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Laura Perrins: Send for the sex police. There is a patriarch on the loose


What to do with the Nigel Evans case if you are feminist? It is a tough one. They cannot use the not guilty verdict as evidence that rape trials are ‘institutionally sexist’ against wimmin, as all the complainants in the case were young gay men. So that will not work. Nor can they say it is the evil patriarchy and hetrosexual norms at the root of the problem, as the defendant was a gay man himself.

In addition, feminists usually love gay men but this one was a Tory, so that makes it even more complicated. Well, the feminists could just hibernate for a few days and hope that most people will forget about these awkward facts, only to resurrect the usual feminist clap-trap a few days later.

Enter Harriet Harman. Right on cue, on Saturday and after total silence on the Maria Miller scandal, she crawls out of the woodwork to tell us the culture of sexual harassment in ‘Sexminster’ is due to it having a masculine hierarchy.

Now we have not heard much from Ms Harman since the great unmentionable but yesterday she got her usual airing on the Today programme. She told us that young female interns were being harassed on a daily basis because of this male-dominated environment. Even the BBC Today presenter pulled her up straight away on this one, pointing out the Sexminster allegation was that young male gay interns were being harassed by their male employers.

But Harman, never one to let facts get in the way of a good gender theory from wimmin studies class 101, ploughed on. No, it was the masculine culture, late night drinking and people being away from the their families that causes this harassment. It was too much for her and ‘something must be done’.

Harman’s solution – it is what Labour always reach for – another quango stuffed full of politicians to oversee other politician’s licentious behaviours. The sex police, if you will. One wonders what this would involve – politicians stalking the Palace of Westminster and warning all not to stay up late or drink too much. Oh, Matron Harriet we are all so grateful. So very grateful to have you to look after little old me, female intern in short skirt; gay male intern in whatever the gay equivalent of a short skirt is. Can we all just have a group hug and you can tell me all is ok out there in the big bad world. I have never heard such patronising nonsense in all my life.

Douglas Carswell MP, the (evil, nasty) Tory, made the very sensible proposal of giving voters more power in the form of a recall. Oh, no we cannot have that. No, no the voters cannot be trusted, you can see that with Europe and UKIP, and all the nasty (racist Labour) voters out there who have concerns about immigration.

Harman fumbled and tried to talk a bit more about wimmin studies but the debate had moved on. Voters get to vote in general elections, she said. This is not really much help, said Carswell, as the majority of seats are safe. More fumbling. But what about the patriarchy, and the male-dominated culture, they are to blame. And on and on it goes. I do wonder how Ms Harman manages to put one foot out of bed every morning, what with patriarchy coming to get her. But she is nothing if not a fighter, I’ll give her that.

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