JENNI MURRAY: The last thing we need is a Minister for Men!

JENNI MURRAY: The last thing we need is a Minister for Men!

  • Jenni Murray rejects conservative MP Nick Fletcher’s call for further representation for men
  • READ MORE: Claiming THAT Luis Rubiales football kiss was sexual assault is an insult to true victims

The conservative MP for Don Valley, Nick Fletcher, seems like a nice young Yorkshireman, but when I heard him on Woman’s Hour advocating for a Minister for Men, I couldn’t help wondering what planet he was on.

He expressed concern that he sees a lot of aimless boys on the streets near his home; that 96 per cent of prisoners are male; that 88 men die of heart disease every day.

Yes, I thought, but why on earth do men need their own minister when they already hold all the power? 

Can’t they just change the laws anyway — two-thirds of politicians in the House of Commons are male.

Surely there are enough of them in every department — education, health, justice — to fix these problems for themselves.

The conservative MP for Don Valley, Nick Fletcher, has advocated for a Minister for Men

Why must they have yet further representation? He even argued that men have been ‘neglected’ in the drive for equality.

Some may believe the fight for equal rights has been won — that the balance is tipping too far in our favour — but I am not one.

Domestic violence, rape, unequal pay — some of the terrible inequalities that inspired the creation of the role of Minister for Women back in 1997 — continue to this day.

Two women a week are killed by their partner or former partner in England and Wales.

Others, such as Sarah Everard, are picked up on the street by men we should trust — in Sarah’s case, a serving police officer.

Girls walking home from school are harassed by kerb crawlers. Women are touched up at work. And it’s still women who get the lowliest, worst-paid jobs.

Harriet Harman became the first Minister for Women at a time when more women had come into parliament than ever before.

Though dubbed ‘Blair’s Babes’, for the first time there was a significant number ready to take on some of the legal issues that disadvantaged women needed to be changed. 

Sarah Everard, 33, was picked up on the street by serving police officer Wayne Couzens

After thinking very carefully through Mr Fletcher’s concerns, Jenni is certain that the answer is not a Minister for Men

The 1970s and 1980s had been terrible for women in England. Police advised them to stay home after the Yorkshire Ripper murdered 13 women and left seven more for dead.

It was a time when a young rape victim was described by a judge as ‘a menace to young men’. Another was told she appeared to have suffered ‘no great trauma’.

The danger in the home as well as on the streets was well known for women, though, and domestic violence began to be spoken about with urgency in parliament. 

It was, however, only when a Minister for Women was appointed that previously ignored crimes such as marital rape became illegal.

So do men now face similar threat and fear of discrimination?

Nick Fletcher is worried about boys having no male teachers or fathers to look up to.

He’s also concerned about the lack of male nurses. Perhaps that is due to it being one of those lower paid jobs few men are willing to touch with a bargepole.

As for the absence of fathers in so many families — what can a minister do?

Well, he could extend the idea of paternity leave and ensure both parents have plenty of time with their children.

Except the fathers won’t take it.

How many new fathers say they’ll step back from their career to look after the children?

Most secretly admit they work late or pop into the pub for a quick one before going home, pretty sure that by the time they get there, the toys will have been tidied away, the noisy kids will be fast asleep in bed and they’ll only have to give them a quick peck on the cheek before sitting down to a dinner the wife has prepared.

A series of Ministers for Women, then Ministers for Women and Equalities, currently Kemi Badenoch, have tried to make things safer and fairer for women.

And many men have learned that their traditional, sexist behaviour is unacceptable, but there’s a long way to go.

Why does Nick Fletcher suppose that, in this period of gender confusion among young people, the majority of those considering the benefits of transition are girls?

Does he not realise that girls have always thought how much easier their lives would be if they could grow up to be men?

I toyed with the idea myself as an early teenager.

There’d be no one fussing about the length of my skirt, no one advising on hair and make-up, no one telling me to sit with my knees together for fear of attracting the wrong kind of attention, no one telling me to go into teaching which would make it easy to combine work and family.

Life, in many ways, would be so much easier.

So, after thinking very carefully through Mr Fletcher’s concerns, it’s a resounding no from me for a Minister for Men.

No sex…your children are watching!

Presented by Davina McCall, My Mum: Your Dad is a dating show for the middle-aged

My Mum: Your Dad is the middle-aged Love Island which begins next Monday on ITV.

No bikinis, ripped chests or cameras in the bedrooms . . . which is just as well given the children of the nine contestants are not only watching, but are the ones who put them up for it in the first place.

Save our libraries — they were the making of me…

How depressing that just 43 per cent of children say they read for pleasure. 

Lack of investment means one in eight primary schools has no library, and public spending cuts led to the closure of 800 libraries in the decade from 2010.

Barnsley Library made me what I am. From three, I’d go each week with my mother.

How could I have done my job without all that reading? Libraries matter. They’re free. Bookshops are not!

Education Secretary: Gillian Keegan

What has the Education Secretary, Gillian Keegan, been doing as the school term starts, apart from going on holiday and changing frocks? 

Not the ‘****ing good job’ she claims — or 150 schools wouldn’t be affected by dangerous concrete. 

Should we expect a new Education Secretary — the sixth since September 2021? 

Where’s the fun May I met? 

Jenni is not a fan of painter Saied Dai’s portrayal of Theresa May in a new portrait that will be hung in Parliament 

What was the painter Saied Dai thinking when he portrayed Theresa May as a haggard, wrinkled misery in a portrait that’s to be hung in Parliament?

It will represent her for ever and shows none of the warmth or fun I witnessed during numerous interviews with the former Prime Minister. I hope she’s furious.

She should be.

It’s not often you read a story that warms the cockles of your heart, but the tale of the neighbours who rebuilt the family home destroyed in a gas explosion in Seven Sisters, South Wales, has restored my faith in humanity.

As did my neighbours who pitched in to help care for my animals when I was rushed into hospital. Community spirit is alive and well.

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