Editor-At-Large: Please don't tell me divorce is unfair. It's pay-back time

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Sometimes I don't know why women bother with men at all. Take the columnist Richard Littlejohn; on hearing that Melissa Miller had won a settlement of £5m from her husband last week, he remarked: "He'd have been better off hiring a call girl. At least he'd have known the price in advance."

Fact: Alan Miller is a repugnant creep who had an affair with another woman and his wife had a miscarriage. He told The Jewish Chronicle: "I have been penalised for the high standard of living I gave my wife during our short marriage." Another fact: Melissa Miller was earning £85,000 a year when they met; her husband hardly introduced her to a life of luxury because she was already a highly successful career woman.

In the eyes of men such as Littlejohn and Miller, divorce is a battleground in which men are bound to be the losers, passing over their hard-earned cash to women who quite simply are not worth it. Mr Miller's lawyer is another nasty piece of work who unfortunately has a penis: he told the court that his client would have been better off if he had knocked his wife down with a car.

I suppose shagging someone else when you are trying to start a family is perfectly OK then? Can I remind everyone that the decision to award this large sum to Mrs Miller by five law lords was unanimous, not a split decision. In the other landmark decision last week, Julia McFarlane overturned a Court of Appeal's ruling to limit her maintenance payments of £250,000 a year to five years. The court has now decided she is entitled to that sum for the rest of her life, or until she remarries.

At 46, Julia McFarlane is unlikely to be able to resume the hugely successful legal career she had when she met and married her husband, which she set aside to raise three children. I notice Mr McFarlane, having ended his 16-year marriage, has now tied the knot with someone else. Statistically, it is unlikely that his former wife will be so lucky.

Britain has the second-highest divorce rate in Europe, and the fallout means an increasing number of single, divorced women in their 40s and 50s, many of whom are living in reduced circumstances trying to restart their careers and find work while their ex-husbands remarry someone younger, prettier and more compliant. I think these wives deserve everything they can get.

There are more than two million couples living together in Britain, responsible for 1.25 million children. At present, the law gives these women fewer rights than same-sex couples who sign civil partnership agreements, although the Law Commissioners are considering whether co-habitees can be awarded compensation and maintenance when the relationship breaks down.

It seems to me that most women are not in the kind of marriages enjoyed by Melissa Miller and Julia McFarlane, with plenty of money in the bank and assets to squabble over. In fact, the countless women who are living with men have no rights whatsoever.

Marriage, if you can get your man to agree to do it, does give limited protection to women. But it would be better for everyone if the law were changed, and property and maintenance agreements, whether prenuptial or just formalising money matters between couples who co-habit, were accepted by courts.

At present they are not. A lot of men will now be put off marriage, but women who live with someone without a legal agreement in place are taking a very high risk. This Government is constantly banging on about how women want to work. The fact is, most women have no choice. Whether married or in a partnership, they have to work to contribute to the family finances, to pay for their council tax, the mortgage, their income tax, their national insurance and so on.

At the same time, it is women who run the home, give birth, bring up the children and undertake more than 75 per cent of the cleaning, shopping and cooking. So don't tell me that divorce is unfair and favours men. It's pay-back time, and we have earned it. Hugh Hefner is no fool; he's settled for four bimbos and no wife. That way he won't be paying anyone any alimony.

Let's not be sniffy about the new way to drink

Next month, Sainsbury's will start stocking an Early Harvest Sauvignon Blanc from Australia that is just 9.5 per cent proof (two-thirds of the alcohol content of most Australian wines) and contains far fewer calories than many other wines they sell.

Not surprisingly, the supermarket expects it to be a big hit with women. Some wines now have an alcohol-by-volume content of 14 per cent - so working out how many units you've drunk by the glass is difficult, when what you're drinking is as strong as fortified wines like sherry.

While wine buyers might be sniffy about these diet- and health-conscious wines, I think they are a really good idea. Lower-alcohol beer is also gaining in popularity, with Tesco reporting a 10 per cent drop in sales of extra-strong lager such as Carlsberg Special Brew.

Could it be because women are doing the shopping and exercising their personal preferences for once? Is there the slightest possibility that the British male may finally be abandoning his pint for a glass of plonk?

World Cup: White van man and the red and white flag. It sucks

The World Cup brings out the most unpleasant nationalism in all sorts of people. The other day the weather forecast on Radio 4 kicked off with the (male) announcer saying what the weather was going to be like at a cricket match and a football match. He didn't consider that perhaps several million women might be tuning in who wanted to know whether they could take the kids to all sorts of events this weekend.

Right now, football has permeated every single aspect of the media - with endless debates about whether the Scots should support England, who Jack Straw supports and if it's OK to support the Germans. Walk down the street and what do you see - white van men flying the cross of St George, pennants fluttering from taxi cabs, stickers on the back of nearly every car. Chubby fellows with paunches are sporting the T-shirts. Pubs have got the bunting up and the television is awash with trailers. Why do we consider that slumping in front of a large screen holding a can of beer and cheering is an acceptable way to spend our time? Why is it socially OK to be a sports fan, to live your life through a bunch of footballers instead of caring about other people?

Supporting the England team means you can give up on your own inadequacies. Instead of getting fit or trying to do something for other people through your local community, sport entitles slobs to do absolutely zero except drink beer, eat junk and cheer, all in the name of England.

I hope we're knocked out as soon as possible and life can return to a version of normality. Supporting the English football team is an excuse for men who have no self-esteem, no personal goals and no ideas, all in the name of nationalism. It sucks.

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