For­get din­ner party fum­bles – save court for real crooks

... like men who say: ‘Aren’t you too old for Top­shop?’

The Mail on Sunday - - Comment - Liz Jones

IT’S A modern moral­ity tale so fan­tas­tic al you would hardly be­lieve it true, if it hadn’t made head­lines last week. Brian Lord, a for­mer GCHQ spy chief once hon­oured by t he Queen, was ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a woman at a din­ner party dur­ing a flir­ta­tious, al­co­hol-fu­elled game of ‘truth or dare’.

He ad­mit­ted as­sault (though the sex as­sault charge was dropped) and re­ceived a year’s con­di­tional dis­charge and was or­dered to pay £100 com­pen­sa­tion to the ‘vic­tim’ and £200 costs. His crime? To place his hand on the woman’s knee for a two- to three-minute pe­riod.

Se­ri­ously? Maybe he was just fum­bling for his nap­kin, or the TV re­mote as he got bored? The whole world has gone mad. What a waste of pub­lic money, time, rep­u­ta­tion and pre­sum­ably her por­tion of tiramisu, given she must have flounced off home be­fore the pud.

Be­sides, if we are go­ing to pros­e­cute men for some­thing that would have been bet­ter dealt with by a glass of pros­ecco to his nether re­gions, then surely there are worse mis­de­meanours we should be shack­ling men in irons for than an ill-judged paw on the patella. For ex­am­ple: men who don’ t fol­low the time-hon­oured tra­di­tion of talk­ing to the woman on their left dur­ing the first course, then to their right dur­ing the main, but in­stead who fo­cus on the bimbo with big breasts in front of them. Two years in jail, surely? That should give them time to at­tend to their man­ners.

Next in the dock? Men who turn up at the of­fice in the same shiny suit, day in, day out, with­out ever tak­ing it to be dry-cleaned. Clap them in irons, along with men who place their spec­ta­cles in their hair or who clip their dis­gust­ing, yel­low­ing toe­nails in your pres­ence. Other crimes against wom­ankind not taken nearly se­ri­ously enough? Men who wave us on when we meet in a stand-off in a nar­row, sin­gle- track lane, as if to say: ‘Women are in­ca­pable of go­ing into re­verse, as they have no idea how to use their wing mir­rors.’ You sex­ist pig! Have a taste of the lash.

Or how about men who say, when you are all dolled up for a wed­ding in a spe­cial dress: ‘ Hmmm. It’s not quite Kate Mid­dle­ton, is it?’ Off with his head.

And while we’re at it, hang, draw and quar­ter any men who, when we ask them to guess our age, say, with fear in their voice ( which is no de­fence) ‘Late 40s, early 50s?’ when we are, in fact, late 40s, early 50s.

Crim­i­nal, too, is any man who thinks the Mock The Week panel are funny, who claims For­mula 1 is ex­cit­ing, when it’s just cars driv­ing fast, round and round, or who says Clau­dia Win­kle­man would look bet­ter with­out so much make-up. Hard labour in the salt mines should bring them to their senses.

Add to the chain gang any men who think the cheat­ing hus­band in Doc­tor Foster ‘has a point; she is a lit­tle con­trol­ling, a nd t he younger woman is hot’, or who lust af­ter Vic­to­ria Coren be­cause she’s ‘beau­ti­ful and blonde and funny, she’s lovely’.

Send to the coloniesn any men who say: ‘ An­other new dress, why do you

The worst of­fend­ers are the Brian Cox groupies

need that?’

Or ‘ Aren’t you a lit­tle old for Top­shop?’ Or ‘Why do you need to spend so much on mois­turiser? I bet it cost a for­tune and doesn’t work at all.’

But by far the worst of­fend­ers – and hang­ing’s re­ally too good for them – are those know-it-all Brian Cox groupies who keep telling you about black holes and space­time con­tin­u­ums and why Nep­tune is im­por­tant and yet, when you ask nicely and in a re­ally level voice, ‘ Can you find a Phillips screw­driver and fix the kitchen door knob?’ turns as fee­ble and use­less as the sin­gle-celled al­gae they re­ally are.

In fact, wan­der­ing hands or not, GCHQ’s din­ner-party fum­bler is a pos­i­tive James Bond when you think how women are wronged, of­fended and thwarted ev­ery sin­gle day of our un­re­warded, un­der­paid, put-upon, op­pressed lives.

More tiramisu, any­one?

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