Letter: Emasculated mayor

Sir: Deborah Orr considers infidelity comparable to "pocketing the valuables" of the injured party.

It is because we instinctively revolt against treating control of the behaviour of others as property that we refuse to take infidelity as seriously as Ms Orr would like us to. It is true that the marriage contract incorporates her approach to the matter, but this must be one reason why so many people are rejecting marriage in favour of partnerships in which no explicit pledge of fidelity is made.

Ms Orr's thinking would perpetuate the paralysing victimhood which entraps so many "betrayed" women and the dangerous violence which so often tempts "betrayed" men.

It is time we recognised that for very many people sexual fidelity, unlike the right to own property, is actually a polite fiction which those professing it often sustain by neglecting to inquire too deeply into what breaches of it might be occurring. This arrangement will inevitably be demolished from time to time, particularly if hypocrisy on this point continues to fuel tabloid journalism.

When such unseemly exposure occurs, we need not pretend outrage, and we certainly need not purge those who happen to have been found out from competition for public office.


London SW11