The phrase \”Woo, nice tits love\” to become a criminal offence

The latest expansion of our freedoms and liberties:

Sexist remarks and wolf-whistles could become criminal offences

PM to announce today that UK will sign up to Council of Europe\’s convention on violence against women, which could mean criminalising unwanted verbal conduct

It\’s OK, yes, I do understand, randomly shouting about the perkiness or not of passing women in the street is impolite, certainly I understand that it can hurt the feelings of those shouted at.

Yet there\’s a standard we need to reach before we criminalise something. A standard perhaps of actual harm being done. And we\’ve plenty of laws which can be used to bang up someone who has done someone actual harm. So no, not in favour of this.

On the other hand, I think we all know that it\’s not unusual for young women to comment upon the size and or girth of the male appendage: either from direct knowledge or simply as an insult without such direct knowledge. Such would, of course, be just as much a sexist remark as commenting upon the size and or shape of a woman\’s breasts.

And of course we know that such a new law will be rigorously and equally applied, do we not?

In fact, I have a feeling that such a law rigorously applied would make certain Guardian columns illegal in themselves. You know, the ones where it\’s all men and testosterone that cause all the problems?

Which leads to an amusing thought for a Thursday morning. We need a lawyer who understands this stuff and a rich person who would enjoy throwing a few rhetorical and legal hand grenades at the social left.

As and when the law comes in, monitor the usual suspects (BBC, G, Indy, Staggers) and when we comes across anti-male sexist remarks then we report them, bring private prosecutions, insist that the Met investigate, whatever the form is.

In short, we take the law seriously and impose it upon all.

Fun, eh?

46 comments on “The phrase \”Woo, nice tits love\” to become a criminal offence

  1. /headdesk

    How long before “looking at me in a funny way” becomes a criminal offence?

  2. It’s a criminal offense in E&W (assault) to go up to someone and insult them, if that makes them fear you’re going to beat them up, and has been since time immemorial.

    Applying the same rule to making sexual comments that makes someone fear you’re going to sexually assault them seems entirely sane.

  3. No woman will ever end up in court for sexist remarks agaisnt men, any more than any black person is going to find themselves witch-hunted for mouthing off on a tram.

    This kind of thing is made into law, and then people wonder why I despise Feminism. People need to grasp that we don’t live in a “patriarchy”. Our society is matrist and has been identifiably so since the Victorian Era; and indeed the Feminists are simply those same Victorian matrons with a new bunch of jargon; arrogant, conceited, intensely puritanical and deeply vicious. Hence, we head into the nightmare of a criminal offence for not treating me like a laydeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

    God help us.

    The intensity of this mess is largely down to the pathetic dishrags (male) that populate our upper classes. Utterly in thrall to their Mumsnetised, Daily Mail reading wives, they pass any shit like this into law because they’re terrified not to. Why is the Daily Mail the most powerful newspaper in Britain? You know the old joke “…the Mail is read by the wives of the men who run the country”.

    Sexual harrasment is merely “impoliteness”. The belief in it is the same as an aristocrat expecting to be spoken to with cringing politeness by a serf. The aristocrat thinks that is normal because he is better than the serf. Likewise, the matron expects superior treatment too, and cannot fathom society being any other way. Any man who gets too uppity needs a slap. From the State.

    Like I said, God help us.

  4. john b – “Applying the same rule to making sexual comments that makes someone fear you’re going to sexually assault them seems entirely sane.”

    That is not what the law says though is it?

    Besides, you need a common sense test at some point to make sure it is not Julie Bindell who is making the complaint. If someone uses the word “chairman” are they going to be charged with threatening to rape?

  5. All I can say is that the problem with a legal system run by lawyers is that it becomes a legal system run for lawyers.

    This will do nothing but harass endless numbers of people needlessly and generate huge fees for the legal profession. Hang them all.

  6. @ johnb, so are you saying that if I see you in the street, walk up to you and say “I think you are a complete and utter cock”, that is a criminal offense?

