residents receive a free television licence, saving them £150.50 a year.  The benefit was introduced in 2001 and costs £725 million, around one-fifth of the BBC's total budget.  Lord Tony Hall (£500,000 a-year) BBC boss, has said the BBC will not guarantee free TV licenses for the over-75s. The corporation is expected to put forward research in a matter of weeks on ways to reform the subsidy, with a view to introducing a new system by 2020.

Options are likely to include raising the age of eligibility, introducing means-testing to exclude wealthier pensioners, or removing the benefit from people above 75 who live with younger relatives.

The maximum fine for watching TV without a valid license is £1000 plus a criminal record. You can also be sent to prison. In 2012/13, 180,000 people were prosecuted for not paying the license fee which many would like to see scrapped. The BBC will take full responsibility for the cost in 2020.

It's likely in the foreseeable that we can see pensioners losing their winter fuel allowances and free bus passes in order that the government can fund tax cuts for the rich. We all know who has been paying for austerity and its not the fat-cat bankers or the wealthy. 

Sunday, 28 October 2018

The Slow Death of an Institution

by ‘Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’

A COUPLE of years ago the Rochdale Observer published a report of a march by one of those three initial right wing groups ostensibly protesting about the grooming of teenage girls by a gang of Asian men.  The then leader of Rochdale Council, Richard Farnell, castigated the paper because he objected to the prominence given to the report. He wanted powers to ban such marches in future ostensibly on the grounds that they ‘scapegoated an entire community’. In other words he did not think that the people of Rochdale had any right to know what was going on in their town if he did not approve of it.

A week later the ‘Your Views’ section of the paper devoted to letters sent in by readers carried a contribution praising the report and objecting to both Farnell’s attempt to prevent legitimate protest and his attempt to keep residents from knowing about it.

In 2014, Simon Danczuk published a book about the town’s former MP, Cyril Smith, who had died four years earlier. I will be charitable and say that the book was not very good.   It contained material taken from Smiths ghosted autobiography, material that was clearly derivative from a 1979 piece in Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP) about Smith unsavoury antics at Cambridge House hostel, material that was later shown to be demonstrably wrong and a lot of assertions for which there was no evidence produced, but which had the effect of making any further claims about Smith’s behaviour unreliable.

Throughout the summer of 2014 the Rochdale Observer carried material, thought by some people to have been placed by an associate of Mr Danczuk, which tried to implicate the local Lib-Dems in a ‘cover up’ designed to ensure that other things about Smith did not become known.

Also throughout the summer the ‘Your Views’ section of the paper regularly carried letters pointing out the deficiencies in Danczuk’s book and why it was not a reliable record.

If Richard Farnell had been allowed to get away with his objection to the original report it might just have had the effect of making the editor a bit more cautious next time.  It wasn’t the Home Affairs Select Committee which challenged Danczuk’s fanciful stories about Smith’s supposed antics being covered up by Special Branch and of Westminster paedophile rings, it was letters in the ‘Your Views’ columns of the Rochdale Observer.

In recent years there’s been a competitor to the Observer in the shape of the web based media outlet Rochdale Online which included a vibrant ‘Letters’ section.  Whichever of these news outlets a letter writer chose one thing was certain its contents would be scrutinised by local politicians.

Sadly that is a thing of the past. The Rochdale Observer first cut down the space devoted to letters from readers, then reduced the frequency of the column to the point where some things are out of date by the time they appear. Rochdale Online went the whole hog and got rid its letters pages completely.

A liberal democracy like ours needs these self correcting mechanisms.  Politicians need close scrutiny. Ideas need to be challenged.   We are moving to a time when politicians and journalists will have a monopoly on the dissemination of ideas. Twitter and Facebook are no substitute for a vibrant ‘Letters’ page in a newspaper or its web based equivalent.   With both Twitter and Facebook it is easy to become locked into a world in which we only hear the views of people we agree with.

Contributions to ‘Letters’ pages in newspapers aren’t perfect.  They can be badly written, erudite, bigoted, idealistic, trivial, important, liberal, conservative, revolutionary or reactionary.   But in local newspapers they give people a sense of belonging because they allow them to have their voice heard.  Our society will be all the worse for their loss.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Are Tameside Labour shackled to the Shekel? Trade Unionists demand to know!

Fadi Abu Salah - Killed Gaza Border Wall - May 2018

IS it any wonder that the public feel disconnected and disillusioned with mainstream politics, when their elected Members of Parliament, choose to ignore questions that they put to them.  According to research done by 'djs research' in June 2015, some 75% of people don't even know who their local MP is, the survey found, and only 6% of Labour supporters, voted for the party because of their local candidate. 

