Leading article: Off with their heads

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Even allowing for the fact that change overtakes some institutions earlier than others, the Tower of London seems a particular laggard. It recruited its first female Beefeater only two years ago, designed a special uniform for her and sent her out on parade. Modernising the Beefeater staff was one thing, though; modernising attitudes quite another. Now two Yeoman Warders have been dismissed after an inquiry into harassment. The lady beefeater, it seems, had hardly been in her job two minutes before she was bullied.

O tempora, o mores! Who would have thought to find the expressions "harassment" and "Tower of London" in the same sentence? They come from two worlds many centuries apart. But perhaps the warders should also be just a little grateful for progress. Time was when mistreatment of a lady might have meant being escorted beyond the outer gate, not to find another job, but to be publicly beheaded on Tower Hill.

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