  7. I’m running a sort of doomsday clock for how long porn can last; I’m guessing it’ll be illegal again to all intents and purposes within a decade. It’s hard to believe that an art form predicated on “nice tits love” is going to be able to surive this ultrapuritan regime that’s not so much “under construction” as “at the decorator stage”.

  8. @JohnB: ‘It’s a criminal offense in E&W (assault) to go up to someone and insult them, if that makes them fear you’re going to beat them up, and has been since time immemorial.

    Applying the same rule to making sexual comments that makes someone fear you’re going to sexually assault them seems entirely sane.’

    That law already exists, dumbass.

  9. It’s also an important reminder that democracy is dead, and we are now in the era of Post-Democracy, which is a euphemism for Not Democracy. Here’s the self congratulatory photogallery of the vicious misandrist bastards who wrote the convention-

    http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/violence/Photos_1.asp

    Who the fuck are these people? Damned if I know. They are the technocrats who now decide what is good for us. Do we get a vote? Is this to be robustly debated in the court of public opinion? No, it’s already been decided. If you’ve a strong stomach, read the convention notes (for some reason the convention itself is “unavailable”).

    https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?Ref=CM(2011)49&Language=lanEnglish&Ver=addfinal&Site=COE&BackColorInternet=DBDCF2&BackColorIntranet=FDC864&BackColorLogged=FDC864

    It’s pure feminist agitprop. A disgrace.

  10. “dumbass”: it must be another sign of the failure of our schools that twits now offer insults in American.

  11. Henry Crun:“@ johnb, so are you saying that if I see you in the street, walk up to you and say “I think you are a complete and utter cock”….”

    Now Henry, what’s the likelihood of that? Unless he really is being a massive….

    Oh.

  12. I’m willing to give up the freedom to shout lewd remarks at women I don’t know, in order to afford women the much more valuable freedom not to be subjected to such remarks.

    Ian B: I wouldn’t worry too much about the putative end of pornography. A friend tells me that there’s vastly more of the stuff available for free on the internet nowadays than one man can possibly get through one handed. I suppose that tends to reduce the supply on the top shelf, but you can’t reasonably blame feminists for the way markets work.

    Tim adds: “I’m willing to give up the freedom to shout lewd remarks at women I don’t know”

    I have given up that freedom because I am a gentleman and thus only rude to those I mean to insult.

    But because I am a gentleman I resist that freedom being taken away from others even as I do not avail myself of it.

    Just as I do not avail myself of the freedom to stick my cock up a bloke’s bum: but I would be most put out if that freedom were to be denied to those who wish to do so.

    And yes, just as there are those righteous freedoms to do as you wish with your dick there is also the freedom to be a dick.

    “Woo nice tits!” is something better dealt with at the societal level of social disapproval than the criminal law is another way of putting it.

  13. PaulB – “I’m willing to give up the freedom to shout lewd remarks at women I don’t know, in order to afford women the much more valuable freedom not to be subjected to such remarks.”

    So am I. But I am not willing to have the State take such freedoms away from me. Especially as the law is basically unenforceable and yet punitive. How can it be proven? If some woman at random accuses you of doing so, what is your defence going to be? If some other man actually does it, how are you going to prove he did it?

    Pointless and hugely expensive.

  14. I’m willing to give up the freedom to shout lewd remarks at women I don’t know, in order to afford women the much more valuable freedom not to be subjected to such remarks.

    Fine, don’t do it. What youre missing is that this law subjects everybody else to a draconian regime in which impoliteness becomes a criminal offence. And don’t think the law will be applied “sensibly” or cautiously. The mutaween will be falling over themselves to get convictions.

    As to pornography, it is a litmus test of a liberal society. There is already creeping criminalisation and censorship; expect it to accelerate. If and when recriminalisation occurs, the enormous stashes of it already existent on computers will mean it’ll be open season for said mutaween.