In June trades unionists in Tameside, wrote two letters to a local newspaper, about a visit that two local Labour MPs - Jonathan Reynolds and Andrew Gwynne - made to Israel in May 2018, as part of a delegation of 'Labour Friends of Israel (LFI). This visit coincided with the mass shootings of innocent unarmed civilians at the Gaza border wall by the occupying forces of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). These shooting continue on a regular basis.

They asked through the paper who had paid for this visit? Whether Mr Reynolds (Stalybridge & Hyde), had consulted members of the Stalybridge CLP about his intention to visit Israel and whether they had endorsed the trip and the comments he'd made on Facebook? To date, neither Mr Reynolds or the Stalybridge CLP have responded to their questions.  Members of the Tameside Trades Union Council, have  met with a wall of deafening silence.

Mr Gwynne issued a statement that a holocaust survivor had begged him to visit the holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, Yad Veshem. He did not mention that his expenses were paid by LFI, an organisation of which, he is a former Chairman. The same applies to Mr Reynolds, who also got a free trip to Israel, his fourth visit to the region since 2004. Mr Reynolds is also a former vice-chair of LFI and is currently an LFI officer in Parliament.

According to the Electoral Commission, the cash value of these visits between 27 May - 31 May 2018, was £1,600 for each MP. The donors name was LFI and the purpose of the visit was a "fact finding visit." 

Why both MPs should be so coy about answering these questions and declined to do so, is something they find bewildering, given that Mr Gwynne has a weekly column in the same paper and Mr Reynolds is not denied access. But it does go to show the general disdain with which, the political class treat ordinary members of the public, including trades unionists, who are evidently not worthy of a response.

As to the 'facts', Mr Reynolds has stated that many of the Palestinians who died at the Gaza wall in May, were somehow culpable, because of "their willingness to effectively walk into live gunfire in their desperation..." He fails to mention in his Facebook statement that many of the dead were children, or protesters shot in the back, by sniper fire. One murder victim, was a double-amputee in a wheel chair and other victims, included medics and journalists.

Jolly Jaunt - Reynolds and Gwynne on free trip to Israel

In his Facebook statement Mr Reynolds' added - "Israel is the only real democracy in the Middle East, and the only country where minorities have full equality before the law..." Just what planet does Mr Reynolds live on?

Israel is a country where the Prime Minister can describe Arabs as 'beasts', where Palestinians are prevented from marrying Palestinians outside of Israel and where Israeli Arabs are prevented from living in hundreds of Jewish communities, because the law (Access to Communities Act) allows existing residents to bar Arabs from renting properties there. Two million Gazans, live in the biggest open air prison camp in the world, which is policed by the Israeli's. The Israeli Knesset recently passed the 'Jewish Nation State Law', making Israel officially a racist and apartheid state because only Jews have the right to self determination. Whereas, under the famous 'Law of Return', promulgated in July 1950, every Jew has the right to come to the country, this does not apply to the  Palestinians who fled the country in 1948, to escape the war and Israeli terrorist groups. Just what sort of democracy is this Mr Reynolds?

Israel's existence is predicated on the forced dispossession and expulsion of Palestinians which was, and remains, the means by which the country established and maintains its Jewish majority domination. Discrimination is the essential guarantor of that majority, the preservation of which, is an existential imperative for which reason there can be no right of return for the millions of Palestinian refugees. Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories has now reached its 51st year despite being a flagrant violation of international law and an obstacle to peace. The Israeli's continue to expand illegal Jewish settlements on the West Bank and pursue a policy of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Razan al-Najjar -Palestinian nurse- killed Gaza Wall 2018

On 23 December 2016, UN Security Council resolution 2334, condemned Israel's settlements on the West Bank  and demanded that Israel - "immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and seeks a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

In January 2017, the Israeli Embassy official Shai Masot, was caught on camera plotting to "take-down" UK MPs who were pro-Palestinian. Masot had links with, and was sending funds to various groups, including the 'Fabian Society', the 'Jewish Labour Movement' and 'Labour Friends of Israel'. This undercover sting operation by the TV network al Jazeera,  showed the extent to which a foreign power (Israel), meddles in the political affairs of this nation and the influence it seeks to exert over some of its politicians.

