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Paul Oakley

Too true about the media belittlement of men. We should boycott any product which advertises itself on the back of a portrayal of men as oafs/stupid/incompetent.

support the strivers

Excellent article as usual from Graeme. He really is very good and an absolute pleasure to read....

Norris for London

Graeme Archer should have been aware that Friday's Mayoral hustings meeting was actually in Southfields, in Justine Greening's Putney constituency rather than Stephen Hammond's Wimbledon. The organisers could not have picked a more inaccessible venue for public transport. Hardly an advetisement for a Blue Green agenda!

The performance of all four candidates was very disappointing. There was lots of rhetoric and waffle but LITTLE REAL SUBSTANCE - especially on housing, the environment and transport. The candidates had had three meetings to practice and prepare and yet managed to fluff simple pat questions, e.g. on attracting young voters. They could not run the proverbial party in a brewery never mind a large city with over 8 million citizens and budget of £4 to 5 billion.

A journalist friend, who sat beside me, shared my view of the proceedings. A choice of three mediocre councillor wannabes and a bumbling celebrity clown is no choice at all. Boris Johnson, given his experience, was simply dreadful. I have decided to spoil my ballot paper and write in Steve Norris's name.

Graeme Archer

I took the district line to Southfields and walked to the hall in less than 15 minutes, norris-for-London. Not that inaccessible and I got home on the district line much quicker than I did from Ruislip on the Metropolitan on Wednesday (this might have been to do with the ~25 million football fans who had to squeeze on at Wembley. Fortunately they were all good humoured!).

I think you're far too hard on the candidates. If I can pick just one (guess which one): Andrew Boff is committed to not spending any public money on subsidising the building of 1 or 2 bed flats. All public money should go to building family homes. This both houses a family (natch), eases the overcrowding and frees up further down the chain smaller homes for younger people.

The real trouble with housing is (to be fair - a point made very well and very clearly by Warwick) that we labour (geddit) under central government targets. The mayor can and should use his bully pulpit to as influential an effect as possible, but if we really want to change housing in London - as everywhere - we have to get rid of this appalling Labour government and implement a proper localist agenda.

Robert Winterton

Norris - not a hell's chance - the man has failed and would do again, so get over it! Sadly, the political 'well' is dry both at national and London level, hard work alone won't prevail, political bravery and and I don't political cliches will win out! By this I mean returning to 'our basic principles' of opportunity, individual and community responsability in all matters and even after the 60 odd years of the corrosive effect of both the dehabilitating welfare state(safety net yes, that alone) and 'statism' (i.e the huge growth of government intrusion into every aspect of our lives)on our society we can turn the tide and produce a more mobile, vibrant and happy society more at ease with its self driven by contribution and achievement. But it needs no half measures to do this! Not the usual political promises of something for nothing.


We've been a bit side-tracked away from Graeme's thought-provoking piece. Only comments 'on subject' will now be approved.


Robert Winterton

Sorry editor - yes Graeme's piece is well thought out, though with respect, his comments on the family etc coincide with some of my broad themes of responsability and intrusion etc. and the fact that we ought to defend what seem unfashionable ideas?!

Justin Hinchcliffe

Two things sprang to mind when I read Graeme's column.

50% of Victoria Borwick's campaign for the Mayoralty is concentrated on her gender (the other 50% on her hair colour!). I find it rather unsettling that she thinks that "only a woman" can take on Livingstone. Can you imagine the outcry if a man said that?

I am also getting increasingly fed up of having the go up and down stairs in shops and department stores for men's clothes. Why can't they have a selection on the GROUND floor for men and women. Do companies like M&S believe that women are far too feeble to use the stairs? Or do they think men are wimps and will put up with it? Well, this on isn't!

Sexism sucks!


I sometimes think that one of life’s grand ironies is that gay men appear to be the last group of people to celebrate the worth of heterosexual men.

You didn't really need to put the last adjective in, but I know why you did. It is very true Graeme...have you also considered that one of the few 'acceptable' Men Only Clubs today is a gay sauna ?

It is somewhat limiting that there are far fewer Boys Only Schools than Girls Only Schools....that the ability to have boys' activities is limited by the superfluity of female (head-) teachers in primary schools.

That the whole ethos of taking risks, challenging boundaries, and competitive team sports have been eroded into a modular world of coursework with the emphasis on Process rather than Product.

Yes the whole nature of TV comedy (in Britain) - it is not the same in Continental Europe - is a sneering contempt for men as 'deficient women'. It is what makes British sitcoms tediously repetitive and daily life in this country banal and boring.


Great article, Graeme. You are so easily the best columnist on here.


Sadly Justin these stores assume women are buying men's clothes...or that women are acting like mothers in taking junior to the outfitters. It is complete infantilism they are trying to impose.....go look at Boots and how they submerge men's shaving gear and toiletries amid the ever-expanding women's section.....or how B&Q now intends to follow Homebase and the rest down the Feminised DIY route with soft-furnishings......the sooner Home Depot takes over B&Q the better before retailing becomes Women Only

David Strauss

Graeme is right on the issue of praising men's contribution to society.