    My guess is that the next stage will be a raising of the porn age to 21 (already being mooted by the progressive ulama) which will retrospectively criminalise vast amounts of archive material. We’ll have to wait and see, but that’s what I’d go for if I were them and, having studied these vicious cunts for many years now, I’m quite good at guessing their moves.

    But no doubt you don’t care about that, because you and “your friend” are happy to give up that freedom on behalf of everyone else too, eh?

  15. @Dearieme: I was ironically channeling JohnB himself, who is extremely quick to insult, and often in a vaguely Transatlantic way, those who make egregious errors of fact in replies on here. I could have used ‘fucktard’ I suppose.

    @PaulB: ‘I’m willing to give up the freedom to shout lewd remarks at women I don’t know, in order to afford women the much more valuable freedom not to be subjected to such remarks.’

    Phew! Thank God you’re here to decide for the rest of us which freedoms we should give up, even to (one presumes) the point of deciding what does and does not constitute a ‘lewd remark’.

    How’s about this: decent people don’t shout lewd remarks, and we (the decent) shun those who do (as opposed to wasting hours of police time in adjudicating as to the lewdness or offensiveness of something Person A may [or may not – one assumes trials will be necessary] have said to Person B in the street?

    If you think this is an exaggeration, I suggest you read a fascinating new book, called Wasting More Police Time, which explains in startling detail the piffling drivel our police already concentrate on. It certainly opened my eyes.

  16. Tim: I support your freedom to do as you think best with your penis, but only in so far as you stick it where it’s wanted.

    The arguments here in the name of “freedom” could be applied equally to a “freedom to keep slaves”. One of the purposes of government is to regulate the boundaries between rivalrous freedoms.

    Tim adds: “I support your freedom to do as you think best with your penis, but only in so far as you stick it where it’s wanted.”

    Excellent, so you must also support my freedom to ask people whether they wish to engage in dick putting activities. Of which “Woo, nice tits, fancy a shag?” is an example.

    And the existence of post-nightclub bunkups and dogging prove that that’s a valid question to ask as sometimes (although not personally for some decades sadly) it elicits the answer “Yes”.

    It’s not, after all, logically viable to support consensual activity if you’re going to ban asking for consent.

  17. The arguments here in the name of “freedom” could be applied equally to a “freedom to keep slaves”. One of the purposes of government is to regulate the boundaries between rivalrous freedoms.

    Oh dear God. Is that the best you can do? What’s next? Anyone who opposes the regulation of social speech is like the Nazis?

    Look, you do realise that it is impossible to know what speech is “wanted” without speaking it? How the hell is somebody to know what is acceptable flirting? I mean, you do realise that this law will be entirely arbitrary in covering any speech directed at a woman that she may, post hoc, decide was offensive? Any innuendo. Any clumsy or gauche remark.

    And all you’ve got is this tired old “rivalrous freedoms” crap?

    And, consider this. What of a man who finds a camp gay bloke threatening? Oh, wait, now he’s a homophobe, right? This is a law that will only apply to women, and provide them with, effectively, arbitrary state-backed judgement on every male. To certainly avoid ruin, men will have no choice but to evade any banter altogether. But because they can’t do that; because women have maintained a society in which men must initiate most relationships, it becomes a lottery. Say the wrong thing to the wrong woman and you’re screwed.

    Rivalrous freedoms my fucking arse.

  18. You all seem very well informed as to exactly what this proposed law will say. Would you please provide a link to the draft text?

  19. Already linked to the convention, Paul. Above.

    And stop being disingenuous. We’re going by what the Grauniad article says it is likely to say, and by our knowledge and experience of how Puritan Reform laws generally operate in this septic isle. What can we expect? Criminal record, sex offender’s register, and all for some lad saying “nice cakes”.

  20. I think the pudding has been over-egged, not least by the Guardian.

    What we are really talking about is a “course of conduct” or “pattern of behaviour” or a single action of a kind that john b alluded to, which does constitute criminality, “when a person intentionally or recklessly causes another to apprehend the immediate infliction of unlawful force”. This kind of behaviour is already ostensibly illegal under English law.