Both Andrew Gwynne and Jonathan Reynolds, say they are in favour of a 'two-state solution' to the Israeli/Palestine conflict. But when the following motion was moved in the House on 14 October 2014:- 

"That this House believes that the Government should recognise the State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, as a contribution to securing a two state solution", only one Tameside MP, David Heyes (Lab) Ashton-under-Lyne, voted for the motion. So serious were Gwynne and Reynolds about securing a two state solution that they couldn't even be bothered to vote for the motion. Yet, two months before the vote, on August 14, Gwynne who represents Denton and Reddish, wrote in a local newspaper:

"We need to show that we are actually serious about a two-state solution, and we need a proper discussion in Westminster about illegal Israeli settlements as well as Hamas' rocket attacks from schools.

There have been calls for Labour Party members to end their association with LFI. At the very least, Mr Gwynne and Mr Reynolds (who are sponsored by Unite the Union) should make clear on their elections leaflets their support for LFI and also make clear, how they lobby on behalf of LFI.


Rochdale's Futile Politics & Grandstanding!

by Brian Bamford
DURING a meeting of Rochdale Council four years ago on Wednesday the 15th, October 2014, the Tory leader Ashley Dearnley moved an amendment to a Labour motion on Gaza calling for Israel and Hamas to negotiate a permanent ceasefire and as expected the his amendment failed.  Councillor Dearnley described such motions on foreign policy as 'futile' and 'merely grandstanding'.

Last Wednesday, Councillor Dearnley had no trouble supporting an equally futile Labour motion to strip the former councillor Cyril Smith of the Freedom of the Borough of Rochdale.  Last week, it was grandstanding galore as almost every tin-pot politician in town dived-in to join the virtue signaling demonisation of Smith..  
Tony Lloyd MP for Rochdale commented on Revolution News that Hopefully this does send out a strong signal, even though very, very late on, that they were wronged, they were and have become survivors of what made them victims and I hope it does give them some recognition that society is on their side and not on the side of those who committed crime.'
Meanwhile, Allen Brett the Labour leader of Rochdale Council moving the motion to strip Cyril Smith of his honour, and other Labour councillors, happily sat alongside a now notorious vote-rigger, Faisal Rana, who has failed to stand down following a police caution for his crimes.

When Cyril Smith was first named by the community newspaper Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP) in May 1979, Private Eye (11th May 1979) was later to report:
'There is not an important newspaper or TV station on the land that has not received a copy of the May issue of the Rochdale Alternative Paper (RAP), one of the few community newspapers to have flourished in recent years.  The centre page article, entitled ‘Strange Case’, describes some unusual behaviour on the part of Cyril Smith, Rochdale’s newly-returned Liberal MP.  The allegations are substantiated by a number of sworn statements and carefully recorded interviews, but they have so far not been published anywhere else.'

Then on the 18th, March 2015 in The Guardian, the former co-editor of RAP, John Walker, wrote:
'The political honours scrutiny committee drew Margaret Thatcher’s attention to the Smith files in 1988, prior to her agreeing to a knighthood for him.  She could have intervened, but chose to honour him – a further insult to his victims.
'Rochdale council made Smith a freeman of the borough, named a room in the town hall after him and, in a ceremony attended by the current MP Simon Danczuk, put up a blue plaque in his honour – now taken down, apparently to prevent vandalism.  More rubbing the noses of many victims in their misery, on their home patch.'

It's funny how so many politicians like Brett, Lloyd and the rest of their hangers-on have change their tune after so many decades.

And the same week that members of the Huddersfield grooming gang were sentenced, the experience of endured as a consequence of Agenda Item 14 in the Rochdale Council document relating to 'Freedom of the Borough-the late Cyril Smith', must have felt to the supporters of Parents Against Grooming (PAG) present in Rochdale Town Hall like once bitten twice shy.


Streamed live on 17 Oct 2018

Saturday, 20 October 2018

The Curse of Gesture Politics

by Les May

THE decision to posthumously strip Cyril Smith of his ‘Freedom of the Borough’ is unlikely to change the impression that Rochdale is a town where some strange things are allowed to go unchecked.

What it demonstrates is that Rochdale councillors are far happier with a symbolic gesture against a dead man who, more than 50 years ago at Cambridge House hostel, took an unsavoury interest in the genitals of a number of young men, than censuring a fellow councillor who has admitted to a ‘corrupt practice’ at the local election six months ago.

I don’t make reference to Smith in regard to Knowl View because the Danczuk book so muddied the waters that I doubt we shall ever have a true picture of Smith’s involvement, if any, in the unsavoury goings on at the school.  What we do know is that both the reports submitted to RMBC in the early 1990s dealt with sexual activity between the boys, some of it coercive in nature.

