Sunday, 10 December 2017

Brexit – the view from Hundon

In Hundon, Brexit just might not be happening. For us, travel to Europe is travel to foreign parts, whether or no we’re in the EU. France will remain across the channel; Germany the home of Steins and Frankfurters; Spain a land of package tours; and Italy will still be celebrated for creating pasta and pizza. For us, politicians are seen in the news, not in the village hall, and no debates were aired in our village. We see no immigrants, and export-import is a cover for James Bond. Prices go up or down on the whim of distant Sheiks, while cars are mostly what the local garage has available when the old one fails its test.

So what will happen after 2019? Passports will still be required to cross the English Sea; the queue at Schiphol will not shorten; the security checks not lessen; the wait for luggage as long as before. Perhaps the duty-free outlets will reopen at Callais and boats will sail full of day trippers flooding the on-board shop. All will be settled in the distant rules of London and Brussels. We shall have a new Prime Minister and cabinet, but in Hundon all will continue unchanged with the same dogs being walked and the same faces in the pub and the shop. The garden will need tending, the hedge cutting, the dustbins emptying and the cars cleaning, and in Hundon, Brexit will seem irrelevant.

Then why remain I so angry with the process? So wound up that I gnash my teeth at the childlike attempt at negotiation our government demonstrates? Perhaps because a better job could be done by any one of the Apprentice contestants, including those that leave in the first programmes. It is demeaning to see the total concession to every demand the EU makes. The rules should have been argued at the commencement: parallel talks, or no talks. Not all this rubbish about agreeing to everyone of their demands before they will move to Phase II. What negotiation is this? Ahhh – I feel my blood pressure rising again. I’d better sign off and sit down before I boil.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Men of the world, unite behind women!

From this time forward, nothing can be the same. The wind of sexual mores has veered sharply, and we mere men must turn to sail with it, or perish upon the rocks of inappropriate behaviour. With the pronouncement from a chief of police that “consent must be obtained before kissing beneath the mistletoe, or risk being charged with rape”, to the accusation against a minister of sexual harassment for touching a woman’s knee at a dinner party, we must henceforth change the framework of our relationships. It is time to start again.

The thrust of developing sexual relationships must be handed to women. They must set the tone and the pace, and we must follow. From now on, all flirtation must be left to women; they must lead by look, glance, gift or touch, and we must accept or reject as we choose. It is demeaning for men to ask women to sign statements of consent; it should be for women to issue legal permits, specifying exactly how far they wish the man to proceed, with clear stop signs agreed in advance.
We must walk with averted gaze and modest glance, least we be accused of a look too prolongued at cleavage. Knowing looks between men must be avoided, and vocal appreciation, as wows and whistles, are definitely taboo. In crowded places, we must bunch up tight to avoid unsolicited brushes. The wisest place for hands is in the air, above the head, where they may be seen at all times, for groping is the worst crime.

Admiration for a woman’s scent or dress must be silent, with the face impassive; for if one’s gaze is truly averted, we should not be tempted by such adornments, for compliments must not be given. Although we must admire women only for their abilities and achievements, praise must be sparing least it be misconstrued as patronising.

Women have been told they must be more like men to succeed: ambitious, thrusting, unafraid to voice loudly their views in meetings or to be heard above the crowd. No! I say, it is we who must be more like women; we men should refrain from loud interrupting talk; we must be modest in our views; we should defer demurely to women’s suggestions. The aim of board rooms for fifty percent of women is too modest; they should be promoted automatically, to every position of value. There should be glass ceilings no longer, but rather ceilings of steel that keep men down, to redress the balance of history.
The strengths of men should be used where they belong. Men should do the menial jobs, the hard cleaning, the brick-laying, the portering and fetching. Perhaps if sufficiently well-scrubbed, men may make the tea.

Therefore, men of the world, I call upon you all to unite behind our women. Give them the positions of power, and let us support them as they choose, from their own ranks, new women of strength and character to lead us to a new utopia of peace and harmony in the world.