    And look at this another way: I don’t mean to make light of it, but women struggle to get taken seriously with regard to sexual assault and rape allegations, so I’m not sure our stereotypical builder wolf-whistling from his scaffold is in danger of a prison sentence.

  21. I quite like Tim’s idea, although a) the scope for doing that sort of thing has long existed, and b) I think I’m right in saying the DPP can take over any private prosecution he chooses and ditch it in his discretion (I think that’s correct, don’t have time right now to check), the idea being that supposedly vexatious private prosecutions can be made to run into the sand.

    When I hear of laws, or proposed laws, like this, I feel a frisson of relief, a sense that the end must be near, that the reaction must come soon, that poltroons like this Cameron before long will be hanging by their heels. Although I daresay that’ll bring with it its own difficulties. But a frisson of relief makes a nice change from murderous hatred of the coercers, looters and theocrats, a relief from that sense I so often have of sympathy with a French peasant of 1788. O tempora o mores, and other phrases

  22. Mr . Lud,
    ‘a sense the end must be near’ are you mad?
    Every thin end has a bloody great wedge on the other end and plenty of willing volunteers manning the hammers to drive it home.
    This once proud nation has become catatonic in the face of unending legislation and the futility of trying to resist it.
    It all of a piece with the evil ‘it’s for your own good’ and goes all the way to ‘it’s for the greater good’ and ‘we know better than you what’s good for you’ .
    My father had dealings in Germany before the War broke out; he never ceased telling us of the stifling waves of petty-fogging law, restrictions and the over zealous enforcement he saw there.
    There are thousands of articles, op-ed pieces etc printed every year in this country bemoaning just such stultifying bureaucracy. And what happens? Nothing. Not even the Gumment, wot sez it wants to ‘do away with red-tape’ can do anything. How often do we read of anti-social behaviour, reported but ignored; of over enthusiastic enforcement of petty by-laws while serious crime goes without even investigation. As a statistical sample of one I would site the chap at the airport the other day with a scarf that he put through the scanner and commented that if he were to wear it round his head he would be arrested. This remark was deemed to have offended a member of staff and all hell broke out.
    We are cowed by the perfect storm ‘Authority’ seems able to bring down on the head of anyone who complains. Unless, of course, you ‘are of no fixed abode’ and therefore assumed to have no assets to protect nor means to enforce a fine, when you can occupy what you like, demonstrate where and when you like and generally make the rest of us tip-toe round you in fear of the accusatory finger.

  23. What is the fuss about?

    You can wolf whistle if you’re a scaffolder, but not if you’re a minister of religion.

    You can say show us your tits if you’re hiring for Spearmint Rhino but not for the IMF.

    You can compliment your wife if she’s made an effort but not on the street where there’s a risk of mistaken identity.

    You can call someone a black bastard if you’re a fellow squaddie but not if you’re the battalion commander.

    You can tell a banker to lay off your wallet if he’s the second row but not if you’re wearing a suit and hoping for a loan.

    Context is all. It’s just good manners.

    Oh, forgot. Good manners were condemned along with aspidistras and doilies. Now, who did that?

