Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Bloody wimmin.

IT'S that 0.27 per cent of the year when females are recognised as not being too mad, naggy, annoying or hormonal. An International Women's Day, just for little ol' us? Wow. Thanks.

That blessed 24-hour period when it's all right to say 'Huzzah for girls!' and the men in charge of stuff say things like 'Afghanistan, yeah, dreadful isn't it? What shall we do?' before they go back to trading women's rights for a political deal with the Taliban.

Let's get this straight. I am a woman, and I am amazing on more than just the one day a year. I am frequently an idiot as well, but usually not for too long, and in this country people like me form 52 per cent of the population. Elsewhere in the world the figures are different, not least because females are killed, abused, sidelined, abandoned, and generally treated in a rather offhand manner to such a large degree that 100million women who should have been born seem to have disappeared.

Regardless of that, we are not a minority. We are not a pressure group, a campaign, a token or something anyone ought to be having a sit-in for. We are 49.76 per cent of the world's population and if all of us who were born had the same medical treatment and social chances we'd be a superpower. We'd be the gender equivalent of China. You don't like what we do? Well, Fuk Wu.

That's not to say that taking a day every year to point out the iniquities of the world is a bad idea. It's the only way some of those issues are ever going to get in the papers or on the main news bulletins, so it's worth doing even if it is offensively tokenistic to your average European female who can hold a driving licence and own property without anyone's by-your-leave.

But then there's the hypocrites who hand-wring over wimmin's stuff when it's March 8 and go back to screwing them over on March 9. Step forward, Prime Minister Dishface and Mini-Me Clegg.

Today these two middle-aged numpties are going to announce plans for a law against stalking. They're not going to mention the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 which is supposed to do that already, but which is rarely exercised properly by the police or courts and is more often used to stop journalists asking questions of people who'd rather they didn't. And no-one's going to say that your average stalker is too deranged to give a tupenny-ha'penny for what the law says about anything.

The politicians are certainly not going to admit that in recent months support for them among that 52 per cent of the population has dived off a cliff. Whether it's public sector job cuts, benefit reforms, the recession or pension changes, it's women who are losing the most, and the polls are showing that they have rather gone off Dishface and Cleggy as a result.

So what they're also going to do today is announce that Britain is going to sign up to the Council of Europe's Convention on Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence. Yay for the girls, yay for the boys who like girls, please vote for us again next time.

This convention is an interesting thing. Firstly it was produced in May last year, so we're a little slow in getting around to it. It's been signed by only eight member states so far which is pretty poor, and Germany says it won't apply to asylum seekers. And I'm not sure that Dishface and Cleggy have read it all the way through.

There's plenty of pledges which are prime examples of hope triumphing over expectation - Article I promises to eliminate all violence against women for example. But it also says that signatories should devote financial resources to combating violence and ensure adequate rape crisis support and refuges for women.

Article 20 says: "Parties shall take the necessary legislative or other measures to ensure that victims have access to services facilitating their recovery from violence... services such as legal and psychological counselling, financial assistance, housing, education, training and assistance in finding employment.... access to health care and social services and that services are adequately resourced and professionals are trained to assist victims."

Except Britain's women's refuges are turning people away and closing beds because of the cutbacks. Housing benefit is being cut, jobs are going part-time, JobCentres and training services are being reduced, and the NHS is being turned inside out. So we're flouting the convention before we've even signed it. Sod the women, let's buy off the bankers.

The convention also promises to provide civil law remedies for women against their abusers. Only, oh yes, massive reforms of the Legal Aid system make that impossible unless you're rich.

And for final proof that 'Calm down, dear' Dishface doesn't give a monkey's cuss what the convention says, we need look no further than Article 40 which says: "...any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment, is subject to criminal or other legal sanction."

Except when you're in the House of Commons, when you can say whatever you like. Whoopsy!

Although it says stuff the world should already be doing the convention really matters in many important ways, and if the men who sign it don't believe in it or act on it then they can still be held to account by it.

So I'd just like to say - sign away, boys. Pat yourselves on the back, and forget about it all tomorrow.

But don't for a moment think that those bloody wimmin have gone away.

Man on left: "We need to do something for women."
Man on right: "We've got pink flowers. What more do they want?"

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