What will be of interest is whether the people behind the recent move against the memory of Smith will feel that they have to call upon Richard Farnell to be thrown out of the Labour party when the bill for ‘compensation’ falls on the desk of the Chief Executive, as it surely will.  Because of course that’s what the character assassination after Child Sex Abuse inquiry of Richard Farnell, was all about, upping the compo!

I remain unconvinced about Richard Farnell’s culpability as I don’t think whether he knew or did not know about the goings on at Knowl View would have made the slightest difference to the action taken to try to sort it out.  The same goes for Paul Rowen.  Hindsight is such a wonderful thing!


Grooming Scandals & Cover-ups

 Editorial Note:   Normally we at Northern Voices are uneasy about publishing anonymous comments and accounts, because they clearly do not in the nature of things carry the level of credibility of a signed authorised opinion.  And yet, we feel obliged to give space to the views expressed below about 'voting irregularities' in Rochdale even though we have no way of authenticating the details expressed.  When the Smith case was considered by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in the 1970s, it is said that it was decided that it was not in the public interest to pursue the matter.   Similarly in the light of current publicity about more cases of Asian grooming gangs in Huddersfield following earlier cases in Rochdale and Rotherham etc, it would seem that local authorities have been guilty of what we would describe as aspect blindness, and what others have entitled 'political correctness'.  For this reason we publish the unverified text by the anonymous author below.
Anonymous said...
Voting irregularities are rife in this town.  My partner who is of South East Asian extraction knows of friends who only know how they have voted when their husbands tell them ( or not as the case may be) how they filled the postal vote form in.  Criminal prosecutions would be the result anywhere else but Rochdale.  Why does this kind of behaviour go unchallenged by the authorities I wonder?

In this town there is a proactive dysfunctional culture of wilful denial of inconvenient facts - a culture that allowed monsters like Smith to go unchallenged for decades and the Grooming Scandal to be allowed, then ignored - with a collective 'blind eye' being turned yet again - with a collective cognitive dissonance by the guilty, and complicit to allow the same abysmally piss-poor services to then make warped claims that because they are no longer as criminally incompetent and negligent at delivering basic service standards that they have as a result achieved some kind of magnificent improvement as a consequence.

I suspect there is so much more to be exposed in the political cess-pit that Rochdale has become ?

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Rochdale Council Stands By Voting Fraud

Will We Never Learn? 
by Brian Bamford 
Faisal Rana (second right) a Master of Multiple Vote etc.

SHRUGGING-off a Tory motion tonight in which the mover quoted the inclusion of Rochdale in the Rotten Borough's column of Private Eye, Rochdale's Labour Council rejected the appeal of Tory leader Councillor Ashley Dearnley, in which he complained about 'the recent acceptance of a police caution relating to an electoral offence, and the consequential damage caused to public confidence in local democracy...'
Rochdale's Labour Leader Councillor Allen Brett, fresh back from his trip cementing relations with the Feudal Pakistani regime, said that while he was 'disappointed' in Councillor Rana's 'mistake' in multiple voting, when it was discovered he'd voted twice.  Since then both the Councillor, and the Council itself had co-operated fully with the police.   Now, it seems, he has been sufficiently punished by having to accept a caution from the police.

At the time of writing it is still not clear what precise type of caution has been accepted by Councillor Rana, and the police have yet to be forthcoming on this.

Meanwhile on the 10th, September, Martha Robinson Complaints Administrator of the Labour Party wrote to a local lad Carl Faulkner, saying that it was not a matter for her and concluding  'I would suggest that it is unlikely that the council will be taking any further action in regards to this matter, as it appears to have been investigated and resolved in full....'
Tonight her prediction of the smooth resolution of this matter was fully confirmed in the Rochdale Council Chamber by the members present.  
Whether the people of Rochdale will continue to have confidence in democracy as a result of this unsavoury business is unclear.  One thing is certain is that the activities that the now Councillor Faisal Rana committed prior to his election struck at the heart of British democracy.

This looks like another attempt by the Rochdale Council to sweep the political dirt under the carpet.  More so since another item on the agenda (Agenda Item 14) was  entitled 'Freedovm of the Borough Review - the late Cyril Smith'.   Curiously, one of the Key Points for Consideration in this Review is that 'there was considerable local disquiet about the way in which Cyril Smith behaved towards children and young people at Cambridge House and elsewhare'.   
But the existence of this ongoing public disquiet was a direct consequence of the tendency of the authorities in Rochdale, including the Labour Party, to look the other way and ignore the allegations of what was going on at Cambridge House and perhaps elsewhere.  Judging by what happened tonight over their attitude to the multiple voting of Faisal Rana it would seem that they haven't learnt their lessons from that folly.