  24. Sorry, but the reason you’re debating this is the craven nature of modern Brits in the face of bureaucratic & political diktats.
    I currently find myself on one of my thankfully rare visits to the Isles of Stupidity. I was standing outside an office building that prominently displayed a notice warning that: “Smoking within 3 meters of this building is a criminal offence” I haven’t the vaguest whether this unlikely claim is in fact true & quite honestly couldn’t give a toss. I promptly lit up. Within a minute I’d some self important pip-squeak drawing my attention to the notice & requesting me to desist or leave the area. He was told to piss off. When he insisted he was offered the opportunity to have his dentistry rearranged. Whereupon he retreated smartish.
    OK, no doubt I’m guilty of “threatening behaviour”. I should bloody well hope so. But I’m not a complete idiot. Before the police are likely to arrive in the shape of an Armed Response Unit I’m long gone & don’t suppose the CCTV footage of a man in hat & shades is going to be much use.
    The point is; there’s now some asswipe who’ll be a little less enthusiastic in interfering with members of the public. It’s incremental in both directions. The more you bow down to this nonsense, the more you’ll get. The more you fight back the less you’ll get & you might even roll back the tide.
    OK, no doubt this post will cue all manner of PCniks with comments ranging from my antisocial smoking habits to the poor hurt feelings of the arsewipe. To those…stick it up & spin on it. As far as I’m concerned the basturbators set the field for extra legal action a long time ago. About time they got some back. There’s a long history of lives being laid down for freedom & I’m all in favour of laying down the lives of those who’ll deny me mine. Even for trivial matters. Particularly for trivial matters because if you give way on trivial matters it’s sets a precedent for important matters. We used to be able to arbitrate acceptable behaviour amongst ourselves. Now these bastards want to use force to impose their desires so I feel quite happy with using force on them & their minions in return. Am I the only one who feels so?
    OK this little rant’s about smoking but it’s symptomatic of the rest of this coercive nonsense. None too soon I’ll be back in my abode of choice & illegally lighting up in various friendly bars. I’ll be able to do this because the customers & patrons don’t give a monkey’s about the law. One in particular, where the wafting smoke won’t be solely tobacco, the forces of law enforcement give a wide berth. The response to interference could easily involve an unmarked grave down a ravine. It has happened. I certainly feel a lot safer there than I do in Britain these days.

  25. PaulB – “The arguments here in the name of “freedom” could be applied equally to a “freedom to keep slaves”. One of the purposes of government is to regulate the boundaries between rivalrous freedoms.”

    No, the arguments here in the name of freedom could be best applied to blasphemy. Slavery is different in that it violates a fundamental human right to possession of ones own body. This is just a matter of someone hearing something they do not want to hear. Are you in favour of blasphemy laws?

    By all means, governments have the task of trying to strike a balance between freedoms. But to any sane person this is a balance too far. The freedom not to hear someone saying you have a nice arse – a comment that many women might find pleasing in the right context (ie a sufficiently high status man says it as opposed to some smelly member of the lower orders) – is trite. The freedom not to be dragged off to jail, have your finger prints taken, name dragged through the mud, shamed in front of your own community and placed on the sex offenders register is a little more fundamental.

    Especially as the law is basically unenforceable. She says you said she had nice tits. You say you did not. She says that using the word “womanly” is equivalent to rape. You think otherwise. The only people enjoying this will be the lawyers who are laughing all the way to the bank.

  26. SMFS: “are you in favour of blasphemy laws?”

    Fair question. No I’m not. I am opposed to any general right not to be offended (which would be logically impossible).

    We don’t actually know what this law is going to say. I won’t be able to give an opinion until it’s published. It’s strange that everyone else here is able to predict its contents and consequences so confidently.

  27. Over 100 years ago, on the steam-driven internet, somebody was saying, “I don’t know what this Gross Indecency Law is going to say, so I won’t give an opinion”.

    As Battlestar Galactica said, “all this has happened before and all this will happen again”. We have enough precedent from last time the Social Purity Movement got out of control to know where we’re heading Paul. This is the same people, doing the same thing, using the same narratives but a much more efficient organisation. Nobody in the 1890s could stand up for the right for men to bugger each other; their mere existence was considered a social cost and rivalrous to other peoples’ freedom, as you would put it.

    I can forgive our ancestors for falling for this shit once. But as George W Bush said, “fool me once, shame on, shame on, you won’f fool me again”.

