Forget dinner party fumbles, save court for the real crooks
IT’S a modern morality tale so fantastical you would hardly believe it true, if it hadn’t made headlines last week. Brian Lord, a former GCHQ spy chief once honoured by the 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 drycleaned. 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, and the younger woman is hot’, or who lust after Victoria Coren because she’s ‘beautiful and blonde and funny, she’s lovely’.
Send to the colonies any men who say: ‘Another new dress, why do you 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 knowit-all Brian Cox groupies who keep telling you about black holes and space-time 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?