There is now a growing "men's rights" movement in the UK. They are plenty of blogs etc out there. They have come about not so much because they wanted to, but these sites have been forced into playing the victim group card becuase they have suffered from decades of anti-male propaganda and institutionalised sexism.

The pity is that the Conservatives have also been playing the anti-male card.

Not only through continuing to advocate a Minister for Wmen but not for Men, but also by stopping men as individuals from being Conservative MP's because of the biased priority lists and selection rules. Having groups like Women2Win etc just stir it all up and Theresa May's recent comments on this site about the gender pay gap look ominous in terms of discrimination against men.

In addition, David Cameron said in February "We need to make it as socially unacceptable for fathers to avoid their responsibilities as drink driving now is". Easy male bashing if ever there was an example.

The Conservatives should not indulge in the belittling of men that Graeme rightly diagrees with.

John Moss

I sometimes wonder if the party misses the potential to sell family friendly policy across many levels?

As Graeme rightly points out, Andrew Boff's policy to use public funds only for family housing to relieve overcrowding - and yes, I was the guy in the other Choose Boff T-Shirt - has the potential to solve not just one "household's" problems, but several.

As a family moves out of an overcrowded two bedroom flat, a couple with two young children who can share, move into that property. A couple without children move into the one bedroom flat they vacate and then a single person takes over their studio.

Families sticking together also mean fewer houses need to be built, one of the major drivers of the predicted rise in the number of households being divorce. It means fewer car journeys, as there is no longer the need to ferry kids from Mum's, to Dad's and back again. That's also one home heated and lit, not two, one meal cooked, not two and a more stable family, so less crime committed, fewer drugs taken, better results achieved at school, better jobs secured, more taxes paid in and less benefits paid out.

There is an answer to almost any arguement against family friendly policy. We should deploy them all and we should absolutely celebrate the role of men in making families work. It may not be politically correct, but men don't have the kit for childbirth, so they will always work more, earn more and advance further and faster than women, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Umbrella man

Beautifully written Graeme - thank you.

Annabel Herriott

My other half is a primary school Head, retired since 1988. He says he wouldnt last 5 minutes today, what with the 'elfn'safety, political correctness, and interference by government.(targets etc) He turned out some great lads. He was extremely firm, but fair.
His main grump these days, is that there are not enough men in primary education, and the boys are suffering from the lack.

Sally Roberts

Graeme I was moved by reading that sensitively written article - well done! I wish more men - both gay and heterosexual - would be less afraid to show their emotions and get in touch with their own sensitivity! Doing that in a sensible and controlled way does not make one an "emotional incontinent" - it makes one a better human being!

More articles in the same vein please - and more in the main stream media - we need to get a positive message across.


both gay and heterosexual - would be less afraid to show their emotions and get in touch with their own sensitivity!

No thanks Sally...that is the very feminising that is causing the frustration and penchant for violence....do not impose female characterists on males

Andrew Lilico

Graeme - I liked this one, particularly the men bit. I thought this was one of your best.

Stephen Warrick

Fastastic article Graeme!

Sally Roberts

Tom Tom - why does your reaction not surprise me in the very slightest? It's a shame you quoted one sentence of my posting but then clearly didn't go on to read the next sentence....


Tom Tom - why does your reaction not surprise me in the very slightest?

So pleased you weren't disappointed....but then again Sally I think the world is Hobbesian and that the world you think is stable will crumble.

This society is at an end. What comes after will be interesting, but West Europeans will not determine the way the world works. You can be as "sensitive" as you want, but boys do not want feminising and resort to Lord of The Flies when it is rammed down their throats ad nauseam

Sally Roberts

" I think the world is Hobbesian and that the world you think is stable will crumble. "

You have a sad and cynical view of life - it clearly hasn't been very kind to you and I'm sorry about that!


Well done once more Graeme (I told you so last week) I can spot talent.
Just as a footnote I wish men would show more emotions, but I seem to have married a stiff upper lipped gent and bred them an all.

Please do not foget the history of the east end of London especially in and around Bethnal Green and the Bow Bells.


@Sally Roberts
But the world is Hobbesian. Society is a construct and requires clever and resourceful people to hold it together without which chaos will always intrude. Political entropy is all powerful. All societies, all empires collapse when the leaders of the society eventually drop their guard and lose the will to maintain the Society. This is not cynicism it is historical fact.

Sally Roberts

Jonathan - what an extraordinary comment! I think you clearly see me as some sort of would-be anarchist! I am certainly not advocating the end of society and the end of leaders - and frankly I can't understand quite why the topic has suddenly morphed into this....

All I did originally was congratulate Graeme on his sensitively-written article and suggest that men might perhaps be more in touch with their emotions than is often the case. I stand by every word I have said and I know that many people (in the Party as well as outside it) would agree with me. But then they would be the mature ones, wouldn't they?

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