Mike Buchanan is a men’s rights activist, who in 2012 launched The Anti-Feminism League and Campaign for Merit in Business in defiance of prevailing feminist and gender parity ideology. He registered his political party Justice for Men and Boys (and the women who love them) – J4MB – in February 2013 and fielded candidates in the 2015 election. J4MB hosted the second International Conference on Men’s Issues at Excel London in July 2016 in association with A Voice for Men.
Kathy Gyngell: What turned you into, and when did you become, a men’s rights campaigner?
Mike Buchanan: For many years prior to the global economic slump over 2008/9, I had made a good living as an independent business consultant, including an assignment with the Conservative Party (2006-8). In 2009 it was very difficult landing new assignments, and a rare opportunity of a public sector assignment turned up, which was well within my comfort zone. I was interviewed by a huge angry woman, and was soon out of the door. I was later told by the agency which had put me up for the assignment that she was a radical feminist who’d never been known to hire a man, and would prefer to hire an incompetent woman rather than a competent man; that she interviewed men so she could deny bias, and was always able to find something in the successful woman’s CV to justify her selection. Then in the autumn of 2009 David Cameron announced his intention to introduce all-women shortlists for prospective parliamentary candidates for the ensuing general election. I was one of many party members to cancel my membership as a result. In 2010 I published my first book on gender politics, David and Goliatha. On the front cover there’s a cartoon by the late Martin Honeysett. The ‘David’ of the title is David Cameron, ‘Goliatha’ Harriet Harman. I became a full-time men’s rights activist in February 2012, when I launched my political party, Justice for Men and Boys (and the women who love them) – J4MB
KG: Why did you make J4MB a political party? Why did you think this necessary?
MB: The reason is that the major assaults on men’s and boys’ human rights have all stemmed from the actions and inactions of the state, even though men pay almost 75 per cent of the income tax which largely funds the state. Included in these is denying fathers access to their children following family breakdowns, which in turn is a major cause of male suicide – the male/female suicide differential following divorce is now more than 10:1. The lifetime differential has risen from 1.7:1 to 3.5:1 over the past 30 years, and suicide is now the leading cause of death of men in all age bands below 50 years of age. The government doesn’t give a damn. If it were women ending their own lives in such numbers, it would be a cause célèbre and a huge amount of taxpayers’ money would be invested in an effort to address the crisis and reduce the numbers. In our 2015 general election manifesto we identified 20 areas where the human rights of men and boys are assaulted by the actions and inactions of the state, almost always to privilege women and girls. Yet there is not one area in Britain today in which the human rights of women and girls specifically are assaulted by the state’s actions and inactions. Not one. Women and girls in the UK – and across most of the world – now belong to a highly privileged class, yet for the most part they cannot see it. Women’s appetite for privilege appears insatiable, and radical feminists deliver them ever more privilege. As an organisation we have to challenge the state, because the state is the key problem, and what better way to do it than through a political party? UKIP changed the course of British history because it took the form of a political party, forcing David Cameron into offering a referendum on EU membership. Had UKIP been, say, a charity, it would never have achieved its objective.
KG: In what ways and why do men and boys now get the thin end of wedge?
MB: Male genital mutilation, ‘MGM’, is a key example. It is illegal under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861. We’ve just protested over two days outside the Conservative party conference in Manchester last week, for the third year in succession. We’ve also protested about the inaction of the police/CPS with respect to the non-therapeutic circumcision of male minors. It not only breaches UN and EU human rights conventions, but it is as unethical as female genital mutilation, ‘FGM’. In fact MGM is even more injurious than most FGM, but people struggle to accept this can even be possible. While females are treasured, males are treated as virtually sub-human – as devoid of feelings. Yet MGM always leads to physical damage. How could it not? The result of the procedure is to reduce the pleasure adult men get from sex. It also sometimes leads to psychological damage and suicides, yet again the government does nothing to protect these unfortunate boys and no criminal prosecutions have been brought. Secondly, we believe that the education system is biased towards girls and against boys and has been since the replacement of O-levels by GCSEs in 1987/8. I also recommend this article on discrimination against boys in the education system by the leading British blogger William Collins, who will be speaking at the fourth International Conference on Men’s Issues being held in Birmingham next July. Thirdly, something that has received public attention is the gender bias in cancer treatment. Despite growing awareness, more men die from prostate cancer than women die from breast cancer. This is hardly surprising since both the gender-specific national screening programmes are for women (breast cancer and cervical cancer), not for men. Were it women rather than men who had prostate glands we suspect that all the objections made against a national screening programme for prostate cancer would evaporate. Finally, the government continues to threaten major businesses with legislated gender quotas, and businesses are under constant pressure to put more women on their boards, regardless of whether they are as qualified as the best-qualified male alternatives and regardless of the evidence. We have taken our campaign on this to Parliament.
KG: What do you think is needed to remedy these inequities – what immediate changes would you like to see, legislative and otherwise?
MB: I’d like to see MGM made specifically illegal, in line with FGM (1985 Act).
KG: You have taken a deliberately combative stance against radical feminists such as Laura Bates, eg publishing your ‘awards’ to the ‘lying feminist of the month’. Do you worry that calling them out like this puts off people who otherwise accept your analysis of the social and economic marginalisation of men and the feminisation of society?
MB: I don’t worry in the slightest. Not one feminist has ever denied that the statement(s) for which we gave them their award was a lie. I was on This Morning with Caroline Criado-Perez (three-times winner of our award) when Phillip Schofield asked her why she’d won it. She laughed and said, ‘Because I lied!’ The problem here is something called ‘gynocentrism’, which is the societal obsession with the wellbeing, happiness, and comfort of females only. Because people are unwilling to hold women to account in the way they’d hold men to account, women in general – and feminists in particular – can get away with monstrous lies. Feminist narratives are one or more of the following – baseless conspiracy theories, fantasies, lies, delusions or myths.
KG: I have heard you described as ‘meninists’ (the mirror image of feminists). Are you not in danger of falling into their competition of rights, identity politics trap?
MB: I know of no serious men’s rights activists (MRAs) who would describe themselves as meninists. There are two theories about how the term originated. One is that it was a projection by feminists, unable or unwilling to understand why there will never be a male equivalent to feminism. The other theory, that it was a spoof invented by men. Men’s and boys’ human rights are assaulted in the UK today in many areas, while women’s and girls’ human rights aren’t. Of course there’s a ‘competition of rights’. Men’s and boys’ rights are assaulted because women and girls are privileged. To end the assaults, we need to end the privileges. It’s as simple as that.
KG: Inequitable divorce settlements apart, isn’t marriage still the best way to bridge the ever-widening gulf between men and women created by feminism and restore interdependence where conflict was?
MB: Why should inequitable divorce settlements be ‘apart’? They’re at the heart of the problem, along with denying fathers access to their children. Society is expecting men to continue being self-sacrificing slaves, which feminists have made them, through their manipulation of the state and the justice system. That’s why so many men are turning away from marriage and fatherhood. Fix the system, end the assaults of men as husbands and fathers, and men may return to their historical roles. Then again, many will not. And society in general – and the political class in particular – will have themselves to blame, for treating men as sub-human for so long.
KG: Isn’t MGTOW (the acronym for ‘men going their own way’) a politics of despair to the point of self-destruction?
MB: No, it’s a perfectly rational response by men to the dangers of intimate personal relationships with women, when women abuse state-sanctioned power to destroy men’s lives in the courts, whether it’s through onerous divorce settlements, denial of access to children following family breakdowns, or false sexual assault or false domestic abuse allegations, which are often in order to get legal aid.