Michael Winner meets James Brown.

by Pseud O'Nym

This week two news stories, which are on the face of it wholly unrelated, to me represent some of the things that are wrong with modern Britain, symptomatic of the cultural bandwagoning to which it seems we are tethered. Or perhaps it is me that having failed to keep moving with the times, finds himself a values dinosaur, stubbornly clinging to outmoded attitudes, which grow ever more outmoded with every passing day. I think not, but in the famous words of Christine Keeler, “Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?”

‘The Guardian’ among other news outlets carried the story that an advert for Crown Paints had resulted in 215 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority because it tells;

“The story of Hannah and Dave who met at an illegal rave four years ago, have settled down and are expecting a baby. It features them painting the spare room with a chorus of two dozen imaginary singers on their paint roller telling the couple’s story.

Dave wanted a baby and Hannah did not but then “one day out the blue” she did, throwing herself at Dave. The song continues: “Now the baby’s coming and they don’t know what it is. Hannah’s hoping for a girl, Dave’s just hoping that it’s his.”

Of course people were angry about this. Of course they were. They were so immediate with their complaints, with so many of them claiming the advert was ‘misogynistic’, suggesting that it implied ‘Hannah slept around’ and was ‘sexist’, ‘in poor taste’ and generally did something they found worthy of complaint, a cynic might imagine they were all members of the same Facebook group. Or being superbly over-vigilant in their interpretation of what ‘sexism’ was.

Maybe they’re not, maybe they feel that the advert devalues what it is to be a woman in todays Britain. If so, they might’ve been cheered by the response from Crown Paints, which said Hannah was “an empowered female character, comfortable in making her own decisions and in control of if and when she changes her mind”. Bear in mind that this is an advert for paint and that people are complaining about the portrayal of someone doesn’t actually exist in the real world. What does exist in the real world, is actually worthier of the charge of misogyny was the news, as widely reported as it was criticised, that a council had appointed a man as period dignity officer.

No, I didn’t know what one was either or indeed why one was needed, but recently the Scottish Parliament has passed the Period Product Act, which means in very simple terms, that every toilet in a building receiving public funds is now legally required to make period products as freely available as they do toilet paper. So it’s a good thing and when one pauses to think about it, long overdue.

But appointing a man? Really? The BBC reported that

‘Mr Grant is expected to lead a regional campaign across schools, colleges and wider communities to raise awareness of the new law and ensure that Scottish government funding is allocated appropriately.

The job advert said the suitable candidate needed a “successful track record of engaging and empowering a large range of people from a diverse range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, in particular young people who menstruate”.

Let’s ignore the nonsense of ‘young people who menstruate’ because we know that it’s any woman who hasn’t yet had the menopause who do that and instead consider what were the qualities that made him the best man for a job that should’ve gone to a woman. According to the BBC, he worked as an account manager at Imperial Tobacco, before becoming a personal trainer with his own business prior to being a wellbeing officer at Dundee and Angus College. And that’s it. Wow

If that isn’t an insult to women then I’m Henry VIII.