    This is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

  28. Perhaps then, PaulB, you’d like to read the following from the link Ian’s kindly provided:

    “Article 40 Sexual Harassment

    208. The type of conduct covered by this provision is manifold. It includes three main forms of behaviour: verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature unwanted by the victim. Verbal conduct refers to words or sounds expressed or communicated by the perpetrator, such as jokes, questions, remarks, and may be expressed orally or in writing. Non-verbal conduct, on the other hand, covers any expressions or communication on the part of the perpetrator that do not involve words or sounds, for example facial expressions, hand movements or symbols. Physical conduct refers to any sexual behaviour of the perpetrator and may include situations involving contact with the body of the victim. As in Article 36, any of these forms of behaviour must be of a sexual nature in order to come within the remit of this provision. Furthermore, any of the above conduct must be unwanted on the part of the victim, meaning imposed by the perpetrator. Moreover, the above acts must have the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of the victim. This is the case if the conduct in question creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. It is intended to capture a pattern of behaviour whose individual elements, if taken on their own, may not necessarily result in a sanction.”

    *Moreover, the above acts must have the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of the victim*

    Are you comfortable with the idea a person’s dignity is sacrosanct now?

    FFS

  29. PaulB – “Fair question. No I’m not. I am opposed to any general right not to be offended (which would be logically impossible).”

    So why is this different?

    “We don’t actually know what this law is going to say. I won’t be able to give an opinion until it’s published. It’s strange that everyone else here is able to predict its contents and consequences so confidently.”

    Because Baroness Scotland drew it up. Because the EU is behind it. Because the Guardian likes it. Because we have been down this path before with racial and homosexual activists. Because we know only too well the sort of batshit insane academics behind it. And because of the actual language involved:

    The pledge to criminalise “verbal, non-verbal or physical” sexual harassment is one of the commitments in the Council of Europe’s convention on violence against women, which David Cameron will commit to signing at a special event to mark International Women’s Day

    Notice that “non-verbal”. What is non-verbal but not physical sexual harassment? It is going to be a crime to smile when someone is speaking?

    Among the pledges in the convention, which has already been signed by 18 countries including Germany, France and Ukraine, is one to pass legislation or other measures to criminalise or impose other sanctions for “unwanted verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment”.

    What the f**k is a intimidating or a hostile or a degrading or a humiliating or an offensive environment? Tim Worstall be better a little worried because this site could be one or all of those.

    Another clause would outlaw “psychological violence” – defined as “seriously impairing a person’s psychological integrity through coercion or threats”, language which suggests serious bullying could be covered by new laws.

    So if you call your wife fat you’re committing an offense? As seems to be the case in French law now. Great.

    I love the “I am woman, hear me roar” crowd who seem to think women are tough enough to stand up to combat with the Taliban but are reduced to a quivering wreck by a few loutish words. I suggest we be consistent. If women cannot cope with wolf whistles, they need to be placed in purdah under the control of a real adult, male naturally, and not allowed things like jobs or bank accounts.

  30. Ian B – “Nobody in the 1890s could stand up for the right for men to bugger each other; their mere existence was considered a social cost and rivalrous to other peoples’ freedom, as you would put it.”

    Which, actually, it seems to have been the case. Gays have won the right to be openly Gay. The rest of us have lost, or are losing rapidly, rights in response.

  31. SMFS-

    The existence of gays never harmed anybody. The current problem is that the gays went from being perscuted by the Progressives, to joining their bandwagon in the wake of the 60s. Anyone in the Proggies’ camp gets special privileges at everyone else’s expense, it’s their core methodology. It’s like comparing feminists and women as groups. Feminists are the problem. Nothing wrong with women.

  32. I can’t believe it’s being suggested that I insult people in a transatlantic style. I stick to traditional Anglo-Saxon with occasional Latinate flourishes, and anyone who says otherwise is a bitchass motherfucka.

    Anyway. What UKLiberty says.

  33. SMFS, re your point about wimmin being tough enough to stand up to the Taliban, I was watching a documentary about 42 Commando’s activities in that benighted country just recently. They were accompanied by a female member from the RAF regiment, who was a dog-handler or int officer or something. Anyway, she was in theory supposed to be capable of joining them in a firefight but, grinning to the camera, she unabashedly explained how, when bullets started flying, she got too scared, went into hiding and “left it to the boys”, the Amazonian minx.

