Westminster should be renamed ‘The Palace of Misogyny’

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Monday 06 November 2017 17:37 GMT
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Michael Fallon, the former Defence Secretary, has stepped down after accusations of sexual harassment
Michael Fallon, the former Defence Secretary, has stepped down after accusations of sexual harassment (PA)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

As correctly pointed out by several commentators, the current “sex pest” scandal engulfing Westminster has nothing to do with sex. It is about abuse of power and in this context, the deliberate maintenance of Parliament as an institution that allows men, should they be so inclined, to freely indulge one of their baser instincts.

The instinct I refer to here is not sex, but misogyny. The men who engage in the sorts of behaviour recently reported, whether verbal abuse and actions sometimes described as “low level” or far more serious and indeed criminal actions such as rape, do so because they hate women. I use the word “hate” advisedly as it seems clear to me these are not things you would do to someone for whom you had any respect or liking, or even someone about whom you were neutral. There is a stronger emotion at play here, which, in my opinion, justifies the use of this word.

Look closely and you can see that Westminster misogyny can take many forms, from the abuse of young women working in junior positions, through to ministers proposing and Parliament passing legislation that effectively robs women of their pensions. I refer to the outrageous treatment of women born in the early 1950s, many of whom have had their state pension age increased by six years just a few years from their original retirement date, and in many instances without notification.

At Westminster, the attitude appears to be that young women must suffer sexual abuse and bullying, and older women, apparently no longer of any sexual interest, must be robbed blind. They should rename it the Palace of Misogyny, or better still, pull the whole disgusting edifice down, thereby saving the taxpayer large amounts of money on the planned refurbishment. I’m sure there is a large warehouse going spare in Milton Keynes that could accommodate this lot for a fraction of the cost. Although whether the good people of Milton Keynes would want them is, of course, another matter.

Sian Bowen
Address supplied

It’s time politicians cleaned up their act

It is suggested by some that the current investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct should clean up Westminster. I think most ordinary people would consider that there have been many other behaviours of politicians which are unbecoming of anyone holding office in parliament, and a commitment to a more general improvement in attitudes and actions, perhaps using the 10 Commandments as a baseline, is necessary for our “Honourable Members” to maintain the trust and respect of the electorate.

J Longstaff
Buxted

We need to force by-elections to purge Westminster of scandal

I’ve had enough of all this disgraceful behaviour, alleged or otherwise, from our elected parliamentary representatives.

Is there no mechanism available by which we can sweep the whole lot out and force them all to hold by-elections in their constituencies? Those who have nothing to be ashamed of would be voted back in, those who have behaved less than how they should have would be, hopefully, not.

We might then get a parliament that put its constituents and the country in the forefront and not the members’ self-serving ambitions.

Fiona Coombes
Clitheroe

The Queen should know how much tax she is paying

It has been said that the Queen is being unfairly picked on because it is the Duchy of Lancaster, not she, who decides where and how her money is invested. But the Queen is an intelligent woman, so why hasn’t she asked if she is paying tax on her income at least at the same rate as her subjects? It’s a simple and obvious question for anyone who commands so much respect.

Patrick Cosgrove
Bucknell

Mrs Brown’s Boys remains consistent

The revelation that stars of the BBC’s Mrs Brown’s Boys “put £2m offshore” for tax avoidance purposes simply isn’t funny… which, I suppose, is at least in accordance with the spirit of the show.

Julian Self
Milton Keynes

Take care when travelling with painkillers

In the topic of opioids, even travelling in Europe with large quantities can be a problem at times. This September, while going through security at Stansted prior to board a flight to Faro, Portugal, I was pulled away and asked why I needed 150 tablets of 30mg codeine phosphate, plus a box of ibuprofen with codeine and a box of co-codamol.

Everything was easily explained as I suffer from Ehlers Danlos syndrome, which forces me to be wheelchair-bound. I take 60mg of codeine three to four times a day, along with many other meds. My 15-year-old, who was with us, inherited the condition, being also disabled by it and he needs the ibuprofen with codeine or co-codamol as needed when his joints dislocate or during severe muscle pain. If I didn’t have a copy of both mine and my son’s prescriptions and my GP’s details to prove why such a big quantity of opioids were needed for a 2-week holiday, we might have missed our flights due to delays dealing with the matter.

My advice is if travelling abroad, even in Europe, do take a letter from your GP or copy of prescriptions for any opioids.

Name and address supplied

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