On Listening To Woman’s Hour

by Les May

ON Tuesday morning a friend telephoned me to suggest that having recently written about problems with the Gender Recognition Act, I might like to listen to BBC Woman’s Hour where the proposed changes were to be discussed.

I assumed that the ‘Karen White’ case in which a man called David Thompson, who had previously been jailed for life for rape, had been housed in a women’s prison after claiming he identified as female and had gone on to sexually assault two female prisoners, would be discussed.  It got a mention.

I assumed that someone would point out that the prison service had a duty of care to the female prisoners.  No one did.  Nor did anyone point out that the decision to move him to a women’s prison was made by an anonymous ‘local transgender board, though much was made of the fact that under the current Gender Recognition Act (2004) the decision about whether a certificate is issued is made by an anonymous board.

I assumed that someone would point out the absurdity of the prosecutor continuing to refer to White as ‘she’, as in ‘Her penis was in her hand and she was winking at the victim.’  (There may be a spelling mistake here.) No one did.

The problem it seems is MEN! No woman is safe on the streets. We men don’t need to use the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) to find Machiavellian ways to assault women. We’re at it all the time.  That’s why they need ‘safe spaces’ like the ‘snowflakes’ who inhabit our universities.  And there was me thinking that in the context of the GRA what women need is ‘privacy’.

The women taking part in this programme all wanted to sound ‘cool’.  They did not want anyone ‘calling them out’ for voicing an unpopular opinion such as, We cannot let the demands of individuals who identify as trans override the need for others to maintain their own sense of privacy and dignity.’ Or ‘A person’s sex still matters.’

That’s what you are going to get when the only people giving their opinion are happy to say that their contributions are ‘academic’. These women were drawn from too small a stratum of society. Perhaps this was intentional. It wouldn’t do to have have some random woman saying things that would generate complaints.

Why has any discussion of possible changes to the GRA by Woman’s Hour been left until three days before the consultation ends? Must be a male conspiracy.


Say No To Hate Crime Revisited

by Les May

A couple of days ago it was mooted that misandry, defined as hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against men’, should be regarded as a ‘hate crime’.  A letter in the ‘i’ newspaper (18/10/18) shows why this is not a good idea. The author wrote:

If misogyny becomes a hate crime then misandry should too.   If you have one you should have the other.   Misandry is widespread and commonplace in society and men’s issues – which are serious and pressing, even life threatening – are generally overlooked.  They are certainly not given the sort of attention that women’s issues typically receive.  If the law is changed to make misandry a hate crime then perhaps men’s issues will move towards the centre ground, enter public discourse, and be given the attention they deserve.’

Contempt for men is a staple fare for many female columnists, particularly in the print media, along with bias and downright lies.  Criminalising it will not suddenly bring issues affecting men to the fore.

The reason for men being treated in this way is simply that too few of the men in the media, who could use their position to challenge it, have the balls to take on the women who write this stuff.  They’re afraid that if they do the ‘sisterhood’ will turn its ire on them.  Much better to buy into the idea that women are an oppressed group, by calling yourself a feminist.

When men organise to draw attention to things that affect them deeply the likelihood that they will get any positive publicity is slender. Have you even heard of the group ‘Families Need Fathers’Take a look at the recent press release from the group at .  Did you read about it in the press or see it on BBC TV? I think not.

There are plenty of men in the media who could change this, but who don’t.  The same goes for MPs.   The number of men who have lost contact with one or more of their children as a result of intransigence by an ex-partner is in the hundreds of thousands.  No one speaks for them.

If you are inclined to be sceptical about my comments about bias by female columnists how about this?

The concept of misandry is dangerously vague in comparison to the reality of misogyny.  I predict that if misandry is taken forward as a hate crime, it will be used to curb discussions of male violence and female oppression’, and ‘It’s already too easy for men to cry foul every time a woman says or does anything they don’t like.’

Whilst labelling misogyny as a hate crime was the only game in town our brave women columnists were all for it.   Now that there’s a possibility that they might find themselves on the receiving end of an accusation of hate crime on the grounds of misandry there’s what is called in the feminist lexicon ‘a backlash’.

If they succeed in killing off the whole idea they will be doing everyone a favour. The police have enough to do without being given the job of investigating what Orwell in his book 1984 called ‘thought crime’