  34. SMFS: what’s the difference between offending someone and harassing them? If I remark that “SMFS sometimes makes up facts to suit his argument”, you may find that offensive. If I follow you around shouting “SMFS is a liar”, that’s harassment.

    bis: Article 40 expresses a desired outcome, it’s not a draft law. I’m confident that Patricia Janet knows the difference.

  35. Harrassment is arbitrary. But it’s worth noting that by most definitions of it, the protest movements, including the Feminists, routinely engage in it. Pot, kettle, etc.

  36. “bis: Article 40 expresses a desired outcome, it’s not a draft law. I’m confident that Patricia Janet knows the difference.”

    Indeed. And, here, we are discussing the advisability of this becoming a ‘draft law’ & in due course ( & on previous experience, inevitably) a law.
    Or do you prefer the usual EU gameplan where the introduction of the law comes first & we can all get to discuss it afterwards. Like the referenda that come after the ratification’s signed?

  37. Mr Lud, I thank you for your support.
    Purely out of interest, as I believe you might be of the legal persuasion, could you confirm if the “3 meters” proscription actually exists ?

  38. Ian B – “The existence of gays never harmed anybody.”

    I wonder if that is true. In theory, yes. But it might be true that Gays were always going to start from the position of disliking the rest of us and go down hill from there.

    38Edward Lud – “but, grinning to the camera, she unabashedly explained how, when bullets started flying, she got too scared, went into hiding and “left it to the boys”, the Amazonian minx.”

    I have no problems with that. Courage is not a sex-linked thing. Some people have it. Some people don’t. It is impossible to know if I would do the same. Hard to extrapolate to the rest of the world’s women. But good on her for being honest and upfront.

    39PaulB – “what’s the difference between offending someone and harassing them?”

    No idea. Does it matter? The proposed law is not just about harassment.

  39. bis: I prefer the version whereby a bill is drafted by lawyers acting for the government (one imagines that they will not be rabid leftists), and then subjected to due analysis, discussion and amendment before being voted into law or otherwise. We call it parliamentary democracy.

    I’m not Mr Lud, but there was nothing in the Health Act 2006 (which banned smoking at work) to create a 3m exclusion zone.

  40. PaulB,

    Unfortunately what we actually have is a system in which laws are written by anonymous conglomerates of activists and nodded through onto the statute books by compliant professional politicians. You seem to be confusing what it says on the tin with what is actually in the tin.

    You could have a better system than even what is said on the tin; you could require a referendum before any law gets onto the statute books and, to ensure proper democracy, that must require a majority of the electorate rather than just of those who bother to vote. I wonder how much of the welter of legislation we suffer would actually pass such a will-of-the-people system? Not much, I’d wager.

  41. Mr in Spain, how dare you? Just because a man appears in court from time to time doesn’t mean he takes it up the batty … er, oh, I see.

    Yes, happy to oblige (on a non-liability basis, not holding myself out etc. …)

    The answer in my view is that the 3m proscription is a load of old moody.

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/28/part/1/chapter/1

    However, see s.4 under the above link.

    However, however, not even the last government, whose legislative zeal was pretty much masturbatory in its vigour, and the quality of whose legislation often suffered accordingly, was I think quite so stupid as to try and ban smoking on the street (noted jurist Sir I Jennings famously observed that parliamentary sovereignty meant the chimps could theoretically legislate to ban smoking on the streets of Paris) without actually banning it outright.

    However, however, however, my hopeless naivete was perhaps rightly shoved down my throat yesterday by N. Luke.

    Sir Subtlety, you miss my point: she’s a soldier who refused to fight. A male soldier who did the same thing would presumably be court-martialled for cowardice or whatever they call it nowadays. If only for that reason it is inconceivable that a male soldier could or would make such an admission. So my point was not that courage derives from one’s sex, but that her cowardice or, if you prefer, merely her uselessness as a soldier, is excused (apparently) or overlooked on account of her sex.

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